Saturday, November 19, 2005

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I guess I'm extinct then....

I have long recognized that that the Republican party has become a less friendly place over the years for a libertarian who nonetheless wants the government to function well in its limited capacity.

However, I think over the past few years we've gone from "unfriendly" to "pretty damn hostile"" Andrew Sullivan and Matthew Yglesias, in their inimitable ways, suggest that I can't find a single Republican congressman who wants the things I want.

Yglesias first:

There are no moderate Republicans. If there were moderate Republicans, those would be members of the Republican Party who had moderate views on policy questions. A person with moderate views on policy questions would have been regularly defecting from the extremist-led leadership in such years as 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005 as the aforementioned leadership pushed crazy bill after crazy bill throgh the congress. But there aren't any Republican members of the House of Representatives who fit that description. What you saw this afternoon were vulnerable Republicans running scared from an increasingly unpopular GOP leadership.
Well, I actually kind of like certain "extremist" Republican positions, such as drilling in ANWR, proposing school vouchers, and cutting budgets.

The thing is, I also like stem cell research and oppose dumb-ass Constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. And, as Sullivan points out, I'm dreaming of a null set:

In theory, it should be possible for a Republican to be both socially moderate, fiscally conservative, and dedicated to the fight against Islamo-fascism. That's, broadly speaking, my position. But one reason I feel no real connection to today's GOP is that there are almost no people in that position in the party as it now stands. The most reliable fiscal conservative, Tom Coburn, is a rabid gay-hater and a theocon. It's simply a fact that, as a RedState blogger points out, not a single Republican Senator who opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment voted for the Coburn Amendment, and not a single Republican Senator who co-sponsored the latest stem cell research bill voted for the Coburn Amendment. The kind of conservatism I believe in no longer really exists in the Congress of the United States.... McCain is the best we've got, and God bless him. But it's also undeniable that he has deep suspicions of economic freedom, and often sees the need for government to intervene in all sorts of areas - steroids in sports, for example, - where government, in my view, has no role whatever. Does that mean that social inclusives and fiscal conservatives should despair? I hope not. There are glimmers of hope among fiscally conservative Democrats. A McCain-led GOP would be vastly preferable to a Bush-led one. But these are dark days for individual freedom and fiscal sanity in America, and it's no use pretending otherwise.
Sounds pretty despairing to me. Especially when Republican representatives start accusing decorated veterans of "cowardice".

posted by Dan on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM



Disappointed to see your views on ANWR. Take a look at this piece on the potential environmental effects. I think the MSM has oversimplified the issue, and the cost-benefit just doesn't add up in my book.

posted by: RL on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

As a (real) conservative Republican, I wonder about the loonies and corporate whores who have taken over the party, including our dingbat-in-chief.

Need evidence? Look at Rep. Jean Schmidt of 2nd Ohio, and her meltdown yesterday. This is a woman whith an extremely limited intellect (she is dumb as a box of rocks).

Hopefully the Dems will get reorganzied and dump some GOP incumbents in 2006. The pendulum needs to swing back.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I know EXACTLY how you feel. To quote Fletch, "I'm a man without a country, Frank."

With all the various issues confronting the US currently I believe one of the most dire to be the one least reported on: the subject of re-districting.

Were the voting districts determined by a fair and non-partisan body I believe the current lot of extreme left and extreme right politicians both in state and federal roles would largely be swept out of office.

Instead we now have a congress wherein almost NO seats change hands during elections (or like California where the reality is there really were no seats that changed occupants) and those elected are more extreme in their viewpoints because they reflect the voters who are most likely to vote in those gerrymandered districts, which increasingly over the last decade have turned out to be those on the ends of their respective political spectrums.

In some ways this is actually a return to the earliest days of the republic when politics were as bitter a contest and brutally partisan as one could ask for. I personally would rather see a modicrum of decency and a larger representation of the "purple" majority. The first step would be to take the defining of voting district away from the politicians.

What's the likelihood of this happening though?

posted by: johnnymeathead on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Maybe this spells the demise of the conservative/classical liberal coalition. Probably one of the best places to start on this topic are the distancing comments Hayek makes in The Constitution of Liberty, those concerning how the friends of liberty have had to make uncomfortable alliances with those who don't give it priority. I think he even quotes Acton on that. At any rate, I would love to see a viable third party. The Libertarian Party is a joke. But there must be some way to take down the holyrolling deficit spending Republicans without turning into moderate Democrats.

posted by: Rue Des Quatre Vents on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Bollocks. Anyone who says there are no moderate Republicans in congress just isn't looking--which come to think of it is why I stopped reading Sullivan at least a year ago. Try my own Rep., Mark Kirk--pro-choice, pro-environment, staunch supporter of WOT, no holy-roller he (voted against a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, for instance).

