Re: Opinion

1

What do you think?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 4:58 PM
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I do think Bin Laden should not have dyed his beard.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 4:59 PM
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Who should have dyed it?


Posted by: wen bolfson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:01 PM
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Now carpet and drapes won't match ...?


Posted by: Foose | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:02 PM
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He trimmed it, too. It looks kinda stumpy now. He looked more supervillainy before.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:16 PM
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And Hitler should have shaved that mustache.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:18 PM
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On the pic I saw, the beard looked fake to me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:23 PM
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I'm thinking he was channel surfing one night in search of evidence of Western decadence when he saw a commercial for this product and decided that perhaps his confidence did need boosting.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:36 PM
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Look like OBL has hired a political consultant.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:39 PM
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9: Why would he dye the beard, though? Doesn't that show an unbecoming vanity in a religious-ish figure? I think it really is the case that he should have asked himself, "WWJHD?"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:53 PM
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The news stories are saying that beard dying is "a popular practice among Arab men," or something like that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:55 PM
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Someone on ABC was just saying the prophet recommended beard dying during war.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 5:57 PM
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12: Cripes. That's how you know Islam is a fake religion. Did the prophet promise free orange peelers to people who consecrated their lives to Islam early?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:00 PM
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Some quick googling turns up some Islamic sites saying that you should grow a beard to differentiate yourself from the pagans, but nothing about war. I wonder who ABC's source is.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:01 PM
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And actually, I don't see any sites that say a beard is mandatory, only customary.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:02 PM
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OBL says: "There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling 2.5 percent."

Is this an outreach to Steve Forbes?


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:02 PM
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Timbot: heading for a beheading.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:02 PM
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Well, you know, he's a Boomer and he's gettin' on up there, and ya know he's got this whole 'cooperating with Bush' thing down pat, and I'm sure the Caliphate isn't quite the shining object it used to be. So when shit like that happens, you have to do a little makeover and get down and funky in the discos of Karachi. So the kids he's still got it, he's got that Saudi style, he's got that Boomer craziness and he's like totally hip and shit.

m, and he's got a car bomb so he can stick it to The Man just like the old days


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:05 PM
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That henna job Abdel Meguid al-Zindani has in the NYT photo is fresh. I'll bet he gets lots of attention from the laydeez.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:07 PM
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I haven't looked at the video, but someone on another site was suggesting that he was hiding out cleanshaven someplace, and the beard wasn't dyed, it was phony.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:10 PM
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Without the beard, OBL acts like an average, bored, lonelyhearts blogger.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:11 PM
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17: I think I'm fine as long as you can keep yourself from mentioning it to OBL at the next family reunion.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:13 PM
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Which would be a greater foreign policy success for the US: capturing Bin Laden or capturing his beard?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:14 PM
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23: bin Laden is gay? Figures.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:14 PM
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How long does OBL have to stay out of grasp before he becomes such a cartoon villain that he can act as a viable pitchman for AMEX and get laughs? ("Do you know me?")


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:16 PM
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24: I don't actually know what this refers to. I suspect everyone else does, though.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:17 PM
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25: maybe after Bush pardons him.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:17 PM
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free orange peelers

no, it was more like good dating advice, you know, appear vigorous to your enemies. i think the koran also said something about how many dates before asking for anal sex.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:18 PM
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There's a story that sometime during the debates over slavery in the 1840s and 50s a Wisconsin Congressman stole a southern Congressman's toupee and triumphantly put it on display at the Wisconsin statehouse.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:19 PM
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Man if they meant anal virgins there better be 144 of them. Talk about a dime a dozen!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:20 PM
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26: Women who escort gay men so that they don't seem gay are sometimes called "beards."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:20 PM
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26: gotta get up on your gay slang, man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:21 PM
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Pwned by timbot and Standpipe's blog. Shameful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:22 PM
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How long does OBL have to stay out of grasp before he becomes such a cartoon villain that he can act as a viable pitchman for AMEX and get laughs? ("Do you know me?")

Awesome.

As for hiding out clean-shaven, maybe, although a skinny 6'4" Arab dude is going to stand out pretty much no matter what.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:24 PM
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29: Brooks, on the hand, beat the shit out of Sumner while Sumner was stuck in a desk, IIRC. No wonder they think we're pussies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:26 PM
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I thought he wasn't that tall.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:26 PM
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I haven't looked at the video, but someone on another site was suggesting that he was hiding out cleanshaven someplace

Southern California, surely.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:26 PM
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OT: The lesson here is:

a. Police and prosecutors must exercise care and diligence in investigations, charging decisions, public statements, etc; or

b. Don't fuck with rich white kids.

Possibly I'm getting cynical in my old age.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 6:52 PM
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Heh. Of course, given the amount of time the prosecutor served for railroading those kids in the New York jogger-rape/'wilding' case, it would have looked unjust for Nifong not to have been imprisoned as well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:03 PM
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Does anyone know the origin of the term "beard"? Is the woman supposed to be standing in for a man and thus she's described as facial hair.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:10 PM
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Being effeminate, the gay man cannot grow a beard, and thus must borrow one to seem like a real man.

At least, that'd be my guess. Clearly the originators of this phrase had never heard of bears.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:13 PM
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I think it's simpler - a false beard is a disguise, and so is the woman in this case.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:16 PM
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A disguise, but one that's strongly associated with masculinity.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:18 PM
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I would lay money on the relevance of the masculinity aspect.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:18 PM
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41, 42
yeah, that's the general territory.
she is a symbol of his (putative) masculinity,
back when 'masculinity = heterosexuality' was a widely accepted equation.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 7:19 PM
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That's how you know Islam is a fake religion.

Also, the bacon ban. No true god would deny us pork.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:02 PM
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He's been thinking about those virgins in paradise again, I guess.

If Bin Laden's smart, he'll have recorded like 10,000 hours of video with cryptic Nostradamus-like sayings, kind of like Hari Seldon only without the psychohistorical precision. Then all he has to do is make sure that his body isn't found when he kicks the bucket, and voila! immortal boogey man.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:23 PM
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That would require trusting the people left behind to not use you for their own ends.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:27 PM
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I'm sure there's an investment advisor out there who covers that.

"I want you to release spooky videos of me saying creepy things about, oh, once every eight months or so."

Plus, of course, in true James Bond villain style, he would need to push everyone who had seen him alive into a pool full of sharks.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:30 PM
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Prudence requires that he wait to see if Leona Helmsley's dog gets its $12 million.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:32 PM
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You know that money's going right to Islamic Jihad. Naughty or Yappy or whatever it's called is a traditionalist when it comes to terrorist organizations.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:33 PM
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terrorist terrier-ist organizations


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:35 PM
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Fucking "TOO" "TOO" "TOO" Sheesh. Where's w-lfs-n to shake his head in disappointment?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:40 PM
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Wow, I can't believe I just did that.

Ogged, redact 53, would you? It's, uh, totally a violation of off-blog sanctity of, you know, something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:41 PM
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Those who have ever owned them always call the breed "Jack Russell Terrorists".

Oddly , Helmsley's ill-tempered dog is not a Jack Russell.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:47 PM
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like Hari Seldon Tupac


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 8:51 PM
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I was just watching Charlie Rose, and he was interviewing some military guy and another guy who had advised the Iraqis on their policing policy. I was zoning out, but then I started to pay attention, and I noticed that the police advisor had been the former police chief of Washington, DC.

I don't know when he stepped down, but there was a pretty significant chunk of time when DC wasn't great about policing large chunks of the city, and while all cities have higher-crime areas, I think that the record on policing Anacostia is terrible even now.

It didn't seem to me like any DC police chief ought to be advising the Iraqis on how to run their national police.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 9:44 PM
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It was a genius speech, though. He's an expert taunter. When you compare him to GW Bush we're really outclassed in the brainpower department.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 9:46 PM
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Look like OBL has hired a political consultant.

And did everyone notice that Osama was dressed in earth tones?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 9:58 PM
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59: Al "Gore" Qaeda


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 10:02 PM
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Wait, but not the bloody kind of "gore". You sick fucks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 10:03 PM
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61: Hey, you're the one apologizing for terrorists, what with your "No, Al Quaeda has nothing to do with bloody gore, they're just misunderstood!" stuff all the time.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 10:07 PM
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"No, Al Quaeda has nothing to do with bloody gore, they're just misunderstood mis-transliterated!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 10:12 PM
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OT: Can I get an unfoggedariat position on the use of the term "chillaxin'" as a stand-in for "relaxin'"? I kind of like it, but feel I lack surfer cred or something.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 11:00 PM
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Chillaxin is common enough that you probably won't stand out as overly ironic or pathetic if you use it.

Although, actually, this depends alot on your demographic.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 11:03 PM
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but feel I lack surfer cred or something.

Most people cannot credibly use "chillaxin'" in a non ironic way.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 11:04 PM
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Sure: I mean, between the populations of China and India, that's just about most people, already.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 11:40 PM
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In Chinese, the character that signifies "chillaxin'" is composed of the characters for "danger" and "opportunity."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 7-07 11:58 PM
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I've been waiting my entire adult life for some Democratic politician to quote Hari Seldon.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 12:13 AM
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I like the dye job. It's Reaganesque.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:20 AM
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Am I being too skeptical in wondering whether this video is really Bin Laden?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:27 AM
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71: ogged. That prankster.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:32 AM
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No true god would deny us pork.

In Britain, there's halal bacon made from turkey, so people can eat a Full English Breakfast(tm) in the evening during Ramadan. This is incredibly popular among younger Muslims.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:26 AM
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Turkey bacon is a pale shadow of The Perfect Food, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:46 AM
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Absolutely. My belief is that bacon was a cunning plan by the early Christians to recruit in the contemporary Jewish community.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:07 AM
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48:

That would require trusting the people left behind to not use you for their own ends.

And we're right back to the anal virgins again.


Posted by: Dr Paisley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:10 AM
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You owe it to yourself to watch FOX News's response to ObL's latest.

Bo Dietl said we shouldn't give Bin Laden "so much attention." Fox was on a triple-split screen with Bin Laden in the biggest one. Dietl said we should shrink his screen and, lo and behold, Fox went to a full screen of "UBL." Then again, [Neil] Cavuto said, "terror trumps all," but a very angry Dietl said, "We should just move on from this guy already," but seconds later he said, "We gotta crush him."


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:58 AM
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When you compare him to GW Bush we're really outclassed in the brainpower department

And the public figure who doesn't meet this standard is...?


Posted by: shpx.ohfu | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:00 AM
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There are plenty of good reasons to avoid eating pork. Factory farming of pork is one of the fastest-growing sources of pollution today, and pigs are smarter and more personable than dogs. I doubt that the latter will affect anyone's judgment on whether or not to eat bacon, since our attitude towards animal rights is entirely dependent on how close we are to the animals in question and not on those animals' actual cognitive abilities, but the prospect of fueling an industry which routinely poisons the water supply with tons upon tons of animal feces.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:06 AM
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79 should end with something other than a sentence fragment, but whatever.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:07 AM
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There are plenty of good reasons to avoid reading 79. Pork is delicious. But for the sake of argument, IIRC Lindsay Beyerstein abstains from eating animals that exhibit future preferences, i.e., pigs and octopodes.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:25 AM
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There are plenty of good reasons to avoid eating pork.

The horrible thing is, I pretty much agree with this--it's just I can't stop myself. Now I feel awful about that pound of linguica I bought yesterday to cook up in some red beans and rice.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:36 AM
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an industry which routinely poisons the water supply with tons upon tons of animal feces

Speaking of which, has anyone else seen the Simpsons movie? I thought it was good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:13 AM
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The trouble with this argument is that you resist the sensible parts of it if you think that the people offering it really think eating sentient animals is wrong, and the factory-farm stuff is just cover.

I so want to tell animal lovers to f___ themselves that seriously engaging the factory farm issue is harder.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:19 AM
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78:
And the public figure who doesn't meet this standard [smarter than G.W.Bush]

Sen James Inhofe, (R - Indian Terrritory)


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:32 AM
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Carnivores who wish to assuage their consciences about factory-farmed animals can rejoice in Niman Farms beef and pork. There's a Niman pork grower near my folks' place: he's put most of the farm back into native Iowa prairie and wetlands, and the hogs have the run of the fields much of the year, and even in winter they have free access to the out-of-doors. He uses no antibiotics in feed, no hormones, no drugs except to treat sickness.

Of course, you pay for your scruples, but the pork is wonderfully flavorful.

Similarly, I flack on the intertubes for Lundberg Farms rice from Northern California -- family-owned, deeply environmentally conscious. I like their brown-rice rice cakes, except the damn things crumble all over the place. But they taste great.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:38 AM
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I think it's Niman Ranch, but yeah, good stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:42 AM
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Am I being too skeptical in wondering whether this video is really Bin Laden?

I was wondering the same thing, but apparently the government is sure it's him (voice and face analysis, I assume).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:43 AM
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Apparently the government is sure it's him.

Noted without comment.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:47 AM
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Yeah yeah.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:50 AM
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Why, Emerson, you little bitch.

OT: Chuck Hagel has announced that he's retiring at the end of his term, and Bob Kerrey is talking about going back to Nebraska to run for his seat.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:51 AM
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I flack on the intertubes for Lundberg Farms

Seconded, I use their jasmine rice as my default rice for everything and it's nicely aromatic.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:54 AM
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ogged @ 87 :
Yeah, Niman Ranch not Niman Farms.
My mind's eye was stuck in Iowa, where a ranch is a single-level house with a linear layout.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:55 AM
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Bob Fucking Kerrey. He and Joe Lieberman can get the band back together.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:03 AM
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Still, two Democratic senators from Nebraska.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:05 AM
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True, but as long as control of the Senate is assured, as it seems at least for the next election, they don't add much, and can even hurt. I'd rather have a Democrat win in Maine. If this was the price of getting a majority it would be one thing, but I'm not going to get excited about a blowhard who likes to stick it to his own party otherwise.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:09 AM
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Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:15 AM
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No true god would deny us pork.

I don't understand how muslims get up in the morning.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:19 AM
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96 By 'they,' do you mean Kerrey and Nelson? Not my favorite Democrats, but still, on some level, the more the better. Does Tom Allen stand a chance in Maine?

There are now several candidates vying for Gordon Smith's seat in OR, incidentally, and he's looking vulnerable.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:26 AM
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So, yeah, it's perfectly possible to raise pork in a sustainable way, as opposed to, say, beef cattle. Niman Ranch pork is delicious.

The intelligence arguments I feel like we hashed out to a perfectly useless length like a week ago, didn't we?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:27 AM
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Gordon is not ashamed to let people see his sensitive side.

Grass-fed beef cattle can be raised on an environmentally responsible way, but they'd be lean and beefeaters like fat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:48 AM
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By 'they,' do you mean Kerrey and Nelson?

Yes, more or less (I was actually only thinking of Kerrey but wrote sloppily.) The more the better? Maybe. I'm sure there are some issues where Kerrey would vote more sensibly than his Republican alternative, though I'd question how often, how many times on issues of great import, and the number of instances in which his support was needed. So it's a matter of balancing those issues against the ongoing propaganda value he'll have to the GOP as he makes the rounds of the talk shows (as you know he's itching to do) undercutting and criticizing the Democrats, saying we need to embrace bogus Social Security "reform," and generally being a giant dick.

I am assuming, of course, that the Kerry of 2008 will be the same politician as he was before leaving office. Nothing I've seen his say in recent years suggests he's changed, so I'm comfortable with that assumption, but if I'm wrong, I'd be happy to find out. My god, can you imagine if Kerrey gets back into the Senate just in time for President Hillary Clinton? It'll be like the best part of the 1990's has come back. I'm sure there'll be nothing at all tiresome about it.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:49 AM
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Adding, I don't really know anything about the races in Maine, sorry. I gather that Allen may be something of a long-shot, but heck, it should be a good year to be a long-shot, so we'll see. The fact that it should be a good year for Democrats also makes we wonder if there might not be a better candidate for an open seat in Nebraska than Kerrey. I've no doubt that anyone elected there will be a moderate at best, but someone less annoying and full of himself would be preferable.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:53 AM
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I'm skeptical that any Democrat other than Kerrey can win that seat. Nebraska's a very conservative place.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:54 AM
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there's the funniest photo on the online front page of the nyt right now.

the story is about romney's position on gays.

the photo shows him standing on a street corner, trying to talk with a little girl.

something about his posture, and the fact that he is trying to get
the girl's attention, makes the whole juxtaposition very comical.

caption contest time!!


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 11:37 AM
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Well, I'm assuming that whoever wins will be fairly conservative, and no doubt Kerrey's name recognition will help (will all those years at the New School, though? I have my doubts.) Still, I'd like to see someone else take a chance.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 11:40 AM
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I have no idea how the 2008 elections go, but I am glad everyone is so optimistic. Optimism and hope are good things, create energy and enthusiasm, and could in themselves increase turnout and progressive possibilities.

However, I remain skeptical and pessismistic myself, expect catastrophes and unexpected reversals, war & rumours of war, plagues, famines, disasters and disappointments. I predict Democrats will lose seats everywhere. If there even is a election, or anyone left alive to vote.

But I will keep my downer paranoia to myself. Carry on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 12:18 PM
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OK, guys, it's time to hit the streets and get to work on those carnal desires. No one should be blogging on Saturday afternoon. It's not just a good idea -- it's the law.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 12:19 PM
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Well Bob@107, I don't know about losing seats, which I don't really want, but I do know that an hour or so ago, when at the Evanston farmers market, I was so revolted by the Hillary supporters I saw there I almost started shouting at them. I'd better get a grip on myself if Ms. prayer-meeting-God's-plan-for-America's-Christian-elite really is inevitable.

My wife, much more stable at times like these, curtly told them she could get on the ballot without our help.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 12:35 PM
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IDP, was it your impression that the Hillary supporters even knew about her connection with, what is it, The Fellowship?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:20 PM
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I've never met any Hillary supporters. She wasn't among the five candidates who have provided our College Democrats with copious stores of buttons and stickers to give out. This article leads me to believe that the Hillary supporters are akin to the Mondale supporters and earlier the Hubert Humphrey supporters. The people who don't really see how one Democrat could differ from another, and want to fall into line behind someone who seems to be trusted by the establishment and therefore can be presumed to be trusted by all the interest groups that make the Democratic party different from the Republican party. The fact that these interest groups' leaders mainly want to preserve their power within the party, rather than make the party stronger, makes it infinitely frustrating to watch.

I think the Humphrey/Mondale/Hillary supporters have been the people who are not actually heard from in the national debate because their opinions are basically "Democrats are self-evidently better than Republicans".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:32 PM
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I would like everyone to give their opinion on #111, because I feel like I had an epiphany in the middle of writing it, and it says something that sort of seems obvious and yet I hadn't thought before.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:36 PM
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112:Sounds pretty good to me, Ned. I would say in general a major voting block is invisible to most bloggers. Not populist or progressive, not Christian conservative or corporatist, the "Silent Majority" that provided the margin in the landslides of Ike, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan. They may show up in issue polls and confuse, but in the voting booth they will ignore the hot-button stuff and vote safely.

I would really have to explore polls and demographics before I would enthusiastically support the thesis.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:45 PM
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I'm talking about specifically in a party's primary though. People who don't know much about the issues but they know they want to vote for a Democrat (or a Republican).


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:49 PM
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110: Oh, of course not, and perhaps (some) of them would see nothing wrong with it. It's just something that brings into focus what I've thought about her for years.

111: I've a sister-in-law who's dad is basically a very conservative Democratic, who supported the war against his wife and daughter, and this is only one of many sore spots. I like him as a person, and the existence of people like you postulate is obviously not the world's greatest evil, but it is a fact. My equanimity tells me there are many Republicans who have similar any/better feelings, against their own values and the evidence of their own eyes.

Many votes, enough to sway elections radically, are in play though, for good and bad reasons.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:52 PM
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111 -- I don't see how you can say that trying for the establishment consensus Dem candidate in any way implies that one doesn't really see how one Democrat can differ from another. As a matter of logic.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:55 PM
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I think the idea is that if you're a Democrat insensitive to the differences between Democrats, you're going to end up supporting the establishment consensus Dem candidate. Not that it wouldn't be possible to support the same candidate on the merits, but that anyone who isn't making a merit-based decision between candidates is likely to end up behind the establishment's candidate. Given that that's Hillary in this election, while some of her supporters have reason to believe she's individually preferable, a big slice of her support may come from people just looking for the Dem most likely to win.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 1:59 PM
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111 -- It's easy enough to say that people who pursued their own agendas, in contrast to backing a party-strengthing establishment person, got Nixon and GWB into office, if not RR and GHWB.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:00 PM
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OT: I'm preparing a baked ziti and bruschetta for an Italian-themed potluck this evening. Does anyone know whether, in Italian, it's pronounced "broo-SHET-ta" or "broo-SKET-ta"? A friend of Italian descent recently used the latter pronunciation, claiming it to be the correct one.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:03 PM
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The latter, Stanley.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:03 PM
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120: Hmph. Okay. Thanks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:04 PM
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There's a restaurant around here called "Bruschetta's". Everyone who works there uses the wrong ("sh") pronunciation. In fact, I've never heard anyone use the right pronunciation, including my fiancee's mother, who orders it at every Italian restaurant she goes to, or any of the waiters or waitresses from whom she has ordered bruschetta. But it's still right, dammit!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:06 PM
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118: I probably agree but could you spell that out a little?

Here I am back on the computer after a week and a half of looking at tiffs of emails on an intensive document review project, thousands per day. Pathetic.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:08 PM
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Given that that's Hillary in this election, while some of her supporters have reason to believe she's individually preferable, a big slice of her support may come from people just looking for the Dem most likely to win.

I don't know if it's an electability argument. Why isn't the mysterious force of electability gathering steam behind John Edwards?

I think it's the argument that the Democrat supported by the establishment should logically be the Democrat most different from Republicans. Which is obviously false here. As for electability, that depends 100% on how the press treats the candidates, and the press hates Edwards for some reason.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:08 PM
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"ch" is usually a "k" sound in Italian, but there are probably exceptions.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:09 PM
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118: For GWB, I assume we're talking about Nader voters. (I'm really, really, really sorry about that, guys. It was New York! It didn't matter!)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:09 PM
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125: Depends on the vowel. C is ch before i or e, but not, I think, before a, o, or u.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:10 PM
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It's one of those words that annoy because when you say it correctly at restaurants, waiters will often snobbily "correct" you by saying "BROOSHETTA" back at you, like you're a dumbass. The other one is "niçoise," which waiters will always try to sound fancy by "correcting" as "NEESWAH." (Twisty called attention to this a while back, and since then, I've been hearing it everywhere.)

I hate condescending incorrect pronunciation-corrections so much that I won't even go back to the dentist who did it to me last year. Even when I know for sure that someone has pronounced a foreign word wrong, I would never say something unless that person was a very close friend. It would be like going up to a stranger and telling her she's got spinach in her teeth.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:12 PM
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127: And ch is ch before i or e. I don't know if it ever appears before a, o, or u.

Kind of like with the g, which sounds like "j" before i or e. So "gh" produces the g sound before i or e, in words like Ghirardelli. But I don't think there's ever a use for "gh" before a, o or u.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:12 PM
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Right, but "c" and "ch" (both in Italian, as opposed to "c" (Italian) sounding sometimes like "ch" (English)) aren't the same thing.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:13 PM
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128: also "scone". It's pronounced "scon"! I heard British people pronounce it that way! There isn't a long O! Oh well.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:13 PM
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and the press hates Edwards for some reason.

Yep.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:14 PM
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I shouldn't say "hates". I should say "has no respect for".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:14 PM
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chiacchiere


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:15 PM
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122: Persistence in the face of an established usage, even if wrong, is rather obnoxious. As it's a recently introduced genuine EYEtalian word, it's a closer case and might be understandable.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:15 PM
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I used to know a Belgian-American guy whose little sister pronounced "toilet" French-style when speaking English. She was being funny and it was cute.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:15 PM
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more relevant


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:16 PM
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Apparently "Paso Robles" rhymes with "nobles."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:18 PM
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Ok, 137 didn't work: see list.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:18 PM
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The city of Buena Vista, Virginia, adheres strictly to a "be-YOO-nu VIS-tuh" pronunciation.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:19 PM
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Thanks for the pronunciation snobbery-bating hijack, Stanley. I want to know if my theory of primary voters is right dammit!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:20 PM
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"be-YOO-nuh" that is.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:20 PM
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128: I'm inclined to agree, but some pronunciation correction is called for, even though it's a good thing when people expand their reading vocabularies into speech. Doing so gracefully is a good mark of tact, and we all need some of that correction.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:21 PM
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141: Sorry, Ned. FWIW, I think it depends how you pronounce your theory.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:22 PM
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I'm not sure how well your theory applies to Humphrey, given 1968 was an odd year. I don't know anything about Mondale and 1984.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:24 PM
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I think it's the argument that the Democrat supported by the establishment should logically be the Democrat most different from Republicans.

I've never heard such a thing, and would wonder what planet a person making the argument lived on.

On the planet where I live, no one even a bit more progressive that JEC or WJC would have won their elections. That's as far as the country was prepared to go in '76 and '92 respectively. Misjudging how far the country is willing to go is a mistake we make on the Dem side plenty often; the Republicans have only made it one in my lifetime (1964) -- their other looses being about personality and/or a relatively non-ideological tide of history.

