Re: The Angry Ape Test

1

Chimp Bushitler 2.0?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:42 AM
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Huh. I'm really not sure about how that plays out for Hillary, but I think he's got it exactly backward for Obama: the combination of his looks, percieved social class, and ethnicity lets him be angry in a very attractive, respectable way: the calm, well behaved, just-hit-my-limit-and-now-I-bring-out-righteous-anger, Jimmy Stewart kind of angry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:42 AM
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Thatcher didn't radiate anger?

Thatcher seethed with anger and resentment and hatred. That was the whole point of Thatcher.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:45 AM
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2: I think he's exactly right about Obama: an angry black guy is a scary black guy. He might be right about HRC, but she's actually pretty good at the Thatcher (including the implicit anger, which he doesn't acknowledge). You don't much see her openly angry. I think HRC is in very good shape.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:47 AM
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Not ape anger. What the MR post is talking about is the kind of anger where your pulse speeds up and you start talking faster -- Thatcher never looked as though her feelings were influencing her. She was loathsome, but cooly loathsome.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:48 AM
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I should just stop commenting on this blog, 'cause all I do is agree with everything LB says, and that's boring.

But seriously, Obama does get angry, but in this very smart, measured, hott kind of way. Like, I am going to tell you what's what, and you are going to nod and agree with me because I'm right.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:51 AM
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Also contemplating what the average American bases their vote on makes me feel very powerless.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:54 AM
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I'm actually surprised by 4, in that I'm usually not the one arguing that Americans generally are not likely to be unconsciously racist. I just don't think skinny, attractive, 'articulate', Obama gets anywhere near enough the 'Scary Black Man' archetype that he has to worry about not invoking it; I can't see people having that reaction to him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:55 AM
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Congratulations, Tyler, for penning the most high-brow blog post ever to compare Bush to a monkey.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:56 AM
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LB, are you saying Americans are more likely to be consciously racist? Because any way you cut it, this is still a pretty racist country.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:57 AM
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But maybe I'm wrong.

Hillary, on the other hand, I think can pull off a fine Thatcher. She's pretty cool, mostly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:57 AM
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Warren Sapp for President!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:57 AM
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(Implicitly.)


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:58 AM
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11: I think part of the worry is Hillary can pull of a fine Thatcher, really.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:59 AM
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10: No. I mean that I generally agree with you: I usually think of myself as being one of the people saying "don't kid yourselves, there's still a whole lot of racism, conscious and unconscious, out there. It's not a thing of the past." But in this context, I don't think Obama, specifically, is at all likely to set off that particular racist reaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:59 AM
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I'm not sure if this is right, but I think it's analyzing the factors that are most important.

Very, very sad, but very, very true.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:59 AM
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5: I still don't know about that. Thatcher could snarl and rant and seethe with the worst of them. She was at least as angry an ape as Cheney.

I'm not sure it makes sense to speak of the appetite for Ape Anger as universal -- some of the electorate is all about Ape Anger, some of it is turned off by it, and the part of the electorate that really likes Ape Anger is on the right.

No form of Ape Anger that Obama or Clinton come up is going to work for that crowd.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:00 PM
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Doesn't Mencken have a line about how democracy is all about finding the biggest brute who can pick up the heaviest stick and bang it loudest on the ground?

I can't find it.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:01 PM
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By the way, doesn't this analysis suggest that "Snarlin' Dick" Cheney is a shoo-in?

Also: Did Thatcher giggle like Clinton? (I actually sort of mean this question seriously. My impression is that she very much did not.)


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:01 PM
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There's the scary angry black man stereotype, and then there's other one: Sidney Poitier's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner rant and Denzel Washington's 'I am Very Serious' face.

They're both stereotypes, but the latter one isn't scary, and I think Obama can probably pull off the latter.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:02 PM
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16: Well, 'most important' in terms of guessing who's going to win the election? Maybe, but that's not important in itself. Who wins is important, but knowing who's going to win before it happens isn't.

What's important in reality is who to work for, and this hasn't got anything to do with that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:03 PM
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Cowen is saying that we're doomed, but he's saying it in an cool, amusing, detached way. That's why I hate him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:03 PM
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These aren't the factors that are most important as a matter of substance. Insofar as they're most important as a matter of how the electorate decides, it's largely because the press focuses on stupid trivia like this at the expense of anything that actually matters. You can claim that that's the press & electorate we have, & that's how they do decide things. But you're not neutrally observing that--you're contributing to it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:04 PM
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Sidney Poitier's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner rant and Denzel Washington's 'I am Very Serious' face.

Yeah, exactly. It's also, on some level, a racist stereotype -- Noble Black Man As Christ Figure: Righteously Angry On Behalf Of The Oppressed Of The World. But it works for Obama rather than against him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:05 PM
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I'm not sure it makes sense to speak of the appetite for Ape Anger as universal

It's not. I'm not sure what Cowen's about. The Angry Ape of recent years is Pat Robertson. Who was surprisingly successful initially and then got hammered and is now a bit of a relative outcast.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

A movie I cannot watch because it makes me cringe too much.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:07 PM
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Heh, I almost typed that same sentence, LB, including the capitalization.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:07 PM
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25: I saw it for the first time about a year ago. Talk about a movie that has not aged well at all....


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:08 PM
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Atrios had that terribly funny post noting that the relationship still looks shocking, but now it's because he's pushing forty and she's an undergrad. (IIRC - I haven't seen it in forever.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:10 PM
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Aren't non-beltway voters a little tired of Angry Apehood?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:10 PM
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12: Holy crap. I've been reading this blog for at least four years now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:11 PM
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Feeling the cold breath of the grave approaching at an ever accelerating rate, Josh?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:13 PM
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Ok, this sort of analysis is very important for strategy. Our first priority is electing a Notrepublican, so we need to nominate the democratic candidate who can do the best angry ape. MR has already ruled out Obama and Clinton, I think rightfully. Can Edwards be an angry ape? I think he has the same problem as Mitt Romney on this one. Googling "John Edwards Angry" gets some interesting results, but none of them are a picture of him doing the angry ape.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:14 PM
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Noble Black Man As Christ Figure: Righteously Angry On Behalf Of The Oppressed Of The World

Philadelphia? What do they call you up there, boy?

They call me President Obama!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:15 PM
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22 is right, of course, but that doesn't make Cowen any less persuasive:

Under this theory foreign policy disasters, no matter who caused them, will help the Republican candidate. We will demand An Angrier Ape.

This is a downward spiral that worries me a lot, because I don't think people are prepared to fight it. In a very real sense, bin Laden chose our president in 2004, and there's no reason to suppose he won't exercise that option again - and again.

This country still doesn't comprehend the symbiosis between bin Laden and the Republicans. But bin Laden sure as hell does.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:18 PM
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35

Actually, the real problem with MR's test is that it conflates a real phenomenon with a liberal parody of it. We all know that voters respond to strength. To us sensitive liberals, this looks like Neanderthal behavior, so we say they are going for the angry ape.

But lets face it, there are many ways to express strength. The Noble Black Man As Christ Figure: Righteously Angry On Behalf Of The Oppressed Of The World pushes the strength button just as much as the Angry Ape. The the Stern Schoolmarm also presses the strength button, but not as hard. I don't think we are doing so bad.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:19 PM
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And John Edwards, if he has a shot, gets in as a Bugs Bunny trickster rather than an Angry Ape. I can't see him getting mad with all that much force. I can, on the other hand, see him getting even.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:22 PM
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Yet another election post that pretends that John Edwards doesn't exist, yet curiously considers John McCain as if his campaign weren't on the verge of bankruptcy.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:23 PM
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cold breath of the grave

Stare yourself in the mirror and say "another day closer to death" every morning. Harder to pull off with a kid having morning ideas and needing morning stuff done, though. How do they manage to wake up so cheerful?

OK, remarking taht the electorate pays attention badly is true and counterproductive, but what can a person honestly do?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:24 PM
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36: Are you serious? Have you never seen video of Edwards getting pissed?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:25 PM
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Noble Black Man As Christ Figure: Righteously Angry On Behalf Of The Oppressed Of The World.

That is a great phrase, I need to remember it. That stereotype was one of the other things I dislike about Matewan.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:25 PM
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39: I don't think I have. I get most of my news from print and radio. Do you have a link?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:26 PM
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Eh, I'm not at all convinced by Cowen's theory.

Most swing voters perceive America as being at war and so they demand toughness.

Every poll I've seen for the past two years says that "most swing voters" want us the fuck out of the war.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:29 PM
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Isn't Tyler Cowen making an ev psych argument here? Therefore, can't we just assume it is wrong?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:29 PM
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Yeah, Bugs Bunny gets pissed too. But Edwards' anger isn't scary or out of control at all -- it doesn't project 'strength' in the "Me Ugh, Beat Ground With Stick Then Club Other Tribe To Death" way that I think Cowen's talking about. Edwards mad still looks thoughtful -- he's not going to get mad and hit you, he's going to get mad and get you to run yourself off a cliff.

I'm using 'Bugs Bunny' as a familiar example of an important archetype here -- I'm a big Edwards fan, and I think it works for him. I'm not trying to dismiss him by comparing him to a cartoon character. Would it help if I'd said Coyote?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:29 PM
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44 to 39.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:30 PM
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What Cowen fails to grasp here is that while Dem candidates are at a disadvantage in the current culture, that culture can change.

The depressing thing is that almost nobody in the media, and nobody among the candidates themselves (with the arguable exception of Edwards) seems to grasp that the terms of the debate need to change.

This country had no problem electing Bill Clinton or HW Bush or Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter, none of whom was persuasive as an angry ape.

Even Nixon and LBJ weren't angry apes on in the Giuliani mode. This country changed in ways that even a lot of liberals haven't admitted yet. It can change back.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:30 PM
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That is to say, The Angry Ape Theory may work in a Republican primary among their pathetically overcompensating base, but I doubt it's really the deciding factor (or even a particularly active one) in a general election.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:30 PM
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They demand An Angry Ape, if not at every moment in time, at least in principle.

That is the biggest crock of shit I've read in a long time.

Let's walk it back.
Clinton. Angry Ape? No.
Bush I: Angry Ape? No.
Reagan: Angry Ape? Welll... not really, no.
Carter: Angry Ape? AHAHAHAHAHahahahha.
Ford: Angry Ape? *snrrrrrK*
Nixon: Okay.
Johnson: Not so much.
Kennedy: No.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:30 PM
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42: I think you're confusing the real war in Iraq, which most people want the fuck out of, with the imaginary war on terror, which I think it's right to say most swing voters think is somehow grounded in reality.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:31 PM
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The Angriest Ape in recent elections was Bob Dole.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:32 PM
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Yeah, what Brock said. They want out of Iraq, but they're still scared of stuff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:32 PM
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But I agree that Cowen's theory is bananas.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:32 PM
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Wow, Reagan is such a counter example here. He projected so much strength, but could be so goddamn genial about it. "There you go again." He was the patriarch as respectable grandfather.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:34 PM
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48: Johnson: Not so much.

What? Johnson was probably the angriest ape of them all. He fits the description better than Bush.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:34 PM
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To follow up on 35, whether a candidate, or anyone, really, is able to pull off the Angry Ape look doesn't mean that they can't convincingly convey strength in other ways.

I can't pull off looking emotional and angry while being taken seriously. I don't know whether it's a function of being female, or short, or a general bearing, or what. But I pull off Quietly Seething very well. Were I running for office, the last thing I would need to do is try to improve my Angry Ape.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:35 PM
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Clinton. Angry Ape? No.
Compared to GHWB? Sure.
Bush I: Angry Ape? No.
Compared to Mike Dukakis? Sure.
Reagan: Angry Ape? Welll... not really, no.
Compared to Jimmy Carter? Sure, with the provisio that Carter was actually spending a lot of money on defense, but doing so secretly.
Carter: Angry Ape? AHAHAHAHAHahahahha.
OK, but Ford pardoned Nixon.
Ford: Angry Ape? *snrrrrrK*
Wasn't elected.
Nixon: Okay.
Okay.
Johnson: Not so much.
No? Though Johnson was notoriously abusive.
Kennedy: No.
No, but quite charming.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:35 PM
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An interesting question of course is how much Bush himself fits the description. Answer: not very much. On the other hand, he fits better than Gore or Kerry, so...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:35 PM
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Dammit, 56 beats 57.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
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The "war on terror" has potential to take on new salience the next time something blows up in this country.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
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57: Cheney has got enough angry ape for any ticket.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
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W. Bush totally fits the angry ape image most of the time, which is what keeps his base in line. He can also occasionally turn off the angry ape to appeal to the center, although now the center has figured out that the angry ape is the real W.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
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47, 48, 50: While I think Cowen's wrong, for the reasons given in 35, these analyses oversimplify the argument. He's not saying that the candidate who spends the most time angry wins, but that the candidate has to be able to be convincingly angry in a dominant primate kind of way -- if they don't have that capacity, they don't win. And on that reading, Kennedy had Angry Ape in his repetoire, Johnson certainly did, as did Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton. Clinton mad looks like a big scary frightening guy -- he doesn't pull it out much, but if voters require 'ability to impersonate an irate silverback gorilla' in a President, he has it. (Again, I really don't think they do -- I think Rob was right in 35.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
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doesn't this analysis suggest that "Snarlin' Dick" Cheney is a shoo-in?

You will recall that the BC2000 campaign worked very hard to contain this image of Cheney. They harldly let him go out in public, and when he debated Lieberman, they had him sit down across a table and play the avuncular grandfather figure.

That Lieberman played along in this charade of reasonable discourse--and was even proud of it afterward--rather than provoking Cheney into a snarling rage was the first of the sins for which I will never forgive Joe. (The second was agreeing, on national television during the Florida recount, that overseas absentee ballots without postmarks should be counted, even as Gore's legal team was arguing they should be thrown out.)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:37 PM
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Would it help if I'd said Coyote?

Make sure you distinguish between the Southwest mythical archetype and Wile E., super- genius. Acme products notwithstanding the inevitable lawsuit.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:38 PM
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Yeah, the only appeal to the Angry Ape Test is that it makes swing voters look stupid, which is something we like to do here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:38 PM
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57: Well, Bush's resemblance to an chimp has been often noted, so he got the ape part down.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:41 PM
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This is a cliche and it's regarded as a copout, but the "American People" are heavily mediated through TV, radio, the press, etc. (No, I won't say "mediated through the media"). They seem to be more or less as wretchedly bad, shallow, compromised, and anti-Democrat as ever.

The right wing starts off with 30% hardcore support. (They've lost a few points because of immigration, but they can easily get them back.) So they just have to find 21% among the 70%, and they win. The media flluff coverage usually helps the Republicans with the low-information voters and the hapless moderates.

I still think that the Republican media slant is deliberate, and there are signs (Murdoch) that it could change, with Hillary benefiting. The silly people with the bylines will fall into line -- they're not making things happen.