Is he a leading light in the party? No. At least not yet. But let's not go suggesting he is any more extinct than Dan or any other "lonely" libertarian-leaning semi-Republican (of which I count myself a reluctant member as well).

posted by: Kelli on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I'm Canadian so I'm entering this thread with some caution.

Our brand of Conservatism up here is quite different from your current brand of Republicanism. What bothers me the most about trends on the right in the U.S. is the tendency to attach Republican values to fundamentalist Christianity and narrow minded, doctrinaire views. In my understanding, this is really a distortion of true American Republicanism.

There are aspects of the Bush approach I do support - the postion staked out by Chris Hitchens vis-a-vis foreign policy initiatives is one I am entirely comfortable with. However as someone who is more of a fusionist than a rightist ideologue, I am very uncomfortable with evangelical bible thumping, anti-gay agendas and what can best be described as a type of Christocentric triumphalism.

Having said that, I don't like attacks on Christian symbols, emblems and festivals that in the mids of some, have come to represent oppression and a legacy of colonialism (more particularly in Europe). I am at best a nominal Christian, so while defending the monuments of Western civilization, I also reject jingoism and triumphalism. Equally I reject the values of an atheistic PC heterodoxy in which religious beliefs and spiritual values - be they Christian, Hindu, Mudlim - are held up to ridicule.

Issues such as gay rights, abortion, Patriot Act provisions etc should never be a matter of faith - nor are they black and white issues. The brand of one-sided right wing activism I am seeing allows for little nuance in these matters.

Increasingly they are staking out hardline positions that are untenable to anyone who understands that the complexities of life can never be cut and dried without a loss of our intrinsic freedoms, perhaps even our very humanity.

posted by: Aidan Maconachy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

The people (well, ok, one person) I know who works in energy reports the ANWR drilling is mostly corporate subsidy. There's not enough oil there for the companies to make money on it, unless they can get the Gov't to pay for the roads and infrastructure and so forth. Admittedly, this is hearsay, but it makes some sense given the estimates I've heard of the amount of oil there.

That said, I find the idea of tossing away our laws protecting wildnerness on any old economic whim to be abhorrent.

posted by: Alex on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Dan, I'm against drilling in ANWR but not for environmental reasons. Someday, that oil will get used. I have no doubt at all. But right now, and for the forseeable future, it is more valuable to have an untapped reserve than to use it now. For corporations, of course, it makes no sense. They'd rather make a quick buck. But for a nation, I believe it does.

posted by: mac on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Followup dan:

Where the hell were you in 2000, when it was fairly obvious where the Republicans were going? McCain took NH in a landslide. Then Bush's supporters took him to the crown in SC. He's been dancing with them that brung him ever since.

I'm a moderate Democrat. I'd probably have voted for McCain over Gore in 2000. But I would not in 2008. He's got too much baggage now, and I don't want to reward the Republican party for George Bush, the uniter and not a divider. He's surely done a good job of uniting the opposition.

posted by: mac on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Sorry, Dan, but if Sullivan and Yglesias can't find moderates in the Republican party then the rest of their views on this topic don't make much sense.

Off the top of the hat, Lincoln Chafee? Arlen Specter? Susan Collins? Olympia Snowe? That's just in the Senate. Add another two dozen more from the House.

Granted, it's a small slice but at least it's something to nibble on.

Dismissing this element makes the entire argument meaningless.

posted by: SteveMG on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I have some empathy though less sympathy with Dan's feelings about this.

The lack of sympathy stems from my not being a libertarian. The idea that Republicanism ought to have anything to do with changing the legal status quo with respect to marriage, increased toleration of drug use or making the campaign finance system even more corrupt than it already is strikes me as just weird. This is apart from its being distinctly non-traditional, hence unlikely to have many adherents among Republican elected officials who began their political careers some time ago. I know what is most important to Andrew Sullivan, and why. There is no reason it should be important to most Republicans.