LB, it's not just Nader voters. It's pony voters. Nader may have got some saddled up -- and it mattered everywhere (but we don't have to rehash that) -- but there were others that stayed out of the thing. A leftier Gore would, in my unscientific estimation, have lost 2 votes to Bush for every 1 taken from Nader.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:25 PM
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When I moved to NYC, my only friend here was a German who used the Dutch pronunciations for all the Dutch-named places. This is nice, but it taught me all these pronunciations that no New Yorkers recognize. Dyckman? "Deekmahn," I've said. It's totally "Dikeman" here.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:25 PM
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Back to pronunciation: I've heard the Niçois for Niçoise before, but figured they weren't correcting me, just repeating back the order to make sure they heard me right. My experience in France has been that I don't always say it right in French, either. I am caught between two worlds, with only a salad to console me.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:28 PM
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That said, 1964 was a free shot for the Reps, much as 1972 and 1988 were for us: winning was so unlikely, we may as well have tried something completely different. It's how 1992 looked in 1991, and how we ended up with No One From Nowhere, hitherto known only for completely embarrassing himself at the 88 convention.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:28 PM
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In Soviet Russian, words pronounce you incorrectly!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:29 PM
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Also annoying is people pronouncing foreign-based words (esp. place names) in their original form, long after they've been assimilated into English. Like NeVAHda.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:34 PM
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I go back and forth on Nader: everyone I know considered the closeness of their states and their own disgust with neoliberalism. It used to annoy me that Alterman went on and on and on about it, and I stopped reading him.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:35 PM
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I guess the problem for me is that, as a waiter, your job is to talk to people about food. And if you're a waiter at a restaurant with foreign items on the menu, it's your job to talk about those items. That's it! Many of these waiters don't even deliver anything to the table; they exclusively talk to customers about food and report those conversations to the kitchen. I would like to be able to assume that they know how to pronounce the names of food, because if they can't, it means no one in the kitchen knows how it's pronounced either. Not a good sign!

There are a lot of names in my area of study with odd-to-American-ears pronunciations, like Cowley and Berkeley, or first names like Maria and Sophia. It was one of these that my dentist felt the need to correct for me during a conversation about my work. Why would my dentist assume that I'm just pronouncing names weirdly for my own entertainment?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:37 PM
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To see if you'd bite his finger?

The English lit pronunciation that causes more trouble than They-call-the-wind-Maria to me is Byron's Don JEW-an. You sometimes have to give that one up.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:41 PM
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I've never heard such a thing, and would wonder what planet a person making the argument lived on.

On the planet where I live, no one even a bit more progressive that JEC or WJC would have won their elections.

I mean that OF THE POTENTIALLY ELECTABLE CANDIDATES, the one who the establishment is rallying around should be, you know, the most Democrat and least Republican one. At least from among the stable of HRC, Obama, and Edwards, all of whom are more electable than Goldwater was. This hypothesis being based on the idea that the Democratic establishment is substantially different from the Republican establishment and takes pride in those differences. But no, even among three electable candidates, the establishment goes with the least liberal one. And this makes both Democrats and Republicans think she's more liberal than she is.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:41 PM
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154: That one drives my students (many of whom are Hispanic) totally up the wall. I urge them to get over it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:42 PM
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One pronunciation I am particularly proud of using (oh hell, I guess that's what this thread is about) is "long-lived" with a long I sound. Because it refers to someone who has had a long life -- and "life" becomes "lived" with a long I sound, just as the plural of "life" becomes "lives" with a long I sound, which is a different word from the verb "lives". Awww yeah.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:43 PM
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I'd like a waiter graceful enough to offer both pronunciations of bruschetta, establishing one was more correct and the other more familiar.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:44 PM
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I might correct the pronunciation of somebody who I actually know and whom I would expect to talk with on multiple occasions in my life. Not a waiter.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:45 PM
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I urge them to get over it

AWB: objectively more assertive than I am.

And I will not use the familiar metaphor for that, which is a peeve I won't budge on.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:49 PM
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I had an English lit teacher who had mysterious pronunciations for things which nobody else pronounced in that way. But she was actually wrong most of the time. She pronounced "Herrick" with one syllable, although I can't exactly remember what that syllable was. Not to mention her odd emphases on the names of Greek theatrical devices, or pronouncing "Khalil Gibran" as "Cay-hill Jibran".

She was very knowledgeable and had a real respect for what she taught, though. An infectious enthusiasm. She also used the phrase "the Scottish play".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:49 PM
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Every time I'm eating at a Mexican restaurant and the waiter offers the table more "cheeps", I say, "You dolt! It's pronounced chips!"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:51 PM
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I don't correct waiters, though I've often been tempted. I'm just annoyed when they pointedly correct me and are wrong.

Actually, I would love it if Chinese waiters would correct me. Last night at Congee Village, where most of the waiters do not speak English, I ordered a Tsingtao in the way I'd thought I'd heard Cantonese speakers say it. He looked puzzled. "Tsingtao beer," I repeated. "Ah!" he exclaimed. "Tsingtao!" To my ears, it sounded the same as what I had said, and I was left more confused than ever. I'm sure it's a matter of tone or something that my ears aren't picking up. Proof that I need to procrastinate on my dissertation by studying Cantonese!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:53 PM
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I know you're kidding Stanley, but a played-up accent probably does figure in Mexican restaurant exchanges, whether authentic or not. I feel a little silly being addressed as "Senor"(how do you code a tilde?> but figure it comes with the territory.

I'd have said Zing Dow, with a t sound in the first, but I can't hear any difference either. JE and Frowner probably can.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:59 PM
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Everyone who works there uses the wrong ("sh") pronunciation.

I had a waiter sneer at me, as in coming by the table while my sister and I were discussing our order, to say mocking 'you mean the brooSHETTA' in a dickish tone. Went out of his way to be a dick about it. I didn't go out of my way to dock the tip, but I really think I should have.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 2:59 PM
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I didn't go out of my way to dock the tip

What does this mean exactly? You docked the tip to a certain extent based on the undeniable emotions involved while calculating the tip...but you did not ostentatiously put a certain number of dollars on the table and then maintain eye contact with him while taking a couple of them back off the table again.

I hope that's what it means at least.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:03 PM
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Ooh! I went to Congee Village the one and only time I've been to NYC. Cheap and tasty in the extreme, even if their menu made me feel like a coward. The [sh/zh/ch]ing dao thing is probably related to tonality.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:04 PM
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I didn't go out of my way to dock the tip, but I really think I should have.

You really must. I'm a Canadian as you know and such aggression goes against my grain, (it builds and builds until it expresses itself in atrocities, though, so I wish it didn't go against my grain) but it's all you have unless you want to follow up with a dirty look or speaking to the manager, both equally justified.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:04 PM
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You know what I've always wanted? A specific tip percentage agreed-upon as a signal that the service was really kind of lousy, but that I'm not going to be enough of a jerk about it to actually not tip. The problem is that there are enough undertippers out there that I don't think undertipping communicates much beyond "I'm cheap." Occasionally I tip 13% when unhappy -- I figure it's more than someone who was undertipping out of pure cheapness would come up with, but an odd enough amount to make the waiter think about what might have inspired it.

I realize that this has no communicative effect at all, but I figure that if you're going to make irritated gestures, ineffective, incomprehensible, and probably imperceptible ones are your best bet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:06 PM
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I'm given to understand that Tsing Tao is pronounced ching dow.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:08 PM
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170: I think that's their version of "Who won the World Series?"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:09 PM
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how do you code a tilde?

ñ


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:09 PM
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LB, which Doc review software does your firm use?

Good point about the undertippers muddying the message. Exit, Voice, Loyalty: nothing beats talking, to the waiter or the manager, if you've got the , uh, stomach for it on that occasion.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:10 PM
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But what about the tones, ogged? The tones! Surely you're aware that misusing the tones will render you incomprehensible.

And since it's impossible to pronounce the tones right, I wouldn't even try.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:10 PM
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Yes, but is it ching [rising] dow [falling], or vice versa, or is one of them normal, or what?

169: You could draw either an unsmiley face next to the tip or a graphic depiction of whatever was that displeased you, like a picture of a penis carrying a plate.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:12 PM
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173: You know, in two and a half years here, I haven't done a big doc review here yet -- everything I've worked on has either not been in the document production stage, or small enough that we were working on paper.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:13 PM
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A specific tip percentage agreed-upon as a signal that the service was really kind of lousy

When I waited tables, some of the older servers spoke of a dying tradition of leaving pennies on the table (in addition to the tip) to report satisfaction/dissatisfaction. One penny for bad service; two pennies for good. Or maybe the other way around.

I could never keep it straight, and the few times I encountered it, I just shrugged, unclear what I was being told


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:13 PM
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CN @ 111 et. sequelae

My Mom is like this (she's a Republican, though).
She's a social-networker rather than an issues-driven person. She has long-standing personal relationships with most of the mid-level Republicans in her district, and at least first-name-basis acquaintance with many of the state-level officeholders. In her mind, the ones she likes, the Establishment ones, are "nice people", and she trusts their judgement without thinking about it. Politics in her experience is nice, reasonable people meeting to come to some sort of decision acceptable to all parties. (If you've lived your whole life in Iowa, this is a not-unreasonable attitude, likely born of experience.)

Don't get the impression that I'm calling her some dummy; she's not. She was on the board of directors of a major energy company for a decade, and Chairman of the audit committes much of that time, and the auditors learned that there was no faking answers to her questions. But she avoids reading or watching anything that feels polemic, because such things upset her, and she has almost a Confucian regard for harmony.

Mom dislikes political argument because people get so upset and say things that aren't nice, things that interfere with comity. She reveres Reagan because he made us all feel so good about ourselves and about the nation, which is to her just about the highest political good.

So when the Republican Nat'l organization nominated up with W, she went right along. I could _not_ get her to even read the Texas Republican platform, because "no one takes those seriously, even the people who write them". I could not get her to read Molly Ivins's Shrub or the profile in Harpers because that was all just mean-spirited partisanship. Until 2006, I could not get her to believe that the reports out of Abu Ghraib were not somehow distorted, made-up, exxagerated -- it just couldn't be true, reasonable Republicans would never approve of a torture policy, and so to the extent that it was true, it must be due to the bad-apple mechanism.

She is still certain that the US government would never actually wiretap the whole country, and that there must have been good and honorable reasons for our invasion of Iraq that can't be disclosed for reasons of national security.

Now that reasonable Republicans are starting to say bad things about Bush, she's beginning to see that he's not a very good President. And she's never liked the fringe theocrats -- she tells me that many secular Republicans in Iowa are hanging on to offices and party positions they no longer really want, because they think that their replacements will come from the ranks of the God-smitten moralists.

I think there may be many voters like my Mom.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:14 PM
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167: Yeah, I like going to place like that with meat-eaters because I want someone to order things like frog and pork stomach and stuff. I am glad to report that both my companions ordered with bravery and fortitude. I had the vegetarian porridge and sautéed lotus root in bitter bean sauce. Mmm.

We probably ate only 2/3 of all the food they brought out, and it was $40 for all three of us.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:14 PM
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Unless it has arms, the plate would have to be spinning.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:14 PM
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163: The language spoken in Qingdao is Mandarin, which may have something to do with the problem. It could also be the tone, but another problem English speakers have with Chinese is that there are two different kinds of postalveolar fricatives (pinyin sh/x) and affricates (pinyin ch/q), neither of which is pronounced quite the same way as the (one) corresponding English sound.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:17 PM
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181: They advertise it as a Cantonese place, and they seem to be speaking Cantonese in the restaurant, to my inexpert ear.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:19 PM
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How DO you pronounce neeswahz?

Ned, I think lots of people are lining up behind Hillary because of actual reasons related to their perception of her personality and politics (not to mention gender). Much of that is nostalgia for the Clintons, and much of that nostalgia is pride that she took a lickin' and kept on tickin'. I doubt much of it is because they strongly believe in her center-right politics, but I'm sure some is.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:19 PM
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183: Neeswahz is correct, as opposed to neeswah.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:20 PM
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Also, most of the towns in the US called "Buena Vista" pronounce it the way Stanley describes. They were mostly founded in the late 1840s and named after the eponymous battle in the Mexican War. There are also several towns called "Mexico" founded during the same period.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:20 PM
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184, that is, if you're pronouncing Niçoise, with an e at the end.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:20 PM
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Furthermore: upon arriving in London Heathrow from Los Angeles at 3:30 pm on a Saturday, how much of a margin should I allow before a ryanair or easyjet flight to Milan from London Gatwick? It's a big money saver. There are flights at around 6:30 that look good -- is that sane?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:21 PM
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182: They may still be pronouncing the name of the beer the Mandarin way. I think the confusion is more likely to be the fricative thing, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:22 PM
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I found Concordance clunky, and its associated viewer, Opticon, feature poor. I'd mostly been using Acrobat proper, and got used to wheel-scrolling and thumbnails, so that I could deal with contentless duplicates right off the bat. With retrieval sometimes taking a few seconds, the annoyance and slowdown were perceptible.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:23 PM
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Thanks AWB. L.A. is great for anglicized pronunciations of Spanish words that white people try to pronounce in the original Spanish to be down with the imaginary gente in their minds. Los Feliz is not Los (as in dose) feLEES, it's Los (as in floss) FEEliss; San Pedro is not San (as in con) PAYydro, it's San (as in tan) PEEdro.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:25 PM
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190, I don't see how that's a half-assed attempt to pronounce them in the original Spanish, as opposed to the standard Americanization of all foreign names (Lima, Cairo, North Versailles, etc. etc.)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:27 PM
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Yes, the towns named in pride for Mexican War triumphs make me cringe, but then the same midwestern states often have towns named for revolutionaries from other countries, in the age of R's. I've never seen a Garibaldi, but several Kossuths and Bolivars.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:28 PM
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166: If I had gone out of my way I would have written on the back (15% service rendered)-(10% unauthorized language lessons). As it was, I just tipped for the rest of the service and ignored the remark.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:29 PM
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Monticello, in Indiana, is pronounced "MontiSELLo". Quite embarrassing for me when I moved to Virginia and visited Thomas Jefferson's little mountain.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:30 PM
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I'm really not sure where New Tripoli, PA got its name. You might think it had to do with the defeat of the Barbary pirates, but then why the "new", as if it had been settled by people who came from the old Tripoli?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:31 PM
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Tsing Tao was a German concession (hence the good beer) and "tsing" is the German (and probably French) way of writing of "ch'ing" (the present "qing" -- it could also be "king", as in Chungking.)

This transliteration also gives you "kieu" for "ch'u"-with-umlaut.

Chinese geographical names appear in romanization according to at least four different systems, plus a number of ad hoc transciptions.

You're very welcome.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:31 PM
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192: Yeah, lots of Bolivars (generally pronounced BOWL-ih-ver). And there is a Garibaldi, Oregon.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:32 PM
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It's not the tone. sh/x/ch/q/zh are different consonants, not too difficult to differentiate after your first week of first-year Chinese but not necessarily easy for English speakers to produce.

On tips: as a former waiter, I tip generously, but I would not have hesitated to stiff the jerk in 165. Actually, I would have walked out.

On Ned's Hillary question, I'm basically in agreement with the initial assessment in 111, but I'm getting hung up on 'not actually heard from in the national debate.' I don't personally know any Hillary supporters, but I seem to hear such people all the time. Way too much, in fact.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:33 PM
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Wilkes-Barre is an oddity in that it is named after foreign revolutionaries who were not actually revolutionaries but merely supported the American Revolution despite never having visited America.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:34 PM
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Does anyone still talk unaffectedly, w/o airquotes, about Flemmings and Walloons, or call Levanto Leghorn? I love that stuff, but the people who know it know that there are more modern and acceptable forms, so that the usages need airquotes.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:36 PM
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Chinese dialects are a can of worms. The Cantonese spoken in Portland OR traditionally was Chaozhou, which is quite different than Hong Kong Cantonese (which is the standard, more or less, along with Canton Cantonese). There's been a lot of recent Mandarin immigration, and a lot of the old Chinese families probably speak mostly English by now.

There's a funny page in Maxine Hong Kingston's book "Woman Warrior" when she finds out that the Chinese she speaks is intelligible only in Sacramento and one small area of South China.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:38 PM
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191: the first in the pair is the way people try to pronounce them "correctly", the second is the way everyone pronounces them. Maybe it's especially grating in Los Angeles because the mother tongue lives there.

Mayor Yorty used to pronounce "Angeles" with a hard g; no one does that after all, but no one slips "Los AHN-chel-les" into casual English conversation, either.

The one that got me for the longest time was La Cienega.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:38 PM
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202: The Firesign Theatre too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:40 PM
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On Hillary, the thing I can't figure out is the notion that she's vastly more experienced than Obama. I don't really see it, but it sure has stuck.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:40 PM
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204: I'll give her course credit for eight years of first lady. She wasn't just decorating.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:42 PM
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205: Sure, but Obama was doing political stuff then, too. Political stuff of a different nature, but political nonetheless.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:42 PM
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I not infrequently just ask when faced with a word whose pronunciation has been unclear to me.

That can put people on the spot, of course.

Generally, though, you don't want to be walking into some kinds of breakfast joints and be asking for a "scon" in order to have to negotiate a series of blank-eyed "What? What?" questions from the waitstaff.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:42 PM
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I just ask too, and don't have embarrassments much anymore, I think because I don't care as much as I once did to look knowledgeable. Everybody's ignorant and idiosyncratic sooner or later.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:50 PM
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Does anyone still talk unaffectedly, w/o airquotes, about Flemmings and Walloons

what else would you call them? "Flemish-speaking Belgians" and "French-speaking Belgians"?

, or call Levanto Leghorn?

Whoa, that's weird.

Generally, though, you don't want to be walking into some kinds of breakfast joints and be asking for a "scon" in order to have to negotiate a series of blank-eyed "What? What?" questions from the waitstaff.

Ah, but if I just say "Can I have one of those blackberry scons", it's obvious what I mean.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:51 PM
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I found Concordance clunky, and its associated viewer, Opticon, feature poor.

You ain't just whistling dixie. Man that software blows.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:52 PM
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206: Of all non-incumbents who have ever run, I would say that Hillary's experience was more germane to the Presidency than all but the current Vice President and maybe the one before him.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:55 PM
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I would say Flemish and Wallonian if not trying to be funny. When talking about Leon Degrelle, not a laughing matter, I say Wallonian.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:56 PM
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203:
He walks again, by night. Out of the fog, into the smog. Ruthlessly ....


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 3:58 PM
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Once I was trying to buy salami at a deli counter in Athens and the helpful dude said to me "you can say to me in english". And then I did.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:00 PM
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I'm wary of gender-specific disrespect, and wish there were another name for her. Sure, there's Newt and Mitt, but still. HRC seems presidential already, so I don't like it, and Clinton, a name she first preferred not to use and adopted for politics after her husband's first loss, will always refer to him primarily.

The people who annoyed me today had buttons which said Hillary!


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:01 PM
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"Where's Ruth?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:03 PM
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Given ethnic diversity and regional variation and etc, I think it's generally not a good idea to correct someone's pronunciation. It makes me think of the way parents will, probably mostly unconsciously, correct a child's pronunciation, which is a good thing to do, of course, with a child who is learning how to speak.

I've had people correct my pronunciation of my own last name (it's pronounced a bit differently in Canada).

I agree with wrongshore re: the support for Hillary. Nostalgia for Bill is a significant factor. Also, while gender is a factor amongst her women supporters, I think it's a bit complex than simply "because she's a woman." I think it's because she's a woman who (to quote wrongshore) took a lickin' and kept on tickin'. Many women admire her for that.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:04 PM
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the helpful dude said to me "you can say to me in english". And then I did

I'm surprised you didn't reply, 'I can say what to you in English?'


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:07 PM
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Helpful dude: "You can say to me in English"
w-lfs-n: "Thank god! I feel totally out of my element in Greek. Random people are being pedantic toward me! Has the world gone topsy-turvy?"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:09 PM
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It doesn't pay to be a little bitch in a foreign country where you hardly speak the language and someone else is speaking yours in order to be helpful and you want to wrap your hands around some hard salami.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:10 PM
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No one understands me :(


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:11 PM
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217.3 is right, and often a factor. The corrupt and mobbed mayor of Cicero (Sis er o), Illinois (Ill annoy), Betty Lauren Maltese, had a surprising amount of support and sympathy in the region for this quality.

A Canadian/Chicago distinction that hung me up when I came here was the name Elgin, also significant for JE. The English lord, for whom the Marbles are named, namesake of Ottawa's CNR hotel where I spent my 4th birthday, is pronounced with a hard g. In Chicago, where it's the name of a satellite city and much else, a soft g.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:13 PM
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Basically, Ben, people will understand you less every year until you end up like me and McManus. Just thought I'd tell you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:13 PM
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I've linked before, but that won't stop me from linking again: Linda Colley on Hillary Clinton.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:14 PM
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Uh oh. Looks like I better rush if I'm going to catch the 4:30 autogyro to the Prussian Consulate in Siam. I shouldn't have stopped off in Dorpat on my way from Reval to Memel.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:16 PM
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I don't know which is more disappointing, Ben: that your bitchiness has limits, or that the desire to wrap your hands around some hard salami is all it takes to reach them.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:17 PM
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Or until they understand you all too well, like me.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:17 PM
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Doggedly.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:18 PM
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217: To some extent, I think correcting pronunciation is important to do (respectfully, of course) in the classroom. My job, in part, is to help my students communicate with confidence about difficult subjects with people who may be crassly judgmental about them because of their ethnicity or class. Sure, I wish academics were less judgmental about insider/outsider issues, but they really are.

Outside the classroom, I agree, correcting pronunciation rarely sounds caring or thoughtful.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:18 PM
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What's the birds eye low down on this caper?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:21 PM
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My male law school classmates, overwhelmingly products of the city's venerable Catholic School system were very tickled by my pronunciation of Saskatchewan's capital city. After the third or fourth whom I barely knew walked up and asked me to pronounce it, I caught on.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:22 PM
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[ Who am I talking to and how do I make my voice do this? ]

What?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:25 PM
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231: Does it not rhyme with 'vagina?'


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:30 PM
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Etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:31 PM
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"I presume you've come to meet my mistress, Mr. Danger?"
"I don't care about your love-life, or what his name is; I've come to see Nanc ... uhhh, I mean Mrs. Haber."
"Mrs. Haber?"
"Audrey Farber."
"Audry Farber?"
"Susan Underhill."
"Susan Underhill?"
"How about Betty-Jo Bialaski?"
"Oh! You must mean Nancy! She's the the aviary, stuffing bees; I will return with her straightaway. You can either wait here in the sitting room, or sit here in the waiting room ..."


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:33 PM
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224: This is a very good point by Colley:

Looked at in this comparative context, a Hillary Clinton presidency would be an expression of old-style dynastic politics, and its persistence in the US, not simply a victory for postwar female liberation. If Hillary wins in 2008, and is granted a second term, people whose surname is Bush or Clinton will have presided over the Oval Office for 28 consecutive years.

AWB: In the classroom, sure. But in most other contexts, no, because it smacks of tutelage.

IDP: I know that hotel.

I was in Maine once, where they get a lot of tourists from Quebec. An American, upon learning I was from Canada, congratulated me on my command of the English language. I was secretly irked, but I now think I shouldn't have been.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:33 PM
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Good lord, of course you don't correct the pronunciation of strangers unless you're in a (hopefully rarely occurring) querulous, or merely careless, mood.

In a classroom setting, sure. Absolutely. What, we're going to conduct a class in which people spend the semester mispronouncing qua?

As for the blackberry scons that Ned mentions at 209: it still doesn't always work out well enough to indicate what you mean. Sometimes you still get a sneer after you're done pointing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:38 PM
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If Hillary wins in 2008, and is granted a second term, people whose surname is Bush or Clinton will have presided over the Oval Office for 28 consecutive years.

I really, really, really hate this argument. If succeeding a relative as president is wrong (that is, not merely not a reason to vote for a candidate, but an active reason to vote against a candidate) it's wrong regardless of whether it's just happened before. Show me a Republican who said that we can't vote for Bush in 2000 on these grounds, and then I'll stop being annoyed.

(I'm not crazy about the dynasticism myself, but it burns me that it's a mildly sad reflection on our incestuous political culture when we're talking about W, but a flatout reason not to vote for Hillary.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:38 PM
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Alright all of you stay right where you are! Put your thumb on your place in your script while I figure this out!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:41 PM
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I think this is the point where b comes in to argue the pro-dynasticism case.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:42 PM
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I don't think she's been arguing the 'pro-dynasticism case', more pointing out that a climate where a man's son following him into politics is natural, although of course it gives him a leg up, but a man's wife following him into politics is evidence of something very unseemly happening is going to be unfairly hard on female candidates.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:46 PM
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Thought experiment: the pool of presidential candidates is limited to the descendants and spouses of former presidents. How much trouble are we really in? I mean, a lot of eight-year-olds are hella bummed, but beyond that?

I know at least two Tafts who would do a perfectly good job.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:49 PM
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Colley doesn't actually say how you should vote.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:49 PM
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I think it's more that association with husbands has historically been the only way for women to gain political power, so objecting to that means of gaining power means in practical terms opposing the greatest chance for women to ever get any power (given the world as it is now).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:49 PM
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Calling that the "pro-dynasticism case" was a bit glib of me, I concede. But I don't mean to reject it out of hand.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:51 PM
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Fuller context:

So if Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes president of the United States in 2008, this will - in terms of women's place in American politics - be a significant political milestone. In global terms, and in historical terms, however, her elevation would be less innovatory. Of the women who have been elected heads of state since the Second World War, a substantial proportion have been closely related to men who have themselves previously held high political office. This has been true not only of Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto, but also of Corazón Aquino and Isabel Perón. Looked at in this comparative context, a Hillary Clinton presidency would be an expression of old-style dynastic politics, and its persistence in the US, not simply a victory for postwar female liberation. If Hillary wins in 2008, and is granted a second term, people whose surname is Bush or Clinton will have presided over the Oval Office for 28 consecutive years.

