Re: Lose-lose elections.

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People are saying it enough that it does seem likelier than not, but you can't really be sure for a couple of months yet. This would probably be a good thread for people to point out close races they're aware of where some money might make a difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:40 AM
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Yeah, definitely. The economic conditions determine what happens in elections.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:48 AM
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538's ratings give a slim majority to safe and Democratic-leaning seats. I would say not "very likely" in a probabilistic sense but "very possible" in a we-have-no-way-of-knowing sense.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:02 AM
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2: Yeah, definitely, the Republicans will take back the House, because the economic conditions are so terrible?

Or, yeah, definitely, we can't be sure, because the economic conditions could change in the months before the election?

My sense is that the pundits feel confident that the Republicans will take back the House, because all signs indicate that the economic conditions will continue to be terrible.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:03 AM
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It's a fait accompli that the Republicans will take the house?

No, it's not.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:03 AM
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God damn it, Minivet.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:04 AM
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At least we're winning the expectation game.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:06 AM
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In any case, I think Yggles' post reflects the narrative being pushed relentlessly by the pundit class.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:07 AM
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The Republicans need to win the fewest number of seats necessary for them to get blamed when the economy fails to recover by 2012.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:07 AM
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Basically I think it's another "everyone in earshot's started to say it so it's common knowledge" moment on Yglesias's part. Next month nothing may have changed but the same people may decide it's fun to talk about how much a tossup things are.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:12 AM
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On the other hand, the generic ballot polling looks terrible for the Democrats (and even worse when you adjust for the older-and-whiter turnout in a midterm election).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:21 AM
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I say probably not, but the margin for Democrats in the House will less than ten, and in the Senate less than 5. The Blue Dogs will give Republicans effective majorities. This will look and feel like a center-right to conservative Congress, but not radical.

There may not be the investigations and impeachment, although Obama could give Lieberman an excuse, but whatever legislation gets written will be fuck-pug-ugly. Next SCOTUS nominee will to the right of Kennedy.

There is a chance they take the house, and narrow the Senate to a 1-2 margin, based on the surprises of 1980 and 1994. When the nation is in this kind of mood, polls can get useless.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:23 AM
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And if the House goes, and the Senate is down to a couple seats, then a couple assholes could switch parties.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:25 AM
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On the other hand, the Senate looks unlikely to switch -- I think the 538 projections are off-base-ish.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:27 AM
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I'm in agreement with "very possible", but not with "very likely". I think the Republicans have about a 35% chance of pulling it off. I might give the Republicans better chances if they had any sort of coherent message beyond helping the rich and making life difficult for brown people.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:28 AM
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If the only expected variable is the extent to which the economy improves by November, with (1) "a lot" meaning Democrats hold their majorities and (2) "little to none" meaning Republicans likely takethe House, then we're all fucked, fucked, fucked, fucked, and we need to basically stop even fighting for the midterms and start working full-time to prevent Palin/Beck in 2012 (bearing in mind that we'll have no ability to legislate after Nov.). But I'm not nearly that much of a determinitivist. Exogenous events matter. IMO, the biggest exogenous event (within the realm of reasonably probable exogenous events) would be the capture of Osama bin Laden.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:29 AM
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we need to basically stop even fighting for the midterms and start working full-time to prevent Palin/Beck in 2012
Why on earth are those two mutually exclusive?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:32 AM
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IMO, the biggest exogenous event (within the realm of reasonably probable exogenous events) would be the capture of Osama bin Laden.

Seriously? I think that'd be a "huh, whodathunk he was still alive", moment for most people, and the administration would get exactly no credit for it -- it'd all go to our fearless military, and the administration would probably be made to look bad for hampering them somehow. Unless Obama personally dragged him onto the floor of Congress by the scruff of the neck of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:36 AM
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within the realm of reasonably probable exogenous events

1) Greek and Irish defaults
2) Israel attacking Iran
3) a big domestic al-qaeda attack?
4) Pakistan?

Black Swans are unpredictable by definition. But nothing will help the Democrats. They are defined now.

Obama blew it in the first months. For instance, Pelosi begged in January 2009 to have the Bush tax cuts rescinded. This was the right political move defining Obama as it partly defined Clinton. It would have provided funds for a real stimulus. Etc. It was also a test, a message Pelosi was sending to her caucus about who and what Obama was, what they could expect.

Obama said no way.

It is over for progressives until we have a new President. I would love to see Biden in 2011.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:45 AM
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I would love to see Biden in 2011.

If that isn't a typo, then: Super un-cool, Bob.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:49 AM
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This chickenshit still won't send Warren to the hearings.

Warren humiliating braindead wingnuts and bankertools is exactly the kind of television event that might win a few seats. But Obama doesn't want the controversy. (If he intends to nominate Warren at all)

Coward and fool.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:50 AM
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20:That is your imagination running away, not me, Megan.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:51 AM
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Is it me, or did Bob's chances of getting a visit from the nice men of the Secret Service just go up?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:51 AM
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nothing will help the Democrats

Actually, what helps the Democrats is that they aren't running against a generic ballot. They are all running against specific Republicans and the GOP, unlike in 1994, is even less popular than the Democrats and is in the middle of a fratricidal battle for control of the party. The Democrats will lose seats, of course, because even if the economy was humming, they won a lot of conservative districts in the past two cycles and some of those inevitably swing back.

I would love to see Biden in 2011.

*Joe Biden* is your great hope for progressives, Bob? Now I know you're trolling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:53 AM
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Unemployment is going up 21 months into the Obama administration.

In a parliamentary system Obama would be long gone.

In a parliamentary system I would have more options, but all I got is Biden if Obama resigns. My dream would be for President Biden to appoint Pelosi, and then resign himself.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:56 AM
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Joe Biden is not a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, bob.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:57 AM
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I thought you were all about heightening the contradictions, bob? Now all of a sudden you're a Pelosibot?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:59 AM
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Too much is made of the economic determinacy argument. It's true, to a good approximation, but it still leaves a significant (in terms of election outcome) amount of variance, and appeals to it tend to excuse poor political practice. For example, had Obama consistently blamed the economy and financial bailouts on Republicans, we still would be losing seats but perhaps not as many, as the Republicans could not have so easily co-opted populist rhetoric.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:00 AM
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27:President Pelosi is heightening the contradictions.

Currently Republicans have no opposition in the WH.

DoJ Approves Voter Verification Law

Obama Sides with Polluters Against States


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:08 AM
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29: You must have a definition of "heightening the contradictions" rather different from how the term is generally used. It's not usually meant to indicate increased opposition between established political parties. But it's a free country, I guess.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:23 AM
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22: Jesus, bob, own your crazy. You said what you said, and there's no plausible typo (not counting the "I meant to say 'Please pass the salt' and accidentally said 'You fucking bitch, you ruined my life'" kind of typo) that makes it mean anything different.

In between the whacked-out stuff you come up with, you're interesting. But if you're going to say crazy shit, stand up for it or take it back, don't pretend you never said it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:25 AM
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31:I would love to see Biden in 2011.

is what I said and all I said.

You own your own crazy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:28 AM
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And you think we should believe that the mechanism for Joe Biden's presidency in 2011 would be Pres. Obama's voluntary retirement, as part of a progressive epiphany?

That's what we are supposed to conclude from "I would love to see Biden in 2011." Perhaps, then, you could explicitly disavow the really blatant first interpretation when you bring up scenarios like this.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:31 AM
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I think bob should offer shares so that we can ALL own his crazy. Perhaps an aftermarket in crazy futures would develop too.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:33 AM
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prevent Palin/Beck in 2012

I'll say without hesitation that US politics is irredeemably fucked, that it's over and the good guys lost, that the lunatic fringe effectively steers policy, but Beck is not a plausible presidential/vice-presidential candidate. It wouldn't bear mentioning except that otherwise sane people keep raising the possibility. There are many more realistic nightmares to have.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:35 AM
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Perhaps, then, you could explicitly disavow the really blatant first interpretation when you bring up scenarios like this.

No, actually, I don't think I am morally required to explicitly correct those who would impute the absolute worst, immoral, illegal interpretation of any ambiguities in my language.

Pres. Obama's voluntary retirement

Obama FAIL!. He is a total freaking disastrous catastrophic embarrassment, and if he wasn't a scoundrel, he would resign in disgrace. His party should be putting all possible pressure upon him to do so, or as an alternative, helping Republicans impeach him.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:37 AM
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32: Man. I have a certain amount of respect for looniness. Very little for chicken.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:37 AM
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Beck is not a plausible presidential/vice-presidential candidate

Neither is Sarah Palin, and yet she's already been a vice-presidential candidate and may soon be a presidential candidate.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:38 AM
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I don't believe that either Beck or Palin even *want* national office. They're in this to get rich.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:40 AM
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No, actually, I don't think I am morally required to explicitly correct those who would impute the absolute worst, immoral, illegal interpretation of any ambiguities in my language.

Fuck you too. Go to hell.