I do empathize somewhat, though, with Dan's sense of isolation. I can date the beginning of my own with some precision -- it began the night of the New Hampshire primary in 1988. The period of the Reagan Presidency, whatever its other virtues or faults, had been one of extraordinary intellectual vitality with respect to public policy issues. A lot of very intense thinking and work about what government does and how it does it got done, much of it within the administration itself and a great deal of it resulting in substantive, worthwhile policy changes. Ronald Reagan, though a thorough politician, was unthreatened by this kind of ferment; sure himself of what he wanted from his Presidency, he had no objection to others also gettng what they wanted as long as it was broadly consistent with his own objectives. This was also the approach taken in the Senate at that time by its Republican leader, Sen. Dole.

Rank and file Republicans first signaled in New Hampshire in 1988 that, given a choice, they preferred something else in their leaders: stultifying intellectual mediocrity, preoccupation with the mechanics of campaign politics at the expense of the business of government, and a strong sense of privileged entitlement -- the defining characteristics of the Bush family. Not even the collapse of the elder Bush's Presidency really shook this preference. One could argue, I suppose, that it reinforced it, much as President Taft's electoral collapse whetted the appetite of most Republicans for a candidate like Warren Harding.

It's not that I never agree with anything a Bush administration does, but that the agreement is always coincidental rather than a product of accord on principles or priorities. A Bush administration's priorities will always be the personal standing and comfort of Bush family members and close personal associates; in the younger Bush's administration large campaign contributors occupy an unusually privileged position, for George W. Bush is not only as focused on campaign politics as his father was but is much better at the trade. The kind of people who rise in a Bush administration would for the most part not know what to do with me, nor I have much use for them.

Crossing the aisle is not an option, never has been. The Democrats' approach to politics is more alike than different from Bush Republicanism; the business of running campaigns is as dominant over the business of government with Democrats, though the privileged position of certain organized interest groups within the Democratic Party is more formalized and interest in national security is less. Fundamentally, my problem like Dan's is that I do not think about public affairs the way most politically active Americans think.

But with respect to the Republican Party what I see is that Bush Republicanism does not have a promising future from a political standpoint. If there is as I think likely a violent public reaction against politics as they are now in the next few years it will be in large measure a reaction against Bush more than against older Republican values. It may also, as was the Perot eruption in 1992, be a reaction against the perceived inadequacies of the Democrats. My crystal ball is clouded in that respect, nor do I know whether the coming period of political turmoil will provide any opportunities for people of my way of thinking to move the government in their direction. It just seems to me that Bush Republicanism has won about as many elections as it is going to, and that Republicans of the future are in one way or another going to need to leave Bush behind them. That process can't start soon enough for me.

posted by: Zathras on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Quibbling that there are 1 or 2 moderate Republicans hiding in remote woodland refuges is beside the point.

The point is that it's no longer possible, as I concede it once was, to argue that one supports the "real" Republican Party, distinct from the lunatic fringe.

The lunatic fringe is running the party. The Republicans rode the tiger, with predictable results.

While there is a great deal about the Dems to criticize, they are not expressly committed to insanity as policy.

posted by: Anderson on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

"Insanity" is a term you better elaborate on.

If you think "riding the tiger" is a novel exercise, you better strap on your seat belt because there is no way back to a comfortable status quo.

posted by: Aidan Maconachy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

One little comment.

If congress can't start doing the job they were elected to and stop their stupidity and work together, a lot of them are going to be looking for jobs. People I know (including myself) are tired of the nonsense of the last two years.

"The War" is not just in Iraq, it is not just for a few months. But everyone in congress seems to think it is. This is an example of the classic line of "stuck on stupid".

This nation is going to be "at war" for the forseeable future. Everyone in charge better take that fact, absorb it and work to make sure we win.

Otherwise, their children, our children, your children, my children and grandchildren are going to be either Islamic, slaves or dead.