The marginal voter is stupid these days, and it makes the whole country look stupid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:43 PM
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Am I the only person here who gets sort of panicky whenever anyone does an Angry Ape? It's the least likely trait in a candidate to appeal to me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:44 PM
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"American People" are heavily medi ^c ated.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:45 PM
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65: Well, we could come up with other Stupid Swing Voter theories in which Giuliani doesn't get elected president.

For example -- Giuliani can't win because there are too many vowels in his name.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:46 PM
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Serious question that sounds unserious: does the tv show 24 contribute in any way to Obama's image as a tough-if-necessary president? I'm beginning to suspect that it does, especially when he does crazy things like outpoll John McCain in a sampling of Iowa Republicans. I've heard a bunch of anecdotal evidence that suggests that "security" Republican types like Barack for some reason.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:50 PM
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Peep: That's my point. There are all sorts of ways in which swing voters are stupid. The weakness for angry apes isn't even one of them. That is a way that the republican base is stupid.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:50 PM
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Black action heroes have been big for some time now.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:51 PM
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Americans hate vowel chains. Bush? No. Clinton? No. Reagan? Able to smile his way around it. (The exception that proves the rule.) Carter? No. Ford? No. Nixon? No. Kennedy? No. Eisenhower was a war hero, so people forgave him. Giuliani has no chance.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:51 PM
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Hey, it's Joey D!

I'd guess it more likely that those Republicans are supporting Obama for the same reasons that Andrew Sullivan is. Figure out what those are, now.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:53 PM
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Anti-hero action heroes have been big for longer.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:55 PM
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71: the idea that a show with as deeply flawed premises as 24 contributes is a bit worrisome. (Caveat, I only know a little about the show, and don't follow it, but from what little I have seen it seems to be taking idiocy like the `ticking bomb scenarios', writ large along with infantalized politics and bullshit `die hard' scenarios ... and nothing else. Works as escapism, but theres a reason for that label)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:56 PM
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71: My friend just got back from a trip to Kansas, and reports that he had several conversations with hick-type gun-totin' Republicans re: Obama. He'd tell them "you know, he doesn't take any money from lobbyists," and they'd get these half-smiles on their faces and say "you know, I kinda like that guy."

He Speaks to the People, man.

But I don't know if 24 has anything to do with it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:57 PM
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Giuliani's vowel problem is an extension of his deeper problem: is he white enough?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 12:58 PM
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Johnson was probably the angriest ape of them all.

Except Barry Goldwater.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:01 PM
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Google informed me of people's priorities by suggesting searches when I was looking for the link in 79. When I typed "is" it suggested "is Jennifer Lopez pregnant." When I added "giuliani" is suggested "Is giuliani jewish" and "is giuliani a jew"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:01 PM
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81: Well, is she?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:02 PM
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Wait, Giuliani got Jennifer Lopez pregnant?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:04 PM
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81: That's really disturbing. I'm figuring that anyone for whom being Jewish would be of interest for positive reasons would have non-Google-based methods of figuring out that he wasn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:04 PM
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Jennifer is an early-model MTF and is not fertile. You heard it hear first.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:04 PM
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here


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:05 PM
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82: No, Giuliani isn't Jewish.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:05 PM
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85: You misspelled "herd".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:05 PM
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81: Well, is she?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:06 PM
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anyone for whom being Jewish would be of interest for positive reasons

I'm not sure I know what you mean by this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:08 PM
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90: Anti-semite!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:10 PM
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They also want to know if Ron Paul is a freemason, if Obama is a muslim, if Hillary is a communist, and if Edwards is for real.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:10 PM
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I'm picturing someone Jewish wondering if Giuliani, a politician they esteem for other reasons, could also be embraced as a fellow Jew. Sadly, I can't actually picture that, because anyone in that category would know he was Catholic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:10 PM
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The search string would probably be different if his name was Rudy Hinduliani.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:15 PM
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It's pretty simple, actually: In Southern political discourse, "New York" is a code word that means "Jewish". For someone who knows only that Giuliani is from New York, it is by default at least plausible that he is Jewish.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:16 PM
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Rudy Hinduliani

This makes me so happy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:17 PM
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Rudy Hinduliani

The robocalls for the Jindal campaign in Louisiana began by reminding voters that "Bobby is a Christian".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:18 PM
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94, 95: Until this moment, it had not occurred to me that a voter might exist for whom the first syllable of Giuliani's name would be connected with Jewishness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:18 PM
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64: That's SUPER-genius. Get it right.

95: And gay. Considering the two or three old fraternal order of something buildings I happen to walk by now and then in Manhattan that have been turned into coops, I suppose it can't mean "Freemason" anymore, though freemasonry was pretty big in New York State in the 19th century.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:20 PM
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98.---Me neither.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:20 PM
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I think that's a little too simplistic. Maybe they see the Italian Catholic thing but think he might be a crypto-Jew. He is from New York, after all.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:22 PM
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They don't like Catholics either. Maybe conservative Catholics, but Rudy is annulled-and-divorced-both.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:27 PM
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That's SUPER-genius. Get it right.

95: And gay.

You know, it never occurred to me that Wile E. was gay, but he so obviously is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:28 PM
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You know, it never occurred to me that Wile E. was gay, but he so obviously is.

His motivation to chase the Roadrunner was sexual. He would have starved long ago if catching the bird was essential to his survival.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:31 PM
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O Context, you vixen.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:33 PM
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So the roadrunner is a big flamboyant teasing queen. Bitch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:34 PM
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This reading is seriously going to give me a whole new level of enjoyment of those cartoons. O, the poor, poor coyote and his perpetually crushed desire....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:35 PM
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So what you're saying is that this isn't about hunting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:39 PM
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98, 100: You guys make shitty racists, I tell you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:39 PM
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So the coyote is like Pepe Le Pew but with a mail-order catalogue?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:43 PM
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So have we reached comity on the fact that Tyler's theory is wrong?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:48 PM
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I missed the good stuff. But I think you guys are misreading Cowen on Obama. The point is that Obama is barred from being an angry ape because racist voters will be turned off by a black man doing it. Righteous anger is fine, but it's not the same kind of anger.

By the way, this analysis, insofar as it's right, indicates that Howard Dean could have won in '04, which I think might be true.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:49 PM
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What state would Dean have won that Kerry lost? I think the result would have been exactly the same.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:50 PM
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110: "Come, ma cherie, and let me catch you in my contraption d'amour."

Alternatively, he's Rube Goldberg in Love.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:50 PM
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Why not Ohio, apo?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:50 PM
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Oh, of course it's wrong. It's wrong in detail and in broad outline. It could hardly be more wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:50 PM
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"racist voters will be turned off by a black man doing it"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:51 PM
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Obama is barred from being an angry ape because racist voters will be turned off by a black man doing it.

Gets it backwards. Obama's as successful as he is because he's a black man who draws, as a lot of people have pointed out, on an alternate expression of righteous, contained anger that we love in black men. And that, for what it's worth, Clinton did very well indeed.

I think the angry ape theory is nonsense, but if you're gonna use it, you need to be able to do it right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:51 PM
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When was it decided that it's wrong? Rob's 35, again, is about the wrong kinds of anger.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:52 PM
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I don't think Dean brought anything to the table that Kerry didn't. He didn't win a single primary among Democrats. I don't see any reason to think that he'd have fared better in the general than he did inside his own party.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:54 PM
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Dean's anger was too "shrill".


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:54 PM
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an alternate expression of righteous, contained anger that we love in black men.

Gawd, that's creepy. Not sure it's not accurate, but it's creepy if true.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:54 PM
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The idea that one specific kind of anger is required by voters -- that voters are always going to be attracted to the guy with the veins bulging in his forehead, spitting a little as he bellows -- is nonsense. Saying that the right kind of anger -- Angry Ape anger -- is essential has no basis.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:55 PM
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Tyler's premise is that the voters think the country is "at war." I do not believe this of "the voters." I believe this of the thirty-something percent who still supported the president a few months ago. I think the eight percent who have defected in the past few months are those who think we're at war and the president is losing it.

And maybe those are the Angry Ape percent.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:56 PM
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Yeah, when Gore started yelling (and Gore could do the Angry Ape), the right wing just said he was crazy. The Angry Ape Theory is cut from the same cloth that says if Iraq gets better, it's good for the GOP and if Iraq gets worse, it's good for the GOP.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:56 PM
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119: It's far too simple, and Hamilton (I think) pointed out that it *only* works if you apply it to Bush junior.

Anyway, the point behind the theory is that we want a leader who demonstrates Power and Alpha Maleness. And yes, this is a problem for Hillary, as (ahem) I have been arguing for quite some time. But there are other ways of being the powerful alpha male--the Clinton/Obama method of being very in control, very cold, very righteous, and somewhat scolding. Which has a significant benefit when put up against the angry ape--it makes the righteous guy look a lot more in powerful and the angry ape look a little bit hysterical.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:57 PM
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that voters are always going to be attracted to the guy with the veins bulging in his forehead

Not always, just nowadays, and not veins bulging, but a willingness to kill foreigners. I think Cowen's a bit off in thinking how well they do an angry ape face is the same as the "will this person smash foreign nations?" test, but it's on the right track.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:57 PM
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In fact! I'd go so far as to say that it's Obama's blackness that makes him read as Righteously Angry--otherwise his patrician affect and slender good looks would simply read (as with Kerry and Gore) as elitist and weak.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:58 PM
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122, 126: For some reason, I am reminded of Ciaran Hinds, as Julius Caesar in the first season of Rome on HBO, practicing his posture of noble grievance against Pompey:

"He refuses to meet me. He refuses to meet me!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 1:59 PM
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Obama should get filmed jogging in a hoodie.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:00 PM
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127: Not always, just nowadays, and not veins bulging, but a willingness to kill foreigners. I think Cowen's a bit off in thinking how well they do an angry ape face is the same as the "will this person smash foreign nations?" test, but it's on the right track.

What are you, McManus? If you can't win an election in the US without convincingly demonstrating a willingness to smash foreign nations, we're just all fucking doomed and there's no hope. If that's true, it's not 'important', it's just a reason to stop paying attention to politics at all and devote oneself to breeding chrysanthemums as the world burns.

But what makes you think it's true?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:01 PM
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FDR and Woodrow Wilson did not do Angry Ape. Lincoln was often compared to an ape, unflatteringly, but not an angry one.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:02 PM
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We should elect as president the candidate who can most convincingly do Grape Ape.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:04 PM
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128: Yeah -- oddly, being black makes it impossible to smear him as effeminate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:04 PM
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I'm supporting Keith Ellison for President now. Obama-plus: a black Muslim with added niceness, making the whole world one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:06 PM
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122: Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Paul Robeson, Denzel Washington, MLK, Mandela, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois. It applies to black women as well: Rosa Parks, Queen Latifah. The point is that black people get respect by demonstrating incredible *dignity*, which is incompatible with naked anger, both because the latter reads as a threat (Malcom X) and because it demonstrates a lack of emotional control (the fat, scolding, laughable black mammy stereotype).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:06 PM
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Vote Grodd! A mind-control device in every pot, a flying car in every garage, two girls for every boy!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:11 PM
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What are you, McManus? If you can't win an election in the US without convincingly demonstrating a willingness to smash foreign nations, we're just all fucking doomed and there's no hope. If that's true, it's not 'important', it's just a reason to stop paying attention to politics at all and devote oneself to breeding chrysanthemums as the world burns.

You think it's as bad as all that? TR's "speak softly and carry a big stick" counts as a willingness to smash foreign nations if the situation calls for it, and I think the only way any settlers got forcibly removed from the West Bank was because Ariel Sharon was able to respond to criticisms from the right of "too soft on the Palestinians" with "Me? Ariel Sharon? Too soft on the Palestinians? Do you know who I am/"


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:12 PM
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we're just all fucking doomed and there's no hope

As I keep saying, I think that's true.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:13 PM
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139: You need to read more Family Circle. There's always hope.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:15 PM
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Ogged, you big wuss. You'll never win the presidency with this defeatist attitude.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:16 PM
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And lookie here, Democrats and Republicans comparing China to Nazi Germany. Some days I wish we'd just go ahead and have armaggedon already, so we can stop talking about it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:16 PM
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139: But if you think that, why call it 'important'? If that's the case -- voters will only accept a violent psychopath -- nothing about politics is important.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:17 PM
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Important to who wins. Nothing is going to seem "important" when the sun blows up and swallows the earth.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:19 PM
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127
"What are you, McManus? "

introducing the famous argument form, "reductio ad mcmanum".


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:19 PM
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It's such a weird time to be despondent, too. Any of our major candidates will beat any of their candidates, the war just lost the GOP the Congress and will be responsible for not just the loss of the Presidency but possibly the destruction of the coalition.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:20 PM
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And yet I remain despondent. I believe a Democrat will win the Presidency -- I am unsure whether anything will improve, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:21 PM
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It's always sunny in Timbot's world. I agree with Henley that as far as foreign policy and domestic anti-terror goes, we have one-party rule.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:22 PM
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147: Everything will be better. The sun will shine brighter, the rose smell sweeter, the bacon taste baconier, etc.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:23 PM
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The point is that black people get respect by demonstrating incredible *dignity*, which is incompatible with naked anger, both because the latter reads as a threat (Malcom X) and because it demonstrates a lack of emotional control (the fat, scolding, laughable black mammy stereotype).

And interestingly Brother Malcolm became more palatable to mainstream American after he was played with that very important dignity by Denzel Washington. It helped, also, that there is a lot of nobility in his story.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:24 PM
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Also, to be elected president, you must give some voters the impression that you are *willing* to beat the shit out of a foreign country. That doesn't mean you actually have to do it, or if you do it, you can do it in a small selective way.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:25 PM
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Also, to be elected president, you must give some voters the impression that you are *willing* to beat the shit out of a foreign country.

I just don't buy this. To whom did Clinton convey that impression? (Turned out he was willing, but I don't think his election turned in any way on his conveying that belief.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:26 PM
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weird, i come back here because i'm tired of yelling at people on henley's blog, and then i click on ogged's link and it takes me back to that very thread.
i gotta get a life.
fuck. seven years, going on eight, of my life wasted. what could have been the twilight of a tolerably productive career, easing into retirement. instead, the political world goes to hell. damn the scalia court forever--damn maureen dowd forever--damn osama bin laden forever.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:26 PM
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the war just lost the GOP the Congress and it changed nothing.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:27 PM
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Which reminds me, you know what war I'm nostalgic for. Grenada. There was a war that did everything you want a war to do. It made the Gipper look tough, sold a bunch of newspapers, and had very few causalities because the whole thing was basically fake to begin with. Now if we can only have a war that is a complete fabrication I would be satisfied. Perhaps we can invade Freedonia and shoot the whole thing in Vancouver for cheap.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:28 PM
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Dang, I'm usually the doomsayer in any crowd.

The giuliani autocomplete was really interesting. There may be hope yet, US xenophobia has been worse in the past (the 1920s), and recovered. It would be nice if there was any way to influence the recovery to sanity.