In all polities where there is a marked overlap between the machinery of the state and a select number of powerful families, women belonging to the latter enjoy opportunities for political leverage, because in these circumstances the divide between public power and the private domain is more than usually unstable. It has also always aided elite women when a male ruler has governed from a physical space to which they, too, can gain access. The absolutist royal courts of early modern Europe, like the Imperial Harem in the Ottoman Empire, afforded tiny minorities of women close proximity to the ruler because they were wives, mistresses, royal mothers or aristocrats - and consequently a measure of influence, and sometimes power. The United States is a republic, and Washington is not Versailles. But Hillary Clinton has benefited from having close and protracted physical proximity to political power, and this has been a major factor in her own rise. Bill Clinton's jobs did not take him away into impersonal bureaucratic offices from which she was excluded. They kept him, first, in the Governor's Mansion in Arkansas, and then in the White House, spaces of power that were also homes, and consequently open to her. Some of the conventions of ancien régime courtly politics have thus in her case been bolted onto feminist aspirations and reforming drive.

The parallels between certain aspects of Hillary Clinton's career and modes of political power exercised by other elite women, at other times and in other societies, are rarely discussed. As in these books, US politics are usually approached in an exceptionalist fashion; and both Clintons have been understandably eager to represent themselves as distinctive products of modern America. Yet, in all sorts of ways, Hillary is a transitional woman. Her ascent, like her mind, owes much to fundamental changes in her own country in her own lifetime, but not everything.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:52 PM
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If I was into correcting people's pronunciation it'd drive me crazy. As a Scot I'm used to hearing just about every word that has its origins in Scots pronounced incorrectly.*

I did once order Krušovice beer in Glasgow, and the guy didn't know what I wanted. I pointed it out, and he went, "Ah, Krooshowits" and then told me I was pronouncing it incorrectly. I didn't have the energy to tell him to fuck off.

* It's pretty rare people pronounce my own surname correctly. But, to be honest, I don't really mind that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:54 PM
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The dynasticism point is two things: a statement of fact, and conceivably an argument against supporting Clinton. (Sorry, her chosen name now is Clinton.)

As an argument against, it just doesn't fly.

If any explanation of that is needed, it would start here: we have the current candidates on the table. We have to deal with them as they stand, in terms of their policy positions and their positioning (or posturing) with the American public.

While ruminations upon how we've gotten here, how dissatisfied we may be with this, are to no small degree more absorbing, we are dealing with electoral politics now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:55 PM
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more pointing out that a climate where a man's son following him into politics is natural, although of course it gives him a leg up, but a man's wife following him into politics is evidence of something very unseemly happening is going to be unfairly hard on female candidates.

Agreed. There is a double standard (or more than one double standard) at play in some versions of this argument.

But I don't think Colley is making that sort of argument. That is, she's not saying the dynasticism angle is reason enough to not vote for Hillary Clinton. She takes aim at a certain version of American exceptionalism, to somewhat deflate the happy narrative of 'a vote for Hillary is a world-historically unique vote for women's progress'.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 4:56 PM
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but it burns me that it's a mildly sad reflection on our incestuous political culture when we're talking about W, but a flatout reason not to vote for Hillary

The gigantic difference, it seems to me, between GWB and HRC, is that GHWB wasn't The Power in the Republican Party when out of office, while the Clintons all but explicitly were for the Democrats. W's people were at pains, early on, to associate him with Reagan and Reagan's people. His advisors include some of this dad's people, but a lot of not-his-dad's people. HRC is going to be Clinton II, and, by sheer weight of time, the Clintons will be nearly as important to the future of Dem Party as the FDR was until this point.

Or so I'd guess. I'd be interested in hearing from eb and other historians, if any feel like assuaging my fears.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:00 PM
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She takes aim at a certain version of American exceptionalism, to somewhat deflate the happy narrative of 'a vote for Hillary is a world-historically unique vote for women's progress'.

That, certainly, is a fair argument.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:05 PM
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* It's pretty rare people pronounce my own surname correctly. But, to be honest, I don't really mind that.

This, I find surprising. Is it a Mick rather than Mack issue, or is there something tricky about the nattarG bit?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:07 PM
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Why, that's nothing but a two-bit ring from a Crackerback jox.

John, I could do this endlessly, and maybe unfogged is the place to do so, but I'm going to stop here. I'm smilin' big, though. Bozos is still my favorite.


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:08 PM
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* It's pretty rare people pronounce my own surname correctly

It doesn't rhyme with Manhattan?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:10 PM
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There are quite a few reasons to vote against any Bush or any Clinton. Anti-dynasticism should be low on the list. Both represent the party insiders, which is a good enough reason to vote against either one, and the family-dynasty aspect is related to the party-insider aspect.

More important, those of you with Canadian passports should keep them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:14 PM
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I can't claim any special insight. I wouldn't vote against her on anti-dynastic grounds, but the dynastic ruling families thing does bother me, just as it would if Jeb were running - or were to run after a Clinton presidency. Also, back in 2000 the 2000 election could have been seen plausibly as an Adams-style oddity in American electoral history.

Anyway, a number of states have had their own versions of dynastic families. Example: the Dodds. I don't know their track records, though.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:18 PM
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It's also quite common at the state level for wives to succeed their husbands as governors to evade bans on succeeding oneself as governor.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:20 PM
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249:

That is, she's not saying the dynasticism angle is reason enough to not vote for Hillary Clinton. She takes aim at a certain version of American exceptionalism, to somewhat deflate the happy narrative of 'a vote for Hillary is a world-historically unique vote for women's progress'.

IA, I'm puzzled: what work does this do, to somewhat deflate the happy narrative in these terms?

Who is Colley talking to? I understand the explication above, but I have the sense that the majority of those who support Clinton aren't reading this sort of analysis; and the reverse, those of us who are reading it aren't supporting her as a unique vote for women's progress.

Here's what I'm after, really: my mother supports Hillary Clinton. She hasn't a clue about The Fellowship. She just "doesn't trust" Obama, and seems to think that Edwards is too young, or flakey or something. She trusts Hillary? She wasn't willing to put it in those terms. Is it a function of Hillary's experience as First Lady? I don't think my mother is able to say. She does not mention a thing about women's progress, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:25 PM
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It's also quite common at the state level for wives to succeed their husbands as governors to evade bans on succeeding oneself as governor.

A lot of people believe that Nestor and Cristina Kirchner plan to trade the office of President back and forth for the same reason.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:25 PM
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a man's son following him into politics is natural, although of course it gives him a leg up, but a man's wife following him into politics is evidence of something very unseemly

I don't doubt that there are people who believe this argument, but it's hard for me not to see it as a straw man, because I've never heard anyone use it. There's a fine argument to be made against anything that smells like dynastic succession in American politics, but given all of the other excellent reasons not to vote for Clinton, it seems not that important.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:28 PM
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Who is Colley talking to?

General non-American readers of a British periodical.

Both Carl Bernstein's A Woman in Charge and Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta's Hillary Clinton: Her Way have been criticised by American reviewers for failing to add much more to the familiar story of their subject's progress than a wealth of supporting detail.
--------------------------------------
Yet while their source material makes it hard at times to gauge the reliability of their content, these books merit study, especially by those who are unfamiliar with America's politics and media.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:30 PM
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The one thing to be said in defense of the anti-dynastic argument is that dynasticism gets cumulatively worse (assuming you're opposed to it), so Bush-Clinton-Bush is bad, but Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton would be worse.

In any case, the dynasticism seems more symptom than cause, and we shouldn't be voting for Hillary anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:33 PM
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I probably should know better than to link to historians here.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:34 PM
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Nestor and Cristina Kirchner plan to trade the office of President

Cue the PILF jokes. Where's Emerson?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:36 PM
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261:

General non-American readers of a British periodical.

Ah, thank you.

I am not sure if I should be embarrassed for not following up on the original quotations, but I thank ye for the explanation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:39 PM
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263 was supposed to include a reference to the recent potato chip thread.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:41 PM
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267

Who is Colley talking to?

To the readers of the LRB, I suppose, many, if not most, of whom will not be voting in 2008. She's not making a direct intervention into the field of American electoral-political punditry. She's exploring, to quote from her LRB piece, certain "parallels between certain aspects of Hillary Clinton's career and modes of political power exercised by other elite women, at other times and in other societies, [which] are rarely discussed," for a readership that is not even primarily American. I think that's okay. If she went on CNN to say people shouldn't vote for Clinton because her husband had already been president, I'd be more than a little annoyed with her.

My mother (not quite relevant because not an American voter, but still) also supports Hillary. She would never call herself a feminist, but she has a certain ... proto-feminist, I guess ... appreciation for a woman who fights back and emerges triumphant. There's a demographic out there that Hillary, or the image of Hillary, really speaks to.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:50 PM
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There's a demographic out there that Hillary, or the image of Hillary, really speaks to.

Older women and poorer women, I think. Things have changed rapidly (though not fully, yada yada) as regards gender issues. People your mother's age caught the end of the old regime, as do (I'm guessing) poorer women yet still. A woman president probably seems more impressive and more improbable than it does to someone in my cohort. And people in my cohort are always surprised by HRC's numbers because they don't hang out with women in the other cohort.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 5:56 PM
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Older women and poorer women, I think.

Yep:

Clinton is drawing especially strong support from lower-income, lesser-educated women -- voters her campaign strategists describe as "women with needs." Obama, by contrast, is faring better among highly educated women, who his campaign says are interested in elevating the political discourse.

For some women, Hillary is very much a source of inspiration, if not exactly a role model. Though I'd vote for Edwards over Clinton, I am not inclined to dismiss the perspective of the Hillary supporters as just so much ill-informed centrism. She is speaking to something that nobody else has thought to speak to, is what I mean.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:10 PM
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238

The lesser Bush has given nepotism a bad name. People in New Orleans worry about hurricanes more now than before Katrina although objectively the risk is no higher.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:12 PM
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267:

If she went on CNN to say people shouldn't vote for Clinton because her husband had already been president, I'd be more than a little annoyed with her.

Thanks -- that's all I wanted clarification on, and I was possibly being dense in asking for it. Not sure.

There's a demographic out there that Hillary, or the image of Hillary, really speaks to.

The demographic of your and my mothers, if I'm reading you correctly? Would never call herself a feminist. Resents the patriarchy, deeply conflicted.

Hm, some other women I've talked to, of the lamentably few non-college educated women I have the chance to listen to, are fans of Elizabeth Edwards, and therefore John. They also, though, have a very short attention span. They're working class, resent the "elite" status of the Clintons.

Clinton does have a difficult task ahead of her if she's going to manage to play to all these types.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:16 PM
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238: This comment reminds me of those Democrats who try to use Bush as a precedent for the current Democratic top tier's lack of experience. "Inexperienced? Well I don't remember Republicans calling Bush inexperienced back in 2000!" Well, right, but Bush has been a nightmarishly disastrous president, so pointing out that Bush, too, was an inexperienced beneficiary of nepotism isn't really an effective defense of candidates who are inexperienced beneficiaries of nepotism, now is it? The only thing this does is point out that Republicans are hypocrites; it doesn't mean that dynasticism isn't bad.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:20 PM
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241

How is this unfair to women? Daughters (Nancy Landon) can follow their parents into politics also while male spouses (like Denis Thatcher for example) would likely be at least as suspect as female spouses.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:25 PM
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250 nails most of it for me, as far as dynasticism goes. It's not just that dynasties allow incompetents, scoundrels and general fuckwits to advance more readily than they otherwise would, it's that they allow the old incompetents, scoundrels and fuckwits of the past to fuck over the future through incompetent, scoundrel, fuckwit proxies. This is more or less about allowing the same core group of amoral triangulating jackals who've been running the Democratic Party into the ground for the last six years into the White House, where they can haplessly get the nation's ass kicked by the right wing for the next generation. If Hillary Clinton really was the most "electable" of the top tier candidates, there might be some excuse, however craven, for this, but as it stands, she appears to be the least electable of the three. It would boggle the mind, if the mind hadn't already spent the last fifteen years observing the slow self-immolation of the Democratic Party.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:31 PM
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269: Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the frontrunner/establishment candidate always get the lower-income/low-information voter? I don't think Clinton's ability to "inspire," or "speak to something" is really at the root of things here. It's more that she comes with the label of "presumptive Democratic nominee," because she's been anointed by the party elite and treated as such by the media and, oh yeah, that former president guy. She owns the brand of "Democratic presidential candidate" right now. This does not stem from anything intrinsic to Clinton herself, however - see, again, all that dynasty stuff.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:37 PM
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By the way, there's been some astonishing, and in some ways disappointing, thread drift at work here. There's tons of bin Laden/pork-related material I was expecting, and - poof! - it all disappeared in a fog of foreign accents and amoral DLC peons.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:40 PM
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We come here to get away from funniness.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:44 PM
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Not only will Bin Laden lower taxes, but he'll take a stand against pork barrel politics.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:51 PM
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I don't think Clinton's ability to "inspire," or "speak to something" is really at the root of things here

I think you underestimate the extent to which there are women who caught/catch hell in life for being female, and who see voting for HRC as a way to respond to that. Nobody will really be surprised if Obama takes the vast majority of black votes, after all.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:52 PM
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After Bin Laden's presidency, we'll be debating whether having his wives run on the same ticket is a bad omen for our democratic future.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:54 PM
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But will his wives employ a "Fifty State Strategy"?


Posted by: SomeCalllMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:55 PM
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I think you underestimate the extent to which there are women who caught/catch hell in life for being female, and who see voting for HRC as a way to respond to that.

How many of these are women who would otherwise vote Republican or not vote at all?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 6:59 PM
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By the way, there's been some astonishing, and in some ways disappointing, thread drift at work here.

No doubt.

Man, Michigan is in a bad way this year. Oregon really put the smack down.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:01 PM
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No idea. More than might be expected, I'd guess: Bush had a ten point advantage with white women in '04.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:02 PM
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276:

there's been some astonishing, and in some ways disappointing, thread drift at work here.

There's also some breakdown of house rules:

Citing a previous comment 10, or, god forbid, 30 or more above what you're writing without quoting the relevant portion of what you're responding to (and preferably giving its number) is just going to get you ignored, friends and people. That's frickin' thread drift for you.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:03 PM
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274 I just can't see Obama and Edwards being more electable than Clinton. And your assessment of the last 25 years is too harsh. Getting Florida right, you'd have at least 12 years of Democratic presidents out of those 25 years. But the fact that this administration has been playing the Dems so well on the war presents the problem. At the time of the election, it's likely that we will have more troops in Iraq than at the mid-term elections, in effect, breaking the biggest campaign promise in a very long time. But Hillary's often criticized positions on the war will make her the most electable of all the Dems.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:06 PM
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But Hillary's often criticized positions on the war will make her the most electable of all the Dems.

Oh gawd no. Absent HRC, I'd treat '08 as a gimme. I think we'll win it anyway.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:09 PM
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285 pwned by 13 and 122.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:30 PM
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But Hillary's often criticized positions on the war will make her the most electable of all the Dems.

I'm surprised to find myself thinking that this may be correct.

The public has been beaten over the head with the theme of moderation for quite some time now.

I honestly think that the mass of the voting public (from whom we really don't hear) considers a safe, moderate position to be best: was going into Iraq right? Maybe at the time, though it's dubious now. Should we close our borders to immigrants? Maybe.

And so on: answers all closer to "maybe" than we here would like to think. Hillary Clinton as hedger or triangulator, may be.

The mass of the voting public really has no idea how to judge what's going on, has only vaguely-formed opinions.

Some studies or articles on this have been linked here before, I thought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:46 PM
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Oh man I hate "electability" as an ostensibly comprehensible quality so much.

You don't have any idea, you people. You have no way of making even an uneducated guess. You're just speaking nonsense.

Phew, must have gas or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 7:53 PM
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Electability sure worked well for us last time.

If that's what the public thinks, then it can go to hell.

But I don't think it is.

The fact I remember is one Chomsky uses: over time, when asked what was wrong with the War in Vietnam, large numbers of Americans, maybe a plurality, answer that it was morally wrong They never heard that on tv, never heard an elected official say so, never read it in the papers. Yet they're right, and elite opinion is wrong.

I believe in the people, the vast numbers who come to conclusions like that


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:04 PM
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Contributing to the thread drift: I say "ching dow" but there's something about the way I say "lychee" that's hilariously wrong. When the Chinese correct me, I go to the Thai restaurant with my improved pronunciation and get laughed at again over there.

She also used the phrase "the Scottish play".

I say this and so does everyone I know. nattarGcM ?

Older people especially get pissed off if you treat this as a joke.

I think the play really is dangerous because it includes low lighting states, often robes, often live flame, lots of fights and violence, and the casting of guys who can look like thugs and swing broadswords, so you get machismo plus some loonies.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:06 PM
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292: Damn! Quit doing that.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:07 PM
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I say this and so does everyone I know. nattarGcM ?

Are you an actor, like everyone else you know?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:08 PM
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We are all actors, aren't we, Ben?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:10 PM
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All the world's a stage, and the pretentious hipsters merely players.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:14 PM
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"the" s/b "we"

300-3!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:15 PM
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300 - 3 + 1!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:15 PM
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299 or 300


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:17 PM
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~SPARTA!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:18 PM
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290:

You don't have any idea, you people. You have no way of making even an uneducated guess. You're just speaking nonsense.

291:

If that's what the public thinks, then it can go to hell.

Ha. Let it be noted thrice that we have no idea what the public thinks, and we mostly guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:26 PM
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294: Yup, but not everyone I know is an actor. The ones who aren't actors wouldn't have a reason to mention the play, so it doesn't come up. I didn't say that very clearly.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:26 PM
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302: "actors" s/b "people who work in the theatre".


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:29 PM
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I've come to a conclusion, different from what I've thought and expressed here before:

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. Not in the primaries, of course, that's not new. But now I know I won't vote for her in November, either. Too wrong, too culpable.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:32 PM
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Oof.

Yeah, if it's Giuliani, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:35 PM
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Dynastic politics and party-insider politics are intimately linked (at the anal level of intimacy) with old-boy networks.

Old-boy networks very rarely turn into old-girl networks, but maybe in India that happened.

But who cares?

Bad!!!11!!!1!!!!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:41 PM
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John are you defending Hillary on some level? Wow.

I'm impressed.

I do think you have a point, but then Bill was never really part of the old-boy networks, either, was he?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:42 PM
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No! Just saying that nobody cares.

Also, drunk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:45 PM
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Also, drunk.

Also impressed!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:45 PM
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The Scottish play? I just call it 'Peter Pan,' like everybody else.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:48 PM
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It's not late enough yet to be drunken fools, you people.

304, IDP:

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton.

Kind of serious. Okay.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 8:54 PM
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311: This is a problem with interwebitudinal communications: people in time zones to the east can be well plowed before I even start to get my drink on. I have to rearrange my day if I'm going to keep pace with Emerson.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:01 PM
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The Scottish play? I just call it 'Peter Pan,' like everybody else.

Yeah, I bet it's hard to get insurance if you're in that one, too.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:11 PM
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313: True, but low lighting, live flame and harnessed actors flying out over the audience can combine to spectacular effect.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:21 PM
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You cannot compete, dude. I am the master of drunken blogging.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:25 PM
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314: Have you ever heard the "Fiasco" episode of This American Life?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:28 PM
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I should just say that I went to my local tavern and met a cute, friendly LA model, a guy who smokes and pickles fish of all kinds, and a guy who has worked out a combined left/right political conspiracy theory. With which I mostly agree.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:29 PM
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Whicxh accounts for me being drunk at an early hour. I had originally planned to drink only one beer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:31 PM
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Wow, that LA-model-fish-pickler-conspiracy-theorist dude sounds like a trip.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:31 PM
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Actually, 3 different people. But there's more diversity here than you would expect. There was also this tremendously cute local skatepunk couple with tattoos.

Note: plain old psychos do not count as "diverse" around here. However, one of the local psychos is apparently buddies with several of the Football Hall of Fame Vikings.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:34 PM
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Also, another psycho was the first person convicted under Clinton's terrorism act, for sarin.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:35 PM
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I am the master of drunken blogging

Praise you, John. You put the 'fun' in 'functioning alcoholism.'

Have you ever heard the "Fiasco" episode of This American Life?

Thanks for reminding me. That was hilarious.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:36 PM
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From 155 -- one who the establishment is rallying around should be, you know, the most Democrat and least Republican one.

No, no, no no, no. Experience -- and geometrical logic, if you want to think about it in unreal scientific terms -- tells us that to win the election, as a Dem, you pick the closest to the center. Of those who've presented themselves.

Now we've got a very small sample size to deal with here: (T)WW, FDR, JFK, JEC, WJC. None was anywhere near what we'd now call the 'progressive' wing of the party. Two of the five won because a significant number of Republicans split off for a 3d party run. Two more won in times of national trauma that had strongly discredited the Republicans, and the last, JFK, was the first to take full advantage of the TV age. And maybe his daddy's money helped in some places . . .

And if you look at the recent races we lost but might have won: Gore got hit by the same thing that killed Taft and GHWB; Kerry couldn't overcome failed Republicanism, because Bin Laden appeared at the same time ostensible supporters were going on and on about how weak he was (and those showing the party not ready for prime time). I think it entirely possible, by the way, that Kerry lost more votes in Ohio and NM to Dem whining about the candidate than to Swiftboating.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:37 PM
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My point is that people need to climb down off their unicorns, and start paying attention to how politics actually works in the country. 2008 is ours to lose, but we can absolutely lose it if we take our eye off the ball.

And yes, IDP, I'm looking at you: of course there's a difference between presidents, and of course it matters which individual ends up being the nominee. But for the general, you're looking not just at whether you'd like to have a beer (or talk religion) with someone, but how they're going to staff the 1,000 most important positions in the government, and who gets appointed to the federal bench. In both admin and judicial appointments, there's not likely to be any material difference between any of the top 5 contenders.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:46 PM
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Screw you, Carp, we're at a rare moment when Democrats don't have to be timid. They just have to put up a candidate who can campaign. No Mondales, no Dukakises, no Kerrys.

I'm not sure that any Democrat can campaign, however. Partly because of the media, but mostly because of them.

I'm asking myself all the time whether any of the top three Dem candidates actually wants to change US foreign and military policy, beyond "try not to fuck things up as bad as possible while delivering tons of graft to your buddies." No evidence that any of them do.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 9:58 PM
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325: Yes there is! Obama, Obama, Obama. The guy was a grassroots activist! In Chicago! He can take a speech and blow that shit up! He's like a rock star! Who loves unions!

But. Fait Accompli gonna come. Aaaaugh. Still, I will speak for Hillary: of course: Giuliani is our doom.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:01 PM
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But will his wives employ a "Fifty State Strategy"?

That's only twelve states per wife, assuming they don't bother to compete Utah and Idaho, so I'd say yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:17 PM
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Why would they skip Utah and Idaho?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:32 PM
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tells us that to win the election, as a Dem, you pick the closest to the center

The problem with that answer is that it doesn't really mean anything. What do we mean by "center"? Any politician that wins an election has nearly definitionally found the center. (Clinton, both times, is an easy exception.) The relevant question is who can win with what sort of coalition. Any of the three available contenders can win, and each will have a different coalition. Of the three, I suspect I would like HRC's coalition least. (I suspect I would like Obama's most, but my support for him is growing more and more tepid, to match the heat of his campaign.) I'll support whomever the Dems throw up there, but I'm not going to be a very happy HRC supporter.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:36 PM
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Either because those are the two most Republican states in the country, or because those are the two most Mormon states in the country.

But I'm not sure about the last one of those. Arizona? Hawaii?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:36 PM
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Nevada and Arizona have significant Mormon populations, but Idaho second only to Utah.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:40 PM
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Arizona? Hawaii?

Mormon, you mean? Not nearly as much as Idaho.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:41 PM
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The only Mormon people I can remember meeting have either been from Hawaii or Michigan, so I wasn't sure.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 10:50 PM
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Why would they skip Utah and Idaho?

He'll send the divorced one to those two states. Because I get the sense he's kinda vindictive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 11:01 PM
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Confession: I will not vote for Hilary in a box, etc... If 2008 should become a contest between Hilary and Rudy, I will begin my Motherland citizenship application. Not that I'll leave, I'll just want an out.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 8-07 11:14 PM
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Great conversation last night:

"No, seriously. If there was an election between [centrist democrat classmate] and Mussolini, I'm voting Mussolini."


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 12:12 AM
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326:
Giuliani is our doom.

ia! ia! Giuliani ftagn!


Posted by: joel hanes | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 12:21 AM
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re: 252 and 254

Yes, it does rhyme (more or less) with manhattan. The main thing is that its neither 'mick' nor 'mack'. In common with other Scottish or Irish names that have a 'g' immediately following the 'mc' or 'mac', the c is silent as it's 'assimilated' into the following 'g'.

As in 'mcgurk' (muh'gurk), macgillivaray (magillvray), etc. The final vowel is also pretty short as in lots of names that end with -an or -on.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:06 AM
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Her name was McGill, and she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:25 AM
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No, that's Betty Jo Bialsky. She's in the aviary. Stuffing bees.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 2:40 AM
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So, n'ttarG'M. Yeah, I wouldn't have come up with that spontaneously.