Papa Ray
West Texas

posted by: Papa Ray on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Papa Ray!! I only ordered extra cheese and sausage. Hold off on the hot sauce!

posted by: Rue Des Quatre Vents on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I think most Republicans will agree that Rep. Schmidt's comments were over the top, stupid and insulting. Perhaps she needs to sit in silence for more than a couple of months to learn how the House works. That said, she is hardly indicative of the rest of the Republicans. Not one other Republican carried out an attack on Murtha, and that's why you had a standing ovation when Henry Hyde said Murth gets an A+ for being a fantastic individual. It is no surprise that Schmidt's comments have been presented in the media as being indicative of how all House members acted yesterday, but it's simply not true - and I actually sat for probably the first time and listened to hours of House debate (It'll probably be a while before I do that again). I think Rep. Kingston of Georgia said it best that even though yesterday's amendment was not the Murtha amendment, it was absolutely imperative to pass through the House (esp. at those numbers) because the headlines the entire world, including the soldiers fighting in Iraq, had woken up to was that a prominent (moderate/hawk/veteran) Congressman demanded that troops be pulled out. If there has ever been a clear cut case of how the press is hurting us in the war(s), this is it.

posted by: Danny on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Just been on Andrew Sullivan. What is Murtha - a saint from God on high? He's a great military man and a decorated hero worthy of respect - but since when does being in possession of an honorable military record give a man a pass when it comes to making dishonorable demands?

All this wailing and gnashing of teeth about the deadful rebuke to Murtha's untouchable hero status is a total cop out. Predictably his white flag waving was orchestrated to come right on the heels of the furious back peddling of Democrats who in a state of advanced amnesia, hauled their sorry asses onto the "high ground" created by Bush's falling numbers to point fingers; the same hypocrties who voted for the war, even as they described Saddam as a clear and present danger.

I'm the last person to say that this campaign wasn't badly flawed and that some remedial actions are indeed required - but I'm sorry, Jean Schmidt doesn't invoke inner angst in this poster.

posted by: Aidan Maconachy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I think Schmidt could have said the same thing without quite calling Murtha, directly or indirectly, a coward. She should have known that that was how the press was going to frame the entire debate.

That said, Murtha is a decorated war veteran. So was John Kerry. While I respect Murtha more, these two examples prove that one's background does not mean that their policies or politics are the right ones.

posted by: Danny on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

The "coward" comment was uncalled for, I agree.

posted by: Aidan Maconachy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I consider myself a moderate to liberal Republican. I backed Bush the Elder reluctantly in 1992, Dole more enthusiastically in 1996, and Bush the Younger solidly in 2000.

Boy did I get hornswaggled. Bush sold himself on the campaign trail as a moderate, even libertarian conservative. Instead, the Bush-led GOP has been fundamentalist, government expansionist, and generally corrupt.

I never thought it would happen, but I voted for a Democrat for President in 2004, and I'll probably have do so again in 2008 since I don't think a moderate can survive the Republican primaries now.

You won't find a John Anderson type in today's GOP. Heck, you won't even find a Barry Goldwater type.

posted by: Anon7 on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Dan wrote, ...for a libertarian...

Are you a real libertarian or a royal libertarian?

posted by: liberal on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Dan - I feel your pain. Sadly, there isn't much alternative on the Democratic side of the aisle either.

It seems to me that the Democrats in congress come in two flavors these days: those who are left on everything (most Democrats), and those few who are left on everything except that they have some discomfort with current abortion policy (the "conservative" Democrats). I oversimplify, but not by very much...

I'd love to vote for someone who believes in limited, competent government - whatever the party. When someone finds that person, they should let me know.

posted by: Howard on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I'm in a similar predicament in that my political opinions are of the libertarian light strain, but I have long since given up despairing that there is no party that fits my views. For better or worse it's a two party system and you just have to accept that you're not going to get a representative that matches all your positions, no one does.

In regards to people who support gay marriage, I can vote Republican at the Federal level with little worry since I don't think any constitutional amendment proposals are serious or have a realistic chance of being made law. The Democrats are hardly a gung-ho gay marriage party either. Better to focus at the state level if that is your concern.

As far as the lack of fiscal conservatism goes, I can't get too angry at Republican weakness in this area since I never expected much progress in this area to begin with. It seems an inevitable part of who is in party. My best hope is that Supreme Court appointments will restrict the role of the federal government since the politicians obviously won't.

posted by: bluehoo on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

I actually kind of like certain "extremist" Republican positions, such as drilling in ANWR, proposing school vouchers, and cutting budgets.

Ummm, I doubt Daniel actually cares too much about ANWR; the Republicans in Congress have not actually supported buget cuts, but buget increases; and while Dan can reasonably support school vouchers, it is silly to be for "proposing school vouchers" (I would also point out that the traditional conservative position is that education should be a state and local rather than a federal concern).

posted by: c&d on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Republican meltdown? Har, har, pass the popcorn.