The thing that really puzzles me is FISA. There's little popular support for civil liberties, but J Edgar Hoover kept his budget and position safe by assembling dirty secrets about congressmen; why won't tapping every cell phone sting the same way?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:28 PM
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Grenada

A test of weapons systems, necessary to settle bickering between competing defense contractors.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:29 PM
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I just don't buy this. To whom did Clinton convey that impression? (Turned out he was willing, but I don't think his election turned in any way on his conveying that belief.)

Arkansas had the death penalty, didn't it? Not a perfect proxy, but not completely irrelevant either.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:30 PM
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And yet I remain despondent. I believe a Democrat will win the Presidency -- I am unsure whether anything will improve, though.

I'm pretty certain nothing will improve. I do believe that things won't get worse at the same rate they would under another Republican administration at this point. The current crop of Democrats is a pretty unimpressive lineup, far deeper than the candidates. It's nearly inconveivable to me that they will significantly turn things around.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:31 PM
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Because Clinton was governnor of a state that has the death penalty, he showed willingness to smash foreign nations?

This thread is bizarre. Cowen and ogged are wrong, of course.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:31 PM
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152: People who know what happened to Ricky Ray Rector.

More generally, are you all high? Do you sincerely believe that Hillary and a Suburban Office Park State governor to be named later can beat Crazy Rudy or Mitt Romney? People -- even people related to me who live in Vermont, eat organic apple butter and frequently write angry e-mails to GWB citing particularly Joan Baez-esque New Testament verses -- hate Hillary like a bad rash.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:32 PM
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Also, to be elected president, you must give some voters the impression that you are *willing* to beat the shit out of a foreign country.

Much as I tend to voice negativity in this direction, I really, really hope (and mostly still believe) there aren't a significant number of voters who are that stupid.

At least outside the twenty-whatever percent that are a lost cause anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:33 PM
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160: Ricky Ray Rector


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:34 PM
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even people related to me who live in Vermont, eat organic apple butter and frequently write angry e-mails to GWB citing particularly Joan Baez-esque New Testament verses -- hate Hillary like a bad rash

Those people do, but a lot of people don't. Actually, the more liberal, the more likely to hate Hillary. But they'll still vote for her, and she knows that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:34 PM
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Then who's picking her in all the polls? People who hate her hate her a lot, rather than being vaguely indifferent to her, but she's got support. (And people who hate Rudy also hate him a lot.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:35 PM
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164: This is probably true, and really fucked up.

Hillary shouldn't be electable, but probably is simply because the Republicans have made such a hash of things.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:36 PM
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From wikipedia

Rector's prison guards called him "the Chickman" because he thought the guards were throwing alligators and chickens into his cell. He would grip the bars and jump up and down like an ape. On the night of his execution, Rector saved the slice of pecan pie to be eaten before bedtime, not realizing his death would come first. He also told his attorney that he would like to vote for Clinton in the fall.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:36 PM
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Not all bad conduct is the same thing. Killing Rector was Clinton's way of demonstrating he wasn't soft on crime -- it didn't have anything to do with foreign policy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:37 PM
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Willingness to kill registers the same way with voters no matter what. Our leader must be willing to kill.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:38 PM
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169: Our leader must be willing to kill.

Where do you get this from? You sound like you've been hypnotized.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:42 PM
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169: Willing and able if absolutely, demonstrably necessary is one thing --- any sign of enthusiasm for it ought to lock a candidate out so hard they couldn't make dog catcher.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:42 PM
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Everything helps the Republicans. Brrrrup rewind. Everything helps the Republicans. Brrrrup rewind.

Tape has to break sometime.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:43 PM
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170, 171: I am reporting what I believe voters to believe. If I sound hypnotized, it is because I think they are. I do not for a minute believe that our leader should be willing to kill. (I am on record as being a pacifist of some sort.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:45 PM
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I guess, but I don't see any strong evidence that voters have that as a requirement. I mean, most people are 'willing to kill' on some level -- whatever proportion of the appropriately aged and sexed population that are not conscientious objectors in a popular war like WW II. If what you mean by 'willing to kill' is that a real, full-tilt-boogie pacifist couldn't get elected president, sure, but that doesn't mean much. If you mean more than that, I think it's badly supported despair-mongering.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:50 PM
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I am reporting what I believe voters to believe.

Well there's your problem right there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:50 PM
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Back to what I said: we're talking about 51% of the voters, of whom we know that 30% are committed authoritarian militarists with a racist, nativist streak. So what's being said is that, with the help of the media, 21% of the remaining voters will swing for a tough guy. 51% = 100%. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but that's what's at stake.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:54 PM
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164: Someone (TPM? tbogg?) had a clip of Frank Lutz talking to a focus group after the latest R debate, asking why they pegged the meters every time "Hillary" was mentioned. The first guy - stereotypical meathead-looking red stater - says, "We remember the 90s too well, and we don't want to live through that hell again. With the Socialism and the Communism..." No shit, that's what he said. And that's exactly why Hillary polls well - among sane people, the 90s are not considered to have been hell, nor was Bill Clinton a socialistic Communist (or, perhaps worse, a communistic Socialist). And people who pay only vague attention assume that she is an acceptable level of liberal - stras is not exactly the median voter.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:54 PM
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177: Wow. Under most sane metrics, Clinton looks like a reasonably successful slightly left-leaning Republican president. We get from there to a hell exactly how?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:57 PM
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I think that the tough-guy requirement isn't as general or universal as has been said, but John Wayne / Captain Kirk decisiveness is needed and Democrats are thought not to have it.

Bush I was hurt by his seeming wimpiness, even though he was an actual war hero and coordinated dark deeds fir the CIA. Carter was hurt. McGovern, Kerry and Dukakis were hurt, and there were two war heroes in there. It's worse now than before.

However, what Cowen says is (as he admits) seat of the pants guesswork. He's really just saying that the standard Republican strategy is going to be intensified and that it will continue to work. In part, the intensification is desperate (because the faithful are wavering because of immigration) and might backfire.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:58 PM
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I don't see any strong evidence that voters have that as a requirement

Well, somebody must think it's important, or Dukakis' response to the "what would you do if your family was murdered?" question wouldn't have been so notable and Clinton wouldn't have made a special trip just to off Rector. In the present case, I don't think this really hurts Hillary, and, like I said, I think "angry ape" is misleading. People think Hillary is plenty opportunistic enough to kill if it'll advance her interests.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 2:59 PM
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Most Americans are more than not-pacifist. They are militarists, meaning that they are infatuated with military power, look towards military solutions first, and in general believe in the redemptive power of violence.

My impression is based on

1. Hollywood's insistent portrayal of violence as redemptive. Think about the black cop in the first Die Hard movie whose whole character arc is about learning to be able to kill again.

2. America's passion for the death penalty, even when it is shown to accomplish nothing. I am particularly struck by the fact that the Ricky Ray Rector stunt worked.

3. The fact that the American people have never said "no" to a war in my lifetime unless they were loosing it. Certainly no one ever says "no" to a war before the fact, when it is obvious to all that we will win.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:00 PM
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We get from there to a hell exactly how?

I know, right? At first I thought it would be the (tiresome) "don't want to go through the Clinton opera again" claim, but then it became clear that, for this deluded individual, the 1990s were the worst period in this country's history. Because, um, you know. The socialism. And the communism.

Geez, that was awful.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:01 PM
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Yeah, I think the idea that the Dems' reputation as pansies is a problem--and one that has particular import in foreign policy elections--is widely considered credible. Maybe it's not well-supported, but I don't think it's less well-supported than most such claims.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:02 PM
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Dukakis looked cold and unemotional -- I don't think the problem was insufficient savagery, but insufficient humanity. Clinton, I think the Rector thing was a square, specific response to the Willie Ray Horton ads against Dukakis -- "I won't let Scary Black Men out of jail, I'll have them killed." Evil, but more specific than a generalized willingness to kill.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:02 PM
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Maybe if they didn't spend so much effort running away from the reputation, it wouldn't appear to be following them.

My Dem freshman congressman has voted with the minority on almost every close vote this year. Why, exactly, should Democrats have donated, volunteered for, and supported him?


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:04 PM
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and the democrats just allowed the confirmation of judge southwick. with feinstein supporting. and lieberman, but then of course.

fuck fuck fuckety fuck. it's almost enough to make me use capital letters. what is wrong with these lame-ass losers?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:04 PM
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Dukakis was taking the detached rational administrator approach, and people hate that. I think that people are right about that. Detached rational administration isn't the main thing that Presidents are for.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:05 PM
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182: And if you ask stras, he'll say that if anyone deserves to be called Evil, it's Bill Clinton. There's a lot of people with weird ideas in this country, and they all get to vote. Hopefully you can rouse people on your side who may not be the biggest fan of your candidate to vote under the principle that it screws one weirdo on the other side, but the perfect is too often the enemy of the good enough.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:06 PM
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181: that's pretty weak sauce when it comes to justifying actual conclusions about the actual electorate (an electorate that has, in fact, said "no" to a war (Vietnam (yes, sure, we were losing)) after it had been going on a while, and also managed to say "no" to WWII for quite a while, too).

I would instead argue that there huge interests in this country (e.g. the GOP) with a huge interest in stoking a taste for retributive violence against a great enemy. This has been the GOP game plan since the end of WWII, and it's worked swimmingly because people are all too ready to believe it's part of the natural order of things, as seen in e.g. this post and your comment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:06 PM
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I don't know, LB. I don't think people thought Dukakis wouldn't be upset if his wife and kids were murdered, but they did come away believing that he wouldn't be vengeful. And the Rector thing had both a specific cause and a more general message. I think helpy-chalk is right about this. Righteous vengeance has to be the plot engine in about 80% of action movies. It's the American way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:06 PM
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I will only vote for a candidate who can do a convincing Horny Ape.


Posted by: Felix | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:06 PM
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I am particularly struck by the fact that the Ricky Ray Rector stunt worked.

By what measure of "worked?" Created lasting Clinton-love among bloodthirsty rightwingers? Made Dems desperate for a win after 12 years of Reagan-Bush vote D?

I doubt that the RRR execution shifted 1000 votes in the whole country. I guess it undermined a bit of the "Clinton is a closet hippie" narrative, but, as I noted above, not really.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:08 PM
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(Vietnam (yes, sure, we were losing)) after it had been going on a while, and also managed to say "no" to WWII for quite a while, too).

Seem to be good at getting things ass-backwards, that electorate.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:09 PM
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Righteous vengeance has to be the plot engine in about 80% of early seventies and later action movies starting with Dirty Harry, which was explicitly ideological.

On the other hand, dismissing candidates based on the broad-brush amateur sociology of noted non-Democrats, rather than your own instincts, is likely to turn out swimmingly. Likewise, relying on your own sense of amateur sociology surely presents an accurate picture of 80 million people you will never meet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:10 PM
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Sifu, some generalizations have to be true, why not mine?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:11 PM
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Full disclosure: I'm reading Klein's "Shock Doctrine". There's very little of it that's completely new to me, but the argument taken as a whole is pretty numbing.

You do know that the Emerson you've been reading so far is the cheerful, centrist Emerson, don't you?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:11 PM
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Largely on the basis of Vietnam and Iraq I have concluded that Americans love war but hate loosing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:12 PM
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Hollywood's insistent

I do not think this is a useful line of thought. Entertainment moguls have an even lower opinion of typical people than the crowd here (myself included), and an economic incentive to produce crap. (Short half-life products cheaply distributed are the only way to beat piracy). The piece about David Simon in the New Yorker talks about tactics for fooling higher-ups into approving good work.
Alternately, take heart from Ice Cube's having gone in for family comedy.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:12 PM
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And who's been dismissed? Surely it's ok to speculate about candidate's chances. I think I've mentioned that I'll probably vote for Edwards in the primary.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:12 PM
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You do know that the Emerson you've been reading so far is the cheerful, centrist Emerson, don't you?

That's why McManus hasn't commented here much lately - feeling lonely.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:12 PM
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Maybe if they didn't spend so much effort running away from the reputation, it wouldn't appear to be following them.

Maybe if the media (including blogs) weren't so fucking obsessed with this topic it wouldn't hang around, either.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:13 PM
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But they'll still vote for her, and she knows that.

Ugh. Nope. I've decided to just not enter a vote for president if it comes down to that, or perhaps search for a decent third party candidate. 'Course, I can afford to protest vote, being in a state, county and city where my ballot is utterly worthless.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:14 PM
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Americans love war but hate loosing.

It took Vietnam to prove to you that Americans are uptight?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:14 PM
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Hollywood movies aim themselves at (1) young men; and (2) international audiences. Violence doesn't require a lot of dialogue, and the "righteous anger" thing appeals to the hyperactive testosterone young men are dealing with. Yes, images affect the culture a lot; but they aren't determinative and certainly not fully representative.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:14 PM
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195: it's just the fact that the Republican party has so much vested interest in that being true -- and has devoted so much time and effort of the past several (okay, sixty) years to loudly proclaiming it to be true -- along with the fact that it isn't particularly well supported by anything other than random internet nerds and shitty Hollywood movies -- that makes me suspicious. But, sure, could be. Still doesn't make it a good thing to weigh for or against a given candidate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:15 PM
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I think that people want a leader who has some automatic set-points or thresholds where he immediately takes action, rather than one whose first impulse in invariably "Now, let's step back a bit and think this over". Dukakis was manoeuvred into seeming like the second type, and Carter seemed that way with the hostages.

I think that this dynamic is genuinely powerful among the 51%, regardless of everyone else, but the Republicans might be playing their hand.

I think that the Rector episode helped Clinton. Not all death penalty enthusiasts are committed right-wing Republicans.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:18 PM
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Hey, maybe. Maybe Americans are a peaceable people looking for a gentle leader. But doesn't that make you laugh?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:18 PM
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202--
i can't agree with you, po-mo.
i'm not crazy about hrc, but between her and *any* republican currently running, i think we all have a moral obligation to vote against the republican.

third party?
please, people--was 2000 that long ago?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:19 PM
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202: Fabulous. Then we'll get to bitch about what's wrong with the Dems that they keep losing?!?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:19 PM
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But doesn't that make you laugh?

Laugh, cry, whatever.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:21 PM
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167: He also told his attorney that he would like to vote for Clinton in the fall.

Another example of the legendary voter loyalty inspired by Bill Clinton.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:21 PM
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207: No. Americans want a Powerful Leader. But anger isn't the only way to convey power. In fact, I believe people are constantly telling me that it undermines a sense of power and just makes the angry person appear weak and hysterical.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:21 PM
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207: sure, but it's a long way from there to "there's this ineffable quality of rage that is absolutely necessary for a successful Presidential candidate, the GOP has it and the Democrats don't."

You could equally productively say "Americans want a stable, thoughtful, but still decisive leader who will move the country back from the insanity of the past seven years." Which is to say, not very productively at all, since none of us knows what the fuck we're talking about, but at least then you aren't a pawn in the GOP's game.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:22 PM
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Maybe Americans are a peaceable people looking for a gentle leader.