Screw you, Carp,

Now you're just trying to suck up to Heebie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 5:53 AM
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So, n'ttarG'M. Yeah, I wouldn't have come up with that spontaneously.

I totally was pronouncing it right.

This being the internet, you'll just have to trust me.

That sounds wrong, somehow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 5:56 AM
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The precedent-setting psychotic Daniel M'Naghten was apparently a spelling reformer too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 8:20 AM
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325 -- Would you like a pony with that?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:02 AM
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The relevant question is who can win with what sort of coalition. Any of the three available contenders can win, and each will have a different coalition.

In the nomination race, it's certainly true that coalitions will be different. In the general, though, I'm not sure I'm really seeing it. Are you suggesting that there are people in Ohio who would end up preferring Romney over Obama, but would have gone Clinton over Romney? Are such people identifiable (and quantifiable)? Are they really unreachable (by Obama)? Looking the other way, are there really people who'd go Obama but won't go Clinton (in Ohio -- I don't care about Texas, NY, or left blogistan for this analysis), even if it means, as it quite possibly would, the end of Roe, SS, and plenty of other things?

OK, there are always cranks for the 'nach Romney, uns' position, but it's mighty damn cynical, and, well, I'm not sure I've ever seen it work.

I guess there are also cranks for the position that the differences between the parties -- a yawning chasm on some issues, relatively narrow on others -- are insignificant enough overall that it's better to lose on the issues where they're really different to avoid failure-to-win-big (victory being impossible in any event) on the issues where they aren't so different. That is, half a loaf isn't better than no bread at all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:15 AM
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Are you suggesting that there are people in Ohio who would end up preferring Romney over Obama, but would have gone Clinton over Romney?

Sure. It's not like the only racists in the world are men (or sexists, etc.). People claim Jindal lost to Blanco last time out because of race. I've no reason to think that such people don't exist in Ohio, even if I think they're likely to be less prevalent than in Louisiana.

More to the point, I think Obama's coalition basically has to focus, over the next four to eight years, on building up in the Midwest and Southwest. That will mean different focuses on different policies. Maybe Ohio remains key; maybe we look to NV, NM, and CO. But it won't be quite the same DLC coalition.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:39 AM
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Screw you again, Charley.

I understand what you're saying. It's the same old loser reasonableness. It would make sense in normal politics, but the Democrats are watching a coup d'etat and are incapable of responding. Your wisdom isn't going to help them. It would be very helpful in some alternative universe, certainly.

Whichever lame Democrat takes office in 2009 will have to clean up a big fiscal mess. They'll have to deal with the rightwing courts. They'll have to work with the politicization of the civil service positions -- the people Goodling hired are permanent hires, not "at the pleasure of the president". They'll have to deal with a disastrous international scene, and don't think that the rest of the world will give the Dems credit for being nice.

They will also face a ferocious counterattack from the winger 30% and the Republican plants in the media. Iraq will be their problem (the same way that Bush's Waco and Somalia blunders became Clinton's problem). The economy will be their problem. Taxes will be their problem. And with some justice, because the Democrats signed on to a lot of that.

Some new authoritarian will rise up who doesn't have any negatives, probably someone with little or no record, and he will disavow as much of Bush's legacy as is necessary while continuing the authoritarian, militarist work. The media will cooperate.

The Democrats are still trying to win without fighting, by meeting the Republicans half way, and they're doomed. "If the Democrats can't protect themselves, how can they protect America?" None of them seem aware of that question.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:57 AM
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It's not like the only racists in the world are men (or sexists, etc.).

Oh, sure, that's true. Either Obama or Clinton are going to have to confront this, and both will have running mates that will be closen in part to 'balance' the ticket. It terms of the broader narrative, or what kind of governing coalition emerges, though, I'm not sure it's going to be significant. For example, it''s not like Clinton is going to get the endorsement of the KKK, or be under some pressure to appoint racists to sub-cabinet positions. Or to take positions that are, in some identifiable way, anti-Black.

That is, I don't think that the extent to which these personal preference votes occur is going to have any policy impact. It's only about whether they can win Ohio (and the competitive West), and on this, I agree that any of the 3 leading contenders can -- as the landscape currently exists. I don't know whether the Bin Laden appearance currently scheduled for October 2008 will affect them differently enough to be taken into account.

To my prior comments, let me add the following: I like ponies as much as, and probably more than, the next guy. I think it would be great if we could get some kind of William Jennings Bryan -- without the religious and ethnic bigotries -- to lead a great progressive crusade. There is no such person right now, even if the ground is ripe for it. And it's not the fault of the current self-selected candidates that they are not such a person. In the primary -- and mine is late, so it doesn't matter -- I might just write in Pat Williams (my former congressman, and a good guy).

I'm fed up, though with people acting as if our choice in 2008 is going to be between Hitler and Mussolini. It's between Hitler and Churchill -- and I know that each of us can recite chapter and verse why Churchill sucks in nearly uncountable ways, but really now . . .

[I see that I've got a red card for analogy use -- I'll head for the showers now . . .]


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:12 AM
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Whichever lame Democrat takes office in 2009 will have to clean up a big fiscal mess. They'll have to deal with the rightwing courts. They'll have to work with the politicization of the civil service positions -- the people Goodling hired are permanent hires, not "at the pleasure of the president". They'll have to deal with a disastrous international scene, and don't think that the rest of the world will give the Dems credit for being nice. They will also face a ferocious counterattack from the winger 30% and the Republican plants in the media. Iraq will be their problem (the same way that Bush's Waco and Somalia blunders became Clinton's problem). The economy will be their problem. Taxes will be their problem.

All true. So? You got some man on a white unicorn who can come in and deal with this?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:17 AM
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When Greens talk about how ineffectual the Democrats are, I ask them how effectual the Greens are. But I think that Democrats are looking for ponies too these days. They seem to be waiting for someone else to save them. They're not even trying to capitalize and the Iraq disaster or anything else (always recognizing that the media will muffle whatever their message is). They're pretending it's a normal election to handle cagily and shrewdly. Some Democrat should be screaming bloody murder, but Democrats can't do that. They're just too fucking sensible.

Maybe the Green and Democrats are both right, and Democrats and Greens are both dreaming of ponies. There's no pardox there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:21 AM
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Seriously, Charley, I think Bush won. I don't have a pony for you, but you don't have a pony either. The Democrat elected in 2008 will just be a speed bump, because Democrats are too timid. They'll face fierce opposition from the fanatics, and they won't know what to do.

Semi-related, Brad Delong doesn't want Hillary because (based on healthcare reform) he believes that she's no good either at policy-making or at the politics behind policy-making. He served in the Clinton administration and is hardly a leftist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:27 AM
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Or to take positions that are, in some identifiable way, anti-Black.

You've got to be kidding. The DLC's favorite media moment of all-time was Sista Souljah. Taking a shot at black people is how you signal you're a serious moderate person with the Southern conservative crowd that is one of the DLC's guiding stars. If you go back and look at stories from the early Clinton years, you'll see a lot of worried/hostile comments from various black leaders about Clinton and, more often, the DLC. I think much of that criticism was mistaken or irrelevant, but it's not like no one has ever worried about that point before.

I think it would be great if we could get some kind of William Jennings Bryan -- without the religious and ethnic bigotries -- to lead a great progressive crusade.

I should probably note that I'm not all that progressive, and am not looking for a particularly progressive candidate. I'd like someone who will deal with Southern conservatives from a position of strength. Failing strength, I'll take hostility. I think Obama and Edwards both end up doing one or the other, and end up shaping the party to better be able to do the same in the future. I have serious doubts about HRC (really, her Admin.) on that score.

I'm fed up, though with people acting as if our choice in 2008 is going to be between Hitler and Mussolini. It's between Hitler and Churchill

No one's saying "Mussolini." We're worried about HRC as Petain.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:29 AM
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I take your point abut Sistah S, scmt. 2008 is a long way from 1992, and I think there's little risk on this score. The 'SS moments' from this cycle will be about foreigners, not core members of the coalition. They'll come, though, and while lamentable, they'll be as politically necessary this time as the SS moment was then.

I thought about Petain. With Bush/Cheney gone, though, the analogy really falls apart. I suppose you're thinking that the Right can prevent, for example, repeal of the MCA. I'm not sure, but even if so, the Right can't force affirmative action under the MCA: it can't make the government introduce evidence obtained by torture, even if it can compel the law allowing such evidence to remain on the books. It can't make the government decide that the teenager who threw a grenade ought to be a top priority for the war crimes trials that are the heir to Nuremburg. The point then becomes the judiciary, and while a 'Petain' administration isn't going to give us Thurgood Marshall, we'll get Stephen Breyer.

I've never thought any of the current choices were pony-like. And I don't disagree with DeLong, although there's been a lot of water under the bridge, and I think people shouldn't underestimate HRC's ability to have learned from the mistakes. Still, it's obvious enough that Emerson is right about the size of the bag of flaming shit Bush will leave for the next person to deal with, and that none of the current candidates looks like the re-incarnation of FDR.

It may be said, though, that FDR didn't look like FDR in the '32 campaign either . . .

So I guess I'm not really disagreeing with either of you all that much. I don't understand why you guys don't see the orientation(s) of the populace as the significant barrier that I do -- lament all you want the lack of ponies, but the problem isn't in the character of some self-selected egomaniacs, it's in us. They can't change us, or can't in any quick time period. We're upset about the war in Iraq, but mostly because we didn't just win it. We might today say that we don't want surveillance, but it's a fair bet that if the politicians heeded our wishes, and there was an attack that would've been prevented, we'd be willing to burn those politicians at the stake.

I can see why reasonableness might be considered a weakness. After all, this is the exact argument made in favor of the suspension of habeas, passage of the MCA, and all the rest. It's the argument made by Bush/Cheney about the obsolescence of the reality-based community. And maybe the answer to the coup by Right irrationality is a coup by Left irrationality.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:06 PM
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I don't understand why you guys don't see the orientation(s) of the populace as the significant barrier that I do

Totally right.

As for HRC and DeLong, DeLong has since modified and said he's been told that she's learned a lot since then.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:15 PM
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Charley, if you look at the polls on the issues, the Democrats don't need to be cautious. The populace isn't the main problem, even granting the Electoral College small-state advantage.

When you look at the dominant media, the first enormous problem does appear. The Democrats don't have "traction". Why not? People laugh at my conspiracy theory, but most of TV and radio is right wing, and the supposed liberal newspapers have been consistently playing a destructive game. I say that it's because, between owners and advertisers, the media have their axes to grind and are acutely aware of their political interests and preferences.

Same way for campaign finance. The well-paid pros, the big donors, and the media selling advertising all have an interest in keeping big money in the driver's seat. So you get corporate liberalism.

My beef with you is that I've been talking about what we need, and you've been ridiculing me because we probably won't get it. It's like I was looking for a fire extinguisher and you were laughing at me because you knew we didn't have one. Not really funny.

I'm very close to deciding that the game's lost forever. My current motive isn't the pres. candidates, but Pelosi and Reid's cave on the Iraq War. But I don't think that any of the candidates are up to what you're facing, and I'm not even sure that they're on my side.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:25 PM
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New cookbook author for people who are easily amused


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:28 PM
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I did have a clue about the "orientation of the populace" last night. I talked to an old friend who's been a left-liberal as long as I remember. His family is hard right, and he has a new hard-right girlfriend. He's basically caved in to her, not agreeing but keeping his mouth shut.

My guess is that half the people around here are anti-war, but last night I realized that the anti-war sentiment is never expressed in public. Why? Intimidation. The pro-war are very strongly pro-war, and they quickly get angry and threatening. The anti-war are mild-mannered. The parents of troops are especially touchy; even though some of them might be anti-war, you don't want to bring things up in front of them. Mostly, they're just praying for their kid to come home intact.

There are a lot of mysteries in the "orientation of the populace" question. To the extent that the Democrats weakness is explained entirely in terms of "the average voter", I think that's false. Bush has 30% approval now, but no one dares fight him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:37 PM
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My beef with you is that I've been talking about what we need, and you've been ridiculing me because we probably won't get it. It's like I was looking for a fire extinguisher and you were laughing at me because you knew we didn't have one. Not really funny.

I think that the chances of getting what you want are reduced by certain tactical and strategic choices people are apparently willing to make. Worried HRC won't be on your side? Announce today that you wouldn't vote for her no matter who the opponent is. That'll change her mind.

(I realize that you didn't make that announcement).

I think the better option is to join the coalition, and pull in the direction you want from the inside. Because while this isn't guaranteed to work, and certainly won't on every issue, all the alternatives are, so far as I can see, absolutely doomed to fail.



Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:39 PM
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Charley, people have been saying that for at least 20 years, maybe 32, and there's no evidence that it's worked.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:46 PM
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But it seems to have worked for the extremists who worked within the Republican party.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:47 PM
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The Republicans have always coddled their extremists (since 1968). The extremists weren't infiltrating, they were recruited. And the Republicans haven't really run from the center since 1972; they've tried to fool people, but they've always done things to keep the wackos happy. It's the moderates who've been purged.

By contrast, the Democrats have been telling me "Take it or leave it" for about 20 years, and the left has been purged.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 1:58 PM
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359 -- John, that's where you run off the tracks, imo. It's worked (a) some and (b) a whole lot better than the alternatives would have. Clinton's second term, as much of a mess as it was, was way better than Dole's first term would have been (except it might have spared us GWB -- but no one can bring that kind of calculation to bear).

You want something better than the last Clinton presidency, I get that. So do I. I don't think you can get it this time. Neither do you. I think that the line you would take, though, risks giving up even the half-loaf of a re-run Clinton presidency. If all there is on the menu is half-loaf and no-loaf, and if there's no realistic prospect that boycotting or going with no-loaf is going to get the menu changed, then you really haven't got any choice but to go with the half-loaf.

I've not heard a coherent narrative for how the menu gets changed. You went through the last clearly Democratic moment (1976), and I know you know how easily it can all go wrong. I don't think we had a better play between then and now than any that were executed.

I'm very close to deciding that the game's lost forever.

How you managed to avoid concluding this in the 1980s is a mystery to me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 2:10 PM
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I don't get your point about the 80s. When Reagan was reelected I realized that things were very, very serious, but I didn't think it was the end of the world.

My options include expatriating and living out my life while the US does whatever it does. I'm close to deciding that there's no point in my trying to contribute to American politics. I've never liked or respected professedly apolitical people or political defeatists, mostly because they seldom seem very insightful and often are veiled non-Republican rightwingers. But I'm close to becoming one, and that's the issue now for me. You can only do lesser evil and "wait for later" for so long, and political involvement has a cost.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 2:28 PM
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Puppet's & Pitchforks! All Burkes burnt in effigy! The darkness before the dawn is the time to partyyyyy like it's 1968!!! Whatever Faulkner said!!

What a bunch of tripfuckers around here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 3:23 PM
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I don't understand why you guys don't see the orientation(s) of the populace as the significant barrier that I do

The difference is that you see a populace, I think it's populaces. If we need an Enemy--and I could see that it's at least politically useful--it doesn't need to be foreigners. It could, per Schaller, be Southern conservatives. As they've gained power, their critique of American society has extended well beyond race, and is irritating a lot of people, including the irreligious, the white ethnics, the urbanites, etc. It's not as if there is no history on which to graft an argument for good-enough intellectual respectability (the bar being equivalent to the Iraq-9/11 connection). And--as African-Americans and Jews the world over know--the best kind of enemy is the Internal Enemy. A Democratic Party could run against Southern conservatives forever.

But a DLC President will never, ever do that. So if HRC gets elected, ogged (and probably gay people, at a minimum) be ready to lie back and think of England.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 3:41 PM
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Let me tentatively agree with Tim for once.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 3:54 PM
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A Democratic Party could run against Southern conservatives forever.

Would that it were so. "Reagan Democrats" are essentially northerners who see themselves as culturally aligned with Southern conservatives, rather than with urbanites, atheists, Jews, and African-Americans. There are enough of them in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Colorado to make running against the South a pretty high risk game.

I'm not saying that they -- ostensibly Northern white men -- can't be split off; that realignment is impossible. But I'm agreeing that HRC isn't the one to do it. Neither is BHO, at least as much as we've seen of him to date. I don't think I've ever seen one who could do it, not once the genies of 1968 were let out of their bottles.

I guess I'm sorry about Ogged & the Gays. They can perhaps take consolation that when McManus emerges as Robespierre, I (and all like me) will be well and truly fucked.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 3:55 PM
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365:ogged (and probably gay people, at a minimum) be ready to lie back and think of England.

ogged would probably not appreciate it, but I decided the other day I was no longer comfortable with making jokes or dire predictions about Iran. I will probably violate this resolution thoughtlessly at any moment, but for just a moment I remembered he had people there and feelings for a beautiful country that in no way deserves...never mind.

"So, we'll see after 9/11 whether the Bush administration can repeat history without it turning into a farce. Lord knows, Iran's regime will elicit little sympathy from Americans -- nor should it."
...Dan Drezner on rumours of war.

Farce. Regime hell, it won't be only or even the mullahs who get hurt by the bombing campaign against 1200 targets. Fuck you Dan Drezner, til you bleed from any and all holes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 3:57 PM
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368 -- I tease bob, but let me join wholeheartedly with him in resolving to remember that people in Iran, like everywhere else, aren't colored blocks on a Risk board.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 4:04 PM
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I'll thank Charley for 367 in the face of the fact that it's more than just depressing, but horribly disturbing. Which is what people have been dancing around. I'm not sure what we gain, in the end, by pretending that this country isn't still driven by the voting will of the southern conservative or Reagan democrat.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 5:45 PM
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We're not sure to gain anything, but what we might hope to gain is a country not dominated by them. Your "pretend", of course, prejudges the case.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 5:52 PM
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What we might hope to gain?

I'll bring us back to that moment when those of us who understand what we're talking about were in our teens. We said to ourselves and to each other: can we best overcome this system we see by combatting it from the outside, or from within?

We might have been badly conflicted about this for a while. We made differing decisions, or chose to evade the question.

We're still on this, here, now. ?? I'm not sure if I think this is pathetic. That doesn't mean it doesn't upset me.

It should be clear by now that yes, I'm in CharleyC's and Ogged's camp. We are dealing with the American public we have. We aren't going to change their minds in short order.

I haven't given up for the longer term.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 6:17 PM
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"Reagan Democrats" are essentially northerners who see themselves as culturally aligned with Southern conservatives, rather than with urbanites, atheists, Jews, and African-Americans.

As you said before, 1992 is not 2008. People on our side tend to put too little faith in people on our side. We've had more than a decade of (domestic) peace and prosperity. Over that time, a shocking (sincerely shocking to me) number of bridges have been built. One place one can see this is in the change in attitude among older people toward gay people. They care more than the young, but less than they used to.

Neither is BHO, at least as much as we've seen of him to date.

Someone psuedo-respectable just had a reference to his crossover numbers, which are apparently outrageous. Furthermore, while I don't think electing a black President is much more than "ooh, neat," I think having a successful black President would make that Northern coalition even stronger. Post-Clinton, nobody really wonders if a woman is up to any Cabinet -level job. (My personal opinion is that they don't much wonder about gender as a disqualification for any job.)

Edwards, I think, could also crossover a lot, though it would be a different coalition. Maybe we end up picking up VA, NC, TN, and AK and begin welding them to us. That would be equally fine with me. That's where they belong.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 6:22 PM
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For me the long term started in 1968, not now. Unless something is done immediately I think that a militaristic, authoritarian American world empire will be locked into place. I don't see the present crop of Democratic candidates changing that.

As far as the "American public we have now", I'd be happier if people realized that what it really means "the media we have now", "the political parties we have now", "the campaign finance system we have now", "the foreign policy establishment we have now", and "the Washington establishment we have now". Blaming the average voter is delusional.

I hope to God (should he exist) that we're not rehashing the 2000 Green debate. This is really something different.

I don't claim to have a solution. I'm just saying is that the reasonable Carp-Parsimon-Ogged answer is ponies all the way down.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 7:03 PM
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Here's a link about "the American public we have now". They're not the problem. The stupidity we're dealing with is elite stupidity.

But the Democrats, as a matter of principle, will refuse to capitalize on the Iraq issue, because they're only slightly different than Bush.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 7:27 PM
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What ponies? I think we're fucked. You're the one with hope, oldster.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 7:31 PM
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OK, but while the aggressive strategy will probably lose, it might win. I don't see the cautious strategy winning no way no how. The standard prudent course is not usable in crises.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 7:36 PM
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14. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem.

On desperate ground, fight.


Posted by: Sun Tzu | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 7:42 PM
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JE, I think you're totally miscalculating the difference between a half-assed Democratic presidency and a full on Republican presidency. The 'speed bump,' if you will, is damn important. Now no one can reverse the damage done by the Nader candidacy, at least not in less than a decade. But it's clear enough that having given us Addington and Yoo, the theorists of a more aggressive left ought to think about whether they've completely misunderstood what kind of country they live in.

You say above that you're tired of going along with the Dem coaltion, but the fact is that a great many people decided in 2000 to take matters into their own hands, and have really screwed up the world. And you say that my strategy isn't working?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 8:48 PM
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Poll numbers look good on the war now. National poll numbers. National numbers don't reflect how politics works, either in presidential or congressional contests, but even if the polls are good on one issue now, more than a year ahead of the election, that doesn't necessarily mean it's smart to play only on that issue.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 8:54 PM
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I'm watching "Alive Day Memories" right now, a 22 yr old former sniper with severe damage to his frontal lobes... my god, whatever else, if we can get the fuck out of Iraq we'll have done something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 8:55 PM
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I'll bring us back to that moment when those of us who understand what we're talking about were in our teens.

...

I guess I really don't understand what you're talking about, because I thought I was following just fine, and I wasn't a teenager at the same time as you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 8:57 PM
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382:

I'm sorry, no, I didn't mean to put a time-stamp on any of it.

I meant merely this: I and my friends went through a politically angst-ridden phase in our teens. I didn't know if people younger than myself still do.

As for what we're talking about: the emerging topic upthread was whether we should fight the power from within or without. I had the thought that this might be an outdated concern.

I certainly didn't intend to exclude anyone on the basis of age. I also can't stay up much later.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:39 PM
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As for what we're talking about: the emerging topic upthread was whether we should fight the power from within or without.

Other than possibly mcmanus, I sort of doubt it. Even Emerson's choices are (a) fight within the system, or (b) leave.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:46 PM
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No, I believe CharleyCarp's well-argued option was to fight from within.

The argument was whether this constitutes a fight at all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:53 PM
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No, I believe CharleyCarp's well-argued option was to fight from within.

AFAICT, Obama falls within, as does Edwards. Unless you have a very different understanding of "fighting within" than I do. If "fighting within" means "acceding to the wishes of the HRC faction," then, yeah, it probably doesn't constitute a fight at all.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:56 PM
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Arguing about who should be elected or what strategies to pursue hardly seems like arguing about within/without "the system."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 10:58 PM
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AFAICT, Obama falls within, as does Edwards.

Correct, that's what some of the diatribes above were drifting toward: it really stopped being about HRC (or the DLC) and started being about whether the Democratic party in general was worthy.

CharleyCarp was arguing that it was worthy enough to warrant a vote, even a vote for Hillary Clinton, given that the alternative is a Republican candidate. Others began to argue that it was not.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:09 PM
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A Democratic Party could run against Southern conservatives forever.

It fucking well ought to, even if it wasn't a winning strategy. Which I'm pretty sure it would be.

I'd like someone who will deal with Southern conservatives from a position of strength. Failing strength, I'll take hostility. I think Obama and Edwards both end up doing one or the other

I hope so, and either certainly would more than Clinton, but I'd feel better about Obama if I saw him doing it in the campaign.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 9-07 11:11 PM
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379: Since 1988 your strategy has been dominant, and it hasn't worked. We're far worse off in every way now than then. The only Democratic success (Cklinton) consisted of meeting the Republicans halfway, and even so, Clinton was viciously trashed. Since 1994 the Republicans have become a.) much more vicious and b.) much more successful.

"Playing to just one issue": The Democrats are hardly playing to the Iraq War issue at all. Clinton is maintaining her hawkishness, Edwards and Obama are fudging, and Reid and Pelosi are caving in.

Clinton I ratified half of Bush I and Reagan, and Clinton II would ratify half of Bush II. She's authoritarian and militarist. And there would be a fierce counterattack aimed at destroying Clinton continuing the Republican Revolution a

A key point I made is the distinction between "the people" and "the political process" (and media, etc.) We liberals always blame the stupid masses for our problems now, but what we're really fighting is a powerful, well-funded elite system of manipulation and disinformation. The Democrats have acceded to the elite system now in place and are part of it now (playing the role of the always-losing Washington Wizards). They have not taken any chances since 1972, and they've consistently lost that way. Talk about over-learning the lesson.

If we're arguing about whether I'll vote for Clinton in the general, I will. But I won't expect anything. It will be the final nail in the coffin as far as I'm concerned. In the primaries I'd prefer Edwards, though I'm not t all confident in him either.

Not mentioned is the assumption that Clinton, as a supposed centrist, is the stronger candidate. She has enormous negatives. Yglesias has pointed out that, as a centrist hawk who's believed to be a liberal dove, Hillary is the worst possible candidate.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:03 AM
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"I think the better option is to join the coalition, and pull in the direction you want from the inside. Because while this isn't guaranteed to work, and certainly won't on every issue, all the alternatives are, so far as I can see, absolutely doomed to fail."