(As for the claim upthread about the moderation of Snowe et al., that's proving Matt's point. They are endangered; their party doesn't want them --see the primary challenge in RI -- and their constituents are trending solidly Democrat. It's the Connie Morella story: constituents may like their Senator or Representative personally, but don't like that his or her first vote is to put Frist or DeLay or whoever in charge. Moderate northeastern Republicans should apply for protection under the Endangered Species Act. While there still is one.)

posted by: Doug on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Back before the 2002 election I asked:

Can anyone name for me a candidate in a competitive race (or, really, any candidate) for either Senate or House who is a) pro-choice; b) pro-trade (supports NAFTA, TPA, and WTO without weaselly exceptions, hasn't been a force in favor of any of the dumb protectionist moves in the past few years); c) not-actively-antigay (sometimes one takes what one can get); d) generally in favor of tax cuts; e) generally in favor of spending restraint; f) generally pro-immigration; g) not guilty of demagoguing Social Security? I'd have a hard time supporting someone who suppported the campaign finance bill or a vigorous drug warrior. Supporting the death penalty is bad, but I'm willing to treat that as a litmus test for executive posts rather than legislative ones. And, obviously, actively pro-gay-rights (marriage, military) would be better than passive, and actively pro-Social Security reform would be better than passive. But I think I could stomach someone who met the named threshold tests; and I'd actively want to encourage that person's party (whichever party it was!) to move in that person's direction. But I can't think of a single such candidate from either major party...

I had no takers.

posted by: Jacob T. Levy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

"As far as the lack of fiscal conservatism goes, I can't get too angry at Republican weakness in this area since I never expected much progress in this area to begin with. It seems an inevitable part of who is in party. "
posted by: bluehoo on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Do you mean 'who is in power'? If so, you might want to read the forbidden history of the Clinton era - known to Republicans as 'Our Long Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity'.

posted by: Barry on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Jacob, I'd call this a good sign that you are part of a very small minority in terms of your views on public policy.

There is nothing wrong with that, per se. At one time many very noble ideas were held by very small numbers of American citizens. So were a somewhat larger number of truly wretched ideas. Being part of a small minority is no sure indication of virtue, either.

It's up to you, of course, but it seems to me that a state of permanent, passionate disagreement with the great majority of Americans on a long list of issues is a state of despair or something very close to it -- unless of course one does not take politics all that seriously, and many people don't. It might be more productive in the long run to look for public officials who approach their calling in the right spirit than for politicians who share one's views on specific emotive issues. It isn't that this course is always easy or satisfying, but it does have the virtue of being one most Americans can sympathize with rather than one they begin by thinking wrong altogether.

posted by: Zathras on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

There is no constituency for libertarians. Americans want an activist government that solves (or pretends to) their problems. The only difference between Republicans and Democrats is on which direction they want to drag the country. I think Newt Gingrich said something like this on a Sunday talk show, but I could be wrong.

posted by: Dude on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]


I think that the problem with you Libertarians is that you really did drink the koolaid that the reactionaries served. Their resistance to government "activism" was resistance to equal rights for african americans, women and gays (just to name a few). The fact that they suckered you into believing that they had some actual principal against big powerful government would make me laugh except that I am getting the shaft along with you...thanks a lot!

As for vouchers, people on the left (at least a lot of us) would fully support vouchers if they really provided enough money to buy private education instead of being basically a subsidy for helping to pay well off people to take their kids out of public school.

I could go on, but what is the point. Anyone who is just figuring out that Republicanism = fundamentalism, cronyism, and anti-intellectualism wrapped up in homophobia and misogyny after all these years needs support, not criticism.

posted by: Robb lutton on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

The representative was quoting the reaction of a serving marine to Murtha's proposal. I can understand a marine being bitter about a politician devaluing everything they'd done and the sacrifices they'd made in fighting for freedom in Iraq.

I don't think Murtha is a coward. I know he's an expert at garnering DOD pork for his district, so I suppose that makes him a good congressman. It doesn't make him a hawk, as some have claimed.

Murtha has a history of calling for withdrawal. According to Newsmax "after terrorists attacked U.S. troops in Mogadishu, Somalia 12 years ago, anti-Iraq war Democrat, Rep. John Murtha urged then-President Clinton to begin a complete pullout of U.S. troops from the region.