I hate speaking the obvious, but oversimplify much? Of course there are types of savagery that American voters find appealing -- that doesn't mean that they require savagery and find nothing else appealing. I mean, Gore was about as unsavage a candidate as I can remember (probably meaner than Dukakis, but that's about it) and he won the popular vote handily.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:22 PM
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Like I keep saying, I think Cowen's "angry ape" thing is misleading. You have to convey somehow that you'll kill foreigners--whether that's by being cold and opportunistic, like Hillary, or callous and quick to anger, like George Bush, doesn't matter so much. And I'm not even claiming that this is always true for American presidents (although I'm not arguing that it's not), just that it's true now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:24 PM
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I mean, Gore was about as unsavage a candidate as I can remember

Gore had protection as a long-time Dem hawk.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:25 PM
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Sifu, some generalizations have to be true

Generalizations are never true.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:25 PM
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I think Ogged is projecting his own bloodlust and desire to defile women onto the rest of us, yet again.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:25 PM
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It took Vietnam to prove to you that Americans are uptight?

Americans have been a lot of things, but the love for foreign wars is pretty new. Appealing to intelligence or decency won't get us very far, but for most of our history "fuck foreigners" sentiment got channeled into "their killing each other has nothing to do with us" rather than "let's kill them." Redirecting no-knothing sentiment away from imperialism and back toward isolationism should be a doable thing.

(On preview, "no-knothing" is so bizarre and interesting that I'm just going to leave it there.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:26 PM
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i'm not crazy about hrc, but between her and *any* republican currently running, i think we all have a moral obligation to vote against the republican.

third party?
please, people--was 2000 that long ago?

I agree with kid B.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:27 PM
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I think Ogged is projecting his own bloodlust and desire to defile women onto the rest of us, yet again.

You should stay with me the next time you're in town, B.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:30 PM
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212: well, what do you expect, carrying around a uterus? Like we'd trust you with anything important when you could at any moment be overcome with hysteria.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:30 PM
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And I'm not even claiming that this is always true for American presidents (although I'm not arguing that it's not), just that it's true now.

Yeah, I just don't see any basis for this beyond vague 'seems to me'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:32 PM
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I have not read the archives, but Ogged is Bitch's boyfriend, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:32 PM
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I have not read the archives, but Ogged is Bitch's boyfriend, right?

Yes, Ogged lives in Minnesota. When he wants to cover his tracks he posts as "Ogged" rather than as "John Emerson".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:33 PM
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221: I asked, but someone was all rude about it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:33 PM
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Well, of course, I knew that Emerson and Ogged were the same. I thought that was clear to everybody.

Jeez, I am not a total dumbass.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:34 PM
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221: I asked, but someone was all rude about it.

Sanctity violation #382. Anyway, I just politely said "no."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:36 PM
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I appeal to the unfoggededtariat: is a reply email consisting of the single word "No." polite?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:38 PM
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No.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:40 PM
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No.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:40 PM
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It was "Nope," B.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:41 PM
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As your attorney, I'd point out that a claim of the sanctity of off-blog communication is unavailable: 221, by making a false implication as to the nature of prior off-blog communication, clearly opened the door for your 226.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:41 PM
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I disagree. A corrective action (inviting her) does not open the door.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:43 PM
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LB, you're clearly not versed in sanctity law, of which I am the originator and sole authority. 221 was a move in the sanctity game, which used the rules to put B in an awkward position, but also to give her a chance to make a clever response. Of course, she naturally opts to violate sanctity.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:44 PM
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Bush I was hurt by his seeming wimpiness, even though he was an actual war hero and coordinated dark deeds fir the CIA.

And that's only discussing the '88 election. The USA is in a self-destructive spiral that is demonstrated by the distinction between Bush I and II. Bush I lost an election after winning a war easily, and Bush II won an election in part because he was in the process of losing a war.

Republican success and American failure are very closely tied together these days. The question is: What can Bush do to fuck up the country enough to ensure another Republican administration?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:45 PM
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a non-clever response is worse than a violation of sanctity: it's a mistake.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:46 PM
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218: B is pretending she herself lacks bloodlust and the desire to defile women. No one should take her seriously. She probably defiles more women in a month than Ogged does in a year.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:50 PM
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the sanctity game, which used the rules to put B in an awkward position, but also to give her a chance to make a clever response. Of course, she naturally opts to violate sanctity.

A game you play constantly, and yes, I'll always just tell the truth. I think it's terribly clever of me to refuse to accept your self-serving patriarchal rules. And maybe some day you'll learn to stop playing that game if you don't like the results, hmmm?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:51 PM
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The question is: What can Bush do to fuck up the country enough to ensure another Republican administration?

Oh Christ let's not give them any ideas they haven't already come up with on their own.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:51 PM
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It's very naive to believe the Democrats will easily win the presidency. I wish I could be more specific, but I followed a link on this blog a few weeks ago that dove beneath the 60/70% polling results for 'bring the troops home'.

Reading the numbers deeper, when people were asked how they felt if they believed Al Queda would set up base on American retreat, that 70% number went way, way down.

With such fears likely, HRC will lose the election because she's a woman, despite her efforts to appear tough. Blacks poll higher than actual results because once people in in the booths, they can be as racist as they want to be. So right now, HRC polls a few points higher than Giulliani. If she can't get that higher, she loses. Many more men than now polled simply will not trust a woman to run a war.



Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:53 PM
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Blacks poll higher than actual results because once people in in the booths, they can be as racist as they want to be.

I'm remembering some data saying this used to be true, but isn't any longer - black candidates now perform as well on Election Day as polls would suggest.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:54 PM
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I agree that the Democrats seem to think that it's electorally helpful to convey that they're ready, willing, & maybe even eager to kill criminals & foreigners--I think that there's the same basic impulse at play in the Rector execution & the fear of opposing Bush's detention policies. What I don't buy that this is something the Americans voters *require*. Even if it's helpful--which it has been at times during U.S. history, but I don't think 2008 is one of them--it's certainly not *decisive*. Public opinion is not fixed in stone. If the American public are as immoral & stupid as most people in Washington assume they are, and will inevitably reject any candidate who doesn't slake their bloodlust, then as LB says, "it's just a reason to stop paying attention to politics at all and devote oneself to breeding chrysanthemums as the world burns." But what's the evidence for that? Evidence that Democratic politicians behave as if it's true isn't enough to convince me that it's actually true.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:55 PM
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Oh Christ let's not give them any ideas they haven't already come up with on their own.

Oh don't worry ... they're much much better at that game than we're likely to ever be.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:57 PM
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Evidence that Democratic politicians behave as if it's true isn't enough to convince me that it's actually true.

Exactly -- who says that killing RRR flipped the election for Clinton, or had any measurable good effect for him?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:57 PM
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"black candidates now perform as well on Election Day"

jesus, lb, i hope you're not going to start up again with that thing about their great sense of rhythm.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:57 PM
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242: I've got nothing to back this up at the moment, but I believe Tennessee's Harold Ford lost by an amount not predicted by polls.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:58 PM
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I think that the militarization of the US has been continuing unabated, with pauses but no reversals, since 1941. Before that the Mexican War, the Indian Wars, and the Spanish American War were all aggressive. WWI and WWII started off unpopular, partly simply because they weren't aggressive wars.

There is a very large militarist constituency in the US, and there's also a swing constitutency susceptible to militarist appeals. The anti-war group might ve 40%, but it's really weaker that because powerful and influential institutions are militarist.

A lot of talk about "What America Is" are projective or wishful. OK if you realize that that's what you're doing.

The anger-projection part is a TV schtick. In that sense Cowen was exaggerating. But the militarism thing is very real.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 3:59 PM
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maybe some day you'll learn to stop playing that game if you don't like the results, hmmm?

Nah, I have faith in you, B.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:00 PM
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It's very naive to believe the Democrats will easily win the presidency. I wish I could be more specific, but I followed a link on this blog a few weeks ago that dove beneath the 60/70% polling results for 'bring the troops home'.

You know, on my more cynical days (mon to sun), I used to think that maybe the best policy was to give this particular wing of the GOP enough rope to well and truly hang itself. In 2004, say, I might wonder, what's another term if it kills off this particular aberration in the party for a generation or two. Turns out they'll happily use more rope than I though possible, and somehow a lot of people don't seem to care. That brand of cynicism is losing it's appeal, but I don't know what to do about it. Given another 4 years, I hesistate to guess how badly they could fuck up. I really didn' think it would get as bad as it is today.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:01 PM
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245: Maybe nobody, but the Slickster seemed to feel that he had to do some killing to win the election. What does Hillary feel the need to do, or to support, to win?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:02 PM
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243: I believe that even if voters don't require it, the media does. You have to not be made fun of by the media.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:02 PM
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249: What, that I'll knuckle under to your iron will? I pull my punches plenty as is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:03 PM
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250--
"I really didn' think it would get as bad as it is today."

so, so, true.

accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:03 PM
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Just being out and about, from time to time you'll hear people talking casually about nuking Muslims and realize that they're not really kidding, and there's hardly ever any objection. (NOTE: I'm not in Berkeley, Madison, Burlington, etc.) And it's not always the usual suspects.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:04 PM
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247: But I think that's considered evidence that the bimbo ad worked. More than that, I think it wasn't a significant difference - like 6% instead of 3%?

I've also read what LB cited (and also can't point you to it). It wasn't so much that the "racist in the voting booth" effect is zero; it's that it's statistically insignificant. It might flip a 50-50 race, but not a 53-47 one.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:04 PM
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255: On the other hand, some of them will say the same of California.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:05 PM
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256: I think you just mean "insignificant" rather than "statistically insignificant". If it was statistically insignificant, it wouldn't flip any race, because it wouldn't be an effect at all.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:05 PM
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257: Yeah, because a lot of them want a civil war too. The Enemy Within. Me and You.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:06 PM
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152: I think a willingness to enthusiastically execute a retarded man may serve as a good proxy for a willingness to smash foreign nations. Has anyone said this already? I haven't read further. This whole conversation is making me ill.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:07 PM
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She probably defiles more women in a month than Ogged does in a year.

Check ogged's TiVo records... this sounds right.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:07 PM
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Turns out they'll happily use more rope than I though possible, and somehow a lot of people don't seem to care.

OK, I know we're all down on the Dems in Congress, but let's not be so down on our fellow-countrymen. Nov '06 was a historic whitewashing. 11 months later, and we're all moaning that Americans won't vote against nasty Republicans.

And we wonder why Republicans call us losers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:07 PM
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262--
yeah, that's a good point. we won a hell of an election.

and elections have consequences.

unless they're won by democrats, apparently.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:08 PM
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258: I was trying to think that through. But a statistically insignificant effect in a poll of 1000 people would not be zero across 50 million people, would it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:09 PM
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But a statistically insignificant effect in a poll of 1000 people would not be zero across 50 million people, would it?

You wouldn't know. To investigate this hypothesis-generating but not hypothesis-confirming finding, you need a bigger sample, and more grant money to study it further.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:10 PM
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Hmm. I see 260 had been discussed at length. I'll retire.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:10 PM
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248: What's real is an abiding fear and hatred of uncertainty and lack of control, along with the belief that control and certainty can be attained if you're willing to kill enough people. That worked OK with Native Americans and Mexicans, but not so well with overseas threats. Maybe what we're doing now is blowing off the pent-up steam of the Cold War years, when we lived under a real and abiding thread that only crazy people thought we could fix once and for all.

Now most people are catching on to the reality that militant Islam isn't a problem we're going to fix once and for all either, but they still don't like the idea of abiding threat and uncertainty. The trick is to redefine the "tough" move as evaluating the danger more sensibly, pulling back behind our moat, and letting the ME go to hell without our help. (Not that that's the right answer either, but it's a better answer than the one we're trying right now.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:10 PM
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I believe executing a retarded man would be a much more moral thing to do than bombing Iran.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:11 PM
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To investigate this hypothesis-generating but not hypothesis-confirming finding, you need a bigger sample, and more grant money to study it further.

Looks like I'll be busy the next 13 months.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:11 PM
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262: which has accomplished what, exactly?

Which is the problem. Ticking a box marked D doesn't actually solve anything by itself. So it's one thing if peopel are taking a wait-and-see approach, but quite another it it's more well-we've-done-our-bit. There is a serious lack of outrage that I can see, and a pretty ineffectual set of face changes in nov '06 doesn't change that. That the Dems will probably slow down the rate at which things are deteriorating is not exactly a comfort. Are you convinced a Dem win next year will do anything else?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:13 PM
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There is a serious lack of outrage that I can see

You can't see outrage. You can see how people act when outraged. Most people have no hope that acting in any way will have any effect or be noticed by anyone else, so they just get jaded.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:14 PM
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271--
"You can see how people act when outraged."
hmmm...
mouth open? canines bared? eyebrows pulled back?
kinda like an angry ape?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:16 PM
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executing a retarded man

Just so it's in the record again:

Rector was retarded because, after murdering 2 people, he shot himself in the head and survived. Whatever the morality of executing a retarded person, RRR is not an example of executing someone who was too retarded to understand his crime when he committed it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:16 PM
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273--
really? i honestly did not know that.
i'm not sure how it changes the morality of clinton's decision.
but it is interesting all the same.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:17 PM
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273: I think the relevant question is whether he was too retarded to be any threat to society, whether or not he had, in an earlier part of his life, been intelligent enough to understand his crime.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:18 PM
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"threat to society, not whether or not he had..."


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:19 PM
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277

let me reiterate what i mean by 270.

My gut feel is that the dems are likely to win the presidency, but they are likely to do this because a lot of people are vaguely dissappointed with how things have turned out under Bush 2 and feel like its time to give the other guys a turn. Which will result in essentially nothing better than avoiding the worst case scenarios.

The fact's on the ground though? They suggest there ought be nothing vague about it. That a huge percentage of the population ought to be freaked the fuck out. That they ought to be telling themselves that this administration is literally, unapologetically, pissing on everything of real value that this country has to offer --- and telling everybody if they don't like it they can get fucked. And when they finish telling themselves this, they should be telling the same to their representatives. That the end result should be a election ending up with a sweeping mandate for change and a very, very clear idea of what direction that change should take.

I don't see it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:21 PM
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Are you convinced a Dem win next year will do anything else?

Has Bush vetoed any bills in the last 10 months?

Then yes, in the face of overwhelming evidence that I'm right, I do believe that a Dem win next year will do something other than slow the deterioration of this country.