Agreed. As shocking as it might seem, not everyone is a liberal democrat. It isn't all smoke and mirrors by the Republicans, tricking the entire population to vote for Republican causes.

The side that will win is the side that can excite the far reaches of their side while still drawing in the middle. When you abandon the Democratic party, you are saying that a slightly far right President is better than a moderate President in the middle.

Would you really choose Bush over Clinton? Of course not. Clinton was certainly not perfect (Rwanda, etc...), but hell, I'd take George I over George II anyday.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:41 AM
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Yglesias has pointed out that, as a centrist hawk who's believed to be a liberal dove, Hillary is the worst possible candidate.

Which of the Republicans do you prefer over Hillary?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:42 AM
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Slightly OT, I love Bill Moyers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1UfFEiY5Vc


http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:22 AM
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Will: Worst possible candidate. Worst possible Democratic candidate. She's been smeared as a liberal, so she won't be an effective centrist candidate -- you wouldn't believe the bitterness of hatred she arouses. But she's also bad because, once in office, she would be too conservative.

This argument has been used since 1988, and it has led both the Democratic Party and the US to slide steadily right. It's plausible but you have to learn from experience. During that time the Democrats have never tried to push back or to develop an alternative message. It's all been short term reactive, and is a major part of the reason that voters see the Democrats as opportunist wimps.

Second, I'm not promoting Nader or any other third party. I'm just saying that the Democrats should not slide to the center, but should nominate a strong campaigner who can capitalize on the Republican failures and who, when in office, will make a difference. That's not Hillary.

Third, you're still mistaking the political process and "The American People". The problem isn't that the stupid people disagree with Democrats on the issues, it's that the Democrats can't campaign effectively in the current media-campaign-finance environment. I don't have a solution but you are misidentifying what's happening.

Fourth, as I've been saying, you're wrong about what's at stake. You're talking about crisis politics as though it were normal politics, and so are the Democrats, and that can't work. The present case in point is Reid and Pelosi's feeble response to Bush on Iraq. They have strong cards in their hand (filibuster, Bush's need to finance the war), but they're afraid to confront Bush and they're afraid to go to the American people.

If Bush can't be confronted America is finished. At soe point the Democrats have to take their chances and fight. They have to quit trying to find the middle ground, because with today's Republicans there can't be any.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:26 AM
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I don't think Charley actually is arguing fight from within. He has actually argued to me that the Democratic war vote in 2002 was necessary & good, & the Kerry nomination was necessary & good, because otherwise we would have lost by worse & been in worse shape for 2006.

(Unless I misinterpreted something there).

I think this is exactly, 100% wrong, and ignores: (1) how much political opinion swings in polls based on how you phrase the question; (2) the tendency of the media to present the GOP and Democratic position as equally extreme/reasonable regardless of the merits; (3) the method the GOP actually used during its period of dominance (contrast the Democratic approach to filibusters with the GOP--which has gotten better results?) (4) the fact that any given vote is not actually likely to swing an election.

I also think it's unfalsifiable. If you try to argue national polls, well, elections occur district by district. If you try to argue election results--well, see above for 2002 and 2004: you get the response that we could have lost even worse. There are no reliable issue specific, district by district polls that the public has access to--and then you have the fact that voters are not necessarily going to vote against a Senator or seriously consider doing so just because he disagrees with them. I mean, unless there's some vast gap between the Nebraskan & Dakotan electorates, Ben Nelson does not actually HAVE to vote the way he does.

Basically it comes down to an unfalsifiable assumption that the American people just suck & always will--or at least, a critical mass of them in necessary districts do.

The Democrats certainly assume this. In the absence of detailed polling on a subject, they just assume that doing what they see as the right thing is politically suicidal. The prototypical example of this is the Schiavo issue.

That assumption, made by both parties, is EXACTLY what has gotten us where we are today.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:28 AM
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384:Other than possibly mcmanus, I sort of doubt it. Even Emerson's choices are (a) fight within the system, or (b) leave.

Well, this is really reall tough, and one I have been thinking about since the summer of 2002. I am with Emerson, it is not about the public, unless, like Tim, it is about an intransigent 20-30% of it.

Brad DeLong has an post about a new book on the German economy, and the relationship of the economic system to the inevitable wars. A nation that devotes as much of its budget to arms as we do has to use them. Iraq, Iran, could be Venezuela or China. And I am not hearing about massive cuts in defense and security budgets.

So, honest to God, I have been asking since around Jan 2003, what does a decent person do in Germany 1935? I was asking it on the old Newberry blog. Work from within or leave? The future was damn sure predictable.

As Silber says, it ain't about me, it ain't about us. It is about the millions of innocents that were killed by the Germans and will be killed by America.

If I working from within will fail, well, I can't leave either. I am an American, and I have done things that enabled or tolerated the monster. I would rather die in a futile gesture than be Thomas Mann writing the ultimate horror story in the palm trees in LA.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:31 AM
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Ok then, Katherine and John, you suggest sitting out the next election?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:31 AM
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I also obviously am in no position to criticize anyone else's choice. They are all horrible. I speak only for myself, and I can't leave.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:35 AM
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397: That'd be an odd reading of what they both say and I agree with -- that this is a time when it makes sense to push as hard as we can on the points where the public agrees with us, and not with the Republicans, on the really important issues like getting the hell out of Iraq and not pulling shit like that again, and domestically on UHC and such.

Emerson's said he'll vote for Clinton in the general if that's who's running, and I'm sure Katherine feels the same.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:45 AM
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Although I have told Katherine I think she would be more useful as an expatriate. Emerson & I are just schmoes, Carp has family.

And Katherine's talents probably are serving not by making molotov cocktails, but helping the int'l community resist.

Arrgant & assholish of me to say it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:47 AM
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Read what I wrote, Will. I said I'd vote for Hillary. #390, next to last paragraph. Perhaps I should write more simply.

You're being a dumbass. I'm trying to tell you what's at stake here, and why a cautious approach won't work, and how the Democrats' cautious strategy hasn't worked in the past, and why it hasn't. You still want to blame Nader for everything, and argue against Nader when I' m not advocating Nader, because that allows you not to look at the Democrats or at yourself.

This election has a lot to do with what my political expectations will be during the remain years of my life, and if Hillary is elected those expectations will be very low. I will expect American to remain an authoritarian militarist regime dominated by big money, worse than it is already. (Bush has back-loaded a lot of his damage).

I'm not sure that there's any alternative, but I think there should be an attempt to find one. Working against that are the media, the big-money donors, and the Democratic insiders. I do not think that "The American People" are the main problem. This is an elite problem.

You can't win if you don't play.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:49 AM
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I think it's a mistake to think of recent national elections in terms of left and right. There's no left to speak of in DC anyhow. Democrats keep losing because they look like they're afraid to hit back. They have appeared unwilling to get in the other side's face and tell them to go fuck themselves. Jim Webb's relative conservatism helped him in Virginia, of course, but I suspect his win had just as much to do with his campaigning style as his positions. It's the same reason Tom Harkin keeps winning in Iowa despite sporting a voting record decidedly more liberal than most of that state.

An awful lot of the Democratic Party appears afraid to take a punch, much less throw one. They're terrified the GOP is going to run nasty ads against them, which the GOP does regardless of whether they cave or not. This could be a moment of big political realignment, but only if the Democrats actually strap on the gloves and start throwing haymakers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:52 AM
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Oh, and on Nader: I voted for him in 2000. It was in Massachusetts; I made vague attempts to vote-swap with someone in Oregon; and I wouldn't have considered voting for him in a state where the outcome could conceivably have been in doubt.

I regret it, for various reasons. Right away I regretted it: it wouldn't have changed anything, but I wanted to be in Gore's column in the popular vote results during the recount fiasco. And as the years went on, Nader turned out to suck (in retrospect overlooked very clear indications of this), Bush turned out to suck even worse than I thought (though I was predicting doom fairly early, based primarily on the juxtaposition between the compassionate conservative rhetoric & the Texas death penalty system), and Gore turned out to be awesome (he sure hid it well at the time) and the idea that Nader would actually influence the Democrats to move left was in retrospect ridiculous.

But the idea that this vote makes me personally responsible for everything that's gone wrong is also ridiculous. I was in Massachusetts, not Florida. There was no conceivable way that my vote could affect the outcome: if Mass. was close, then the country wouldn't be. Vote swapping was actually my best bet, though I don't know if the guy held up his end of the deal.

And even when it comes to Florida--Nader's margin was a cause-in-fact, yes, but for smart people to talk as if it was the ONLY cause-in-fact, which gives the rest of the Democratic party a clean slate for the complete botch of things they've made since then, makes no sense to me.

I'm not tempted to vote Green or stay home in 2008. Not that it would actually matter if I did--if Illinois is close the election won't be--it's more for civics-class reasons than anything else. But I think as far as actual political effort beyond voting is concerned, it is best spent on: (1) primaries (I swear, if I had the time or money I'd fucking consider a doomed run against Emanuel), (2) working on behalf of issues rather than candidates.

I can imagine good, under-funded, under-volunteer-staffed candidates who I'd be excited about campaigning for, but in general, meh. There are better things to do with my time than phone banking for a candidate I don't especially like (also, I am LOUSY at phone banking, & it's very difficult to do substantive work for a campaign unless you already have a connection), and better uses of my money than buying a millisecond worth of tv time for some stupid ad to play for the 500th time.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:53 AM
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I will expect American to remain an authoritarian militarist regime dominated by big money, worse than it is already. (Bush has back-loaded a lot of his damage).

Probably won't last another decade, Emerson. I could be wrong, and this could be the start of a 100-year Reich, but I expect a depression and World War, which America will lose.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:56 AM
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Jim Webb's relative conservatism helped him in Virginia, of course, but I suspect his win had just as much to do with his campaigning style as his positions.

I agree. Any Democratic candidate should take a stand and not be afraid to fight. Once you give in to the Republican's framing of the issues, you are in trouble.

But, I don't think you are going to see any true liberals winning national elections any time soon.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:03 AM
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Personally, I would have Democrats campaigning with huge signs with the cost of the War compared to cost of security measures that could have been done to protect us here.

Also, as much as it is an issue of personal interest to me, I would keep abortion out of the equation as much as possible. But, when people talk about partial birth abortion, I would hit back hard with the actual facts.

Partial Birth:

Medical necessity, not convenience.
No abortions stopped
Risker for women, the safest medical procedure eliminated.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:08 AM
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Also, Emerson, I stand corrected, I am trying to multitask and didnt read your post carefully. I apologize.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:09 AM
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I agree with "won't change people's mind quickly." So when do we get to start trying? When I'm 75?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:19 AM
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An awful lot of the Democratic Party appears afraid to take a punch, much less throw one.

This I absolutely agree with. But I think it's more than that. Bill Clinton and the DLC were necessary electoral appeal correctives to the Democratic Party. In 1992. Whether they admit it or not, the vast majority of people who openly support the Dems are neolibs of one form or another. But there is nothing necessary or eternal about the lines drawn by Bill Clinton. And there's a fair bit to recommend redrawing them. In specific, those lines appear to yield a very closely divided American voter population. Defending those lines feels like defending the lines in WWI. It's all mildly useless trench warfare in which a few yards are traded for many, many lives and no one is much better off.

But, I don't think you are going to see any true liberals winning national elections any time soon.

I don't know what "true liberal" means. I'm not sure who, among the commenters, would qualify. And Apo's right about the "left/right" bullshit as well; that point motivated my prior paragraph.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:30 AM
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It's the same reason Tom Harkin keeps winning in Iowa despite sporting a voting record decidedly more liberal than most of that state.

I forgot the corollary: it's why the GOP kept on winning despite espousing minority positions on so many issues.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:34 AM
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Here is Nouriel Roubini on the upcoming "hard landing".

The comments are even more pessimistic and radical, including saying a FDR WPA style program won't save our asses.

OK, so spring-summer of 2008 we have a new war and a horrific recession. Deficits to the moon, baby! Republicans will not, will not raise taxes, unless on workers (VAT, FICA). But tax raises during a recession? Or massive spending and entitlement cuts?

You think you hate your Democrats now. And the situation reminds me so much of 2002...naw, I'm not paranoid. Bernanke and Wall Street couldn't, wouldn't do that.

Maybe I need to study Finance during Weimar and beyod.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:35 AM
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I don't know what "true liberal" means. I'm not sure who, among the commenters, would qualify.

A perfectly valid point.

So, why don't start with the basics for a Democrat? I'll start with the relatively easy ones:

1. First trimester access to abortion for adults who can pay for it themselves.
2. Access to firearms with background checks for non-felons and the not-mentally ill.
3. Drugs are bad. Dealers go to jail.
4. Don't mess with America! If you attack us or support those who attack us, we will attack you.
5. Immigration. We cannot let terrorists sneak into the country. We should enforce our current immigration laws. Here is how much it costs to beef up immigration control.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:41 AM
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So when do we get to start trying? When I'm 75?

What does "start trying" mean? I thought that many of the people in this thread are trying, in one form or another.

Just as nobody on this thread has advocated voting green, nobody has advocated Hillary as a best option, just as a most likely option that we should be ready to work with.

We would all like to see a different Deomcratic Party, Media, and Republican party than we see know. I feel like the frustration is partially because of those three elements, the Democratic Party is one the one that least urgently needs to change, but it is the one over which we feel like we have the most (potential) influence.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:42 AM
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Even money Dems lose Congress in 2008. 60/40 a Republican President.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:44 AM
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Are this things you think of as uncontroversial basics? Because I've got real trouble with three, and probably with five, which seems underspecified to me.

Four has its own problems around the definitions of "mess with", "attack", and "support". While there are certainly versions of it I could work with, I would tend to assume anyone who said something like four didn't mean something I could support.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:44 AM
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Are this things you think of as uncontroversial basics?

Basics for an electable Democrat.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:47 AM
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I appreciated the sarcasm in 412.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:48 AM
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403: If you are voting because you think your vote might change the outcome of the election, then you are voting for the wrong reason. Even Florida wasn't changed by a single vote.

I think it's fairly important that the Left learn from the Nader fiasco, and I think there's some evidence that this learning hasn't taken place. That said, it is pretty amazing what a bad president Bush turned out to be. Like you, I thought the difference between Gore and Bush was much smaller than it actually was.

(I certainly don't suffer from the delusion that the difference between, say, Hillary and Giuliani is small, but I think some do.)

Nader's margin was a cause-in-fact, yes, but for smart people to talk as if it was the ONLY cause-in-fact, which gives the rest of the Democratic party a clean slate for the complete botch of things they've made since then, makes no sense to me.

Conservatives use a version of this argument a lot: Liberals are blame-America-firsters because they focus on America's flaws. In fact, the flaws of Americans are of important interest to Americans, and are rightly emphasized by Americans. The flaws of the liberal movement are appropriate conversational fodder for liberals, and rightly occupy a big chunk of the conversation.

Obviously, though, Republicans are at fault for Bush much more than Nader. That doesn't seem like a very helpful observation, though.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:49 AM
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Whoops, I thought you were trying to define a "real liberal".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:50 AM
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"when do we start trying" referred to the Democratic party.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:54 AM
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katherine:

What positions should the Democratic party take?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:56 AM
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412: I don't have a particular problem with any of those. My preferred campaign would probably be a bit more nationalistic and try to seize nationalism back from the Republicans, but that's a start.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:56 AM
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They should have voted against the Iraq war, they should make a serious effort to end it now, they should have voted against the FISA revisions, they should have filibustered the MCA, they should actually make global warming a key part of their platform, they should be conducting serious investigations about the worst Bush-era abuses of power rather than the ones they think are the most politically risk-free, they should actually discuss our mess of a criminal justice system, they should have used an appropriations rider to prohibits funds being used to bomb Iran.

That's my one minute stream of consciousness answer. A thorough one would require more thought than I have time to give it right now.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:00 AM
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422:

I certainly believe that a successful campaign could be run on the message about America leading as a force for doing the right thing.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:00 AM
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I also have a huge problem with 5, on your list. And voters don't actually even support enforcing the current immigration laws, because: (1) it's too expensive; (2) it involves ruining more lives than most people actually have the stomach for. Why do we have these meanspirited laws we don't have the stomach to enforce? Because of the electoral strategy you seem to advocate.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:04 AM
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I certainly believe that a successful campaign could be run on the message about America leading as a force for doing the right thing.

Fuck that. I want a campaign that effectively defines the Southern conservatives out of what it means to be American. Do that successfully and you might get a rump Republican Party that drives itself to greater and greater heights of hysteria. Or, basically, the wing of the Republican Party that thought Eisenhower was a communist agent. People are looking for someone to blame; tell'em that it wasn't them, but the "barely American" leaders that led them astray, and they'll find themselves comforted by the idea. And, as previously said, it's not like there's nothing to graft such an argument onto.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:08 AM
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(when I say polls show--I bet "enforce our immigration laws" polls great. "Deport everyone who is here illegally" does not poll so great. Just as "keep terrorists off the street" polls great; "imprison people without giving them a trial" polls lousy. This is what I mean about phrasing the question affecting people's opinion of the issues. A skillful politician ought to be able to phrase the question, & present the facts, well enough that voters either are convinced to agree with him or at least respect his position.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:08 AM
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Immigration. We cannot let terrorists sneak into the country. We should enforce our current immigration laws. Here is how much it costs to beef up immigration control.

I agree with you Katherine that it is too expensive and that most people don't really support funding it.

But, it is suicide to suggest that you will not enforce our immigration laws. When you list the cost, the people then decide whether to let Congress act on it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:09 AM
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Tim, you and I should run on a ticket together.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:09 AM
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Katherine:

It sounds like we basically agree.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:10 AM
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At this point in our country, I suspect that most people buy into the theme of "Keep government out of our lives!*"


*"Except in extreme situations, protect the helpless from hunger, protect us from violence (from criminals or terrorists)"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:12 AM
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"agree with you Katherine that it is too expensive and that most people don't really support funding it.

But, it is suicide to suggest that you will not enforce our immigration laws. When you list the cost, the people then decide whether to let Congress act on it."

Okay, so you want Democratic presidential candidates to support bills that are bad policy & they don't really support in the hopes that it'll die in Congress.

I have to say, for all the crap she's gotten on this thread, even Hillary knows better than that.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:13 AM
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No. I think that this issue is similar to speeding or pot.

Few people really want the police cracking down on people speeding 3 miles above the speed limit. Few people really want the police to speed much time cracking down on pot.

But, the laws are going to get changed any time soon.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:17 AM
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386: AFAICT, Obama falls within, as does Edwards. Unless you have a very different understanding of "fighting within" than I do.

I think it's an overlooked fact that Kucinich or Gravel, too, fight from within.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:27 AM
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5. Immigration. We cannot let terrorists sneak into the country. We should enforce our current immigration laws. Here is how much it costs to beef up immigration control.

o hai i can haz rant now?

5a. All policies designed to enforce immigration laws should acknowledge that the policies have to work in reality. Round 'em up, send 'em home... and how many years does it take if you round them all up and keep the current number of judges authorized to sign deportation orders? About 72 years. To stop terrorists from sneaking in? How many of the 9/11 hijackers entered illegally vs. the number who had legitimate, authorized student visas and valid I-94s?

If you want people to be legal, it helps for the agency responsible for their legitimacy to be well-managed. USCIS had a fee increase six weeks ago. We were unfortunate enough to file one day after the increase took effect. Right after everyone and their mother filed. As a result, we have been waiting six weeks... oh, no, not for the green card, not for the work permit, not for the piece of paper that allows shivbunny to get his fingerprints taken, for the RECEIPT that proves we filed. During this time, he cannot work, he cannot get a driver's license ('you need your receipt, didn't you file?!'), or insurance, or a social security card, or a bank account. To file, the forms must be mailed in physically, even though I have seen more complicated college applications.

By the time we get through this process, he will have been fingerprinted three times, filled out identical forms twice, been through two vaccinations because the civil surgeons won't give you the results. He's going to be bionic shivbunny if this keeps up.

And if the delays push us past my graduation date in graduate school, he'll be denied because I won't be able to prove that I make enough money to support him. Then deported and subject to a three-year ban for overstaying his fiance visa.

The illegal immigrants and undocumented workers (oh yes, there's a difference) have the right idea. Fuck USCIS.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:27 AM
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Right--but *why* won't the laws change? Would voters actually stop it? I don't think most voters have a clue about the fine print of immigration laws.

I was in the position last year of occasionally having to enforce those stupid laws , or of having to twist around & bend backwards not to, e.g., send someone to rot & maybe die in a Haitian prison because of a minor drug possession conviction when he was 19 years old. You also read about things like the definition of "material support to a terrorist organization" which are so broad as to apply to:
(1) George Washington (he supported an armed group that tried to use violence against the legally recognized gov't).
(2) refugees who were raped & tortured by terrorist organizations (if they provided food, water or shelter at gun or knife point)
(3) U.S. army medics who provide medical care to wounded members of the enemy (medical care is "material support").

Does the law as written make sense? No. Do most people actually support it? I doubt it. But attempts to change it all flounder on the word "terrorist": your opponent could say you want to let more terrorists into the country! Can't have that.

The potential for demagoguery is real, but: (1) most people actually aren't paying close enough attention to notice this particular vote; (2) if your opponent does run those ads, you actually have a pretty strong case to make.

Sorry for the cranky tone btw. I'm so depressed about politics lately that I think I'm becoming unbearable to discuss it with.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:39 AM
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I want a campaign that effectively defines the Southern conservatives out of what it means to be American.

Bingo. This is it. The Republicans have completely taken control of the debate in this country, and nothing gets fixed until decent people are able to participate in framing the national conversation.

Godddammit, among many problems with warmongering and racism is that they are un-American by any sensible definition of that term.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:39 AM
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The potential for demagoguery is real, but: (1) most people actually aren't paying close enough attention to notice this particular vote; (2) if your opponent does run those ads, you actually have a pretty strong case to make.

(3) your opponent will run those ads whether the things he is saying in them are true or not.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:40 AM
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That too.

BTW, on the original topic of this thread: Bin Laden's tape so reminded me of a presentation on "the flaws of the American system gov't" by a kid who actually hasn't done the reading, & tried to put it together by spending a half hour on the internet during lunch & copying the first 25 sites he sees. Hmm, okay, the real estate market is no good, and people are mad at the democrats, and the campaign finance system is corrupt, and a lot of people seem to like this Noam Chomsky guy, an who shot JFK?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:46 AM
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I've been thinking about the question of why the democrats like nominating bland technocrats. For me personally, I just feel an affinity with bland technocrats, but that can't the reason why the entire party is so taken with them. I wonder how much of it is just that many of the people in positions of power in the Democratic party started their political careers in the 70s.

I'm thinking partially of arguments like this one by Mark Schmitt that 1974 brought a lot of new democrats into power, but I wonder if it's a reaction to LBJ as much as Nixon.

I would think that it would be easy, for a Democrat in the early 70s, to see LBJ as an example of liberal ambition and fighting spirit run off the rails. LBJ was clearly the most ambitious president since FDR, and his ambition took him in directions both good and very bad.

If this is true, it makes me hope that this should start to change. At what point are democrats that started their political careers under reagan going to take positions of power in the party, and how will that change the style of the Democratic party?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:47 AM
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Oh, and one of the dumber things about immigration: So there's this pretend internet acquaintance. When he was 31, he borrowed a friend's car and smashed it up by accident. When the police came to his friend's house, his friend, trying to get around some insurance something or other, said the car had been taken without permission. Guy pleads guilty to a deferred sentences, moves on with his life.

He is 65, met an American, wants to marry her. They get to his visa interview, and find that he is inadmissible: grand theft auto. Here's where this gets weird. He can't get the fiance visa to come here and marry because he has committed a 'crime indicating moral turpitude.' They have to file a waiver, which will take about eighteen months to process. This waiver is pretty intense, having to prove extreme hardship to the US citizen if she would have to relocate.

But, he is Canadian. Under recent law, he may file a waiver at the border to come for a visit if he can get some government official to say he was rehabilitated. It's easy to get for a 30 year old crime and subject to a five-minute review at the border. So, he's so dangerous that he can't come here... unless it's for a visit.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:49 AM
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To continue, I'm thinking about the reality of the world that, if your trying to change the direction of a large and powerful organization (like the Democratic party) you almost always win by outliving the opposition, rather than defeating it, I'm curious if that process is currently taking place.

I don't know the answer, but, it's an important question. If a strong liberal insurgancy within the Democractic party only started in [1996,2000] than it's going to be a long time before the party looks substantially more liberal but if it started earlier than there's more reason for optimism.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:58 AM
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Godddammit, among many problems with warmongering and racism is that they are un-American by any sensible definition of that term.

Depends if you are using American as a normative or descriptive term, I suppose.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:06 AM
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I still like holding on to the normative use of "American". So it may not reflect reality, but it does mean something useful to a lot of people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:17 AM
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"American" is short for "a United States citizen who by being a citizen stands for all that is right and just in the world."*

Unless the term is African-American.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:19 AM
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412: Will, that's a contentless moderate Republican platform. That's exactly what I don't want. It's pretty close to the status quo, and almost everyone accepts all five points. The drug war stupidity is probably not a good war to fight at thispoint, but I think we should at least softpedal it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:20 AM
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re: 444

Sure, I can see how it might have a useful polemical purpose. It'd still be good I think if it was eventually consigned to the grave, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:28 AM
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That's exactly what I don't want.