Obama FAIL!. He is a total freaking disastrous catastrophic embarrassment, and if he wasn't a scoundrel, he would resign in disgrace. His party should be putting all possible pressure upon him to do so, or as an alternative, helping Republicans impeach him.

I agree with this.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:41 AM
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40.2: Really? You're skipping the "I'd support [Democratic politician X] over him in a 2012 primary" stage? I'm unhappy with lots of stuff he's done, but nothing that even resembles resign in disgrace, and certainly not get impeached.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:43 AM
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37:It never crosses my mind, LB, and didn't when I wrote it.

I don't want a martyr, I want a repudiation.

As in most parliamentary systems, I want the base to stand proud and tall, and say "This is not what we voted for. Get him out of here."

As in Tony Blair, for instance.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:44 AM
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I'll say without hesitation that US politics is irredeemably fucked, that it's over and the good guys lost

Sorry, but that's just grandstanding horseshit, at least if you're saying that there was ever a period where US pollitics weren't fucked. Now is not some special snowflake moment where things are by any significant measure much more difficult than they ever were for those seeking progressive change. It may feel dramatic to say so, but it's just not true.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:47 AM
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As in Tony Blair, for instance.

Great example.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:48 AM
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43: I've probably left this comment repeatedly before, but: the one major difference now is that we have the ability to fuck the entire world for centuries to come by ignoring climate change, and we've decided to do it. I agree domestic politics are no more fucked than usual, but the consequences have become singularly bad in a way that they weren't a hundred years ago.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:49 AM
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As in Tony Blair, for instance.

So you think they should throw Obama out after 10 years?

The problem with the Ned/bob view is that it fails to take into account the alternative. Obama impeachment will serve the Tea Party nuts, not progressive causes.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:49 AM
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I really dislike hysterical overdisappointment with Obama that you see on the left, especially since the main complaint seems to be that he failed to provide enough cathartic bitch-slapping of Republicans to emotionally satisfy folks who view politics as entertainment. Not to say that there haven't been disappointments, of course, or that the disappointment wasn't predictable. Still, "catastrophic embarrassment" just reveals a complete disconnect from political reality or plausible alternatives, as well as ignoring the substantially good steps that have been taken (which always get trivialized by those who put bitch-slapping above all). No offense.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:50 AM
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45 is true, but this is not at all exclusively an American or Obama problem (and to the extent it is an Obama problem, it's largely driven by the supermajority rule in the Senate).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:52 AM
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47: I would differentiate here between bob/Ned hyperbolic disappointment and, say, Greenwald disappointment. Greenwald is right, but a lot of liberals have trouble admitting it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:53 AM
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The problem with it is that it's unpossible -- there's no sense talking about it because it's not the sort of thing that happens in US politics. The president resigning because he's realized that his policies are not what the people who voted for him really want? The president being impeached without any vestige of a hint of personally criminal behavior? (Yes, bob, I know he's a war criminal. I'm not arguing with you about that, just saying that for plausible impeachment purposes, it doesn't count.)

If I'm going to be talking about fantasy scenarios, I'd like Zombie Abe Lincoln to come finish out his second term, please.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:53 AM
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50 to 46.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:54 AM
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Did you want Zombie Abe Lincoln to finish out his second term in the past, or did you want him to rise from the dead now?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:55 AM
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It wouldn't bear mentioning except that otherwise sane people keep raising the possibility.

Have sane people even raised this as a real possibility? Every instance I'm aware of is a joke, ignorance, or insanity.

if he wasn't a scoundrel, he would resign in disgrace. His party should be putting all possible pressure upon him to do so, or as an alternative, helping Republicans impeach him.

Throw in a couple of references to Obama's birth certificate, the Chicago Mob, Frank Marshall Davis, and "long-legged mack daddies," and this is indistinguishable from the kind of nonsense Phil Berg and James Manning have been spouting for two years. Good work, Bob! You're ready to take the next step.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:55 AM
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at least if you're saying that there was ever a period where US pollitics weren't fucked

Good thing I'm not. But the kind of fucked politics that still achieved the New Deal and civil rights and such is unimaginable to me now, and our capacity for irreversible harm is greater.

On preview, partially pwned by 45.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:55 AM
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I'd settle for a more mundane fantasy, like Obama ditching Rahm Emanuel.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:57 AM
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55: Confidential to essear: Lristen Cell's new movie seems like it could possibly be good.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:59 AM
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If I'm going to be talking about fantasy scenarios, I'd like Zombie Abe Lincoln to come finish out his second term, please.

Fogga please. I could lurch circles around that dude.


Posted by: Zombie F/D/R | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:59 AM
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We all have our personal views on which bad advisor is bending the ear of the king to ill-effect. I think, without much of any insider knowledge, that the big problem has been Larry Summers and probably Geithner.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:00 PM
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57: Truth.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:01 PM
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56: Zou Bgain?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:02 PM
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57: I think the only way to settle this is a rap battle. Mυtch?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:02 PM
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Zombism cures polio.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:03 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:04 PM
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60: Zes! The preview amused me, at any rate.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:06 PM
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47:Go preach it at the underpasses and tent cities.

I would differentiate here between bob/Ned hyperbolic disappointment

Find me the other Presidents who have increased unemployment in their first two years.
Hoover? Carter? (Truman? Kennedy?)

There are a lot of reasons this is Politics 101, besides being Human Compassion 101. One of the reasons is that it is almost impossible to fix in the 2nd half, because Congress and the People have turned on you.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:07 PM
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But the kind of fucked politics that still achieved the New Deal and civil rights and such is unimaginable to me now

Why?

and our capacity for irreversible harm is greater.

Somebody is forgetting about magical bacteria.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:10 PM
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Unemployment rose between January 2001 and January 2003, which as we remember was seized upon by Republicans in Congress as an excuse to dump GWB.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:10 PM
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The problem with it is that it's unpossible -- there's no sense talking about it because it's not the sort of thing that happens in US politics.

bob's pony goes to 11, LB.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:12 PM
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And Halford, I haven't the time or space to list all the Obama failures.

Why don't you go suck an egg?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:12 PM
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I would differentiate here between bob/Ned hyperbolic disappointment

I only agreed that congressional Dems should try to impeach Obama in the fantasy world where what the Obama administration is doing is not what congressional Dems want to do.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:14 PM
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64: And now the preview has amused me, too.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:14 PM
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I like eggs. Also, I don't like arguing about politics with crazy people (which doesn't mean I dislike crazy people -- the amusement value is high).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:15 PM
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69: To list just one important Obama failure, after nearly 2 years bob still has no pony. Wah!!!!!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:18 PM
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65, 67: Also Reagan and Nixon.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:20 PM
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I don't see why anyone has to worry about impeachment - if the R's take the House they'll try and impeach Obama sure as God makes little green apples. They'll fail, but they don't care, they just want an impeachment battle. Nothing else will be going on anyways so that's probably next year's agenda in its entirety. That should make Bob happy.

39: I don't believe that either Beck or Palin even *want* national office. They're in this to get rich.

Originally I believed that but I think Palin likes the power. And Beck is running, otherwise he wouldn't be testing his appeal with big rallies.

max
['Next year should be ugly.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:22 PM
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Did Halford get the allusion, or not?

Tell the 1100 people who got sick because Obama is an industry whore that I am crazy, after the underpasses. Or the miners. Or the Gulf shrimpers.

Like I said, the fail is endless


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:24 PM
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The cool thing about being President is that you get to control absolutely everything and do anything that you want.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:28 PM
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Nothing else will be going on anyways so that's probably next year's agenda in its entirety. That should make Bob happy.

What agenda? Now who's crazy?

I told you, I want repudiation..

Otherwise, the Democrats are the party of bankers, budget and tax cutters, foreign war, and polluters.
Obama is redefining us for generations.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:29 PM
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But the Republicans are the party of bankers, budget and tax cutters, foreign war and polluters EVEN MORE than Democrats. So now what?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:40 PM
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But the Republicans are the party of bankers, budget and tax cutters, foreign war and polluters EVEN MORE than Democrats.

Who views them that way? For how much longer?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:41 PM
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78: What agenda? Now who's crazy? I told you, I want repudiation..

And you might get it - when Obama loses in 2012, which will make the Republicans very happy. The only repudiation you're going to get is one that makes Republicans happy, no matter how it happens. (That includes assassination.) We don't live in a parliamentary system. Obama isn't prime minister, he's king. It's too late to get rid of him without damaging the Democrats. The end.

The really striking thing about you Bob is how non- or anti-partisan you are. We're in a fight and you're not even trying to toe the party line. Yet, you tell us you favor us taking a viciously anti-Republican partisan line. The stuff you're talking about is more anti-Obama than the stuff I hear out of Tea Party types. Color me confused.

max
['Who are you and what do you want?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:42 PM
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The Krugster on the future Republican House of Representatives:

I'd put even odds on a 1995-type government shutdown sometime over the next couple of years.