That said, I'm about as skeptical as ogged that, in the big picture, this country will pull back from the Rubicon of imperialism and excessive state power. But within that framework, I think that things can get a hell of a lot better (on minor issues such as universal health care, living wage, reproductive freedom, disaster management, global warming, honest administration in general).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:22 PM
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bah. that was strident. I ban myself.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:22 PM
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I think the relevant question is whether he was too retarded to be any threat to society

Why should fucking up his suicide attempt get him a pass on the punishment?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:23 PM
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275: I'm anti-death penalty anyway. By certain death penalty arguments, RRR's post-crime state is irrelevant; by others, it's central. But the shorthand "executed a retarded man" is generally used to suggest that Clinton wanted to kill Lenny (?) from "Of Mice and Men."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:24 PM
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Why should fucking up his suicide attempt get him a pass on the punishment?

Because it turned him into a non-dangerous person? (If it did, that is)

Similarly, if you turn into a non-dangerous person by finding religion, or realizing for the first time that you are smart and can succeed in some walk of life other than that of armed robbery, when you are in prison, your sentence should be shortened because you can now contribute to society instead of taking away from it, therefore it is pointless to keep locking you away.

I use "should" in the sense that describes what would be done by a perfectly moral government that could see into people's hearts.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:27 PM
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277. 278: Cross-posted, obviously. My Rubicon comment was related to what you describe as unlikely to happen. I think that the state you describe simply doesn't come about without leadership, and that's absent - not only from national (and local) Dems, but also in the media. The shit we talk about here, and that Henley and Balko are always on about, is invisible to literally 80% of the population - not taht they have no idea what's going on, but that they don't see the implications, or how big a departure it is. And they won't see it without a lot of leadership. And that won't happen in the next 13 months, which is really the window of opportunity for this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:28 PM
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Ned, some people think that an evil act demands punishment, even if the evildoer has since changed or reformed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:29 PM
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277: The reason you don't see it is that people are being reassured by the corporate media that what's going on is nothing unprecedented. That is the one and only reason, and it's enough.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:31 PM
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I certainly won't pretend that the U.S. is uniquely immune to "kill the foreigners, execute the criminals, deport the immigrants, then we'll be safe!" There's a very powerful streak of that, through our whole history. But you know, the opposite impulse is there too, and it sometimes succeeds. And we're not exactly the only country on earth that's susceptible to illiberal impulses & nationalistic appeals to hatred & fear. Other countries have actually learned something when those sorts of policies led to disaster--why do we assume that American voters are incapable of doing so?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:31 PM
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Because they're dipshits.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:32 PM
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Ned, some people think that an evil act demands punishment, even if the evildoer has since changed or reformed.

Technically that belief is 100% irrational, except possibly when justified by the "deterrence" factor.

Plus we can't see into people's hearts anyway. But there should be more points at which discretion can be used to set free non-dangerous people who aren't friends of the President.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:34 PM
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I'm at the point of giving up on my fellow citizens, especially the elites.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:34 PM
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Other countries have actually learned something when those sorts of policies led to disaster--why do we assume that American voters are incapable of doing so?

Because our country hasn't yet experienced disaster. We've only caused disasters in other places and to select subpopulations here who were mostly disempowered anyway.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:35 PM
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I really want to believe 286, but 287 cracked me up.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:39 PM
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Again, the elites are the problem. The popular demand for war is there, but a healthy elite would ignore it. The media, the universities (selected departments), the Republicans and their funders and advocates, and half the Democratic pros are the problem.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:40 PM
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Technically that belief is 100% irrational

Consequences are irrational?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:40 PM
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Consequences are irrational?

Locking someone up is a waste of governmental resources, and often an unnecessary destruction of a family, if it isn't actually preventing the person from committing a crime. So yes, irrational.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:42 PM
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283: we basically agree, I think. But that's what' s so depressing. It leaves us with dems as a lesser evil, and no sign of significant leadership. So the big stuff will mostly be still broke. The economy is pretty much irretrevably fucked due to mismanagement & the war, so that constrains new programs. It's going to take time to cycle out of this, the only real question is avoiding a real downturn/collapse or not. The war will drag on a while without gain because nobody with the guts to do anything principled about all this is even in the running. We'll probably get a fucked up, insurance friendly bill through on health care with lots of hoopla and in a few years no real change on the ground. The dems add some transparency back in ... but not as much as there was pre Bush 2. They'll find out they like some of the cloak and dagger bullshit and hold on to it. Depending who gets in, they may well be convinced to keep the rendition programs, just bury them. They'll probably have to at least nominally shut down gitmo, but they won't take a serious stab at fixing the legal framework around all this. Living wage? Won't move. Redistribution here will keep going the wrong direction (from a living wage point of view) without major effort. The rate of change will probably slow, that's all. Disaster management? Not much help either. Will at best go from actively corrupt (NOLA) back to somewhat ineffectual (pre Bush 2). End result -- your still screwed if you don't have much money. Global warming? That train left 10 years ago and the US has absolutely credibility. I doubt any of the dem candidates are big enough to take someone elses lead, but they should. The whole thing is such a cluster fuck globally though, that it's hard to say what difference it will make.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:42 PM
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Before you people were born: the fatal thin about the Vietnam War was that LBJ, a Democrat, started it after running as the peace candidate in 1964. The demorlizing effect of that was incalculable, and there was, in effect, no way to resist the war against the system. The Republicans and the diminant faction of the Democrats were pro-war.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:43 PM
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Sweet. I crave nothing more than to hear the lessons of the '60s. Again. Tell us about the days when music really meant something, Papa?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:45 PM
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if it isn't actually preventing the person from committing a crime. So yes, irrational.

Only if you totally ignore the "punishment" aspect.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:46 PM
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Has Bush vetoed any bills in the last 10 months?

Yes. He vetoed SCHIP, which does in fact have a lot of people outraged. It even got a great deal of press (where the hell have you been?). And I suspect that it may lead to a number of Republicans in the House losing their seats.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:47 PM
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The concept of punishment is also irrational, all else being equal. So is revenge. But then of course things often get complicated by the need to deter people from committing future crimes by showing them that people who commit crimes get punished.

Holy crap, I'm sounding like an economist now. Never mind.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:48 PM
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299, I'm positive that that was sarcastic.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:49 PM
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I kind of agree with 287, as applied to much of the press & the Democratic leadership.

But honestly, we sometimes sound like right wingers talking about Muslims: "Americans only understand force." "Americans don't value non-American life, & they never will." "Americans don't question their leaders, they will follow them blindly to their deaths."

This country is:
(1) sincerely in love with universalistic rights-of-humankind rhetoric.
(2) seriously crappy at living up to it.
(3) capable of realizing the contradiction between (1) & (2), & getting a little better at living up to it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:49 PM
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That a huge percentage of the population ought to be freaked the fuck out. That they ought to be telling themselves that this administration is literally, unapologetically, pissing on everything of real value that this country has to offer --- and telling everybody if they don't like it they can get fucked.

That sounds like the same thing that people said about Nixon and Reagan. As bad as the current situation is, it's still better than the Cold War in many ways.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:49 PM
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Seriously, ya little shit, the American peace party has always been doomed. I didn't realize it in 1968 or 1980 and I didn't even realize it in 2006, but I do now. The war machine is institutionally dominant, and public opinion is only something for them to engineer.

The peace people are Democrats or nothing, but the Democrats are a war party. Arguments always end up being about detailing and trim, like Hillary's talk about competence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:50 PM
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300: deterrance is also a bit dodgy, empirically. At least when we're talking about capital crimes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:50 PM
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It leaves us with dems as a lesser evil, and no sign of significant leadership.

Again, look at what happened with the SCHIP veto. Pelosi and the Dems managed to get a lot of Republicans to vote to override that, and they picked up a dozen votes after the veto that weren't there the first time the bill went through.

Is it perfect? No. Are they making the same kind of push with things like Iran and the Patriot Act? No. They're picking no-brainer issues, like "tax cigarettes to provide health care to poor children", forcing Bush and the Republicans to shoot them down, and saving it up for the election. They're not staking their claims on divisive issues like the Patriot Act because those are too hard to summarize as sound bites, and they're unfortunately controversial, and they play to the supposed Republican strength on defense. Instead, they're playing to traditional Democratic strengths because at this point it's all about next year's election.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:51 PM
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I'm not going to reread the whole thread, but I'm pretty sure I agree with every word Emerson has written in it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:52 PM
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There's no such thing as historical inevitability.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:53 PM
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B, it's nice that they finally found one single issue that they dared to fight on, but after half a dozen cave-ins on more important issues that's not at all impressive. I am aware that there are justifications for the cave-ins, but I don't accept them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:55 PM
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it's still better than the Cold War in many ways

I don't believe this is even close to true. Particularly because many of the things that were messed up about the cold war years were externally created --- we were presented a bunch of lousy alternatives, and had to pick from them.

The problem now is almost entirely internal. After creating lousy alternatives, choosie them over much better options. I also believe that the current lot has sold out the ideals and values of the country far more than Nixon or Reagan ever dreamed of.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:55 PM
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I'm pretty sure I agree with every word Emerson has written in it.

You're currently reading Shock Doctrine?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:56 PM
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and they play to the supposed Republican strength on defense. Instead, they're playing to traditional Democratic strengths because at this point it's all about next year's election.

I suppose they have to do something in between stabbing Dodd and Stark in the back.

I shit on the Democrats of this planet.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:56 PM
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309: That's fine, but it's simply inaccurate to say that there's been no sign of leadership. I think they're playing it safe because (as we keep saying, after all) the election is theirs to lose and they don't want to fuck it up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:56 PM
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308 is of course true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:56 PM
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I'm not arguing historical inevitability. I'm just talking about how the country is structured now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:57 PM
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312: And again, there will be much bitching about how they fucked it up when we don't win, with no acknowledgment of how we contributed to it by rejecting whatever they did manage to do, or try to do.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:58 PM
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313: pesky how governing gets in the way of the real business of elections, isn't it?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:58 PM
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B, playing a timid fail-safe game isn't leadership. It's like they're hiding under the covers and waiting for the election to be over.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:58 PM
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I think 310 gets it right.

I'm continually shocked to look at things like the EPA (and there's plenty more) and say "WTF? Created during the Nixon administration? But, my parents hated Nixon! And for good reason!"

But on domestic issues Nixon had no principles at all and no particular goals, and the press and pundits hadn't adopted the "adversarial justice, except with 100% lies instead of just coating the truth in lies" style of discourse, and therefore he saw no reason to actually do what the country wanted. That sounds like such a mature way to go about things, nowadays.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:59 PM
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Seriously, the Democrats are not "saving it up for the election." They are the same thwarted, gunshy middle-aged derelicts and moral cripples they were before last November, no matter how many Drinking Liberally events Atrios links to. None of them has a secret ambition to end the war, much less a plan that will blaze like the Sunne in Splendour on the day that Hillary ascends to the right hand of Eleanor Roosevelt.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:59 PM
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You guys are pretty much proving the angry ape theorem despite yourselves: apparently what you want is for the Dems to make a lot of angry but ineffective noise rather than actually being realistic about what they can and can't accomplish right now.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 4:59 PM
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But I think's a crucial mistake to confuse "tiny effect" with "no effect", "probably doomed" with "certainly doomed," etc.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:00 PM
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Yes, B, what we want is for the Democrats to be ineffective. Or alternately, be more than 0% as effective as the Republicans were during the Clinton presidency. How exactly did Newt control the discourse then? Was it his astonishing charisma that let him hold the average American in the palm of his hand?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:01 PM
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322 gets it right. Change "0%" to "1%" in 323.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:01 PM
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it's still better than the Cold War in many ways

I don't believe this is even close to true. Particularly because many of the things that were messed up about the cold war years were externally created

I was thinking about this sentence after I posted it, and I still think it's true. I don't have time for a long comment now, but I think it's easy to discount past fears about things that ultimately didn't happen.

Consider the cold war joke, "what's a tactical nuclear weapon?" (IIRC the answer was, "one that lands in Germany.") Consider the very debate about whether battlefield commanders in Western Europe should be able to order the use of nuclear weapons.

Consider the fact that Europe couldn't meaningfully oppose the US in foreign policy decisions. At least the European community has been generally and meaningfully opposed to the Iraq war.

All of the examples I'm coming up with at the moment are about Nuclear weapons (Edward Teller, "Throw Weight", "With Enough Shovels", . . .) but there was plenty of serious insanity.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:02 PM
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321: B, if what we are seeing from the D candidates now policy wise is a realistic evaluation of what actually *can* be accomplished, we are all well and truly fucked.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:02 PM
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Back during the Cold War, Americans did seem to believe in science and scientific analysis more than we do now. All the smart kids were urged to become engineers; now they're going into politics and consultancies.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:03 PM
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NickS: That misses (?) the point that the serious insanity was there whether anyone liked it or not.

Nowadays, we're manufacturing insanity.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:04 PM
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B, we don't actually believe that most Democrats disagree much with Iraq policy, or are committed to ending the Iraq War, or are opposed to starting a wr in Iran, or are committed to restoring civil liberties. But we also believe that the Democrats have chosen a timid ("realistic") strategy continuously since 1988, and that it hasn't worked. As Bartcop says, "How can the Democrats defend the US when they can't even defend themselves?"

Yellow flag for the stupid Angry Ape dig.

And I don't concede that the Democrats would have gained nothing by fighting these issues. They would have rebranded themselves as a party that can fight.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:05 PM
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You "oh, we are all inevitably screwed" types sicken me. No wonder the Republicans win elections.

Katherine, as someone who actually seems to have a concrete image of how things could get better, please suggest an organization to which I should send $100 right now, preferably one that will accept the donation via the internet, but I have my checkbook and stamps with me and will use them if needed.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:06 PM
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I had hope after the Congressional election, but the Democrats have done nothing. SCHIP was nice, but there are bigger issues.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:08 PM
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326: With a bare majority in Congress and the Republicans filibustering everything to save Bush the embarrassment of a veto? Yes, I think we are not in a position right now to push major changes of course.

I don't know if the next election will create a massive reversal, but I think that it's certainly going to lead to change. I'm assuming the Dems will win. But I think it's very clear that things like the Patriot Act, fucked as they are, are not strong losers with voters; they're too subtle, too tied up in the War on Terrorism. I think the Dems are focusing on domestic issues, including the domestic problem of people being tired of having the soldiers gone and how much the whole thing is costing. Moreover, the candidates are doing a good job of getting "we need a health care plan" onto the front pages, which again is an issue that's (finally) become "safe" to talk about.

It's not what I would wish for, but I think it's conservatively realistic.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:08 PM
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330: I like the Heifer Project. Every buffalo, cow, goat, chicken or beehive is like a little apology to the rest of the world.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:08 PM
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Yellow flag for the stupid Angry Ape dig.

Seemed pretty accurate to me.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:09 PM
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"oh, we are all inevitably screwed"

We've already been screwed. It seems like people think things aren't bad as long as we're still alive and walking around, but it's now been years since the President has claimed extraordinary, unconstitutional legal power, exercised that power, and suffered no legal consequences. Now we're only debating whether we'll be screwed again, and in precisely what manner, and how many foreigners we'll manage to screw in the process. I mean, it's over, it already happened.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:09 PM
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Yeah, but you're stupid too, Jake.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:09 PM
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Are we not always already screwed? As it were, I mean.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:10 PM
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what you want is for the Dems to make a lot of angry but ineffective noise rather than actually being realistic about what they can and can't accomplish right now.