So give me your platform.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:31 AM
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I think it's going to be hard to get rid of sentimental nationalism -- I'd bet you feel that way about Scotland, on some level, but it doesn't get in the way of your rational politics because Scotland hasn't got a foreign policy, and you aren't sentimentally nationalistic about the UK. (When I say "I'd bet," that doesn't mean I have any solid basis for this, of course. "I'd baselessly surmise" would probably be a better way of putting it.)

But if we're stuck with sentimental nationalism, and I think we are, better to recognize and harness it than to try unsuccessfully to stamp it out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:34 AM
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Will, Let's keep talking about your platform. What democratic content does it have? The only point on it that every single Republican can't trump is the abortion point, and even there you make big concessions to the Republicans.

I am willing to talk about the Democratic message, but not to you. You are one of the people who will have to be shunted aside.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:41 AM
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John:

If you cannot bring me on board, you aren't winning anything.

Where is it lacking Democratic content? Because you say so? Perhaps not everyone thinks like you. Shocking, I understand. But elections involved attracting people.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:45 AM
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re: 451

As an outsider, looking in, your platform looks pretty right-wing to me. It's certainly not what I'd think of as a centrist platform.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:49 AM
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Where is it lacking Democratic content?

"Democratic content" would be that what distinguishes us from Republicans, not the mushy middle where it sorta kinda converges.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:49 AM
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Will, while I'm not all the way on board with 'shunting you to one side', of course it lacks Democratic content. Of your five items, there's only one that I'd expect a Democratic voter to be more enthusiastic about than a Republican voter -- the abortion point. Everything else is a Republican position that maybe Democrats could sign on to, without feeling too hypocritical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:49 AM
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450, 452, 453:

I'm waiting to read about your different, electable platform.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:50 AM
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re: 449

Sure, I have bits of sentimental nationalism. I'll bet Swedes have loads too.

It's the content of the sentimental nationalism that's important -- what people believe their nation represents -- rather than the emotion itself.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:51 AM
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If you cannot bring me on board, you aren't winning anything.

I imagine that whoever we nominate, you will vote for on lesser-evil principles. If not, there are tens of millions of other voters to convince. I can't knock every chip off every shoulder, or kiss every single undecided voter's ass.

DId you read what I said, or are you multitasking again? The problem with your list of points is that all but one are points that the Republicans can outdo us on. Essentially you are asking us to run on a watered-down version of choice. We can't beat the Republicans at their own game. We have to distinguish themselves in some way, and we have to go on the attack.

Everything you've said so far is the same old "move to the center" BS or else the "lesser evil" anti-Nader argument.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:52 AM
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So, why don't start with the basics for a Democrat? I'll start with the relatively easy ones

I said that I will start. Typical Democrats. Totally unwilling to commit.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:52 AM
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The further point is that if the election message is about those points, the Republicans will win EVERY SINGLE TIME. Corruption, the war, the economy going to shit. The GOP understands that winning elections isn't about platform positions; it's about demonizing the opposition. Harsh, but true and the sooner the Democrats absorb the lesson, the better.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:53 AM
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re: 455

Oh, I'm quite sure any platform I'd come up with wouldn't get within a million miles of electability. But then, my politics aren't centrist.

re: that particular platform, what LB said in 454 and Apo in 453.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:53 AM
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Continue to be interested, will. You'll find out about it soon enough. It's actually out there in various forms already. For a variety of reasons, I don't think that you are someone who is capable of contributing the the development of a Democratic platform. For one thing, all of your ideas are at least eight years old, and some of them ar twenty years old.

Long ago I renounced arguing with people who claimed to be representive of the "undecided voter". They were all huffy sorts of game players, and life's too short.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:56 AM
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Katherine had some good stuff above for a real Democratic platform in 423: add some lunchpail issues (UHC, labor, and so on) and we're good to go.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:59 AM
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Will, it's you. You have no place in Democrats' internal policy discussions, as far as I'm concerned, and while I enjoy flinging shit at you, I don't think that you're worth arguing with. Everything I think about the Democratic platform presupposes that people who think like you do will be driven from power within the Democratic Party. If you have no idea whatsoever what the alternative platforms will look like, all the more reason to shunt you aside.

If that means that you'll run crying home and decide to vote for Giuliani, OK.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:00 AM
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Emerson:

You can certainly decide with whom you wish to argue. I suspect that dismissing those people who are more on your side than not is not going to help the Democrats win any elections.

Obviously, I cannot argue with someone who writes "Your comments have no merit, but I am not going to tell you what my comments might be."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:01 AM
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do you even actually support that platform, will? We've been through #5 & you don't seem to--with regard to #3, do you think we should make our drug laws more severe? Or is just that kind of generalized "drug dealers are bad" rhetoric? Drug dealers are bad, as are terrorists, and puppies are cute, and ice cream is delicious but if no policy follows from that observation it's not much of a platform.

If you're saying we need to make our drug laws more severe, that is a platform, but I think it's an actively bad one.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:01 AM
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I agree with all of 423. I haven't said anything about making drug law more severe. I am a moderate liberal democrat. I've represented many criminals. Sentencing laws (and the criminal justice system) are seriously out of whack.

Reproductive rights? I'm closely involved in four clinics.

412 was supposed to be a start. the basics. I meant for the discussion to grow from there. Do you wish the platform to go further? Let's discuss it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:10 AM
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Right: my list, plus card check, universal health care wouldn't be a bad start. I didn't include those on my list of Democratic grievances because the Dems have been a bit better on economic issues lately. And in general my list is a little reactive for a presidential agenda. For a Democratic counterterrorism strategy that's more than a denunciation of Bush's worst policies, Edwards' recent speech was pretty good. I would also like to see someone grab hold of work/family issues: e.g., support federally-mandated maternity & sick leave.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:10 AM
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Will, I'm not going to let you play Socrates.

If you're really as clueless as you seem to be about what a differentially Democratic platform might be like, or why it is necessary, I don't expect you to contribute much.

If you've appointed yourself as a representative of the undecided voter, it's been my experience (as I said) that that tyep is a quibbling time-waster.

If your main point is the same old move-to-the center DLC crap, we've all heard that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:12 AM
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I haven't said anything about making drug law more severe. I am a moderate liberal democrat. I've represented many criminals. Sentencing laws (and the criminal justice system) are seriously out of whack.

Will, if this is what you think about the status quo, then picking "drug dealers are bad" as one of your five basic points is bizarre. How are you planning to get from "One of the five most important political ideas I have is 'drug dealers are bad!'" to "Let's treat drug dealers less severely within the criminal justice system"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:13 AM
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excellent position Emerson. But, the insults should be a little stronger to be truly effective. You forgot to throw the f-bomb.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:13 AM
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Whine, whine, Will.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:14 AM
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Let's treat drug dealers less severely within the criminal justice system"?

First, 412 was a quick list of basics.

Second, no candidate is ever going to get elected if they use that sentence.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:15 AM
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But if you don't support more severe drug laws, "send drug dealers to jail" isn't a start. It's just a thing to say that sounds like it would be popular with voters. Likewise with "enforce our immigration laws", if you don't think full enforcement of our existing laws is a good idea. We can argue about whether saying things like this is destructive, or good politics & substantively harmless, but I certainly don't think they're a Democratic platform.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:15 AM
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re: 472

The thing is, they aren't basics. They are things that many people with even fairly robustly centrist politics would be unwilling to concede.

If you list of basics starts off by conceding a bunch of right-wing positions then it's a bad list of basics.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:16 AM
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I just read 412. That's not a list of basics, it's a list of "let's clear up some misconceptions and let me show you how much like the Republicans I really am."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:21 AM
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GWB did not get elected president by advocating specific issues, and certainly not the ones he ended up implementing. Presidential contests are won or lost on a far more impressionistic level than that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:21 AM
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472: That sentence is going to be tough to sell, but it's the policy you want, and the 'basics' you're suggesting as the foundation of your political rhetoric make it harder to get there. That's bad planning. Same thing with the foreign policy plank -- if that's what you come out of the gate saying, it's going to be harder not to bomb Iran.

You may have to shade your positions so as to make them broadly salable, but that's not a reason to come out with broadly salable positions that pull you substantively away from what you really want.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:23 AM
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Jeez people. My list wasn't supposed to be comprehensive or the most important issues, but 5 basic concepts. I thought it was obvious that a compete position would have much more nuance.

First, sending drug dealers to jail. No electable politican can say anything different. We can talk about reforming the federal sentencing guidelines, but that isn't a Presidental platform. When asked, the response has to be drug dealers go to jail. How you treat individual users should be handled by the states. (Many states are turning toward highly effective Drug Courts.)

Second, immigration. A very complex issue. You can go Al Gore with a complex proposal if you want, but it isnt getting you anywhere. We don't care about the extreme Republicans who want to build fences. I'm waiting to be convinced about someone else's basic point on immigration.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:27 AM
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Everybody having fun? In the immortal words of the mysteriously self-disappeared Max Sawicky, who probably didn't quite mean it, or meant it only in foreign affairs, whereas I do mean it in all circumstances

"WE" don't make policy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:31 AM
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"No electable politican can say anything different"

I assume you mean "electable" on the Presidential level; any other office & they certainly can, from the right state or district. And if there are good policies popular enough to pass on the state level, then why is it suicide to advocate for them as presidential candidate--not, perhaps, to make them one of your signature issues, but to support good policies & describe them honestly & persuasively in debates?

Because the voters are mean, stupid, nationalistic, violence, and probably somewhat racist, right? That's the ultimate assumption. Well, fuck that. Plenty of them are, but they don't seem nearly as bad on a lot of these issues as Congress is.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:31 AM
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violent, not violence.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:32 AM
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But none of it (barring the abortion plank) is "This is why you vote for me, the Democrat." It's all "this is why you can feel safe voting for me despite the bad things you think about Democrats." Why you vote for me, the Democrat , is on that level of abstraction: (1) A foreign policy we can be proud of again, where we're helping people, not killing them; (2) Help for working people to feel secure supporting their families; (3) Justice and opportunity for everyone, whether you grew up rich or poor, where you came from, and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:32 AM
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Same thing with the foreign policy plank -- if that's what you come out of the gate saying, it's going to be harder not to bomb Iran.

"Don't mess with America! If you attack us or support those who attack us, we will attack you."

How about you advice a Democratic candidate to respond? Would you suggest "we will talk really tough!"? Of course not. The response has to be "I will defend the United States."

If you get more time, then you talk about how protecting the United States involves much more than attacking other countries. The importancy of diplomacy. You talk about the successes of coalition building, etc.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:33 AM
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449:

But if we're stuck with sentimental nationalism, and I think we are, better to recognize and harness it than to try unsuccessfully to stamp it out.

Even if one believes that we're stuck with sentimental nationalism (I don't), one can surely just ignore, or decline to participate in, the what-America-really-stands-for rhetoric without trying to stamp it out.

Embracing it, and attempting to harness it and reframe it in something like liberal terms, is a minefield.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:33 AM
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I'm sorry, will, but what you're advocating is EXACTLY how the Democrats have behaved for my entire adult life, and EXACTLY why I'm losing all hope for this country. It shows contempt for your fellow citizens, & very little imagination.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:36 AM
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Katherine:

I'm not sure that there are many districts where people are sympathetic to drug dealers. Drug users, sure. absolutely.

Most people are shocked when they learn the length of jail sentences, but, if the question was asked, "should drug dealers go to jail" the overwhelming response will be yes.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:36 AM
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(actually, for my entire politically aware life, which is longer than my adult life: I was the sort of kid who got a letter to the editor published in the NY Times in 11th grade.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:38 AM
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I'm sorry, will, but what you're advocating is EXACTLY how the Democrats have behaved for my entire adult life, and EXACTLY why I'm losing all hope for this country. It shows contempt for your fellow citizens, & very little imagination.

i am curious then. You get to draft your candidate's response to the question:

"Iran attacks a US ship. What do you as President do?"

or any similar question.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:38 AM
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"Most people are shocked when they learn the length of jail sentences, but, if the question was asked, "should drug dealers go to jail" the overwhelming response will be yes."

Why, then, would you phrase the question exactly like the Republicans want to phrase it? No one is suggesting the Democrats run on a "have you hugged a drug dealer today?" platform.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:39 AM
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I agree with most that Will's platform isn't an electable one at all. But I think we're an important missing point in that people now think the Dems are impotent to actually enact policy. Look at the highest polled issues- the war and the economy. Throw in Republican corruption and global warming, and you've really got a strong, mainstream, and Democratic set of issues.

But on the biggest issue by far, the Dems are rolling over like school children. So how are people going to trust them to enact policy? The fact that the procedural numbers doesn't matter. Those against the war see that they are the strong majority but they're not getting a fight. They want at least fight whether it succeeds or not. They're not getting the fight.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:46 AM
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I think Democrats shouldn't touch the drug question.

But, if asked, dealers are bad.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:46 AM
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'procedural numbers aren't there doesn't matter.'
'at least a fight'

need to start previewing my comments.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:48 AM
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Embracing it, and attempting to harness it and reframe it in something like liberal terms, is a minefield.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:50 AM
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412

Here is my effort at a winning Democratic campaign. As usual for this sort of exercise it is biased towards my preferences.

1. Get out of Iraq. Emphasize how what a pointless waste of money and lives the war is. Find examples of expensive public works projects in Iraq which were later destroyed by insurgents (or even better by US forces). Find examples of weapons and money provided to Iraqi's which later ended of in insurgent hands. Point out we have no real friends in Iraq.

2. End corruption and crony government. List examples of incompetent party hacks placed in important positions by Bush. Alternate with examples of people like Carol Lam fired for putting Bush pal Cunningham in jail for selling his vote on an important defense committee. Garnish with egregious examples of wasteful spending and indefensible tax breaks.

3. Help American workers. Attack Bush failure to enforce immigration laws. Point to Democratic passage of minimum wage increase. Attack Bush failure to safeguard private pensions and Bush plan to cut social security.

4. Oppose theocracy. Find attractive married woman raped and impregnated by some lowlife who obtained a legal abortion. Have her make commercial about how Republicans want to force women like her to bear a rapist's child. Support rule of law, list examples of Republican disrespect for the courts as in Schiavo case.

The following are issues which probably hurt Democrats. Say as little as possible about them but defend as follows.

5. Gun control, support varied local laws. Helpful if candidate is credible long time gun owner.

6. Partial birth abortion, should be state issue.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:57 AM
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490 More found errors. Jeez, I'm illiterate when I'm mad.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:58 AM
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will, it's difficult to frame a debate in favor of the reasonable public policies that you or I might favor, but it has to be done. Insisting that we adopt the Republicans' method of framing the national agenda - that's what put us where we are now. That just has to stop.

Look at how the Republicans do it: When Reagan began talking about eliminating the inheritance tax, the idea was ludicrous. Yet a few decades later it became a reality, based on little more than message discipline by the Republicans.

That, more than anything, is was the Swift Boat experience was about: You can sell any kind of crazy shit when you start leading people instead of following them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 11:59 AM
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494: I am very disturbed to note that little of that is insane or distasteful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:00 PM
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Will's platform

I will whine now. 412 wasn't a platform. As I said before, I was just trying to start the discussion about some issues.

Maybe I can put it another way. How successful will a candidate be who advocates the following:

1. Complete reproductive freedom. No restrictions on abortion. Access for minors and adults to birth control (including the morning after pill)

2. Restrictions on handguns.

3. Illegal immigrants deserve access to our social welfare programs.

4. Responding with force should only be done as a last resort.

5. Legalize marijuana.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:03 PM
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Why the hell would you put it like that? I mean, if I were a Republican trying to sell the Iraq war I wouldn't start by saying 'We want to start a cockup so Iraqi women can get raped.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:08 PM
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Why the hell would you put it like that?

1. Because you are going to have to respond to the Republicans ads pushing that you believe those things.

2. Because some people were suggesting that Democrats need to be more liberal.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:10 PM
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I saw a Chris Dodd campaign speech last night where he made a damned good case for universal preschool. Let's put that on our utopian Democratic platform.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:11 PM
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Look at how the Republicans do it: When Reagan began talking about eliminating the inheritance tax, the idea was ludicrous. Yet a few decades later it became a reality, based on little more than message discipline by the Republicans.

But that requires a commitment to plugging away in the face of failure or at least lack of visible progress, which is not nearly as fun as fantasizing about purging counterrevolutionaries.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:11 PM
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"Access for minors and adults to birth control (including the morning after pill)"

This actually seems like an easy sell to me. The arguments against the morning after pill, which a lot of GOP candidates have been pressured into embracing, would logically also require that oral contraception be banned. I would like to see them have to argue that.

"3. Illegal immigrants deserve access to our social welfare programs."

"Yes, we need better enforcement. But if someone shows up at the emergency room with a contagious disease, I want doctors to be able to give them medical care without checking their papers. If a child is living in the United States, I want him to be in school & not on the streets."

"4. Responding with force should only be done as a last resort."

Bush claims that this is HIS policy, so it apparently isn't too awful. I think it's completely possible to oppose preventive war, what with Dwight Eisenhower & Harry Truman having done so, & our attempt in Iraq being a huge fucking disaster and all.

"5. Legalize marijuana."

Many positive steps you could take short of legalization, some of which are actively popular & some of which would not do you great harm.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:13 PM
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500: That's not a reason for us to start off by stacking the deck. That's a reason to have a response.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:13 PM
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501: Chris Dodd is a good guy. The establishment candidates running way behind in the polls always seem to have less of a rationale than even the un-electable protest candidates. But he's really a good Senator.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:15 PM
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"Access" to birth control! Good lord, I want the government to subsidise it! Do you know what the more modern birth control pills are costing the uninsured over the counter these days? Almost $50 per month!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:18 PM
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Chris Dodd is a good guy

The more I've heard him on the campaign trail, the more I've liked him.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:21 PM
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Godddammit, among many problems with warmongering and racism is that they are un-American by any sensible definition of that term.

Just to be clear, I wasn't advocating anything like that as a platform. As Apo said above, demonization works. I don't particularly want to see the Democrats run on a "Let's hug it out" platform. If it's necessary to win this election, fine. But that ought not be the long term strategy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:28 PM
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498: Will, you've accepted the Republican framing of what "liberal" means. It doesn't mean "Cease to defend the US militarily while illegal aliens and drug dealers take over the country and terrorized the disarmed citizens."

And you're proposing a defensive campaign: "No we're not liberal!". Defensive campaigns are the problem, not the solution.

Those weren't "fundamentals", except for abortion. They were prepared responses to expected Republican attacks. Fundamentals would be either positive Democratic proposals or angles of attack on the wretched Republican record.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:36 PM
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Will, why do you think that drug sentencing is an important issue in the minds of the voters right now, particularly at the federal level? It's not 1994. People are more concerned with Iraq and health care and their neighbors getting foreclosure notices; the idea that it's one of the five principal things Democrats should be talking about (or, contrawise, that your notional McGovern-and-Jane-Fonda-have-a-Communist-love-child candidate who can't win is going to be talking about pot) is... really weird.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:36 PM
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But that requires a commitment to plugging away in the face of failure or at least lack of visible progress, which is not nearly as fun as fantasizing about purging counterrevolutionaries.

Not sure which way you're going with this, Jake, but don't get me wrong: In my view, purges have their place - will and I just disagree on appropriate targets. The Republicans have accomplished so much in part because of their willingness to ruthlessly purge non-believers, not in spite of that fact.

I'm guessing that will regards Sister Souljah as a masterstroke. Whether or not will does, I actually do. Bill Clinton managed to pull that off and still become the country's "first black president."

More troublesome to will (I'm guessing) is the anti-Lieberman effort. Another masterstroke, to my way of thinking.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:40 PM
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If I were Tom Cruise, I would buy a Lamborghini, marry Katie Holmes, and make a movie about the Spanish Civil War.

If I were Barry Bonds, I could hit 75 home runs.

I could do as well as any of those people on American Idol...

Policy discussions are the opiate of the politically informed. They distract, intentionally, from the only thing workers can do, which is organize, form associations and gather together, form gut-level loyalties and committments, and if they want vote & protest.

Angry about the war? Hillary will laugh at you. Angry at Hillary, 5000-5 million people outside her office personally mad at her...she will change or maybe get Mussolinied. She doesn't give a flying fuck about your opinion on anything, ever, at all. She cares about your money & your vote and how many friends you have..


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:42 PM
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510:

412 was not a list of the five most important things to discuss. I keep saying that.

I agree with you that Iraq, health care, and the economy are much more important to address.

412 was an effort to address Tim's response to my comment "But, I don't think you are going to see any true liberals winning national elections any time soon."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:44 PM
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I thought the anti-lieberman effort was fabulous.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:46 PM
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493: Tia links to the Gettysburg address.

I think the desire for heroes was discusssed somewhere upthread. Certainly. We don't have any of them at the moment. Great oratory is great in part because of its risk-taking nature. The discussion has moved on, though, to such mundane matters as coalition-building and the writing of party platforms. That does tend to be the nature of electoral politics these days.

Emerson and later Katherine have been concerned about whether the Democratic party seals its doom by considering that the American public has become fundamentally stupid. Hey, this is not the time or place to argue that it is; it's an ugly sentiment, if nothing else. However, the battle to win the imaginations of the public is no longer fought out via extended political address: it happens in sound bites.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:46 PM
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She doesn't give a flying fuck about your opinion on anything, ever, at all. She cares about your money & your vote and how many friends you have..

Agree with that. But that pretty much describes any successful politician.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:47 PM
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412 was not a list of the five most important things to discuss. I keep saying that.

You really got off on the wrong foot. But they were substantively overstated too. And the picture of "liberal" implicit in that is a Republican one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:47 PM
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So Golly, how do we decide?

Well, people dislike that old unio system, where the bosses did most of the negotiating. All a member needed was:"I'm sticking to the union, til the day I die."

That worked. That's infectious. That's power.

The Freedom Brigades(?) who went to Spain didn't have a fucking platform.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:49 PM
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And the 412 framing (much as I hate that term) on foreign policy is just awful, both politically and substantively. To your notional question of what we do if Iran attacks an American ship, the answer is of course, "We will swat them like flies." We have the strongest military in the world; of course we will retaliate if our military is attacked.

The "support those who attack us" is where the rubber meets the road, though; opening up that line of rhetoric is a guaranteed way to lead us down to the magical fairy land of Ledeenia, where everything wrong in the world has clearly been backed by Iran (whether or not that makes any sense), so why aren't you nuking the mullahs yesterday, you pussy? Putting things in this light almost assures you that the Democratic candidate will not be able to put any light between herself and the Republican, and that the Republican will not have to defend the ridiculous and unpopular extremes of Republican policy.

Re 513, I'm confused -- these aren't baseline liberal stances, they're not what you consider fundamental planks of the Democratic platform, and I don't think they're even that rhetorically effective or necessary. What are they?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:50 PM
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I thought the anti-lieberman effort was fabulous.

Without knowing much about you, will, I'd guess that voters like you are largely irrelevant to any conversation about political strategy. If Emerson's strategy is ever adopted, you and your kind will go along quietly.

The big problem is that Emerson's strategy - which I take to be a strategy of leadership through redefinition of the national debate - is a strategy that the Dem leadership renounces, using terms quite like yours (or Lieberman's). Do you not see the similarities between your own strategic advice and that of, say, Lieberman or Shrum?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:52 PM
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They make a certain amount of sense as "Fallback things you have to be willing to say defensively if maneuvered into a bad position." I can't do much of anything else with them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:52 PM
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an important issue in the minds of the voters

The US is on-track to being the most-incarcerated country. If the voters don't mind, they are the problem, not the handful of people paying attention. This won't make a sound-bite, though. Obama is a nice speaker, I will give him that, even if he caved on the 2005 energy bill.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:56 PM
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a guaranteed way to lead us down to the magical fairy land of Ledeenia

This is certainly true, as things stand. But this emphasizes why the current state of play is unacceptable. Somebody in a position of influence needs to be talking about the symbiotic relationship between Ledeen and bin Laden. Somebody needs to be pointing out to the public that Bush and al Qaeda share many of the same goals, and that they act on that understanding.

That's not a job for a politician, and even influential outsider-type pundits like Yglesias have strong disincentives from making this relatively obvious point. But the fact is that Giuliani (say) and bin Laden, working together, have a real opportunity to fuck up this country, and that fact should at least be in circulation.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 12:59 PM
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519: will was worried that people wouldn't really understand 402, so he stepped up to make the issues more vivid.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:03 PM
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They were starting off points of agreement for the middle. This goes back to how liberal can we expect a candidate to be.

You can argue for more or less or add stuff to them.

For example, the abortion position in 412 brings in virtually all democrats and a lot of Republicans. Many people, including myself, would argue for much more. How much more can you argue for? My intent was that we would then talk about that.

At the very, very least, a Democrat needs to say "access to first trimester abortions for those who can pay." Anything less is absolutely unacceptable. Are we going to demand a candidate who renounces parental notification?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:10 PM
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Are we going to demand a candidate who renounces parental notification?

Well, I am. Maybe, just maybe, I could bring myself to vote for someone who'd been cowardly on that issue, if I thought they were good overall, but I'm not going to just roll over and give up on reproductive freedom for minors.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:19 PM
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Oh, and whenever we talk about how liberals should talk in public, I feel obligated to mention my admiration for Michael Moore. Consider this comment as meeting that obligation.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:19 PM
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525 Yeah, Will, but your platform in 498 isn't serious. Legalizing dope? Response at last resort? Ancient history at best. And with guns, maybe restrictions of types or numbers.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:21 PM
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terp:

it isnt. But that is my question: how liberal do you really think we can get?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:25 PM
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But you're thinking about it wrong. Being a liberal isn't something unseemly we're trying to sneak as much of as we can past the voters, it's the reason to vote for our candidates. People want UHC. People don't want to be in Iraq. We don't have to trick people into voting for us by looking harmless, we just have to sell our real ideals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:27 PM
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Well, I am. Maybe, just maybe, I could bring myself to vote for someone who'd been cowardly on that issue, if I thought they were good overall, but I'm not going to just roll over and give up on reproductive freedom for minors.

then, you aren't demanding such a candidate. You are advocating working from within.