It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. In particular, we're still suffering the after-effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and we can't afford to have a federal government paralyzed by an opposition with no interest in helping the president govern. But that's what we're likely to get.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 12:43 PM
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I told you, I want repfudiation

People in Hell want ice-water, too. Do you have a plan to make this happen or is it more of a stamping your feet and holding your breath sort of thing?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:05 PM
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Aggh, Bob is so goddamn good at this. Once again, political discussion has become all about Bob, without anyone quite noticing.

Anyhow, I think that there are some reasons to be optimistic if -- and only if -- you have narrow democratic majorities in the next house and senate. Notably, the case for modifying the filibuster at the beginning of the Senate session might look a lot stronger, and additional stimulus may look more necessary (and can be done by majority vote via appropriation). A Republican controlled House would be a disaster -- but not as much of a disaster as having a Republican controlled House and a Republican president!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:12 PM
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Once again, political discussion has become all about Bob, without anyone quite noticing.

Oh, I've noticed it, but I'm indulging him. The old man's got nothing to do between now and dog-walking time. It's a silly thing, but I call it charity.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:20 PM
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Notably, the case for modifying the filibuster at the beginning of the Senate session might look a lot strongerlike a failure of bipartisanship and an attempt to refudiate the will of the American people after a historic democratic defeat!!!!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:23 PM
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84 sounds right. There are always a few people who say "Thank god the Congress is stepping in to prevent this dangerously activist government from doing anything", but those are the same people who spent most of 1996 deciding whether to vote for Dole, Gramm or Forbes, i.e. who cares what they think.

People in general want to see the government make a decision, do something, and to have it be possible to tell whether the thing worked out or not. This almost never happens, but it would get people back on the side of the governing party for the time being. Destroying the filibuster could be one thing if Dems in the Senate actually want to do so, which they claim they don't for the most part.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:24 PM
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83:It starts at the base. You are the base.

Early next year, I expect the blogosphere to start looking for a primary challenger. Then, when Republicans find the dirt, and there is always dirt, it is an easy step to asking Obama to resign for the good of the party.

I would not have done this with Clinton, because Clinton did enough positive things that the temporary damage was surmountable. But I perhaps was wrong, as evidenced by the eight years that followed.

But Obama has done nothing but fail.

"The blogosphere isn't that powerful?" We will see, but a) you have to start somewhere, and b) we need to do what's right.

"Bad failed President" should become the "Voted for Iraq war". We should get Yggles and Klein etc to write acts of contrition.

You know, do y'all need links to other comment sections? I may be unusual in my prescriptions, but I have enough support for my description that I know I am not the one that is crazy.

Economists View

Bruce Wilder

"The greatest service Obama is likely to do, is to bring on catastrophe. The political system is thoroughly rotten.

And, the blind impulse to preserve it is killing us."

Bakho

"Clinton was protected because Clinton championed job creation and people had jobs. Obama does not have the same good jobs situation and has not championed job creation. "

Bruce again (institutional economist)

"Obama formed the Catfood Commission to rationalize reforming Social Security to death, and he enacted a health-insurance reform that requires middle-class people to buy crappy insurance at inflated price"

Cynthia

"This would have never happened had Obama's insatiable lust for money hadn't drove him to compete against Republican candidates for campaign contributions from the super-rich who become richer by making America and its people poorer. This is why I think that Obama doesn't really care all that much about maintaining control of the White House in 2012. He knows damn well that after only two years in power he has already done everything his super-rich campaign donors wanted him to do, which is to transfer even more of our nation's wealth to them. So even if Obama loses in 2012, the super-rich will make sure that he walks away from the presidency as a very rich man. Maybe he won't walk away as a billionaire, but he'll certainly walk away as a multimillionaire."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:27 PM
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The lurkers support bob in other comment sections.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:30 PM
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it is an easy step to asking Obama to resign for the good of the party.

That just sounds so procedural.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:31 PM
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"Bad failed President" should become the "Voted for Iraq war". We should get Yggles and Klein etc to write acts of contrition.

For not voting McCain?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:33 PM
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And no, a black man with a funny name was not going to become a billionaire as a CEO, on Wall Street, or in a high-priced legal firm.

This was Barry's best shot, and I do think he may become a billionaire.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:33 PM
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89:Well, I didn't use FDL or Digby.

Trying to be reasonable here.

Look, the next two years are just going to be ugly. Can't be helped now.

Y'all can waste your time documenting the Stupid Republican Tricks or you can use it to build a populist opposition within the Democratic Party. The most forceful way to do that is not to complain about Landrieux and Nelson, but to heighten the contradictions by repudiating Obama.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:39 PM
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by repudiating Obama.

To be replaced by whom? You think Biden would be doing much of anything different?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:40 PM
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I asked my commie uncle if he would have voted for Gore or Bush in 2000, (were he a US citizen), and he said that, strictly speaking, he should vote for Bush in order to hasten the revolution.

Bob, wouldn't repudiating Obama increase the complacency instead of hastening the revolution? Probably best to campaign for a Palin/Beck ticket, on the double.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:45 PM
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93:you can use it to build a populist opposition within the Democratic Party. The most forceful way to do that is not to complain about Landrieux and Nelson, but to heighten the contradictions by repudiating Obama helping Republicans.

Like Rush Limbaugh wants me to do. Of course, having Bush become president certainly helped build a populist opposition, didn't it? A very conservative one.

88: I would not have done this with Clinton, because Clinton did enough positive things that the temporary damage was surmountable. But I perhaps was wrong, as evidenced by the eight years that followed. But Obama has done nothing but fail be black.

max
['Pardon my lack of subtlety.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:46 PM
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asking Obama to resign for the good of the party.

Obviously, Bob, you haven't heard that the Guardians of the Free Republics have already replaced Obama with interim-President Tim Turner, now currently governing the de facto united States from the new capitol of Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:47 PM
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You embarrass yourself, max.

Y'all are the ones who assumed his ethnicity ensured his righteousness. He was counting on it. He knows money is green.

(Obama & Rahm high-five once again)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:55 PM
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because Clinton did enough positive things that the temporary damage was surmountable

Clinton got lucky with the timing of the tech bubble. The other things he did were welfare reform, NAFTA, a trillion-plus dollars in new weapons systems and what else?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:56 PM
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Obama,">http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100830/bs_nm/us_usa_economy_obama">Obama, advisors discuss more steps on economy ...Yahoo, 2 hours ago

President Barack Obama said on Monday he and his economic team discussed additional steps to promote economic growth, including looking at tax cuts for businesses.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:58 PM
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99: How could you forget about the bridge that Clinton built? You know, the one that enabled us to get to the 21st century.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 1:59 PM
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99: Come on! Democrats bragging about "ending welfare as we know it" was awesome. And it really did wonders for BHO's old district in Chicago, let me tell you.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:00 PM
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99 - V-chips.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:00 PM
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The crime bill was swell, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:01 PM
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but to heighten the contradictions

You keep saying that term. I do not think it means what you think it means.


Posted by: M/tchigo M/ntoya | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:06 PM
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It's all the Pope's fault.

"You see, we are cows, the IRS is company who milks the cows and the United States Inc. is the veterinarian who takes care of the herd and Great Britain is the Owner of the farm in fee simple. The farm is held in allodium by the Pope ... You have to understand that all slavery and freedom originates in the mind. When your mind allows you to accept and understand that the United States, Great Britain and the Vatican are corporations which are nothing but fictional entities which have been placed into your mind, you will understand that our slavery is because we believe in fictions."

Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:09 PM
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But really, my cows.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:11 PM
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92: While it's the least of the inaccuracies in today's rants, American Express's current African-American CEO Kenneth Chenault, may disagree with you. Also Merrill Lynch's African-American former CEO, Stan O'Neal, and O'Neal's second in command, the brown and very funny-named Ahmass Fakahany.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:15 PM
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98: You embarrass yourself, max. Y'all are the ones who assumed his ethnicity ensured his righteousness. He was counting on it. He knows money is green.

Not hardly. His ethnicity does not ensure his righteousness, but it surely ensures a lot of people will be pissed off about his ethnicity. You're projecting bob; you've been hyping on his blackness since the primaries. And you're just about this far >< away from convincing me that you're taking your marching orders from Rush Limbaugh and are generally acting as an agent provocateur. Sure, you talk all leftier than thou, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty real world politics, there's no argument where you don't wind up on the same side as the Republicans.

This mind-reading crap you're doing about Obama being in it for the money ALSO tends to sound like it's about you as well.

And yes, Ben, I know not to feed the trolls. Would that this were only trolling we were talking about.

max
['This is really disturbing.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:19 PM
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You are being really sick, max. Sick and disgusting.

You are defending bank bailouts, foreign wars, tax cuts for business, torture, indefinite retention, social security and medicare cuts, and saying those who oppose the promoters of those policies have to be Republican shills.

This is the cult of personality, a politics of loyalty and identity over any policy whatsoever. You just don't care what Obama does to the nation or the party. He's your guy.