What I want them to do is not roll over and spread their cheeks. What I want is a sliver of solidarity with members of their own party who are doing the right thing. What I want is for them to actually be an opposition party, and tell the President to fuck himself when he asks for things like retroactive immunity for telecom companies.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:11 PM
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With a bare majority in Congress and the Republicans filibustering everything to save Bush the embarrassment of a veto?

Why is it that Republicans are allowed to filibuster things? From 2001 to 2007 I was led to believe that it was something that only truly desperate politicians who cared not a whit for the will of the people would do, and that surely the press would lead the first assault of righteous outrage against anyone who dared to suggest such a thing. Was the constitution changed recently to declare filibustering commonplace? It seems that nowadays it's the only moral thing to do if you truly believe in something and aren't motivated by partisan politics.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:11 PM
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How many presidents does it take to screw in the American people?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:11 PM
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329: Things are not the same as they were in 1988. And what you're basically saying is that the litmus test issue is the war (which, agreed, is a pretty major fucking issue) and associated outrageous bullshit like habeus corpus (again, ditto). What I'm saying is that I think the Dems are staking their claims on domestic issues (including Edwards, with his focus on working Americans, etc.). It's one thing not to like this and to bitch about how they should be focusing on foreign policy and civil liberties; it's another to claim they're doing nothing at all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:12 PM
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Now we're only debating whether we'll be screwed again, and in precisely what manner, and how many foreigners we'll manage to screw in the process. I mean, it's over, it already happened.

These things aren't fixed and static; it turns out we just had to learn that they weren't ever fixed and static.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:13 PM
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We've more or less sucked much of the time from the get-go, like the rest of humanity. But Katherine's right, we do good stuff from time to time when we've temporarily exhausted the alternatives.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:13 PM
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B, the Democrats never even forced the Republicans to filibuster, and they never even forced Bush to veto anything until now, and they never even made him send back the appropriations bill, and they've confirmed several of his bad appointments, and they signed on the the Iran War resuolution, and they stabbed Stark in the back. Nobody even knows what the Democrats think about any of these issues, and the Republicans were never forced to but themselves on the line. Gingrich lost a lot of votes before he started winning them. And he's a horrible guy, but he had a lot of success.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:13 PM
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I watched Louis Malle's Le Feuillot Fou or whatever for the first time last night on TCM. Absolutely wonderful.

330:We may not be inevitably doomed, tho we probably are. We are most certainly damned.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:14 PM
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Yeah, but you're stupid too, Jake.

Never claimed otherwise. Fat, dumb, and happy is a pretty satisfying way to be.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:15 PM
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330: I'm basically a groupie of Human Rights Watch, if NGOs can have groupies.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:15 PM
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I'm surprised that after all we've seen, anyone could have been deluded about the weakness of the peace party. That ship sailed in 1978.

What's going to be truly interesting about 200c is how quickly and thoroughly the Right will abandon the Iraq War. The quicker and more abject the defeat HRC suffers, the better.

She won't be able to look at an FBI file, much less have an illegal surveillance program, without setting off a witch hunt. No one will be fooled for a minute about the Wicked Witch.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:18 PM
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347: Thank you. $100 sent.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:18 PM
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343:"But Katherine's right, we do good stuff from time to time"

Yada, yada, Hitler was sweet to Eva once in a while, and look at the itsy bitsy trees.

Need to get DVR so I can record stuff like the Malle, and watch it over & over. Romper Stomper & David Wenham in The Boys were also very good. "Let's get her."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:19 PM
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I'll concede on 344, because to be honest I don't follow congressional ins and outs as closely as Emerson probably does.

But I do think that the major problems are less the Dems than the fact that most likely American voters are ticked off about stuff but too fucking busy with day-to-day stuff to have time to effectively organize (which is way time-consuming), frankly too comfortable, still, to be motivated to organize despite being busy, and that the press is not doing its own job as a critic of government. Given those things--which the Dems are not directly in control of--they're playing it safe and picking issues that affect those busy day-to-day voters in direct ways--health care being a major one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:21 PM
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348: Now, I hadn't thought about that. Maybe my dubiousness about her on the civil liberties front is a reason *to* vote for her...


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:23 PM
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335: there are different degrees of "screwed", involving difference consequences for individual lives, which matter.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:24 PM
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American voters are ticked off about stuff but too fucking busy with day-to-day stuff

This is part of the systematic rot that makes people say we're doomed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:24 PM
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apparently what you want is for the Dems to make a lot of angry but ineffective noise rather than actually being realistic about what they can and can't accomplish right now.

Nope. I want them to fight aggressively and effectively. I realize there is only so much they can do, but ... they could, and should, be doing so much more.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:25 PM
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American voters are ticked off about stuff but too fucking busy with day-to-day stuff

This is why they count on the media to tell them the important stuff.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:28 PM
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2 million dead in Iraq, 5 million damaged, torture & terror around the world. and we worry about perceptions & the media. It aint about us anymore. Fuck us all.

America needs to be killed dead, folks. 5 new countries in its place, maybe. But it ain't worth saving or improving anymore. It needs to be put out of its misery.

Call me when you ready.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:28 PM
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348 is so very true. I think no matter which Democrat is elected, we're going immediately to hear "small government" Republicans start howling about civil liberties. The smibertarians will all suddenly become bona fide libertarians, and act like they've been so all along. Most digusting of all is that the Democrats and most of the media are likely to let them get away with it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:29 PM
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Guys, "doomed" is overkill, but the Democrats are not on our side. Too many of them are indifferent and too many of them are in the war party. Our friends might be Democrats, but the Democrats are not our friends.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:29 PM
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359: oh, sure.

I'm arguing against "we're doomed because Americans suck so bad" as an excuse for the Democrats, and generally arguing against prophesies of inevitable doom as a reason it's not worth doing anything. I'm not defending the Democrats in Congress.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:32 PM
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I think no matter which Democrat is elected, we're going immediately to hear "small government" Republicans start howling about civil liberties. The smibertarians will all suddenly become bona fide libertarians, and act like they've been so all along.

Well. That's better than what we've got, isn't it?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:34 PM
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The elites are worse than the common folk, and they're the ones who make the decisions. The common folk might be crazy howks, they migh be doves, they mostly are passive, but they're not insisting o war with Iran, for example.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:34 PM
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Sweating and swearing I crawled from the manger
The highway appeared to take me from danger
Is there anyone here who would pick up a stranger?
Oh I wish you could.
Then someone replied "would you like a ride?"
"Come in" he said.
We drove for a while, he gave me a smile and a piece of bread
The hammer was hard in the chrome of the car as I cracked his head
Then we took off in a spin
Oh I smashed his skull again
Oh thank you my good friend,
I feel so good.
And all the high-born ladies
So lovely and so true,
Have been handed to the soldiers
When in Rome do as the Romans do.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:36 PM
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363: Seung-Hui Cho?


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:38 PM
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generally arguing against prophesies of inevitable doom as a reason it's not worth doing anything

"Now, there's this about cynicism. It's the universe's most supine moral position. Real comfortable. If nothing can be done, then you're not some kind of shit for not doing it, and you can lie there and stink to yourself in perfect peace."


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:38 PM
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nothing wrong with cynicism, but you have to earn it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:41 PM
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354: Says Mr. Whole Foods.

It's not so much systemic rot as it is the result of systemic privileging of corporate interests over the public interest. So there's layoffs, and longer work hours, and mandatory overtime, and weakened unions, and people afraid of losing healthcare, and rising housing costs, and all sorts of things that mean "the economy's strong!" because WalMart and Clear Channel and Dow are posting big profits. People are busier because they have to be. And that's a big part of why they're a lot more worried, collectively, over things like health care and housing costs than they are about dead Iraqis and wiretapping--because health care and housing costs are something they personally worry about every day.

What we need is to somehow manage to turn around the individualism framework--which is going to be hard to do, because people are concerned about protecting their backs--into a more communitarian, public interest framework. One that includes time, goddamnit, for people to actually be politically and socially active.

And one that reinstates things like local ownership of radio stations, required public programming, required news programming whether or not it's profitable, and so on.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:42 PM
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I blame Star Wars, by the way. The movie, not the vast wealth transfer to defense contractors.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:43 PM
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"then you're not some kind of shit for not doing it"

When did I ever say I wasn't a shit? I wanna kill my country. And cynicism tastes better when it's stolen.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:43 PM
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I also have a problem with talking about the Dems as "them" rather than as "us." That's part of the problem, too, you know.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:43 PM
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364:Phil Ochs, if it was a serious question


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:44 PM
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Walk me through the Star Wars causation, CC?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:45 PM
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Katherine, as long as we're alive, things can get worse, and there's more that can be done, but there's a real sense of "Hey, at least I've got one limb left" hopefulness to political activity in America right now, and what's really crushing is the sense that what one is fighting is all the other citizens who are perfectly happy to see people held without charge and other countries bombed, etc. At a certain point one (this one, at least) says "Fuck 'em, I hope the environment does go to hell, and their bridges do collapse, and their children get blown up by the terrorists they created."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:47 PM
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B likes to blame the victims.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:49 PM
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The Dems are them. Maybe they're you, but they're not me. I have to deal with them externally and hope I can influence them is some way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:51 PM
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How the hell am I blaming the victims by pointing out that the vast complacent American public isn't complacent because they're lazy but because they're too busy worrying about making sure they can afford to keep their homes?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:51 PM
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what's really crushing is the sense that what one is fighting is all the other citizens who are perfectly happy to see people held without charge and other countries bombed, etc.

What makes me a bit happier when I think this is to realize that I don't think the average citizen is bad, I think the average citizen is misled by the press leading them to think that whatever this is, it must not be a big deal.

Then I think "But democracy only works with an educated populace, right? And if the populace cannot possibly be educated because the First Amendment clearly states that all political advertising is legal, then what do we have?"

Then I think "But our populace has never been educated. 'Log cabin and hard cider'? Is this really worse than it used to be?"

Then I think "Television is to blame for our unique problems today, as Al Gore's recent book convinced me. I forgot about that book already."

Then I feel powerless.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:52 PM
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Americans no longer have the right to the luxury of a personal conscience. I told Katherine to get the fuck out of my country. I don't need her flowers prettying up my phony showers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:55 PM
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375: Fine, I'm naive, but I'm still into that "government by the people" thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:55 PM
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379: There really is no "the people." I'll be happy enough if we kill just that off by the '08 elections.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:57 PM
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The Greek solution to the time problem was to have slaves and women handle the other stuff while free men deliberated in the agora.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 5:58 PM
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379-- ??? Me too, theoretically, butthe Dems are them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:00 PM
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"Fuck 'em, I hope the environment does go to hell

Nononononononono. That's my environment and I need it. In lots of ways I want people to reap what they sow, but I still don't want them to drag what I love down with them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:01 PM
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Stay classy, Bob.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:01 PM
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373: I'm not exactly immune to that feeling. But I think despair feeds on isolation & a feeling of powerlessness. History isn't inevitable, and America isn't a monolith. There are people who are sick about this, they're are people fighting it, and they're as American as anyone else. It's worth being on their side even if they're outnumbered & probably going to lose.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:02 PM
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382: Then we need to figure out how to make them us. Collectively.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:02 PM
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. It's worth being on their side even if they're outnumbered & probably going to lose.

And they won't *be* outnumbered if enough people join their side.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:03 PM
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they

370 to 387.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:07 PM
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Marble facade on the colosseum?

Naw, no expiation or redemption is appropriate, no excuse possible. I smelled nothink, nuthink! We dance on the rooftops as the Huns & Vandals come, we throw flowers at the feet of the rapin, murderin Soviets as they enter Berlin, we toss them our daughters. We are damned, and do our 2 1/2 twist double somersault into the fires of hell.

Anything else is dishonest & un-American. You think you're better than the rest of us? You think you're innocent? Born damned, baptised in infant's blood. My country, tis of thee.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:07 PM
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Bush is literally at Nixon/Watergate levels of approval, and the 2006 elections were a pretty clear signal that Americans have had an assfull of this administration. And yet, the Democrats can't even be relied on to run interference. It's feeling very much like the Simpsons episode where the candidates are unmasked as aliens. "It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:08 PM
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NickS: That misses (?) the point that the serious insanity was there whether anyone liked it or not.

The conversation has moved on, so I don't want to go too far into this but consider, for example Edward Teller (quoting from wikipedia extensively just because the anecdotes are entertaining)

One of the most controversial projects he proposed was a plan to use a multi-megaton hydrogen bomb to dig a deep-water harbor more than a mile long and half a mile wide to use for shipment of resources from coal and oil fields near Point Hope, Alaska. The Atomic Energy Commission accepted Teller's proposal in 1958 and it was designated Project Chariot. While the AEC was scouting out the Alaskan site, and having withdrawn the land from the public domain, Teller publicly advocated the economic benefits of the plan, but was unable to convince local government leaders that the plan was financially viable.
After the Oppenheimer controversy, Teller became ostracized by much of the scientific community, but for obvious reasons was still quite welcome in the government and military science circles.
In the 1980s, Teller began a strong campaign for what was later called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), derided by critics as "Star Wars," the concept of using lasers or satellites to destroy incoming Russian ICBMs. Teller lobbied with government agencies--and got the sanction of President Ronald Reagan--for his plan to develop a system using elaborate satellites which used atomic weapons to fire X-ray lasers at incoming missiles-- as part of a broader scientific research program into defenses against nuclear weapons. However, scandal erupted when Teller (and his associate Lowell Wood) were accused of deliberately overselling the program and perhaps had encouraged the dismissal of a laboratory director (Roy Woodruff) who had attempted to correct the error. (Broad 1992) His claims led to a joke which circulated in the scientific community, that a new unit of unfounded optimism was designated as the teller; one teller was so large that most events had to be measured in nanotellers or picotellers.
In 1991 he was awarded one of the first Ig Nobel Prizes for Peace in recognition of his "lifelong efforts to change the meaning of peace as we know it". ... He was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush less than two months before his death.

Does an environment in which he could be a prominant public intellectual commenting on defense issues sound like one in which the insanity was strictly exteral? He was a "serious person" in the cold war.

Perhaps he differs from McNamara only in being more colorful, but he had many more opportunities to change his positions and remained both a fan of nuclear weapons, and nuclear defense and part of the defese establishment through the 80s.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:08 PM
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388: I, personally, am not doing shit about habeus corpus and civil liberties, other than belonging to the ACLU.

I'm doing other shit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:08 PM
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Marble facade on the colosseum?

Naw, no expiation or redemption is appropriate, no excuse possible. I smelled nothink, nuthink! We dance on the rooftops as the Huns & Vandals come, we throw flowers at the feet of the rapin, murderin Soviets as they enter Berlin, we toss them our daughters. We are damned, and do our 2 1/2 twist double somersault into the fires of hell.