Clinton took the advice and ordered the withdrawal - a decision that Osama bin Laden would later credit with emboldening his terrorist fighters and encouraging him to mount further attacks against the U.S.

“Our welcome has been worn out,” Rep Murtha told NBC’s “Today” show in Sept. 1993, after the Mogadishu battle cost the lives of 18 U.S. Rangers.

The Pennsylvania Democrat announced that President Clinton had been “listening to our suggestions. And I think you’ll see him move those troops out very quickly.”"

Let's see how that retreat played out in Al Qaeda's thinking. In Osama's Fatwa of 1996 he said:

"Few days ago the news agencies had reported that the Defence Secretary of the Crusading Americans had said that 'the explosion at Riyadh and Al-Khobar had taught him one lesson: that is not to withdraw when attacked by coward terrorists'.

We say to the Defence Secretary that his talk can induce a grieving mother to laughter! and shows the fears that had enshrined you all. Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in less than twenty four hours!

But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the 'heart' of every Muslim and a remedy to the 'chests' of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut, Aden and Mogadishu."

In other words, Murtha has a history of aiding and abetting the enemy by using his position as a Congessman to call for surrender. He emboldened Bin Ladin back in 1993 and he's doing it again in 2005. I'd call it giving aid and comfort to the enemy. He mightn't see it that way, but Osama Bin Ladin and al-Zarqawi certainly will, and Al Jazeera played it that way.

posted by: pat on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Sorry kids - Sullivan is not "socially moderate". He is way on the far left of socially liberal. Social moderates oppose gay marriage, support limited abortion, and oppose most of the efforts of the federal government to intervene in local education issues. To say otherwise is to be dishonest.

Social moderates accept religion in public discourse without labelling those they oppose as "theocons". Sullivan is a liberal. He just doesn't have the balls to admit it.

posted by: Charles Martel on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

To correct a previous poster, the "coward" quote did not come from a "serving Marine," but from an elected Republican in the Ohio State Legislature.

posted by: Anon7 on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

In other words, Murtha has a history of aiding and abetting the enemy by using his position as a Congessman to call for surrender. He emboldened Bin Ladin back in 1993 and he's doing it again in 2005. I'd call it giving aid and comfort to the enemy. He mightn't see it that way, but Osama Bin Ladin and al-Zarqawi certainly will, and Al Jazeera played it that way.

"In other words, Congressional Republicans have a history of aiding and abetting the enemy by using their position as Congessmen to call for surrender. They emboldened Bin Ladin back in 1993 by calling for withdrawal from Somalia and criticizing Bill Clinton"

Funny ennit, that in the minds of the wingnuts, all of that history is forgotten ?

posted by: Joshn on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

"Do you mean 'who is in power'? If so, you might want to read the forbidden history of the Clinton era - known to Republicans as 'Our Long Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity'."

Yes, I meant power. Republicans were the majority in Congress for 6 of Clinton's 8 years in office, so if you want to assign credit or blame for this period, they both share responsibility.

posted by: bluehoo on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]


posted by: AIdan Maconachy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

Just picked up this thread again on a link and some of the comments here are interesting with respect to the current debate about freedom of speech as it touches on Constitutional provisions. I know this is a departure from the original post re ANWAR but the thread has managed to cover a range of concerns.

Just came off a blog where they are still on about the cartoon furor. There is no question that religions and their beliefs, symbols etc should be guaranteed in our society and protected. In referring to "respect" in my above post, I meant these fundamental Constitutional guarantees. However, by the same token freedom of speech must be protected also and that extends to an artist's right to do satirical cartoons of religious figures if he/she so chooses.

When people like Bill Clinton calls for "sensitivity" and berates publishers for re-printing the Muhammad cartoons, he is really cutting across everything we have held dear with respect to artistic freedom. When art exhibits such as "Piss Christ" were doing the rounds, I didn't hear any calls for sensitivity, notwithstanding the profound offence this art exhibit gave to many Christians. So clearly it is a double standard.

I think in this cartoon case threat and fear played a large role, and I think it is a mistake to back down and soften our democratic principles in the belief that this will lessen tension. If anything this capitulation has emboldened those who view our freedoms with scant respect.

Anyway I just wanted to clarify this point because my above comment seems to imply that I place respect for religion about the right to freedom of speech - and no I do not.

posted by: Aidan Maconachy on 11.19.05 at 06:13 AM [permalink]

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