I learned my politics in 1968 watching Democrats beat kids with billyclubs, white and black. Almost every day I watched. I know how bad Democrats can be. I have no loyalty to millionaires and warmongers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:37 PM
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you've been hyping on his blackness since the primaries.

Before the primaries, when Obama first started pushing for tax cuts.

And the line was:"Just cause he is black doesn't mean he isn't a stealth Reaganite."

I was right. Y'all were wrong. Voting for him was the biggest mistake I have ever made.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:41 PM
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110.last: So back then you only watched too, huh?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:42 PM
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110: So, back in 1968, did you vote for Nixon or Wallace?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:46 PM
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Voting for him was the biggest mistake I have ever made.

That's hard to believe.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:47 PM
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Speaking of cops beating up people in Chicago, does anyone have any recommendations for books about the Daleys/urban governance in Chicago in the recent past?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:51 PM
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110:I am not quite that old, not old enough to be active.

113:McGovern was my first vote. I don't regret that one.

114:It's the truth.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:53 PM
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What was your previous biggest mistake?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:54 PM
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115: Mike Royko's Boss is good on the first Mayor Daley, but you may mean more recent past then that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:56 PM
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Ogged crushed a caterpillar, Bob voted for Obama. The "worst things" list here is pretty thin. Who knew that we were a community of saints?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:58 PM
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I've seen (but haven't read) the Royko book, but my dream book would update at least through the 1990s.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 2:59 PM
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Moby kills snakes. He's no St. Francis.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:00 PM
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120: Stop whitewashing ogged's heinous record, Halford. He didn't crush the caterpillar, he glued it, and then he called it "blackie". Also, he left us.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:01 PM
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St. Patrick, though. Snake-killing doesn't disqualify you from sainthood. The worst thing I've ever done is wearing pleated pants.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:02 PM
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Also, he left us.

And Obama let him get away with it, too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:02 PM
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121: In the 12 years I lived in Chicago, I never once voted in the general election for mayor and only once for governor (Netsch). In fact, I don't think I ever voted in a primary for mayor either, because the candidates were always completely tragic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:02 PM
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And misused the verb "to wear." There. Two bad things that I've done.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:03 PM
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St. Patrick never killed snakes -- they left Ireland under their own power, didn't they? (Admittedly, I don't know if they can swim.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:03 PM
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123: How do you know he killed them? He drove them from Ireland. I bet he took them all to England.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:03 PM
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128: No, he had them raptured.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:04 PM
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Maybe on a hotdog?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:05 PM
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Sure, all the snakes in Ireland went to a nice farm where they could all play happily in the open air.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:06 PM
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Are you guys getting sucked into another downer of a thread with Bob?

Here, try this blog my sister showed me. It's cheered me to no end today.

http://www.27bslash6.com/index.html


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:07 PM
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Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:08 PM
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133: Ah yes, the old "my vote is my means of self-expression!" stance.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:12 PM
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The Chicago Reader (an alternative weekly anti-establishment paper) was pretty good through the late 90s. Not much help for a single thumbnail summary, I guess.

Vrdolyak is a useful name for tracking what was broken in Chicago-- there were a bunch of aldermen who always voted with him, any of their names coupled with the word allegation as a query against an archive will lead somewhere informative.

Royko's Boss is not just informative, it's also funny and well-written.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:21 PM
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Thanks. I'm not just interested in scandal and corruption, though. The truth (I think) is that Chicago is a relatively well-run city despite the machine and the corruption; what I'm trying to get is some insight on that problematic. Maybe the book I'm looking for doesn't exist.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:23 PM
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135: Oh, right. The Vrdolyak 8 or something like that? They voted against anything Harold Washington supported, no matter what. The proposal could have been new cars for all Polish and Lithuanian Catholics and they would have voted against it. (I mean, who do these black men from Chicago think they are, trying to run things?)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:24 PM
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Turning the thread away from its current course, I offer the following questions and observations: is there anyone, other than Bob, here who voted for Obama and now wishes they hadn't? Meaning, wishes they had voted for the actual alternative instead? Because, speaking for myself, Obama's pretty much what I feared and not quite what I hoped: a centrist Democrat in an age when that means "to the right of Rockefeller Republicans" but still not quite as inspiring as one would like. On the latter point, I'm constantly unsure where to lay blame: Republicans in the Senate, right-leaning Democrats in the Senate, or Obama himself. That said, I never, ever entertain the possibility that one of the president's advisers is the problem. Obama is, if nothing else, an immensely confident and capable dude. The idea that he's being led, like Dick Cheney led George W. Bush, seems foolish to me.

Anyway, if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn't vote for Clinton. And hindsight allows me to feel vindicated in never having liked Edwards (though I disliked him not for being a phony or for being vain but for not crushing Cheney in the 2004 veep debate).

Where does all of this leave me? A bit wistful, I suppose, for a bygone era. But then I remember that the New Deal consensus brought us something very like an apartheid state, the Cold War, and plenty of other horrors. So maybe I'm just wistful, is all.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:26 PM
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Election year + bob trolling = Unfogged revitalized


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:27 PM
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Anyway, if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn't vote for Clinton.

You're totally ignoring Bob's entire point which I believe is that if we had elected someone who already had billions of dollars as a result of exploiting the presidency, we wouldn't have ended up with a president whose only goal is to exploit the presidency to make billions of dollars.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:29 PM
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136: If I'm understanding what you're after, you should read Boss Tweed, Lincoln Steffens, and then some of the secondary literature on urban bosses. Caro's Power Broker is also really fantastic, though too fucking long by about ten million pages/anecdotes. Of course none of the above is about Chicago or the Daleys, so I'm pretty much useless, aren't I?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:29 PM
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140: Except of course the scary black Muslim already had a bestseller to his name before he was president.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:30 PM
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You're totally ignoring Bob

Not out of spite, but yes, yes I am.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:31 PM
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For example, George W. Bush was financially independent thanks to the Carlyle Group, so he could do what his conscience told him was right.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:31 PM
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Well, also voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil, and a sin of omission (not-voting) is usually considered less bad than a sin of commission.

After FISA in August and TARP in October I knew I was voting for a bad man. I am not certain yet why I did it, but maybe trolling the cultists is a kind of penance.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:33 PM
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I have read those books (well, some of them). But I want info on the Daleys! It's probably a grass is greener issue, but I'd much rather have something like the Chicago machine than the travesty that is LA's city government.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:34 PM
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Steffens has a chapter on Chicago, though. He actually uses it as an example of reform, rather than of corruption (though that's there, too). Maybe not what you're looking for, but Willrich, City of Courts might interest you anyway. I keep meaning to read it, but of course I haven't.

There's also a book on some recent aspect of Cook County (I think) that was recommended to me five years ago, but I'm starting to think I threw that index card out a few years ago when I thought I'd have no more use for it. The most annoying thing about that is that I looked up every other recommended book I'd written down on that card. I couldn't figure out why that one was on there - all the other books covered the 19th century or earlier - and I didn't make a note of it, and then I later realized it was recommended because the recommender was from Chicago.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:44 PM
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145.2: Now we're supposed to have a reason for trolling?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:46 PM
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City of Courts doesn't sound exactly like what Halford wants, though it's definitely worth reading for other reasons. More on the Progressive era reforms and how the minor courts worked to provide welfare services. I think. I'd check it to make sure but all my books are still in boxes.

There was just a long piece on the current Daley in the New Yorker (by just, I mean, sometime in the last 6 months). If you haven't read it, that might be something.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:54 PM
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Look, my Senators are Kay Bailey and Cornyn.

I don't bother to marshall arguments against their policies, refuting the details of whatever insanities they propose. I just oppose them.

If you dislike Obama's policies and expect nothing better, and you have no reason to expect better now, then oppose him. Oppose him. Stand in opposition to Obama and leave it others to decide where you stand.
Like Max, they will use their own projected prejudices to discern your motives.

I am not making policy, I am picking politicians.

(Chris Bowers gave up on influencing policy after the healthcare debate, saying too many just stood with Obama, and resistance was futile. I don't know what he is doing at DKos, but he is better paid.)

This has nothing to do with Republicans.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:55 PM
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I am picking politicians.

Who are you picking?

I've asked this a couple of times, and haven't heard you say anything but Biden. At which point this all sounds absurd -- Biden's not going to do a thing different than Obama.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:57 PM
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Well, what's a badly-run city?

It's true that there hasn't been decay as in Detroit or Cleveland, trash gets picked up and routine inspections and services basically work except the poorest neighborhoods, which last are shrinking. But I think that's largely happened despite city gov't, not because of it.

Here's something interesting and recent:
http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/police-torture-in-chicago-jon-burge-scandal-articles-by-john-conroy/Content?oid=1210030

This is kind of didactic, but there were some very rough places in the early eighties
http://www.amazon.com/There-Are-No-Children-Here/dp/0385265565/ref=pd_sim_b_22

Read up about the Audy home maybe. Grim fucking place, but what else could it be.