We aren't even getting our full team on board with opposing parental notification.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:28 PM
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how liberal do you really think we can get?

Again, I believe this precisely the wrong question. That's a question for after you win. Until the election, the question is how can you knock the GOP back on its heels and keep them on the defensive. With Iraq and a tanking economy (and the connection between the two, which is easy enough to draw), they've handed us two golden issues. Any time anybody starts in about drugs and abortion, you accuse them of trying to change the subject and cloud the issue and that we have entirely more important issues to deal with than refighting the fake battles of the 1980s.

Also, understand that Larry Flynt's muckraking is your friend. Sex scandals sell.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:38 PM
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Slate magazine has its flaws, but I will always love them for coining the phrase "investigative pornographer" to describe Larry Flynt.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:41 PM
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Until the election, the question is how can you knock the GOP back on its heels and keep them on the defensive.

Exactly. Be aggressive. Be be aggressive. Most announced policy positions are basically bullshit in anycase.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:41 PM
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532:

I mostly agree. Go back to my 405. But, if the candidate responds with a very liberal stance on the issues of guns, drugs, or abortion, you will end up in the defensive position.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:43 PM
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532 Yeah. something like this:

Hard deadlines on Iraq and out within year of election.
Balance the budget deficit again.
Stream of Republicans going to court, hitting on minors, etc.
Global warming debate.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:48 PM
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Not sure which way you're going with this, Jake, but don't get me wrong: In my view, purges have their place - will and I just disagree on appropriate targets. The Republicans have accomplished so much in part because of their willingness to ruthlessly purge non-believers, not in spite of that fact.

I think purges have their place, but I wonder as to their value as a means of gaining power. For consolidating one's hold on power, they're great.

I don't think selling out Sister Souljah was the same sort of purge Emerson/McManus are advocating; poor black people are one of the most solidly democratic constituencies there is, and Clinton correctly calculated that he could sell them out harshly enough to pull more people from the "center" and simultaneously not harshly enough to make them actually vote Republican.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 1:59 PM
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But, if the candidate responds with a very liberal stance on the issues of guns, drugs, or abortion, you will end up in the defensive position.

On drugs: The Republican tolerance for violent crime is crazy. We need to stop letting killers go free. In Gov. Romney's state, a first-time marijuana user could be sentenced to up to xxxx years, while killers often go free after only a year or two in jail, and sometimes without serving any time at all.

On abortion: Republican opposition to birth control is an effort to turn the clock back 50 years and we must oppose it.

On guns: In my administration, we will tolerate no abridgement of second amendment rights (ahem, as properly understood).

These things will take awhile to catch on, but you have to start somewhere. Remember, there was a time when even the NRA didn't think people owning semi-automatic weapons was a good idea. That changed because of the discipline and leadership of Republicans and other nutcases.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:03 PM
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I think the value of purges is in frightening people away from undermining you. Republicans can make silly Laffer-Curve based anti-tax arguments, because anyone on their side who really goes after them for it is afraid of the consequences. Democrats aren't similarly afraid of internal party consequences (see Lieberman).

That doesn't mean lockstep rigidity should be enforced, but some level of party discipline is useful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:04 PM
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537: Jake, I'd characterize this a little differently. With the Souljah thing, Clinton didn't sell poor blacks down the river - he just smacked an artist around. Was it unjust? Sure. But his essential point was: White and black people have to work together, and that cause isn't served by black people saying mean things about white people.

White voters liked this, and black voters didn't mind it. People with any clue about music or art or whatever were offended, but that's a small group and the injury done to them was not that great.

The Republican equivalent is the Schiavo case. The Republicans advocated something noxious and awful in a purely symbolic and political calculation. The only damage they did was to a woman long past caring, and to the reputation of one guy - a cost that didn't bother the Republicans. They didn't actually have to pass a law that would alienate voters, they just had to strike a pose.

The key difference between Souljah and Schiavo, in my opinion, is that the Republicans got the political calculation wrong.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:14 PM
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530 Yes, the assumption that Democrats need to support issues that are right-wing is faulty. Gulliani is basing his campaign on largely unpopular stands. People might think- 'Well. If I couldn't get the war stopped by voting for Democrats, then I might as well vote for someone who can fight it the best.'


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:23 PM
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and black voters didn't mind it.

Pretty sure that's not true. Especially as time went on and it became the telling moment in the DLC telling of its story. There just wasn't a shitload African-Americans could do about it.

Look, this really is a country that is much more in line with the broad post-Clinton Dem coalition than with the Southern conservative party that the Republicans have become. If Democratic politicians could just act like they recognize this fact, it would help a lot. Jeebus. People are looking for reasons to leave the Republican Party.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:30 PM
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538

"On drugs: The Republican tolerance for violent crime is crazy. We need to stop letting killers go free. In Gov. Romney's state, a first-time marijuana user could be sentenced to up to xxxx years, while killers often go free after only a year or two in jail, and sometimes without serving any time at all."

I suspect this is a major overstatement and likely would prove extremely counterproductive.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:35 PM
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542.b - That's the really galling thing about the current non-strategy regarding Iraq; Democrats (and, perhaps even more than Democrats, the Beltway media flocks) have been conditioned by 15 years of electoral savaging to assume that the only way for anyone to the left of Chuck Hagel to win is to assume a defensive crouch, and the polls show that that's just not the case any more. Soldiers are dying while the message slooooowly travels up from the brontosaur's tail.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:37 PM
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The Souljah thing wouldn't have been so bad if people hadn't seized on its genius. Certainly not comparable to Schiavo (a rapper's lyrics--was she a rapper?--are much more fair game than a private citizen's wrenching end-of-life decisions about his spouse).

The Rector execution was a lot worse. One of my all time least favorite political columns is a Nick Kristof one from Nov. 2004 citing that as what the Democrats needed to do to change their fortunes: since we polled so badly on moral values issues, the clear solution was to execute more retarded people.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:39 PM
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542: Well, "black voters didn't mind it" is a necessary oversimplification, but the essential point is: A politician could say that and still be the most beloved president ever in the black community. Black people and others are pissed off at the DLC because the DLC sucks in substantive ways that Clinton didn't.

(And yes, of course, Clinton sucked in many of the same ways the DLC did. It's hard to formulate blanket statements about this stuff.)

But anyway, I don't think we actually disagree about this stuff. A Democratic politician with sufficient talent and a real understanding of the political moment could do a lot to fix this country. I wish I were more optimistic that the Dems had such a candidate.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:41 PM
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As near as I can make out, African Americans like Clinton now (early on there was some kick) because (a) the Republicans are worse, (b) things worked out, though not for any direct policy reason, (c) to the extent Clinton has any strong commitments, civil rights are up there, and most importantly, (d) Clinton clearly sees African Americans as people; when he throws them under the bus, it's not because they're black, but because they're people, and that's enough.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:48 PM
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The Souljah thing wouldn't have been so bad if people hadn't seized on its genius.

This is true, and it shames me to note that above I referred to it as a "masterstroke." Is it possible to hold the opinion that this was a political masterstroke while at the same time acknowledging that those of us who voice this opinion have done real damage?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:53 PM
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547(d): It's funny because it's true.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:55 PM
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ok, so everyone is saying focus on Iraq. I agree with that position.

What liberal issues should be on the Democrats platform?

Universal Health Care?

Reproductive Rights?

Universal pre-school?

Rehabilitation, not incarceration?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 2:59 PM
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will, there are several different questions conflated in 550, and I'm not sure which one you are asking. (I'm not even sure you have separated out the different issues.)

Are you asking:

-What positions should the Democratic Party have in its platform come convention-time?
-What public positions should a Democratic presidential candidate take right now?
-What language should a presidential candidate use to sell certain positions?
-What issues should a presidential candidate prioritize if he or she is elected?
-What positions should we citizens support?

You seem to be addressing different aspects of this at different times, and I think it may be causing you to misinterpret some of the reaction you are getting here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:29 PM
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there was a time when even the NRA didn't think people owning semi-automatic weapons was a good idea

Pet peeve: 'semi-automatic weapon' probably doesn't mean what you think it does.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:31 PM
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550

See 494.

The Democrats should campaign on restoring honest and competent government. This is a standard theme for the out party and given the Bush record should be a complete nobrainer.

The Democrats should campaign on improving the economy for the average American worker.

Regarding your questions.

"Universal Health Care?" - I don't think this is all that good an issue for the Democrats although it seems important to the base. There are a lot of people like me who think the current system is messed up but have little confidence that the Democrats would improve it. So criticize curent state but be vague about plans. Support incremental improvements.

"Reproductive Rights" - Carefully, try to frame to frame debate in terms of things like abortions for rape victims which are widely supported. Stay away from ranting about the patriarchy and the like. I personally don't like the term "reproductive rights" but perhaps that is just me.

"Universal pre-school?" - What does this mean? Isn't kindergarten already pretty universal? If you are talking mandatory pre-kindergarten then no.

"Rehabilitation, not incarceration?" - Absolutely not.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:33 PM
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The Sistah Souljah thing worked because she added nothing to Public Enemy whatsoever. If he'd gone after Flava Flav, it would have been a different story.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:36 PM
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The Democrats should campaign on improving the economy for the average American worker.

Agreed. But, this general idea isnt necessarily considered a liberal idea.

I thought 494 was very good. I neglected to mention it earlier.

Nobody seems to be advocating that liberal issues should be at the forefront of the Dem's campaign.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:39 PM
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Feel the love, Shearer!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:41 PM
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Political football:
I am going back to 405. Can a truly liberal Presidental candidate win?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:41 PM
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552: I used the term to mean: One squeeze of the trigger = one bullet, and you can keep squeezing the trigger until the gun empties. It's my recollection that pre 1970 or so, the NRA didn't take a hostile position on regulating this sort of weapon.

Anyway, the absolutist NRA position is a relatively modern creation. I'm actually pretty sympathetic, though, to the idea that sensible gun legislation is, at the moment, a losing political proposition.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:42 PM
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558:

The Jim Zumba episode is all you need to know about guns and politics.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:44 PM
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555: No, seriously, I am. Was 530 unclear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:45 PM
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What liberal ideas should be on the forefront of a Dem's platform LB?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:47 PM
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557: Well shucks, will, I guess I still need more clarity. I think Webb is a liberal, for instance, so we seem to define these terms differently.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards have all crafted fairly detailed policy positions. For the purpose of this conversation, do you see any of them as "truly liberal"?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:50 PM
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560 No, it was clear. Maybe ignored, though.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:53 PM
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557: Edwards and Obama sometimes sound like true liberals, and I think they could both win. Whether one of them will actually: (1) make it past the primaries, (2) run as a liberal, (3) govern like a liberal, remains to be seen.

I want restoration of the rule of law, no aggressive wars, no torture, on the agenda. I think it is entirely possible to find positions on those issues I support, and get elected. I want improved immigration laws; again, I think it's entirely possible to find positions on those issues I support, and get elected. I want a candidate who will actually support criminal justice reform--e.g. fixing the shameful state of indigent defense, making DNA testing available, doing something about incarceration rates. I think it's entirely possible to support those things & get elected. Part of the reason I think this is that those issues have fallen off the radar screen--drug dealers are the early 1990s bogeyman & we now have a new bogeyman & could quietly make our policies more sane. But I don't insist that we do that loudly.

The executive power stuff does require loudness, I think, or we are left with a particular president getting away with so much that it's a truly dangerous precedent. I think a key first step is handing the files about the various abuses over to either a prosecutor or an independent commission or both and say: America & the world need an honest, full, apolitical accounting of what happened so we don't make the same mistakes.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:54 PM
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Nobody seems to be advocating that liberal issues should be at the forefront of the Dem's campaign.

Contra LB, I don't there's any need to do so. Just campaign against the Southern Republicans as unAmerican bastards whose radical conception of America is inimical to actual Americans and has led us to disaster. Say that they cannot be trusted with the levers of power. Then make it stick. Then we'll negotiate amongst ourselves. And, of course, punish the wicked.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:54 PM
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Were 462 and 482 unclear?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:55 PM
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560:
I read it, but didnt see what liberal issues you wanted to be at the forefront. (UHC excluded)

PF:
Webb isnt a liberal. He is very pro-gun rights. As I recall, his website didnt even mention abortion.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:56 PM
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Webb isnt a liberal. He is very pro-gun rights.

Does gun control even qualify as a liberal issue anymore?


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:57 PM
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(also: health care, environmental issues, card check, etc. Definitely we should campaign on those. But I don't think economic issues strike terror into Democratic politicians' hearts in quite the same way the war-on-terror/war-on-drugs stuff does.)

If your definition of "truly liberal" is Dennis Kucinich, then no, he can't get elected President. But Obama on a leftish day? Sure. Edwards on a leftish day? Sure. Gore, as he is right now? Yes. I even think Feingold would've had a better shot of winning the general than he would've had in the primaries; I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with me on that last one.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 3:57 PM
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I want restoration of the rule of law, no aggressive wars, no torture, on the agenda. I think it is entirely possible to find positions on those issues I support, and get elected.

I agree. I would be citing that Israeli military expert brief every freaking day.

I think that the Democrats should be pounding the table with those issues. Say it loud. Say it proud.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:02 PM
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Do we have a real difference of opinion here, or different associations with the word "liberal"?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:03 PM
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I think, as Apo noted above, "left/right" leads nowhere useful. Most of the issue-specific people are already promised. Most of the rest are going to be voting on something other than left or right.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:03 PM
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I'm starting to suspect it's the latter -- that will is using 'liberal' to mean 'unpopular positions associated, fairly or unfairly, with the Democratic Party.' In which case, sure, if they're really unpopular it'd be a bad idea to put them up front.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:04 PM
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571:

With your comments about "maybe not loudly" and comments on Kucinich, we are probably close to agreement.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:06 PM
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I don't think "not being liberal enough" is an accurate description of the Democrats' problem. "Abject fear that liberal positions are electoral poison" is a problem, though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:06 PM
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575:
I go back to Apo's comment and my follow-up at 405.

Nobody wants a waffling sissy afraid to take a stand. The Dems need a spine and to not be afraid to fight. This is why Webb won and why Webb has become more prominent. He isnt perfect. But, I will happily start there.

George Allen v. Jim Webb??? Neither is particularly liberal. But Webb kicks butt over Allen.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:10 PM
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(I assume you disagree with me about whether Feingold would've had a chance in the 2008 general, or you have a *really* non-standard definition of "liberal". Feingold may be a shade to my left.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:21 PM
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But there's no connection between being liberal and being a waffling sissy. What's wrong with wanting some non-waffling liberals, being forthrightly upfront about their convictions? (Say, Edwards as not bad on this front.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:21 PM
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Will, Webb certainly has some stances that I don't think the left-most wing of the Democratic Party would like in a national candidate, but the idea that a senator focused on the wealth divide who writes about the "growing unfairness" of twenty-first century American capitalism is illiberal because he likes guns is bizarre. More than saying something about liberalism, it indicates to me that you've let the NRA crawl inside your head.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:28 PM
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This thread is making me lighten up a bit on Edwards & Obama. They really are decent candidates. I just have this vague feeling of desperation about politics, & wanting someone to really pick up the standard & run forward, & neither of them has quite won me over.

With Edwards, I worry a bit that he's just running a textbook run-left-for-the-primaries strategy that's not going to be lasting. With Obama, I worry about whether he's willing to throw a punch or fight when it's necessary to do so. All the soft, vague bipartisanship rhetoric *could* be a tactical way to get credit for being moderate without actually sacrificing liberal politics or ideals (the converse of Hilary getting credit for being a "fighter" when she's not actually so liberal), or could signify a real misreading of the political situation. And in the past I've tended to project my hopes onto candidates I like in a way that leaves me very disappointed when it turns out to just be me projecting.

I'll probably get really attached to one or both of them just a few months before they lose in the primaries.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:28 PM
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But there's no connection between being liberal and being a waffling sissy. What's wrong with wanting some non-waffling liberals, being forthrightly upfront about their convictions? (Say, Edwards as not bad on this front.)

I didnt say that there was a connection.

I heard Edwards speak at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond back in 2003. He was excellent. Compelling for me personally at the time. I am much less enthused about him now.

Feingold is a good example of someone willing to take a stand.

But neither is going to win.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:29 PM
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Well, Feingold's not running. Why couldn't Edwards win if we nominated him?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:32 PM
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(I disagree with you about Feingold but it seems pointless for me to argue his conceivable electability when he's not even in the race).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:33 PM
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Snarkout,

I wasn't trying to give the complete answer about Webb. Just two quick things.

Let us see how he is defined in two years, but I am still guessing that nobody is going to call him liberal.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:33 PM
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But what are you advocating? A butch, Webb-like personal style? Because whatever people call him, that's got nothing to do with whether he's liberal or not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:34 PM
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555

""The Democrats should campaign on improving the economy for the average American worker."

Agreed. But, this general idea isnt necessarily considered a liberal idea."

In what sense is this not liberal? Do people think liberals oppose helping the average American worker? If so, no wonder liberal has become a bad brand.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:39 PM
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Obviously a guy not running isn't going to win, but any of the big 3 could win the general and nobody has voted in a primary yet. This time in 2003, Howard Dean was leading and Kerry and Lieberman were tied for 2nd place, with Gephardt close behind. You'll recall how many delegates Dean, Lieberman, and Gephardt ended up with when all was said and done, right? I'm not ready to coronate anybody yet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:42 PM
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Man, I miss Dean. Too bad he sucked on TV.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:43 PM
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Edwards is a trial lawyer. We are inherently bad. Res ipsa loquitur

Ok, I really have to finish writing this Cle now.

I'll have to come back to this about Edwards.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:47 PM
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Edwards is a trial lawyer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:52 PM
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With Edwards, I worry a bit that he's just running a textbook run-left-for-the-primaries strategy that's not going to be lasting.

But of course, there's no way to know whether that's true, so that bit of worrying isn't going to do you any good. The thing that keeps me on side with Edwards is that even if he's bullshitting like crazy, he's out there saying the stuff he's saying, repeatedly, publicly, and in a way that suggests he understands what he's saying. That public record and the confidence that he understands the policies and priorities he's advocating for, whether or not he intends to follow through on them, are really the most concrete things we're ever going to get from a candidate before they're actually in office.

I really, really agree with Sifu that trying to get into other people's heads, either voters or candidates, is not a useful exercise when picking your candidate.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:55 PM
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but the idea that a senator focused on the wealth divide who writes about the "growing unfairness" of twenty-first century American capitalism is illiberal because he likes guns is bizarre.

Exactly.

Jesus people, where the hell does this "good liberals are anti gun" shit come from anyways? Americans trust the Democrats over the Republicans on the 1st and 4th Amendments every time. We let the right have the 2nd without a fight. Stupid stupid stupid. Take those western states back damnit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:56 PM
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Also: Dean did not suck on TV.* Teevee wankpersons said that Dean sucked on TV and everybody believed it.

*Okay, I'd have to give you the disappearing-neck thing. That kinda sucked.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:56 PM
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I'll take lip service to liberal ideals over running away from them any day of the week. We have to start changing the tenor of the conversation somehow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 4:57 PM
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Barack Obama can't win: he's black, and has admitted using drugs. Rudy Giuliani's a twice-divorced pro-choice pro-gay cross dresser from New York; he's also a dick. Mitt Romney is possibly an android, and definitely a Mormon. Hillary's not only a woman, but a castrating bitch hated by half the country. John McCain is too old, and has convinced half the electorate that he's dangerously insane about Iraq and the other half that he's dangerously anti-torture and pro-illegal alien. Fred Thompson is an airhead.

"Trial lawyer" doesn't sound so bad, in that company. And yet, one of them is presumably going to win.

593: I found him uncomfortable to watch, but maybe it was because I was a strong supporter & really nervous for him every time.

As for getting into people's heads: I don't vote based on electability in primaries. & the fact that Edwards is still competing with Obama in my head is a sign that I *do* give him a lot of credit for the campaign he's run so far.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:03 PM
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592

"Jesus people, where the hell does this "good liberals are anti gun" shit come from anyways? ..."

It comes from the fact that many liberals do in fact support gun control and others are uncomfortable around guns and people who like guns.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:09 PM
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Speak of the devil: Larry Flynt says David Vitter's moment in the spotlight ain't over.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:15 PM
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Sometimes I really, really like Larry Flynt.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:17 PM
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You definitely don't want him working against you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:19 PM
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600!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:20 PM
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Webb isnt a liberal. He is very pro-gun rights.

I don't think that Will should be thrown under the bus. He should be warmly invited to vote for a Democrat on the first Tuesday in November.

His Socratic dialogue on liberalism makes me gag. His understanding of liberalism is the same as Rove's.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 5:39 PM
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Take those western states back damnit.

Oh, we will. It may take a little longer if HRC is the nominee, but we will.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:05 PM
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I never said that liberals had to be anti-gun. I gave two examples of why Webb isnt much of a liberal. (There are more.) Gun control is often a liberal issue.

I'm around gun people all the time. I get the gun toters emails. I'm teach at the gun range.

Gun toters are overwhelmingly Republicans. They do not trust Democrats. Personally, I think that should change.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:40 PM
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His understanding of liberalism is the same as Rove's.

And yet if will were around, one gets the impression that he would deny this. Why is Webb not a liberal ? Well, he likes guns and ... and ... and what else? Well, he likes class warfare for one thing.

Good for Webb for trying to reclaim that subject for the liberals. As I said above, will is going to come around without even knowing it - he'll tell you that as a compromise measure, he's willing to support conservatives like Webb.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:42 PM
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Emerson:

Attacking others is great. Perhaps you could actually articulate some ideas yourself prior to claiming the role of deciding who gets to be a Democrat.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:44 PM
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I gave two examples of why Webb isnt much of a liberal.

I saw guns (and I grant that this his is not a liberal position), but what was the other example? Are you contending that his position on abortion isn't liberal?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 6:46 PM
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606

Webb is not a liberal. Liberals don't give speeches honoring the Confederate dead. Nevertheless the likes of Webb are a possible component of a winning Democratic coalition if liberals can refrain from pointlessly insulting them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:15 PM
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Shearer, try and control your surprise when we don't take you seriously as a source on liberals.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:21 PM
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606: Welcome back James, if you look above, you'll see someone with some sense has been using your alias.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:24 PM
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607: ?

Liberals don't send coded messages through Confederate nostalgia that they support and ally themselves with racists, as Allen did, I'll give you that. But the liberal principle requiring that a liberal from a Southern state boycott a historical observance that's a big deal in their home state, and that's not wrong in itself, is beyond me.

There are a couple of things getting confused here. There's "Who's a liberal" in a latte-sipping-big-city-overeducated-non-gun-owning-Northern kind of way. And all of that is very recognizable, but very little of it is actual politics -- it's demographics and culture. Then there's "Who has liberal politics"; in which case someone like Webb, who looks very little 'like a liberal' in a demographic and cultural kind of way, can have very liberal politics.

Myself, while I am an overeducated-gunless-urban-and-so-on liberal, I don't give a damn about the demographics or the culture. I want people with left-liberal politics elected. They can be the Dukes of goddam Hazzard if I like them on the issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:24 PM
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They can be the Dukes of goddam Hazzard if I like them on the issues.

My first ever vote for a congressman was for Cooter. Predictably, he lost to Eric Cantor.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:28 PM
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The upshot of all this is that "liberal" and "conservative" are not very good descriptions of anything specific.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:34 PM
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Except for slot machines, of course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:35 PM
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I can't vouch for the accuracy of this site, but it generally seems right, and it seems like a stretch to call the positions outlined here as anything but liberal.

The site itself summarizes Webb as a "moderate liberal populist" and that seems like a pretty reasonable description.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:38 PM
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"Liberal" particularly is destroyed as a descriptor, because it's been used as two opposing insults by different groups -- conservatives use it the way will was (not calling you a conservative, just talking about your use of 'liberal') to identify ideas as far-out leftist in an unpopular way, like letting murderers out of prison or legalizing heroin while instituting live demonstrations in sex-ed classes. And leftists use it as DLC-centrist-wimp. I hate walking away from the word, because it's mostly what describes me: on the left, but mostly my politics wouldn't scare people much. But it's hard to use with precision.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:39 PM
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Compassionate Coastal Elitism?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:42 PM
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You Naturally Hate Me, But Letting My Kind Run Things Will Mean You Can Go To The Doctor When You Get Sick? That one's a little clunky. Maybe the acronym works better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:44 PM
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Dixie Welcome: Elites Embracing Bulky Southerners

That's a little clunky. Maybe the acronym works better?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:48 PM
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Do I actually have to embrace the bulky Southerners? I was thinking this could all stay on a purely political level.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:51 PM
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DWEEBS demands sacrifice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:53 PM
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And scorns subject-verb agreement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:56 PM
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You know, I thought about doing it the other way, but felt like that would send the wrong message to our enemies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 7:59 PM
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Do I actually have to embrace the bulky Southerners?

You wouldn't hug me, LB?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:00 PM
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This is just going to turn out to be about sodomy again, isn't it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:01 PM
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622 s/b A foolish consistency are the hobgoblin of America haters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:01 PM
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You wouldn't hug me, LB?