Anything else is dishonest & un-American. You think you're better than the rest of us? You think you're innocent? Born damned, baptised in infant's blood. My country, tis of thee.

What?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:13 PM
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flippanter didn't kill 2 million Iraqis, Katherine didn't charley didn't kill those women & children, some other Americans, some other America.

I did it. I got the blood on my hands. I have too much decency to ask for mercy & forgiveness, too much honesty to say I can change & be better next time. What kind of people kills a country and asks for understanding and another chance? With a contemptuous, insulting, arrogant smirk, we say not my fault, I didn't mean it, my intentions were pure, I just lost control of the darker elements of my nature. Kyrie eleison.

I say come & get me and work your fucking will. Whatever you want.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:18 PM
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I've only read to about 300, but I'm pretty sure I agree with what Katherine is saying.

Also, from way up thread:

We get from there to a hell exactly how?

The current administration seems to be taking this route instead:

Such confessions as these, alas! a great many others of those poor wretches make, not led by a regard to truth, but compelled to it, by the exquisiteness of their torments: now, what certainty can there arise from such extorted confessions; but, suppose a person falsely accused should have so much courage, so much sense of a life after this, as, amidst the terrors of this fiery trial, (like the three young Jews of old, Dan. iii.) neither to dishonour God, nor lie to the damnation of his soul, so that the judge should hereupon pronounce him innocent: does he not with the same breath pronounce himself guilty of all that cruel punishment, which he inflicted upon such person undeservedly? And how inhuman must that law be, which does its utmost to condemn the innocent, and convict the judge of cruelty? A practice so inhuman deserves not indeed to be called a law, but the high road to hell.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:20 PM
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393:Just the babble of a crazy person. Ain't nothing. Carry on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:28 PM
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Which was not a widely-broadcast program featuring live musical performances?

A) The King Biscuit Flower Hour
B) The Angry Ape Test
C) The Old Grey Whistle Test


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:29 PM
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B, I think you are way too optimistic about the Democrats, but I also think you've got this right:

It's not so much systemic rot as it is the result of systemic privileging of corporate interests over the public interest.

At the risk of sounding like a crass materialist...at the end of the day it's the money. Also the media, of course, but that's also the money.

This is also the reason why Emerson can say that the Democrats are they, not we. Because the Democrats are owned by corporate interests, and Emerson is not a corporate interest.

And it's not a question of the various character flaws of the various Democratic politicians. The problem is structural and systemic.

Serious campaign finance reform would begin to address the problem. Without that reform, it's hopeless.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:29 PM
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Right, a big problem isn't so much that the politicians aren't representing their constituents, it's that their constituencies often are something other than the districts they're supposed to be representing.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:35 PM
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That's my environment and I need it

Sorry babe, I'm strictly old testament.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:40 PM
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Serious campaign finance reform would begin to address the problem. Without that reform, it's hopeless.

So you think it's hopeless? What's the motivation for campaign finance reform? Especially now that it's "been tried."

It's pretty interesting to step back a bit and look at threads like this. Is the split between idealists/romantics and pragmatics? As far as I'm concerned, America is over, and there's nothing worth fighting for anymore--I don't care about the day to day shit; people get by, it only matters whether they have someone to love, etc. But people like Katherine (bless them), do care about the day to day stuff and will no matter what. Anyway, now I'm babbling.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:45 PM
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Ogged thinks we can just get more water from rocks.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:46 PM
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So you think it's hopeless? What's the motivation for campaign finance reform? Especially now that it's "been tried."

The actual politicans realize that it hasn't been tried. And a lot of them (mostly Democrats) only act in the interest of the wealthy because otherwise they couldn't afford to run a campaign, not because they are ideologically committed to making the rich richer like Tom DeLay. And even a lot of Republicans hate having to spend so much time fundraising. I wonder what it would take for there to be a tipping point. It's already happened in several states, often as soon as Democrats become the majority in the legislature.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:48 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, America is over

Meaning what? I'll be quite happy when "America" in the sense of The World's Last Remaining Superpower is over.* I admit to a certain nationalistic nostalgia for the Leader of the Free World tag, even though I'm fully aware of how fucked up that is. But I think that being all pessimistic about the Death of America as what, a nation? given history--fuck, people, the Depression? The Civil War? The Vietnam era? McCarthy? Japanese Interment? the Indian Wars?--like oh, suddenly now things are so much worse than they've ever been is, I think, simply a question of exaggerating the present because it's *our* present.

*Actually I probably won't, given that it might involve job loss and people going broke and all sorts of shitty things. But in theory.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:50 PM
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Serious campaign finance reform would begin to address the problem. Without that reform, it's hopeless.

While I appreciate this sentiment, if things can only be improved by political action to remove currently entrenched forces that are blocking all political action against their interests, then nothing's gonna happen. A different approach is needed.

I'll also note that the campaign finance reform that we got strengthened corporate media influence over the political process by creating a mess of new restrictions on "interest groups" and exempting the media.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:51 PM
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The trick to campaign finance reform is to discriminate between interest groups like the ACLU and NARAL and "interest groups" like Halliburton or industry-based organizations and suchlike. I have zero problem with non-profit interest groups having influence, because that's a form of organizing that helps turn public opinion into an actual political force.

And yes, I realize that that would also include things like the Family Research Council and other odious organizations.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:54 PM
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So you think it's hopeless? What's the motivation for campaign finance reform? Especially now that it's "been tried."

The motivation and energy for campaign finance reform would have to come from outside the system. So, yes, I think it's hopeless.

America has had a good run and has even done some good things, but is fast sinking into corruption and tyranny. "The triumph of barbarism and religion." No empire lasts forever.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 6:54 PM
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It's actually hard to find a period when it didn't seem like America was sinking into corruption and tyranny - the language of corruption and decline is all over the entire 19th century and on into the progressive era, despite all the attention the Gilded Age gets.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:00 PM
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Of course there's a difference between the language people use and the context - cultural, institutional, etc. - in which they live. It's certainly possible for a state to control its people a lot more closely than it was in the 19th century.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:02 PM
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A monk and his mother were dancing so dandy
A topless nun was handing out candy
The beautiful bishop broke out the brandy
The kiss we crave.
They stuttered and stammered, would I feel like staying
We fell to our knees, feverishly praying
the salt in the salt-peter seemed to be saying
Be brave, be brave.
I reached reached for a robe, I preached and I probed
And I taught the tune.
And the greed for the guilt was played to the hilt
As I promised doom
I toyed with their fears, until coins and tears filled the room
Then I took off down the road
Laughing madly like a toad
God bless every soulless soul
That would be saved.
And all the high-born ladies
So lovely and so true,
Have been handed to the soldiers
When in Rome do as the Romans do.

what is Och's saying here? ya gotta internalize this shit, you don't even ask for absolution without a true act of confession & contrition. When you can say I killed those kids in Baghdad and really mean it, when you feel like a mass murderer, then...well you are damned, and it doesn't matter what the fuck you do. God may forgive you, the rest of the world should exterminate you. Maybe you can run & hide, maybe exterminate them first, maybe indulge in some mass orgy of internal american cannabalism...but there ain't no goodness left you can touch. Forget it. Goodness has abandoned you.

Americans have lost the right to self-determination.
We worshiped the false idol of the Law, and must wander in the wilderness or be taken in captivity. But it ain't up to us.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:07 PM
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I had hope after the Congressional election, but the Democrats have done nothing.

I share much of your disappointment with the Democrats, but had the Republicans held Congress, it seems highly, highly likely we'd be at war with Iran today.

If we do not go to war with Iran before a Democrat is president, then we will not go to war with Iran. Simple as that.

So yeah, disappointing, but quite noticeably different from the alternative.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:21 PM
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It's pretty interesting to step back a bit and look at threads like this. Is the split between idealists/romantics and pragmatics?

Quite a few of us can adopt one or the other of the stances represented in this thread: today I entirely believe that we're fucked, have been for quite some time, and have no one but ourselves to blame; next week I might well take Katherine's and B's (and Jake's, and NPH's to an extent) positions, since I know full well that nothing's written in stone, that despair is the mind-killer, that increments of well- and ill-being are where life is lived, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:32 PM
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Is the split between idealists/romantics and pragmatics?

Yes. Pre-Bush America was juiced.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:39 PM
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But which are the idealists and which the romantics?

Anyway, media reform is probably more important than campaign finance reform.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:41 PM
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Uh, that should be which are the idealists and which are the pragmatics?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:42 PM
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At the risk of sounding like a crass materialist...at the end of the day it's the money.

And where is the money today? It's going to Democrats.

The money people made a tacit deal with the nutjobs: You get your war if it will help you channel money to us.

What you're seeing now is the money people reconsidering that deal, and looking into the possibility of cutting a different deal with fewer drawbacks.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:45 PM
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I hope we don't attack Iran. I hope the rich democracy with 50% of the world's military doesn't attack the poor little theocracy. I hope we don't kill a few million more. I hope you don't rape, torture & kill another little girl. but I can't be sure. Can't be sure. Can't be sure.

Time for suicide. Patriacide.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:46 PM
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Anyway, media reform is probably more important than campaign finance reform.

But what do you do? That's the puzzle. Personally, I think protesters should be picketing media outlets and not politicians. I find myself wondering where this generation's Abbie Hoffman is, and wishing the old one were still around. Hoffman would have some ideas, I think.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:48 PM
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416 and similar: Can someone please explain why money people want oil prices to go through the roof? We're not going to war with Iran unless Bush forces it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:49 PM
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300

"The concept of punishment is also irrational, all else being equal. So is revenge. But then of course things often get complicated by the need to deter people from committing future crimes by showing them that people who commit crimes get punished."

So punishment is irrational as long as you ignore the reasons it is rational?

And if you only look to the future, are you fine with jailing dangerous people who haven't actually done anything yet?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:50 PM
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419: Tim, you addressed this to "416 and similar," but I don't think anyone is really making a similar claim - and I think I answered your question in 416.

You'll get a different answer from the Chomsky-ites on this, but my thesis here is that the money people (except the oil companies and related industries) don't want expensive oil.

High-priced oil is an unfortunate consequence of the program that got the money people what they do want, which is money.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 7:59 PM
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I think that the pragmatic line of reasoning has to be "Well, I think I'm certainly fucked. If I'm right and I try to change things, I'll still be fucked. But if I'm wrong and I try to change things, I'm only probably fucked. Probably fucked is better than certainly fucked any day of the week, so I should try to do something."

Stepping back a little opens up many more possibilities, of course. "Well, I may end up fucked but if I pretend everything is fine I'll be happy in the interim" is attractive to some, "Thank god I've found a community of other people who realize our fuckedness" is attractive to others, and still others base their existence around raging impotently against the world.

To each their own.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:03 PM
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419:Asset inflation arbitraged into permanent structural power.

In the next few years, 4-10 million americans, having defaulted on mortgages, will face a lifetime without credit, and a measure of dependency on the good will of the rich. For example.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:03 PM
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"still others base their existence around raging impotently against the world"

over at henley's place, we've started a pretty good thread where we just abjectly apologize to the world and grovel.

it has its appeal.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:07 PM
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At the risk of sounding like a crass materialist...at the end of the day it's the money.

And where is the money today? It's going to Democrats.

No no no. At the end of the day, the country (the world, i.e. global welfare) is run by those who control the money, and we're a one-party system in that regard, and have been for some time.

People are "too busy" with day-to-day life for any meaningful civic engagement, political or otherwise, because they've been rendered so precisely by efforts to segregate the money in a few small hands. At this level of analysis, it's not a party issue, and won't show much improvement with a Democrat in the White House.

That's the systemic rot indicated above. In the service of control of the money, control of food supply, health care, job security, and so on are manipulated. The media contributes by massaging the fear factor. It becomes a feedback loop. Corporate interests want nothing more than for the electorate to just plain quit trying.

This is poorly, because quickly, written. I'm probably stepping on all kinds of toes by stating the obvious. Gotta go now, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:08 PM
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Parsimon, I'm not sure how this

and we're a one-party system in that regard, and have been for some time.

contradicts this:

And where is the money today? It's going to Democrats.

If you want to fit this into a "One Party" narrative, you might say there is is considerable evidence that the One Party has decided to stop standing by while the Republicans fuck everything up.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:23 PM
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423: I'm more optimistic than bob, but bob gets me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:25 PM
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And if you only look to the future, are you fine with jailing dangerous people who haven't actually done anything yet?

Yes, if we know with absolute certainty that they are dangerous. But we can't know that in today's world. I presume by "the future" you mean Minority Report.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:52 PM
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At the end of the day, the country (the world, i.e. global welfare) is run by those who control the money

I'm not sure I understand this. If you mean money literally, then it's obviously wrong in that money is a financial instrument maintained by the state and controlled by political means. If on the other hand you mean that the distribution of capital determines politics, I still think it's backwards--domination precedes exploitation.

People are "too busy" with day-to-day life for any meaningful civic engagement, political or otherwise, because they've been rendered so precisely by efforts to segregate the money in a few small hands.

FWIW, Tocqueville identified this kind of political disengagement, and the danger of a resulting "tutelary state," long before there was anything like the concentration of capital and personal wealth that we have now. There's something else about democracy, in America at least, that seems to encourage it.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:55 PM
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Bob, did this song and dance get you into some trollop's moth-eaten bloomers in the Lower East Side of 1917? Honestly, it's like reading the blank verse of a My Chemical Romance fan whose parents always wanted to be red-diaper babies.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 8:58 PM
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430:You got a crush, flipp? So cute.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:15 PM
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You know, I'm sure there is a certain amount of vain & inadequate attempts to expiate liberal guilt in what I do. I can talk a good universalistic, humanist game, and mean it. But at the end of the day, I'm trying to get military contractors to pay large sums of money to Iraqis they harmed. If we don't succeed in that, well, if we accomplish nothing else, we're surely annoying them, & giving them bad publicity, & forcing them to run up exorbitant legal bills.

A friend of mine who does this stuff for an NGO told me: if he looked at his work as trying to help victims he interviewed, he got really depressed, because the likelihood that a given report would cause a change in policy that they'd personally benefit from in any way was so, so small. But if he looked at it as getting paid to harass & embarrass& do what he could to make life difficult the Cheneys & Rumsfelds & Mullah Omars of the world, well, that he could definitely do.

It's actually a pretty Old Testament approach. I mean, lawsuits & bad publicity & lost profits aren't exactly a plague of boils or locusts, but hey, better than nothing. Worth a shot. And what exactly is the downside here? The risk that it might cause my levels of existential despair about to drop below McManus-approved levels? First of all, lately it's kind of a wash as far as existential guilt & despair goes--I've spent plenty of time listening to Phil Ochs lyrics & feeling depressed (though I favor different songs & obviously take a different message from them). Second of all, who exactly would my existential guilt & despair benefit?