Granta had a Chicago issue a year or two ago, some nice photographs there, and a really interesting article about the underground river explosion.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:57 PM
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is there anyone, other than Bob, here who voted for Obama and now wishes they hadn't?

I'm on the fence. I feel like Clinton would have started playing hardball with the Republicans much, much sooner, instead of issuing all these preemptive compromises.

Second, I like a good fight and I like to be a martyr, so I'm curious as to what the muslim/birthers memes would have been if the novelty was that the president was a woman.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:58 PM
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Amazon lists two books: American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation; and Richard J. Daley: Politics, Race, and the Governing of Chicago. I don't know anything of either of them. Oh, and, Challenging the Daley Machine: A Chicago Alderman's Memoir.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 3:58 PM
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153: I think he meant Obama versus McCain. Fucked up personally as Edwards is, I'm still wondering what Edwards would have done, but that's mostly better-the-devil-you-don't-know-ism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:02 PM
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Clinton would have started playing hardball with the Republicans much, much sooner

There isn't anything in her senatorial career that makes me think that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:03 PM
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155: Later that comment, ari said: Anyway, if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn't vote for Clinton. .


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:04 PM
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156: She preemptively capitulates? That's what drives me nuts about Barack.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:05 PM
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157: You are right and I misread him. Clinton lost me forever on the bloodthirsty -- not that Obama's been good, but Clinton's rhetoric and her voting record were worse, and there's no reason to think she would have been better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:06 PM
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Earlier I called Clinton "Hillary", so I went back and fixed it. Just now I briefly thought "Between 'Barack' and 'Obama', which is his last name?" And then I wrote Barack. Maybe I do have hantavirus.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:06 PM
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158: She totally does -- she finds some position that at least some Republicans already agree with and lines up with them. That was her on the war.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:06 PM
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But now I think that bloodthirst would be nice to have. Circulate some memes on the offensive, instead of just clucking around in circles pointing out that no one could possibly take the Rightwing Noise Machine seriously.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:07 PM
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But now I think that bloodthirst would be nice to have.
But not so nice for the Iranians.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:09 PM
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No, not bloodthirsty in terms of itching for a political fight. She's bloodthirsty in terms of supporting actually blowing up real human beings, setting their homes on fire, causing them to bleed to death in the street... that sort of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:09 PM
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Eh, she thirsts for the wrong blood. And if we think it sucks having Rahm in the West Wing, I don't think we would have been any happier with Mark Penn.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:11 PM
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Oof.

Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with "preparation of a terrorist attack," U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News. Photo: Two on United Flight Arrested on Terror Charges in Amsterdam: Suspects Had Been Cleared Sunday by TSA in Chicago, Birmingham Despite Security Concerns Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, left, and Hezem al Murisi, were taken off a United Airlines flight in the Netherlands and have been charged by Dutch police with "preparation of a terrorist attack," according to a U.S. law enforcement official.
U.S. officials said the two appeared to be travelling with what were termed "mock bombs" in their luggage. "This was almost certainly a dry run, a test," said one senior law enforcement official.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:12 PM
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Oh...yeah, probably. That would have been awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:12 PM
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Sorry, mine to heebie's various calls for human sacrifice.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:13 PM
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That was her on the war.

And at least a dozen other issues that I've listed before. HRC is a straight-up conservative Democrat. Turns out that Obama is as well, but that wasn't yet clear during the campaign. I still think Edwards would have been the best president (on a policy level) of the three, but even that rests on believing his disavowal of most of his Senate record.

In summary, the Democratic Party is totally lame but they're all we've got against a Republican Party that's totally malevolent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:13 PM
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In summary, the Democratic Party is totally lame but they're all we've got against a Republican Party that's totally malevolent.

Comity. Also: ablest!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:16 PM
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Abler than you, anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:17 PM
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Triggering! (Seriously, my knees and back are killing me.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:18 PM
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It's all the genuflecting at the feet of my life-size Obama doll.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:20 PM
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And yes, apo, it's anatomically correct. Come by any time.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:20 PM
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For months, my right knee has been making a horrible skrrrrrritch sound when I go down stairs. Ominous.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:20 PM
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You should keep that quiet. Because if word gets out, Obamacare means you're done for.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:22 PM
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In summary, the Democratic Party is totally lame but they're all we've got against a Republican Party that's totally malevolent.

This helped me give up on the country, and leave.


Posted by: Dee L. Urkin | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:25 PM
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In summary, the Democratic Party is totally lame but they're all we've got against a Republican Party that's totally malevolent.

This helped me give up on the country, and leave.


Posted by: Dee L. Urkin | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:25 PM
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Seriously? Where'd you end up?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:28 PM
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Where'd you go? Is it nice there? Do they have jobs for fair-to-middling historians of doomed empires?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:28 PM
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Are there ponies and cupcakes?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:30 PM
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Do you still get to invade random countries, over there?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:30 PM
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166: But by God, I guarantee the Chicago TSA got every last bottle of mouthwash over 3 ounces -- or, worse, not enclosed in a 1L ziptop bag.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:30 PM
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I bet they outsmarted us by not putting the fake bombs in their shoes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:33 PM
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Or their underpants.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 4:34 PM
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185 to 182 or 163 or 131 or probably a bunch more but the entertainment value of the exercise doesn't actually persist for very long.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:00 PM
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185 to 186.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:03 PM
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In order:

Yes. North, at least for now. Ditto. Very. About as many as you'd expect. Yes & Yes. Not likely .... and absolutely.


Posted by: Dee L. Urkin | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:04 PM
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188 is perhaps the least useful previous-comment-indexing system ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:06 PM
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That sounds like a challenge!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:08 PM
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Or their underpants.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:08 PM
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188: Oh, I used to live there. It was cold, kinda boring (I mean, all the public radio stories were about the Grand Banks fisheries or some shit), and the cupcakes really are better here. That said, I enjoyed the absence of handguns.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:09 PM
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all the public radio stories were about the Grand Banks fisheries or some shit

Every so often I say something like this here, but As it Happens is the worst abomination in the world.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:11 PM
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That said, I enjoyed the absence of handguns.

Although even that can make people silly. CA's brother had a gf who was paralyzed by fear on New Year's Eve because she was sure the citizens of Wilmette were all going to be firing out their windows all night. (And there was no way she was coming down to our apartment in Chicago.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:16 PM
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I enjoyed the absence of handguns

"Darn it, I wish I had someplace to store these oddly curved bananas."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:18 PM
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It should be a consolation, then, Bob that because you vote in Texas, your vote in favor of the President had no effect whatsoever.

Just as mine for the Dem challenger, as we re-elect a man said to be the dumbest member of Congress.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:21 PM
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Edwards was/is such a complete disaster on a personal level that it's pointless to speculate about him -- it's like, would a completely different person with Edwards stated policy positions have been a good president?

I always thought Hilary and Obama were somewhat of a wash (my speaking up for Hilary during the campaign was less about strongly favoring her then thinking she was getting a bum rap). But I think it's theoretically possible Hilary would have been better than Obama, for the following two reasons:

--what was needed in early 2009 was someone who did *not* stick with their game plan, understood the depth of the economic crisis and that their entire legacy would depend on whether they could turn it around, and then fought tooth and nail for a bigger, better stimulus. Obama did not do that. Hilary might have had the experience and toughness to break with in-house advisors, stop the concilation bit and really lock in on that.

--and maybe this is me being racist, but Hilary would have polled better among whites 55 and over. You have to weight this against the historic awesomeness of a charismatic, smart young African-American president, but if we're really up against it we need every single vote. It's trench warfare now.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:22 PM
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It should be a consolation, then, Bob that because you vote in Texas, your vote in favor of the President had no effect whatsoever.

Consolation? That's the root of his whole political philosophy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:24 PM
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maybe this is me being racist

Tough, but fair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:25 PM
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Hilary might have had the experience and toughness to break with in-house advisors

She might have. Or she might have listened to her in-house advisers, who, on economic matters, would have been exactly the same as Obama's or, on political matters, much, much worse than Obama's.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:29 PM
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This would probably be a good thread for people to point out close races they're aware of where some money might make a difference.

My Democratic congressman needs all the help he can get. You could also donate to the third party Tea-flavored spoiler candidate, although no one's really taking him seriously at present.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:29 PM
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Edwards was/is such a complete disaster on a personal level

There but for the grace of a single fertilized egg goes Bill Clinton.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:34 PM
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Absolutely right. But Bill Clinton would have cleaned Dick Cheney's clock in '04, would have politely called him a liar when that grinning death mask croaked that he had never met Clinton before the night of the vice presidential debate.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:38 PM
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200: You're right about her political advisors. She and Bill are pretty sharp politically, but any positive alternative history featuring President Hillary would require her jettisoning her horrible campaign crew.