She'll hug you, but as soon as she gets back to New York she'll be calling you "Moon Pie breath" and plotting to take away your guns and make you start compulsory yoga classes.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:01 PM
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Funny you should use the term "turn out", LB.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:01 PM
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That's a pretty advanced embrace. I'd want to at least meet Buck and the kids first.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:01 PM
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Great, grossed myself out again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:02 PM
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629: Occupational hazard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:03 PM
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LB can have my Moon Pies when she pries them from my cold, dead fingers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:04 PM
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Don't tempt me. I'm very fond of Moon Pies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:05 PM
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631: the chocolate melts on your corpse, not in your mouth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:05 PM
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Speaking as a northerner, whoopie pies are a sad, sad substitute.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:07 PM
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The failure of Webb's Senate Campaign website to mention abortion is some indication of his politics.

to identify ideas as far-out leftist in an unpopular way, like letting murderers out of prison or legalizing heroin while instituting live demonstrations in sex-ed classes

LB hits it perfectly. That is exactly what I meant.
Let's abolish the death penalty, legalize drugs, and
eliminate parental notification. Those positions will insure the election of our candidate.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:08 PM
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That you, Will? But if you're going to define 'liberal' ideas as unpopular, it's tautological that they should be downplayed. The deal is that there are all sorts of liberal principles and policies that aren't unpopular.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:11 PM
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635 was me. Shocked, I realize.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:11 PM
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I didnt define liberal ideas as unpopular.

The question is how far do you go. Each of those issues have many different levels.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:13 PM
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will how do you even keep doing that? There's a button, you know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:15 PM
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But there isn't a scale on which more-liberal=less-popular. It's not like liberals really want the live sex in high schools, but will settle for free availability of birth control; we honestly just want the birth control -- live classroom sex isn't an ultimate goal. We're not slavering to let murderers out of prison, just to modify lineup procedures so we're surer we've got the right people in jail.

Presenting craziness as liberalism gone 'too far' assumes that all liberals really want the crazy stuff. This is untrue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:18 PM
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Sorry. Different computers.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:18 PM
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I don't give a damn about the demographics or the culture. I want people with left-liberal politics elected. They can be the Dukes of goddam Hazzard if I like them on the issues.

LB, sometimes I can see you as something like an alternate me, but with the vagina attachment. Not this time, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:18 PM
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I didnt present craziness. I never said anything about live sex shows or letting out murderers. You did.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:20 PM
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Webb has said he's in favor of abortion rights (and thinks Roe v. Wade) is right; he said this during the Democratic primary, and then shut up about it during the general election. Will, to summarize, a failure to take a maximally unpopular rhetorical approach to controversial social issues and then trumpet one's stance makes one un-liberal? And stances on reducing income inequality and protection for the American working class are less important (for liberals, not the Democratic Party) than having these social positions?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:21 PM
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642: Think of Pants. You'd vote for Pants, wouldn't you? He's a southern boy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:25 PM
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643: But you did say "that's exactly what I meant" when I said live sex and letting murderers out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:26 PM
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No, snarkout. I think that Webb's support of abortion rights is skindeep. I dont really care to debate this about Webb much longer. Time will tell where he falls out.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:28 PM
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646:

I was being sarcastic. I wrongly thought that was clear.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:28 PM
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You're ducking my question, though, Will. Seriously, in your conception of liberalism, do social issues -- abortion is the one you're talking about, but there are others -- trump economic issues in making you a really truly liberal? Is the vocally pro-choice and pro-gay-rights Rudy Giuliani more liberal than Jim "Class Warfare" Webb, whom I will concede isn't fired up by these issues? I don't think that's right, but I think that's at least a position, and it would save a lot of us the effort of trying to guess what you're arguing here.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:32 PM
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It was clear you were being sarcastic about winning, but not about the characterization of 'liberal' positions. I'm really not understanding what you think 'liberal' positions are -- when you say liberal, do you mean something you'd like to see enacted, but don't think you can sell, or do you men something that you think is a genuinely bad idea, or what?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:34 PM
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Quit whining, Will.

Regarding the death penalty, there are 12 states without it. Wisconsin has only one person in the 150 or so years it's been a state. While I understand that abolishing the death penalty is not an issue for a presidential candidate to run on, it's a very sensible position which has actually been put into effect in about a quarter of the US.

Will's habit of treating all substantive issues in terms of campaigning is an excellent illustration of the reasons why many people regard Democrats as unprincipled, opportunist weenies.

Let me object again to his Rovian definition of liberalism.

Also, this guy is not Socrates.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:36 PM
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645: I'd vote for a Pants-Apo ticket in a heartbeat. But that's--at most--50% on issues. There's some other thing there that's at work that has nothing to do with issues and a tenuous connection to left-liberal politics (which probably doesn't describe me very well).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:38 PM
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I guess this is the flip side of the David Sirota-esque argument that the Democrats lost their way when they started using checkbox social issues stands as a stand-in (and eventually a replacement) for economic liberalism.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:38 PM
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Snarkout:

Perhaps I should have simply said "the voters ar more likely to elect a moderate."

Guiliani is probably more comfortable around gays than Webb. Guiliani is probably more comfortable about pro-choice issues than Webb.

But, Webb is more likely not to make the United States a police state (FISA vote notwithstanding).


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:38 PM
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652: This may be easier for me, because as a New Yorker, I think all y'all (did I get that right?) are from Mars. Anyone who habitually shops for food in a car is kind of alien to me. So southerners? Not that much stranger than people from Jersey.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:39 PM
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Wow. Emerson insults again. Didnt want to use the f-bomb this time?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:41 PM
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Perhaps I should have simply said "the voters ar more likely to elect a moderate."

URL?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:44 PM
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You're whining again, Will. No insults. I just don't like anything you're saying.

Or do you think that you are really a Socratic wise man instructing us? Does it hurt you that I don't agree.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:54 PM
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I've skipped most of the thread since my last comment: Anything interesting going on?

I've been thinking, though, about SCMT's proposed anti-Southern jihad. I still like it in theory. And you can say that certainly since Atwater at least, they've been at war with us.

If I was trying to take John Warner's seat, though, I'm not sure I'd want the national candidate pulling in that direction.

I just looked at the Senate map again. We're defending seats in Ark and La, and the Reps are defending the rest of the Confederacy (other than Florida), and the Southern Plains. Maine, MN, and NH. A couple others. A presidential candidate has to take this kind of thing into account: both Carter and Clinton lost valuable ground and time in the first 2 years on the Hill.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 8:54 PM
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No, Emerson. I won't lose any sleep over you playing with me.

I get told that I am wrong all the time. I'll live.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:00 PM
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Well, keep peddling your 20-year-old product. There are probably places in the world where it's new and exciting.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:04 PM
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659:

it looks like Mark Warner will try to take John Warner's seat. I'm not sure that is such a great idea.

Is Sen Mark Warner and Gov. McDonnell (anti-sodomy) better than Sen Tom Davis and Gov Mark Warner? I'm not sure.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:06 PM
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Can Warner be governor again?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:10 PM
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yes. You just cannot serve consecutively.

Allen might get into that race as well, although Bolling and McDonell are lined up already.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:12 PM
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663: Yes. Virginia governors can't serve consecutive terms but they can serve multiple terms.


Posted by: joe dokes | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:13 PM
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650

If you want to define liberal you could start with the average of the views of the 20% (or so) who self identify as liberal when asked to choose between liberal, moderate and conservative. I doubt Webb is among this 20%.

Note 20% won't win many elections so liberal candidates best figure out how to appeal to many non-liberals as well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:16 PM
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Since we are in a liberals vs. conservatives kind of conversation here, I just want to point out the number of Shearer's last comment. Coincidence, no doubt.

I don't know who would eat a moon pie when they could have a googoo cluster.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:25 PM
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Shad is the only appropriate food for talking politics.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:32 PM
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Note 20% won't win many elections so liberal candidates best figure out how to appeal to many non-liberals as well.

That's the old tired thinking. You have to think of it completely differently:

[Some guy] said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're [a movement] now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality--judiciously, as you will--we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Yeah, it's recycled. That's all I've got, more of the same. Just waiting for someone to show me something new, something that's never happened in my lifetime. Something without antecedents. A big damn rabbit from a big damn hat.



Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 9:33 PM
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huh?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-10-07 10:07 PM
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669:Well, it ain't that new in a way, but both S Newberry & al Qaeda have been exploring the concepts of distributed organization, meso-politics (look up meso-economics, or meso-something on wiki...meso is between micro and macro, the dynamic place that doesn't really move toward either pole. Or something.). Networking without nodes or cells.

ObsWi took a lead on rendition;Beyerstein & others on Schiavo; FDL and NextHurrah on Libby, The idea might be to create a flash crowd in the blogosphere that really doesn't use the above three as nodes but merely as content, distributed more widely. I don't know how this would apply to politics. In fact I don't understand it at all.

But one example would be the opposition to Wikipedia, which is the old "macro" model of information, as opposed to a thousand expert sites on whatever. There are no longer, or soon will not be, efficient economies of scale based on concentration of resources.

Like distributed energy. Especially as transport to centralize becomes less cost-effective.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 6:39 AM
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Or bittorrent, which theoretically has no center no foval point.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 6:41 AM
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Just waiting for someone to show me something new, something that's never happened in my lifetime. Something without antecedents. A big damn rabbit from a big damn hat.

I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about either, but it sounds on some level like despair that anything politically good is going to happen, because nothing has in your lifetime. And I know a lot of people feel that way.

But a lifetime is short compared to politics. I'm thirty-six, and very few things have happened, politically, in my lifetime, on the level we're talking about. You could explain pretty much all the politics I remember as backlash from Watergate, one way or the other. That's not a reason to expect anything good to happen, but it seems to me to mean that it's a reason not to be surprised if something entirely different, a completely new dynamic, emerges. There are simply too few elections to treat them, meaningfully, as a statistical universe from which you can pull out reliable patterns -- it's a narrative, rather, and anything could happen next.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 7:40 AM
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Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 7:58 AM
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Yeah, yeah, I'm a dirty fucking hippie. But you really can't say that big political changes won't work because they never have, because the 'never' you're talking about is a short, short baseline in terms of the sort of political changes we're talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:00 AM
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673 is especially true of presidential elections (on smaller scale races, courageous libneral candidates certainly have pulled off some upsets). Since 1970 we've elected exactly two Democratic presidents--statistically, it's apparently impossible for Democrats to win unless they're southern governors whose names begin with the letter C. Now, obviously trying to change public opinion on certain issues is going to be harder than electing someone whose name begins with a different letter, but it is certainly *possible*; it's happened for the better in recent memory & it's happened for the worse a lot more often.

There's a lot of merit to the argument that the electorate gets the politicians it deserves. But it's also true that politicians get the electorate they deserve.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:07 AM
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I'm a dirty fucking hippie.

LB wants lives sex shows for the kids...

Hippie....Pleasssse. I'm the guy whose kids regularly stop by the women's clinic and who went to the dead shows.

You are correct that things can change relatively rapidly. Griswold wasn't that long ago. In our lifetime, single women couldn't get birth control. School segregation wasn't that long ago (assuming it is officially gone now). DailyKos and others have had tremendous influence on the dialogue.

However, our political process will always be about compromise for coalition building. Which compromises we make. Which coalitions we build. Tougher questions.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:07 AM
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I think Charley is obliquely complaining that people are being unrealistic about what they want the Dems to do. It's worth noting, in this context, that the various people arguing for the more "left" position are starting with very different assumptions about the American voting population and have very different major goals. So the discussion is somewhat confused. But perhaps the better response is to note that the Rovians were, at a political level, right: they won two Presidential elections and two (I think) off-year sets of elections. It wasn't that long ago that people were chattering about the dawn of the conservative electoral hegemony.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:08 AM
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669: See that Wall? See Checkpoint Charlie (no carp)? Now watch it disappear.

Watch the hammer and sickle turn into a tricolor.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were hidden in the Kremlin's sleeves for fifty years. With a wave of Yeltsin, they're back on the map.

Watch one Chinese man stop a column of tanks, at least for a little while.

Watch African-Americans move from the back of the bus to the House and the Senate.

Big rabbits, big hats, and don't bet that the show's over.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:12 AM
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Well, sure. I'm actually not terribly entitled to the mantle of hippiedom, culturally. I'm just saying that you've been irritating people (that is, in this thread I've been about as annoyed for me as Emerson was for him) by sounding as if it were naive to be anything other than terribly, terribly cautious about liberal sounding politics, because people just won't go for them. And you don't know that. Looking at the last thirty years doesn't determine the next thirty; there's just not enough information there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:12 AM
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Now I want the Mantle Of Hippiedom. Patchwork, and tiedyed in parts, with ratty mangy fur around the edges, salvaged from something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:15 AM
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680: will can obviously answer for himself. But if you think that the difference between you and someone in NJ is roughly the same as between you and some random currently Republican guy in the South, then I think there is reason to doubt your measure of the electorate and your estimation of the things to which it will respond.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:18 AM
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I cannot control whether you dislike what I say.

go back and read my comment at 405. After that, I was trying to start a discussion about what we could expect from a Dem. You and Emerson got bent about my use of the word liberal. It wasn't meant to be a dissertation on the word and what it meant. I really could care less about that word.

A presidential candidate focused primarily on liberal issues (pick some- death penalty, far reaching abortion rights, legalizing drugs, large expansions of workers rights) isnt going to be elected "anytime soon."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:19 AM
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I didnt mean the first sentence as snidely as it sounded. I have tremendous respect for LB and Katherine.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:22 AM
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Was 679 posted by Gil Scott-Heron?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:27 AM
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The other reason that the failure to elect an unapologetic liberal president doesn't prove to me that it can't be done is that I don't have any good memory of a Democratic general election candidate trying to run that way. Did Mondale, or Dukakis? I was 6, & 10.

But anyway, this isn't just about presidential campaigns. The question is: is it possible for politicians to influence the press's coverage & public opinion about an issue? To me the answer to that is: "of course." I've seen it happen.

An example of this would be immigration. It went from something that was completely off the radar, to something that is routinely described as one of the biggest crises we faced, without any dramatic precipitating event or change in the actual situation. Why do people think it's a crisis now? Because there have been a bunch of reporters & politicians talking about the immigration crisis.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:28 AM
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What about health care? What about civil liberties? What about the rule of law (that is, running against things like the DOJ shenanigans)?

What's maddening is that because you won't define 'liberal' other than as 'what won't work', it sounds as if you're saying 'anything you want out of politics is impossible. The best you can hope for is for things not to get too much worse.' And screw that. There are things that I want, and while I'm not sure I'm going to get them (I'm very unsure about that) they really aren't broadly unpopular. Single payer health care is popular. Real attention to global warming could be -- environmental issues generally are. Getting out of Iraq and not doing stuff like that any more is popular. Those are liberal issues, and it's not impossible to get what I want on those fronts. It's not certain, but it's not so out of reach that I'm an idiot for wanting politicians to try.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:28 AM
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Oh, and don't worry about being snide. I'm certainly snippy myself, and I'm agreeing with Emerson, who's the rudest person here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:31 AM
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I think we can agree that we have to find a way to get the media to do their job.

The words liberal and conservative really are meaningless or distracting. It was a mistake for me to use that word.

I am a fan of the website www.theagitator.com because he regularly shows that the police/government make mistakes and act maliciously. We need to return to a health distrust of those in power.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 8:45 AM
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(BTW, Tim, I'm not sure what we're disagreeing about. I'm just denying having any regional insight into anyone in the country other than people from my neighborhood. Arkansas or Michigan, it's all the same to me if I agree with someone substantively.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:02 AM
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690: I'm denying that you can trust that you agree with anyone substantively in a meaningful way unless you know a fair bit about the underlying culture. (Academics: how disfavored is "interpretive communities," how technical are the objection? I'm just hoping for a one line dismissal or non-dismissal.)

Put another way: if I had to move to some other state, I have a rough sense of how I'd select a new living place. I might favor large cities, then good university areas, then blue counties, then blue states, etc. (I'm sure like "Nature" or broad income levels would factor in there somewhere relatively early, too.) I think I can make reasonable guesses about the demographic population, and I think the facts about it are probably meaningful.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:16 AM
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But I'm in that same position with anyone who doesn't ride the subway to work. Again, all y'all are from Mars to me. I recognize the problem, I just don't see it as a reason to distrust apparent agreement with Southerners particularly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:21 AM
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685: heh

692: the thing I'm most afraid of, come the day I move out of New York, is how I'm ever going to get used to driving to work again.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:28 AM
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I've only had time to skim this thread, but in all the Sister Souljah-ing, did anyone bring up Ricky Ray Rector? I always found it utterly baffling that more hey was made of Clinton's calculated decision to snipe at a rapper rather than his calculated decision to run back to Arkansas in the middle of a campaign and execute a retarded man to show everyone what a big tough boy he was.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:31 AM
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Katherine did. I think it had less political impact because it was so awful people didn't want to talk about it. Anyone who honestly took it as a reason to vote for Clinton should have, and I think was, too ashamed to bring it up explicitly, and anyone who supported Clinton despite it (um, kind of, me) really didn't want to think about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:34 AM
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I just don't see it as a reason to distrust apparent agreement with Southerners particularly.

It's not Southerners particularly. If you're a faithful white Democrat in the South, you're a Democrat with more faithfulness than I'd have. (There are, after all, costs to being the odd man out.) I'm more likely to trust Southern Dems, at some level; prior to my disenchantment with the DLC, my rule of thumb was to put my faith in Southern Dems. But if you're a white Southerner who isn't a Democrat, I think we come from sufficiently different worlds and initial assumptions that I'm much more comfortable making a deal with someone else if available. And, at the moment, because of the Republican fiasco of the last six years--a largely Southern Republican fiasco--there are a lot of different deals that may now be able to be struck. So I'd much prefer the Democratic Party focus on that. The Dem community would be more coherent, I think, and we'd be able to deal with Southern conservatives with more strength. (It's not like none of the Near South states are flippable, so we'll happily deal with them. But I want it to be from strength.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:36 AM
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I always think of Rector and Karla Faye Tucker as interesting microcosms of their respective presidents-in-waiting. Rector was killed in a shamelessly and grotesquely amoral stunt to win Bill Clinton a few points in the polls, while Karla Faye Tucker was killed more or less because George Bush is just the sort of person who likes seeing certain people get killed.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:38 AM
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I'm not saying it can't happen. But I'm sure it isn't going to happen by destroying the Democratic party, while there is a Republican party to pick up the pieces. The left playbook from 2000 needs to be tossed out -- unlike the Dem playbook from 1970 to the present, that one can show no success of any kind, and only catastrophic failure.

Everyone who thinks the Move On 'betray us' ad is going to have a positive impact raise your hands.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:39 AM
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Everyone who thinks the Move On 'betray us' ad is going to have a positive impact raise your hands.

Definitely not me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:41 AM
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(Raised hand.) Oh, I wouldn't have put it that way myself. But you've got someone standing up giving plainly cooked numbers in service of an obviously political end; and everyone knows this. There's no one paying attention at all (that is, enough to hear about the ads) that really thinks that Petraeus is giving an objective, unpolitical assessment of the situation in Iraq -- the argument is between people who agree with the political ends (keeping the war going, regardless) and people who don't. The idea that we can't use nasty language about him because he's a simple soldier, too honorable by virtue of the shiny stuff on his uniform to try and hornswoggle us, is just asking to get hornswoggled.

If he's going to stand up and lie for his boss, he can get called a liar, and any rule of decorum that calls that wrong is just going to screw us.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:44 AM
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It's a silly tagline, but the message and copy of the ad are great. It's the kind of stuff that is outside the confines of normal Washington/media discourse but is commonplace among normal, politically aware Americans all over the country. It needs to be said, and louder.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:45 AM
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Probably not a positive impact, no. But on the other hand, it's refreshing to see somebody finally acknowledge the obvious and call the guy a hack and a liar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:45 AM
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If he's going to stand up and lie for his boss, he can get called a liar, and any rule of decorum that calls that wrong is just going to screw us.

At a bare minimum, there are better and worse ways to say that. The use of "betray" seems particularly stupid to me, for some reason.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:48 AM
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I heard bits of Petraeus's testimony on the radio, and there really is something about getting one's unfiltered news via just one sense: without the distractions of the uniform, the venue, the resume, whatever, the man sounded like a bullshitter.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:50 AM
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The Move On ad was clumsily done, but the point was a good one, and needs to be made, even if it's made clumsily. I wouldn't have used the lame pun, but the ad I'd have written would have ripped into Petraeus even harder. The thing to do is to treat him as an extension of the Bush administration, not as a glorious and golden icon of The Troops.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:50 AM
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703: Oh, like I said, I wouldn't have said it quite like that. But I don't think it's fundamentally out of line, and once you're calling the guy a liar, which I think someone should, I'm not well qualified to decide how best to get that across without backlash. This might not have been the best phrasing -- I don't think it was -- but the basic message is fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:53 AM
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In re: the MoveOn ad: every time I see it I hear the thing read in Stephen Colbert's voice, because, let's face it. It sounds like a silly joke they would make on the Daily Show. 700 is, of course, right and everything.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:53 AM
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688:I resent that remark, and will try to be ruder in the future. Unless I am invisible, which is more acceptable than you can imagine.

There, IMO, two scenarios for substantive progressive advances. The first is a catastrophic or revolutionary event or era:Late Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower (the entrenchment of the New Deal), LBJ and the leftish congress under Nixon (think JFK). Now I may be wrong to connect, say prohibition and the female enfranchisement to both the movement AND WWI, but I think both may be necessary, to move the marginal actors.

The second, and more important, is a local or minority movement that gains national momentum:This can go as far back as Andrew Jackson. Then Lincoln, first wave feminism with prohibition, LaFollette, Teddy(?), Goldman + Debs + Unions, Civil Rights.

The second creates the organizations that are prepared to take full advantage of the first.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:53 AM
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Oh I agree with the point of the ad's text. But the headline kills kills the message to the audience that really needs to be reached.

How many times does this lesson have to be learned?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:54 AM
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What's maddening is that because you won't define 'liberal' other than as 'what won't work', it sounds as if you're saying 'anything you want out of politics is impossible.

This has been bothering me. Someone says 'We don't need to run a carbon copy of the Republican template' and the rejoinder is 'lol no 1 is going to care about legalizing pot when there are terrorists!' And I'm trying to figure out where people have argued that legalizing pot should be the cornerstone of the liberal agenda. Outside of rightwing talk shows, I mean.

The U.S. will probably elect a centrist. That's how it always works... but what is the center can move. And right now is a good time to paint the Republicans with the 'party of stupid wars, poor planning and un-American' Better that than playing for second place, because trying to be an inoffensive Republican-lite just means they elect the Republican.

We're not playing for the 27% crazification. We're playing for the 5% that listens to them and says 'well, they're nuts, but at least they're tough-minded....'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:54 AM
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Unless I am invisible, which is more acceptable than you can imagine.

Not invisible, you just don't mostly come off as meaning to attack people you're talking to, which I often do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:55 AM
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How many times does this lesson have to be learned?

Until we don't get marginalized for telling the truth, just like they don't get marginalized for talking about Clinton committing murders. If people keep saying that sort of thing, in public, it'll stop being unacceptable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:56 AM
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Hey, waddya know, I just put up a post about the moveon ad, so we can move this discussion to the shiny new thread.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:57 AM
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Agreed on the lame pun. Somehow I missed all the Republican indignation at criticizing a general when Wesley Clark was running for president.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 9:59 AM
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I'll raise my hand, too. That it gave the Republicans yet another reason to play their "they called us names!" game, and that the press loves to play this game with them, is the only way some people may become aware that there is some question about what Petraeus is reporting.

And, the reason Republicans keep playing that game is because Democrats never stop making it fun. Instead of squirming about how distasteful all this immoderate name-calling is, Dems need to start calling Republicans on this bullshit. The Vice President goes on Limbaugh, for fuck's sake, a guy who made fun of someone's Parkensonian palsy.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:02 AM
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713: oh sure, as soon as I comment. The anti-neuroscience jihad continues, concealed by the soft bannery of low comment numbers.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:05 AM
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710:The U.S. will probably elect a centrist.

This is why I really don't get excited over a particular candidate. There are no men on horeback in America. We are too big, too diverse, and there still remain institutional restraints. Edwards can do very little by himself.

Bush need a whole shitload of help, even in military and foreign policy. 5 Shinsekis and the War doesn't happen, or happens differently. 5 Repub Senators would have stopped him cold.

Every successful President is just the tip of a spear


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:07 AM
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Cala:

This was the exchange:

Apo: Jim Webb's relative conservatism helped him in Virginia, of course, but I suspect his win had just as much to do with his campaigning style as his positions.

Will: I agree. Any Democratic candidate should take a stand and not be afraid to fight. Once you give in to the Republican's framing of the issues, you are in trouble.

But, I don't think you are going to see any true liberals winning national elections any time soon.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:07 AM
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There are no men on horeback in America.

Oh, if only you were right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:08 AM
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718: That's the exchange I'm having a hard time reconciling with your criticisms of Katherine's & LB's positions here. You two should be agreeing, but you keep coming back to 'this isn't the time for an abortion and pot platform.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:10 AM
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Thinking about the overall question of how to inspire Democrats to be more aggressive. I think the best thing would be to have a Harris Wofford for Climate Change -- someone who can come out of nowhere and win a visible election by making Climate Change a major portion of the campaign.

One race like that could provide cover for a lot of Democrats.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-11-07 10:10 AM
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