But on economics I'm pretty sure that Hillary = no Larry Summers, and if no Larry Summers, maybe no Geithner either.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:44 PM
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202: could you really see Bill Clinton bribing a campaign aide to pretend was the father of the child? Anyway, they shared weaknesses but not strengths -- Bill and Hillary were infinitely smarter and more competent than John and Elizabeth.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:50 PM
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197
Edwards was/is such a complete disaster on a personal level that it's pointless to speculate about him -- it's like, would a completely different person with Edwards stated policy positions have been a good president?

Really? It doesn't seem that hard to imagine Edwards as himself in every way except for having that exact affair. If it had taken place during the 2004 campaign or no campaign at all, if it hadn't become public knowledge, if it hadn't resulted in a child, if his wife hadn't had cancer at the time... I wasn't a fan of Edwards even before the revelation, and that one disaster is indeed a sign of a terrible character decision-making process, but it's easy to imagine the same "disaster on a personal level" not torpedoing a candidate the way that one did.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 5:50 PM
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205: I think there was a scene in Primary Colors (movie) where the phony Clinton gets DNA from a relative to fake a paternity test. Which shows nothing at all, except that I have alarmingly detailed memories of the 90s for somebody who can't remember his PIN number.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:03 PM
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207: You can give me your PIN for safekeeping. While you're at it, allow me to lift from you the burden of keeping your debit card on your person through the use of my free debit-card-storage service.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:11 PM
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208: As soon as that nice guy from Nigeria sends it back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:16 PM
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could you really see Bill Clinton bribing a campaign aide to pretend was the father of the child?

Is this a rhetorical question? Sure I could. Doesn't affect my rating of the job he did as president one bit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:33 PM
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I don't get why closing a good chunk of our military bases and raising taxes to eliminate the reagan deficits never gets mentioned in lists like 99. I would vote for Hillary solely because she has someone not afraid of raising taxes--or at the very least getting rid of the bush tax cuts--advising her (that's assuming they still even speak to each other, which probably isn't a given). I'm not the most politically astute person in the world, and was out of the country for some of Clinton's presidency. Am I missing something?


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:47 PM
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Going back upthread, I think Beck is probably in it both for the money and because he likes to feel popular with an audience while, like max, I think Palin actually is in it for the power. Her problem is that the offices are too small.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:54 PM
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I don't think the Clinton extended family would be any more tax-happy than the Obama klatsch, but the Northern Ireland peace process is a nice mark on Clinton's Nice list, and worth comparison to the dim hopes for the next Mideast round.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:56 PM
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who can't remember his PIN number.

That would be the one you use at the ATM machine?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 6:56 PM
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212: Agreed with 212. Contra Max, I don't think Beck intends to run in 2012; he wants to be able to set his own terms, and knows well that he wouldn't be able to do so in higher office. He's smarter than Palin, who is after, yes, power as well as money. She might be fool enough to try to run.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:04 PM
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Maybe. She pretty clearly didn't enjoy being governor of Alaska, and I doubt she really had much fun during the '08 campaign. She probably has her dream job right now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:08 PM
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She pretty clearly didn't enjoy being governor of Alaska

That's what I mean about the offices being too small. She has less power, but also less accountability in her current position. I doubt she'll run for president, but that's only because presidents can't just do whatever they want.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:13 PM
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She probably has her dream job right now.

You may be right about that.

I don't know if Beck is smarter than Palin, but I do think he's scarier. He doesn't owe the GOP anything, which means they have no way of holding him in check.

Also, I agree with PGD.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:19 PM
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She probably has her dream job right now.

Maybe, but y'know, she has to run around a lot and line up gigs and stuff. That's a drag. Judging from the nature of the speaking contracts she's had lately, she's noticed that with power/name-recognition come handlers and subordinates who take care of the tedious things for you. They even write your books for you.

The problem in Alaska (I speculate) was that she was supposed to actually do things herself. She's a ghastly stupid woman -- I fear she may not realize that being President is actually tremendously hard work.

Or she may, and you may be right that she's figured it out by now. Still, there's the megalomania. While Beck appears megalomaniacal, I think he knows full well that he's a huckster, and works hard: I'm beginning to think that Beck really feels his born-again religiosity, and is driven from a different place altogether from Palin.

I could easily see an alternative account, however.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:22 PM
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She definitely has her dream job, but there's still a degree to which her dream job depends on the premise that she'll be running in 2012. Between now and then she'll need to make sure she's firmly established herself in a Newt Gingrich-like position with the media, whereby her every pronouncement will be heavily covered for years to come despite her utter irrelevance to the governing of the country.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:22 PM
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That would be the one you use at the ATM machine?

I was trying gently to show him the way in 208.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:24 PM
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I think there's a real possibility that Hillary would have been somewhat better for California and would have pushed somewhat harder for homeowner's relief, just because the Clintons have always been obssessed with protecting their base in this state.

I don't really see a plausible difference in overall economic policy, though, although I'm hardly an insider. Both Bill and Hillary seemed to put an enormous weight on their role as deficit-cutters, the era of big government is over, etc., etc..


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:26 PM
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214: I like to call them "Bank in the Box" because that sounds more fun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:35 PM
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223: oh, ok. As long as you don't then abbreviate bank in the box to BITB and then forget what the abbreviation stands for and start referring to the "BITB box."


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:43 PM
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"BIT box" would work just fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:45 PM
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By far my biggest disappointment with Obama has been on human rights/civil liberties, and I have zero expectation that Clinton would have been any better.

I also strongly suspect that she would have been worse on military matters, primarily because the sexism heaved at her during the primary surprised even me, and resorting to stuff like drinking whiskey to prove her bona fides was an indicator of how insecure she and advisers felt her to be. I would have foreseen even bigger issues between military commanders and her (that is, more public leaks/contradictions of her policy directions) and a slower withdrawal of troops. I also would have been substantially more worried about a war with Iran under an HRC presidency.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:46 PM
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Also, my opinion of PRWORA (welfare reform) and AEDPA (post-Timothy-McVeigh habeas corpus/death penalty legislation) has sunk progressively since 1996. And it didn't start out very high.

It still doesn't make me wish that GHWB was president during the Clinton years, but it makes me very unromantic about the degree of immigrant-bashing, defendant-bashing, and single-mom-bashing policies that an HRC presidency would be likely to endorse, regardless of her rhetoric.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 7:56 PM
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I agree with Witt.

I also desperately hope that the generic ballot numbers we're seeing this week reflect sampling error (moving to "likely voters" maybe meaning oversampling old white people?) or underestimate the loathsomeness of the actual Republican candidates.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:00 PM
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By far my biggest disappointment with Obama has been on human rights/civil liberties,

Just to engage Witt (who is almost always right) and to say something provocative, I think there's a good case to be made that this is completely crazy. A less-than-hoped-for response at Bagram is peanuts, at least compared to the failure to ask for a bigger stimulus sooner and to keep pressing that issue; Obama's success or failure hinges on that decision, and his ability to recover from it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:06 PM
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I don't know, torture is kind of a binary value.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:10 PM
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It's a fait accompli that the Republicans will take the house?

75% according to intrade.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:13 PM
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Just to argue with Halford, who inexplicably continues to refuse to quit his day job and start writing that book (AHEM):

I said it was my biggest disappointment, not that it was the worst thing he's done. I didn't have super high hopes for how he handled the economy, mostly because I don't have a strong belief that any president can do all that much about the economy.*

But I had much, much higher hopes for how he would handle a whole host of policy issues on human rights/civil liberties -- going way beyond terrorism suspects to just ordinary (!) spying, data collection, prison/detention conditions, and due process issues for US citizens and legal immigrants. There have been some significant and definite bright spots, but we've also gotten the "Deport 400,000 people this year" quota and number of other really negative policy decisions.

*I know all you smart economics people will now point out the things that he could have done differently. I believe you, and I trust that you know way more than I do. Even so, I still don't think that he, as a single actor, has much influence over the vastly confusing and self-contradictory animal that is the US economy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:14 PM
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171

... At which point this all sounds absurd -- Biden's not going to do a thing different than Obama.

Rumor has it Biden was unenthusiastic about Afghanistan,


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:17 PM
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Most of the domestic stuff has to go through Congress, where I didn't have the highest hopes, to be honest. The Commander-in-Chief power to direct the troops' treatment of detainees, however, there we can blame him, and should. I'm also not happy about his DOJ asserting executive privilege and states secrets all over the place.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:18 PM
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I think Clinton would have had the same troubles with the size of the stimulus. In fact, I'm not sure she wouldn't have been buried in the fall: McCain chose Palin in a pathetic effort to capture disgruntled Clinton supporters. (The PUMAs, of whom our bob was, iirc, so fond). No Obama, no Palin, but maybe instead it's Romney, and the fall of 08 plays out quite differently. Counterfactuals are dumb.

I don't think Clinton would have done better at facing down the military on the disaster that is their GWOT (including the small part I see up close). I'm not sure Zombie Eisenhower or Zombie Grant could have done it. Ditto immigration.

I've not yet forgiven Mr. Clinton for pardoning Rich and not Peltier.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:30 PM
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I've not yet forgiven Mr. Clinton for pardoning Rich and not Peltier.

Just one among many reasons I refuse to give the man his due. And yes, I know I'm being irrational, but there it is. Oh wait, were you kidding, Carp?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:34 PM
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231: How much have they historically overestimated republican chances?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:34 PM
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On my bad days, I do sometimes wonder if historians will some day look back at Clinton and Obama the way we now look back at Buchanan and Pierce. Not that we're heading toward a civil war, mind you, but more in terms of presidents who enabled/allowed a vile minority to steer the country off a cliff.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:38 PM
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237

How much have they historically overestimated republican chances?

I have no idea. They were dead on in 2008 which is how I became one of two winners of Kevin Drum's contest.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:47 PM
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239: I remember that (nice job, by the way). How did they do compared to polling based methods? How much did intrade track the polls?
I suppose I could google these things.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 8:58 PM
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236 -- I'm not kidding. I'll have to walk away from the computer before going into full spitting at the computer in impotent rage mode, but I have a special disgust for cowardice in the face of policy-related executive employee pressure, whether it's FBI agents marching to prevent the undoing of an injustice (after decades, when the guy is seriously ill) or suppressing evidence of wrongdoing (the blackmail nearly tantamount to coup that I think took place in April 2009).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:00 PM
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241: I'm right there with you. But then again, Clinton never did have any guts. A great performer -- including of courage -- though, I have to give him that.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:05 PM
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Mutiny is a scary thing, and given how the FBI acted in the run-up to the impeachment etc, I'm not surprised that he'd back down. Just as I'm not surprised, just disappointed, that Obama backed down to the military.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:14 PM
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Not that we're heading toward a civil war, mind you,

You mean we're not actually headed that way? Well, jesus, that's a relief. I wish I could stop feeling so anxious, then.

Lots of things I haven't yet (and probably never will) forgiven of Bill Clinton (welfare "reform" most prominently among them: but doesn't Obama agree with the principle of welfare "reform" whenever he is asked, btw?), but: i) I don't tend to conflate Bill and Hillary in the manner of right-wing hatemongers with their endless (though I guess it's ended, after all, and that was so 90s) assaults on "Billary"; and ii) for me, it's always been about who would do less damage in the area of domestic policy, since I take it as a given that the US has a military empire that "must" (and therefore will) be supported. Nothing I have seen, heard, or heard of, so far convinces me that Obama was actually the preferable choice to HRC on social security, foreclosures, jobs creation and the like. I remain convinced that she is, of the two, just a tougher nut to crack altogether, and more willing to dig in her heels and put up a real fight.

I'm not saying that I think she is a good person (ha!), btw, or anything like that. But then, I don't really demand "goodnesss" of anyone holding high executive office (I'm suspicious of such demands, as a matter of fact, or of what might attempt to meet them): I want efficacy, reined in by the rule of law. But the notion that she is uniquely "bloodthirsty" for an American presidential candidate, or a "monster," or what have you, has always struck me as a strange mixture of crazy right-wing anti-Clintonism (there are good reasons to oppose a Clinton from the left, of course, but Obama doesn't [and never has, and I doubt ever will] offer an honest answer to such objections) crossed with good old-fashioned American misogyny.

Then again, and as per Mr. Carp in 235, counterfactuals are dumb, and probably just futile.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:15 PM
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On the off chance that some of you might not have followed events 10 years ago, here's a snippet from the intertubes:

On December 15, 2000, nearly 500 current and retired FBI agents marched to the White House to oppose any pardon for Peltier. The Los Angeles Times described the demonstration as "an unprecedented show of political activism" by the FBI. This was an open act of intimidation by a key unit of the system's armed enforcers.

Some FBI officials have claimed that they were "blind-sided" by the news that Peltier's clemency request was being considered by the Clinton administration. In December of last year, Clinton mentioned in an interview on WBAI radio, which is part of the Pacifica network, that Peltier's application was among the clemency requests his administration was looking at. One FBI agent told Colorado Daily that the interview "really ratcheted it up for us. We were not aware that Mr. Peltier was under consideration."
In reality, the FBI had been working non-stop for some time to undercut any effort toward a pardon or parole. On November 3, 1999, the FBI Agents Association--a powerful lobby of retired and active agents--warned Clinton through newspaper and radio ads that Peltier's release would be "a moral blow to the entire community of law-enforcement professionals in the United States."
In April 2000, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a letter to the editor from the head of the Milwaukee FBI, David Williams, denouncing the prospect that Peltier might be released from prison "as a result of executive intervention." Also in April 2000, an anti-Peltier website appeared on the Internet. The site was set up by Ed Woods, who described himself as "an FBI agent since 1972 and a former officer in the Green Berets." In June 2000 Woods in turn helped the Minnesota FBI add anti-Peltier pages to their official website. The openly stated aim of this internet "presence" was to work against the demand for parole or any other effort to free Peltier.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:21 PM
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238: So if Obama and Clinton are Buchanan and Peirce, are we casting the right as the advocates of slavery and ourselves as the abolitionists? If so, who is Lincoln?

I've been reading Notes for a War Story this evening, and thinking about how rarely post apocolypic novels capture the mechanics of actual social collapse.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:22 PM
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Wait, MC, you really think counterfactuals are stupid?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:23 PM
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Imagine a world without counterfactuals. We wouldn't be able to show causation!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:28 PM
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http://rwor.org/a/v23/1100-99/1108/leonard_peltier.htm

That's the link. It's not a publication I read, but this is a pretty good account. That bit about Robert Redford is pretty surreal Banana Republican.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:28 PM
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240

I remember that (nice job, by the way). How did they do compared to polling based methods? How much did intrade track the polls?
I suppose I could google these things.

In individual races I expect they track the polls pretty closely but it is easier to look up one number on intrade than track down and evaluate a bunch of polls. And of course going from polls to the percentage chance of Republican control of the House is not simple. 75% seems a bit high to me and apparently to Nate Silver also. Would be curious as to what Silver's odds are. He has periodically given Senate switch odds but I don't recall him giving House switch odds.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:38 PM
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247: In general, no, not at all. But when it comes to very recent events in American electoral politics, they are likely to lead to a lot stupid and pointless bickering, I believe, and we won't have all the "facts," or even a pretense at historical distance, for another hundred years or so.

Had the Emperor Charles V been more mature for his age (but was it really only fickle youth?), would we now be happily ruled by the remnants of a House of Habsburg? Now, there's a counterfactual that we probably won't bicker over.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 9:38 PM
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Now, there's a counterfactual that we probably won't bicker over.

How long have you been hanging out here? (Or with historians, for that matter.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:15 PM
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Oh, I never hang out with historians, Josh.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:32 PM
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So hurtful, MC.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:37 PM
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254: You know, I was just about to comment "ari will be so hurt".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:42 PM
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Charles V was a stoopidhead.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:47 PM
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I apologize, Ari. But of course I didn't mean you. I only meant, you know, those other historians who only lurk but never comment.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:50 PM
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Not that we're heading toward a civil war, mind you, but more in terms of presidents who enabled/allowed a vile minority to steer the country off a cliff.

If we go off the cliff, is civil war more likely? Let us presume we are at the bottom, broken and bleeding.

I do think about this sometimes, let us call it the right getting committed. Antietam is impossible, but is something like "Bloody Kansas?" How about Baghdad 2005 (Sunni vs Shia) or Fallujah?

I wonder what my strategy might be, if I were a crazed intransigent political minority. Hunker down in the deep south, make my potential local allies complicit and committed with atrocities (see Arizona), do some ethnic cleansing. There has to be many examples I am missing. The Vendee?

What if Perry secedes and takes Fort Hood and the ordinance? (And aren't there important nuclear facilities up around Amarillo?) Would Obama really go all Fallujah on Dallas or Austin? In the 30s FDR had a threat with the CCC, the Army was trained to gear up with manpower fairly fast. Today's Army is committed to killing at a distance (see Rob Farley this week), and wouldn't want to fight in the streets of Plano even if they had the willing troops. So, really, would Obama do some saturation bombing on American citizens?

You can say "Wait them out" but I think Texas would have some nukes while facing treason charges and the possibility of an air attack. Obama, in the big chair, would have to go macho.

Anyway, I guess the point is more that Texas, gone postal, could do some serious blackmail and extortion.

Next:What if Machete became reality?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 10:54 PM
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I wonder what my strategy might be, if I were a crazed intransigent political minority.

Well, I don't wonder, actually, because I think I already know.

(Bob, what do you think of Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter? I think it's one of the best, and creepiest, performances I've ever seen, but I'm just an untutored philistine, so.)


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:06 PM
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And don't discount the puppet value of Sarah Palin.

The Koch brothers and Pete Singer (oil, pharmaceuticals, hedge funds) have more money than Gates and Buffett put together, and are financing the Tea Party. IOW, they are feeling really frisky in some weird mysterious way, and could get the Palin campaign 100 billion without breaking a sweat. They would get repaid.

Another financial crash is no black swan, it is a certainty thanks to Obama. The Koch's could get ambitious, or desperate. People like that don't like to lose.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:07 PM
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259:I like Mitchum a ton. Night of the Hunter is excellent, but maybe more of a director's movie than an actors. Mitchum best work is not loud and extroverted, and I like his performance in Cape Fear a little better.

Mitchum story, because I tried to stay up and watch Lean's Ryan's Daughter the other night. Mitchum brought seeds with him to the long shoot in Ireland, grew some plants and supposedly turned Sarah Miles and the crew on to pot.

I have a hard time believing Miles and the rest were grass virgins in 1969-71, but it might be possible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-10 11:12 PM
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239: Did you enjoy your subscription to Mother Jones? Did you renew?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 12:02 AM
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whether it's FBI agents marching to prevent the undoing of an injustice

The ridiculousness of pardoning Rich aside, how much of an injustice was the Peltier case? My impression from reading about it years ago is similar to the wiki account that Peltier's defense was basically that he was there and participated in shooting at the agents and took stuff off their bodies after but maintains that he didn't file the fatal shots.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 1:54 AM
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I think there's reasonable doubt, don't agree with several of the evidentiary rulings, and think there was enough questionable conduct to justify a pardon after 20 plus years. The other guys were acquitted, and I don't think too much of a conviction for aiding and abetting people who have been acquitted.

Beyond that, it was an ugly incident in an ugly time. The FBI participated in some pretty questionable stuff in connection with the factional struggle on that reservation, and I think everyone should move on.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 3:15 AM
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Y'all can waste your time documenting the Stupid Republican Tricks

The Line has changed. Ignore the Republicans. This cancels yesterday's advice to levy an armed militia against them. Central Committee Ideological Division Circular 2010/17a refers.

Would Obama really go all Fallujah on Dallas or Austin?... Today's Army is committed to killing at a distance (see Rob Farley this week), and wouldn't want to fight in the streets of Plano even if they had the willing troops

You're arguing that the US Army won't fight, based on the fact they did a multi-divisional set piece assault on a large city.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 4:10 AM
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Also, what would he take Ft. Hood with?

In addition to the 1st Cavalry Division and the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood is also home for the Headquarters Command III Corps, 3d Personnel Group, 3d Signal Brigade, 13th Corps Support Command (COSCOM), 13th Finance Group, 89th Military Police Brigade, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, the 21st Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat), the Dental Activity (DENTAC), the Medical Support Activity (MEDDAC), Army Operational Test Command (AOTC) formerly TEXCOM, and various other units and tenant organizations.

I personally reckon the 'baggers would bog down once their prescriptions needed refilling - it's the demographic profile, like - so the dentists would probably be the ones to call.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 4:14 AM
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262

Did you enjoy your subscription to Mother Jones? Did you renew?

Not so much .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 5:01 AM
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264

... The other guys were acquitted, and I don't think too much of a conviction for aiding and abetting people who have been acquitted.

As best I can tell he was convicted of murder. And from the wikipedia account it is absurd to expect any pardon to be uncontroversial.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 5:23 AM
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the Dental Activity

Another one for the "US Army Unit Title or Unsigned Early 1980s Band Name?" list.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 5:37 AM
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You're arguing that the US Army won't fight, based on the fact they did a multi-divisional set piece assault on a large city.

Well, sure, but those weren't Texans, were they? Whoooolle different story.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 5:52 AM
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268 -- I don't think the W account here is all that good, especially with regard to the trial rulings, but more importantly, I didn't say I thought it should be uncontroversial. I think Clinton should have done it, and I don't like FBI agents marching on the White House.

Or telling local police associations that they ought to turn down offers to work on a Robert Redford film because he worked on a film sympathetic to Peltier.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:09 AM
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One of Peltier's appeals arose from a government lawyer's admission, in an earlier appeal, that they didn't know who fired the shots that killed the agents. Peltier argued that this meant he shouldn't have been convicted of murder. He lost, because it could be shown that the government had covered itself at trial by saying that either he did it, or aided and abetted someone else who did it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:15 AM
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271

... especially with regard to the trial rulings, ...

This only matters to lawyers. The "he killed two FBI agents who were wounded and helpless but we should let him go because the judge was mean to him" argument doesn't have that much appeal to ordinary people.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:17 AM
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mean to him

This is an extremely childish way to describe it. And totally inaccurate.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:30 AM
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Shearer was just describing the take on it that appeals to ordinary people, to whom he has a deep connection.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:34 AM
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275: JBS is totes down with the gente, yo.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:54 AM
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(the blackmail nearly tantamount to coup that I think took place in April 2009).

Hey CC, what does that sentence refer to?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 6:54 AM
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My guess is CC is referring to the pressure accomanying the administration's decisions on detainee stuff in April 2009--supressing the photographs that a court had ordered released, the decisions on a special prosecutor, etc. etc.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 2:33 PM
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278: Ah. Thanks!

Also: Katherine!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 2:35 PM
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Oh, sorry. I got busy with other things. Yes. "Although "pressure" is a much weaker term than I suspect is accurate. Or, more precisely, the strength of the word "pressure" is too ambiguous. Have I not favored bored you people with my rant on this?

And, yes, Katherine!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 2:41 PM
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I don't think we have gotten the full rant -- if you've got it online someplace, you could link, or you could rerant.

And may I join the chorus of, Katherine! How's the no-longer-a-baby-but-more-of-a-toddler-by-now, and everything else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 2:49 PM
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Have I not favored bored you people with my rant on this?

Is that your polite way of saying RTFA?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 2:50 PM
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You know what they say, "Every time a front page poster breaks zeir nose, a long lost commenter returns."


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 2:51 PM
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Shearer was just describing the take on it that appeals to ordinary people, to whom he has a deep connection.

Wait, Mr. "UC's are a safety school at best" isn't from the streets?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 3:15 PM
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Or telling local police associations that they ought to turn down offers to work on a Robert Redford film because he worked on a film sympathetic to Peltier.

This is stupid. If you don't like someone you try and milk as much cushy pay out of them as possible.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 3:21 PM
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Re: Peltier
Those FBI agents were there to kill Peltier and people he was with. A stolen truck? On an Indian reservation? For real? I don't buy it. Given what the FBI had done to Fred Hampton, and what had happened with the SLA and all the other stuff that had happened in the midwest around AIM, I think Peltier and the other AIM fighters had every reason to fear for their lives. Sure, that doesn't mean you have a legal right to kill the agents, but it seems like you'd have a perfect moral right to kill them.

Re: Tejas
God, that would be so cool if the morons really tried to secede. I can't imagine a nicer Xmas present. What would be even cooler is if we let them. We could make it into a tame oil monarchy like Saudi Arabia. Find some umpteenth-removed cousin of Sam Houston and make him the King of Texas. That would be so fucking awesome I would hardly be able to stand it. Of course, they would probably have to move SXSW to Oklahoma City or something, but that could have an upside too.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 3:38 PM
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Katherine...a exclam is too familiar
...
Back to the Midterms

Dave Weigel at Slate

Hamsher Vindicated

linked from FDL, I'll use the Politico Headline

"Public sours on health care reform as midterms loom"

Not only a bad bill, but terrible politics. Single-payer, or even a passionate attempt that failed at truly progressive healthcare, would have inspired and increased the base. Corporate whoredom has depressed and discouraged everyone, and enraged the Neanderthals anyway.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 4:30 PM
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286

... Sure, that doesn't mean you have a legal right to kill the agents, but it seems like you'd have a perfect moral right to kill them

When they were wounded and helpless? From wikipedia:

... Nichols alleged that Peltier said, "The mother fucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway."[24] Bernie Nichols-Lafferty also gave the same account of Peltier's statement.[25] ...


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-31-10 8:49 PM
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288 -- So it does matter who pulled the trigger, then? As to which there's reasonable doubt.

285 -- I don't think the FBI has any business playing games of this sort. And not individual agents either. Suppose the manager of a local Dairy Queen testifies that he saw the defendant in his store, at about the time you arrested him breaking into a 7-11 four blocks away. You think your department, or your colleagues ought to be able to organize a boycott of the Dairy Queen? And if the assistant manager of the Dunkin Donuts, hearing of the boycott, says "I don't think there ought to be a boycott of the Dairy Queen." Can you and your colleagues organize a boycott of the Dunkin Donuts as well?

OK, I ban myself. See y'all later.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 1-10 6:23 AM
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OK, I ban myself. See y'all later.

Leaving us with Shearer? I declare a mistrial! Nolo contendere! Um, I plead the third!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 1-10 6:32 AM
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290: I plead the 21st!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09- 1-10 6:34 AM
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289

So it does matter who pulled the trigger, then? As to which there's reasonable doubt.

The statement was offered to refute a claim of self defense. IANAL but I don't believe it makes any difference legally who actually pulled the trigger. Which is a sensible rule in my opinion.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 1-10 6:43 AM
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287: History's greatest monster!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 1-10 7:45 AM
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