If you can't figure out a way to get involved that seems potentially useful enough to justify the time & trouble, that's perfectly understandable. I've felt that way for years in the past & I'll probably reach that conclusion again in the not-too-distant future, take some time off, have a kid, go on vacation, whatever. But that's not a decision forced on anyone by The Decline & Fall of the Republic, which (1) is not historically inevitable, even know, because nothing is (2) not knowable in advance, even now, because nothing is, and (3) doesn't necessarily have very much to do with the question of whether your involvement is useful or not. Lots of ultimately doomed historical movements did plenty of good while they existed.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:28 PM
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I'm trying to get military contractors to pay large sums of money to Iraqis they harmed

You're probably after Mr. B.'s employer, then. Good for you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:34 PM
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Given your location, it's possible...small world.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:44 PM
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I'd be surprised if you weren't--I believe they're among the worst offenders as far as how they treat their translators, etc. If I can help you, don't hesitate to ask.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:46 PM
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I'm trying to get military contractors to pay large sums of money to Iraqis they harmed

Katherine: Stick it to those fuckers.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:47 PM
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I don't know why I'm responding to 419, because I don't actually believe that there's a coherent "money party" or group of "money people" running things. There's also a problem with the "politicians are bought" way of thinking about representation: it's easy to say that politicians are beholden to their interest groups, but politicians still make their own decisions. Backing someone like Bush doesn't mean that he'll end up doing what you want all the time, especially if he can't be reelected. And politicians who are running for re-election can turn around and remind donors that there are things that they, the donors, might want, that can't be had without a representative to support them.

This doesn't mean there's no real debate or no real differences between, or even within, the parties; but it does mean that the range of debate is smaller within our representative government than it is within the population at large. The range of possible policy responses to something like high oil prices, or high health care costs, is constrained by the fact that there are positions which might be worth considering that aren't going to be represented without a significant amount of financial backing behind them.

I don't think that getting "the money out of politics" is really possible, but I do think, probably naively, that there must be ways to reform our political system to allow a wider range of positions to find representation. Maybe there's no possible campaign finance reform idea that will help do this; certainly, campaign finance reform alone will not be enough to change things. Previous attempts sure haven't worked out.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:47 PM
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On the "why care?" question, I look at it, honestly, as a kind of noblesse oblige. We're comparatively rich as fuck, most of us Americans, and we're damn, damn lucky to have been born when and where we were. My life is pretty damn good, and though I can get stuck in feeling depressed as hell along with the best of 'em, when I'm not I feel like the very least I can do is try to do something useful with my brains, energy, and good fortune.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:52 PM
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Second of all, who exactly would my existential guilt & despair benefit?

It might benefit you, if you were so inclined. Despair and the contemplation of one's predicament are a viable kind of aesthetic experience. Not a very laudable one, maybe, but if the alternative is to waste your modest energies on a project that has little chance of succeeding, it's not obviously the worst course. Anyway, we're not all lawyers.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 9:56 PM
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The library is closing.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:00 PM
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I find 439 objectionable. Pursuing aesthetic experience in preference to spending one's "modest energies" on *something* designed to be useful to others is, I think, clearly wrong. Very few of the people who have made differences to others are lawyers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:01 PM
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if the alternative is to waste your modest energies on a project that has little chance of succeeding, it's not obviously the worst course

This mindset is completely foreign to me.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:01 PM
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And 432 is a thing of beauty.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:02 PM
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You are all wrong. We will win. We will win. Not in the sense that the Democrats will win, but that the ideals of liberalism will prevail. If the current Democrats are not the instruments of our triumph, then we will find new instruments. The popularity of the war is only going to go in one direction -- down. The Democrats cannot ignore this forever.

The secret strength of wingnuts is that they always believe they are going to win. Liberals, on the other hand, are always one disappointment away from succumbing to despair.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:19 PM
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I understand the impulse to say that we are all doomed, that America is over, etc., but I think the impulse should be resisted. No one has that kind of insight into the future.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:32 PM
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I look at it, honestly, as a kind of noblesse oblige. We're comparatively rich as fuck, most of us Americans, and we're damn, damn lucky to have been born when and where we were.

Noblesse oblige toward which set of commoners? If most Americans are, as you put it, "rich as fuck," then presumably there is no need for a noblesse obligation toward any more than a decided minority of your fellow citizens. Steven Landsburg: vindicated. So, toward the rest of the world's population, perhaps, who have not been granted the great good fortune of having been to the manner born American?

I'm pretty sure many Americans are not rich as fuck, though of course it's all relative. Also, I object to the implicit American exceptionalism of the notion of the damn luck of Americans.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:37 PM
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that America is over

I've had this debate with my roommate who's a Ron Paul supporter but otherwise, an anarchist. I contend that an internationalist world—one in which, for example, the UN matters and all the member countries have a real voice—is a worthwhile goal. His response is to point out that the UN is corrupt and inefficient and a tool of the US, yadda yadda. It's a boring conversation. But we've had it over and over again.

I think he's romanticizing a complete shutdown, showdown, show-yer-skillz, Mad Max-type apocalypse. It's really weird.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:42 PM
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447: Please keep him from the polls somehow.

446: You'd prefer I pretended that Americans aren't exceedingly lucky compared to most people in the world?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:48 PM
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Also, 446 is really misunderstanding what I was saying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 10:49 PM
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I'd think Democrats should encourage Ron Paul supporters as much as possible, in the same tactical sense that the Republican party donated money to Ralph Nader's signature collection efforts.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:00 PM
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450: Hm, you have a very good point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:02 PM
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You'd prefer I pretended that Americans aren't exceedingly lucky compared to most people in the world?

In terms of the western world, it's my belief that many Americans (the poor to lower-middling in rank and socioeconomic status) are not, in fact, so very lucky, comparatively speaking. Better they had been born in Canada or Sweden or something.

You seem to not understand how your comment plays into standard GOP talking points about how yes, there's some poverty and some children lacking health insurance, but dammit, we've got a lot of millionaires, and even the lowliest among is lucky enough to be an American.

Also, if you want universal education, universal health care, and so and so forth, concepts like noblesse oblige are not the way to go. What's needed is a revival of the notion of "the commons."


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:03 PM
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Sure, in terms of north America (excluding Mexico) and western Europe. But that's a small, small part of the world, you know.

You can read my comment as nationalistic jingoism if you want. I think of it as being both modest and an acknowledgment that I--and you, for that matter--are damn lucky to live in countries where we haven't experienced (say) war in our borders in over 100 years; where however much we may complain about our representatives not listening to us, we've got a lot more influence over them than a lot of people who are far more negatively affected by their decisions; where we're pretty much able to assume that our children will outlive us.

I'm well on record as being very much in favor of reviving the concept of the public sphere. But I do think, in fact, that getting people who benefit from the luck of the draw, birth-wise, to acknowledge that the very least they can do is give a shit about something other than themselves and their immediate families, would also be a good thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-24-07 11:22 PM
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(Plus Japan and Australia and New Zealand and probably South Korea, I think.)

Speaking of which, this thing is damn, damn humbling.


Posted by: bitchphdhttp://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_7688.html#667884 | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 1:42 AM
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Hmm. Angry Ape Guy's approval is at 25%. A Rasmussen poll puts Stephen Colbert on 13% up against Southern Schoolmarm and Angry Ape 2.0, with teach coming in with a wet sail.

This is not exactly convincing evidence for an Angry Ape Groundswell.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 3:59 AM
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Further, one of the lessons of the Low Dishonest Decade 2.0, copyright WH Auden, is that as Hunter Thompson said not long before topping himself, it's not as complicated as it appears.

Among other things, the polls are right; they were right in 2000 that it would be 50% Nation, right in 2002 that the Republicans would sweep the board, right in '04 that it would be 50% Nation again and right in '06 that the Republicans would take a pub carpark kicking.

I therefore conclude that, as the polls say everyone hates George Bush and the war, the last candidate that suits is a warmongering ersatz Bush. This whole notion of "Oh, they'll want another cowboy and elect Thompson"/"Angry Ape" is a mental preparation for failure, excuses in advance. Excuses and McManusism are going to get you nowhere.

Pick a candidate who is maximally dissimilar to the Bush template. (I.E Obama (he's black) or Edwards (he's dramatically different on policy)).

You have nothing to fear from the Angry Ape.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 4:08 AM
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GWB seemed in 2000 to be going out of his way to distance himself from the herd of angry apes that had pursued and nipped at the then-President.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 5:58 AM
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This thread has been both far more pessimistic and far more naive than I would've possibly guessed. No, America isn't "over," people, it was always like this. The business of America is empire, and the business of empire is to grind down the rest of the world to enrich the emperor and his friends. There was never a time when this country was about liberty and justice and A Nation Of Laws, Not Men. Before it was Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo it was Native American genocide, slavery and apartheid in the South, the rape of the Philippines, concentration camps for the Japanese, over two million slaughtered in Indochina, death squads in Latin America, supporting and initiating coups in numerous sovereign and democratic governments, funding both sides of the Iran-Iraq War, sanctions on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, Panama, Grenada, and on and on and on.

We've been happily lionizing monsters and war criminals for two hundred years, carving their faces into mountains and putting them on our currency. It's only when a monster comes along who turns out to be pretty bad at empire that Americans seem to notice and complain. George Bush isn't really all that special, he's just the logical extension of a bipartisan consensus on foreign policy, executive power and civil liberties. I don't expect the next president to be that much better, either - the most I'm hoping for is someone who's willing to end one of the current military disasters and get some health and labor reforms passed. If there's any hope, it's in the hope that one day the United States will not be a world power - that America will simply not have the money to go out and kill foreigners and imprison its citizens constantly, and the state of permanent war will eventually come to an end. So, here's to economic catastrophe.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 6:39 AM
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Stras is right. American politics, from its earliest beginnings, has been cynical, racist, stratified, and manipulative. It's not that we've lost some dream of democracy, but that democracy was a fantasy to begin with. We're ruled not because we give our consent, but because we are lulled into complacency by the mirage of participation. Access to power is still far beyond any of our reaches.

That said, I like my little fantasy of democracy, and I think voting is important as a justification for educating the populace. Go Dems.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 6:55 AM
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Here, and I think there too, the point about the fantasy of democracy is that insisting on it has up to now constrained our masters to what is possible within the pretence. Now they're looking to break out of that straightjacket.

For many centuries, it was believed that political liberty was a prerequisite for capitalism to flourish. This idea predated Locke. I'm guessing that in many boardrooms around the world lately, people have been looking at China and drawing their own conclusions.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:12 AM
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I agree with 458, but would add that at every turn, during the Mexican War for God's sake, there was resistance. Sometimes it's futile, sometimes it works to mitigate the harms. Some times things get stopped.

On access to power, I can't agree with AWB. If you want access to power, you can work to get it. It's probably easier than getting a PhD and then a tenure track job. It's not as easy as going to the corner store and getting an ice cream cone, though, which puts it out of reasonable reach for a great many people.

On the individual level, we each have the opportunity, more or less every day, to work to improve the lives of some others somewhere. Inumerable opportunities. In that conext, isn't despair immoral?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:16 AM
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"and the state of permanent war will eventually come to an end. So, here's to economic catastrophe."

Nations do not necessarily move to the left after failures of the the right. Or at least the immmediate lurch left after a lost war and the inevitable economic problems is really hard to sustain. It really hasn't been 2-steps-forward-one-step-back in my lifetime, but one-step-forward-two-steps-back since the 60s, and after the next Clinton interregnum(at my most optimistic), backwards two steps takes us to DeGaulle or worse. I don't have the answers, but repeating the failed strategies is certainly foolish.

And if the discontinuity happens, I don't want anybody listening to the liberals. "Suspended the elections? We'll take them to court and write letters to Pelosi. It'll be fine." There'll be such a short window to avoid the apocalypse.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:35 AM
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Before I sign off for the day, I wanted to put this out there. I'm looking for a lawyer.

I have a pro bono case I'm doing with the ACLU against the CIA, and we want to open up a second front. I don't have time to do all that must be done, and my people are tied up, so I'm (and the ACLU is) looking for someone at a different firm to take this part on. Basically, we want an injunction (a pi, if we can make out the case) to prevent the CIA from blackballing a counter-terrorism specialist as retaliation for (a) challenging the Agency in court and (b) consorting with a known critic of the Agency. I can't promise fame or fortune, but fun is pretty much guaranteed. Residence or license in DC is not necessary at all.

Drop me a line if you're interested. (Email link enabled)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:46 AM
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458- Very good point and goes very well with John's statement, 'The war machine is institutionally dominant, and public opinion is only something for them to engineer.'

But that realization alone does not make me despondent. What makes me so is that I have no representation in Congress when it comes to the war. A disaster of a war at that.

Maybe if I scour the hundreds, I'll find a couple of people who want the troops out by the next election, a view considered reasonable by some just a few months that is now somehow universally considered reckless in Congress.

Then there is the glimpse of someone calling it like it is. OK, maybe it is, maybe it's not. But that's my representation. Then I see my representation humiliated by his own colleagues. The job of today's Democrat is the job itself.

That's why I'm despondent.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:47 AM
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463: Good luck finding someone -- after the last couple of refusals I've gotten from the partners here, I'm not even going to try.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:50 AM
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461:On the individual level, we each have the opportunity, more or less every day, to work to improve the lives of some others somewhere. Inumerable opportunities. In that conext, isn't despair immoral?

Going local and playing small-ball, as an end in itself, is just another form of despair. There are always opportunities to help individuals as the world burns. It's kinda Republican, private caritas as a substitute for universal security.

It may be the best possible response, but it is despair.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:51 AM
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it was always like this

I don't think so. Always an empire, maybe, but not always ruled by executive fiat with no meaningful dissent from the other branches of government--maybe for stints during the civil war, but that, obviously, was different.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 7:59 AM
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I spent about an hour looking up "vanity" in Bartlett's last night.

Flaubert said conscience was an inner vanity.

Nietzsche almost said we should keep our good deeds secret from ourselves.

It's selfish to cherish one's own good opinion of one's self. Some nobody in Bartlett's said one must sacrifice vanity and morality to find truth.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 8:07 AM
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466- I agree with Bob. As an individual, of course it's healthful to be thankful and optimistic about life. And it can benefit someone in need greatly if you're able to touch their life on a personal policy.

But as public policy, it sucks. You start thinking about the trillions of dollars of spending forecast for the war WITHOUT debate while a $30 billion children's health care plan in a fucked up health care system is nickel and dimed.

As we as individuals are able to help fellow people the best we can, tens of millions (very conservative) of innocent living-day-to-day Iraqi civilians are killed, directly because of US actions. Bob's right. Our fucking up an entire country, and our reaction to it, makes us unworthy.

So in terms of faith in our political system right now, I feel it decadent to be optimistic.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 8:23 AM
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again, bob, "you shouldn't help people because it might improve your self esteem too much"? Not real convincing.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 8:25 AM
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Stras' history lesson in 458 somehow elides:

Franchise extended to unlanded white males, all black males, all females, remaining minorities, young adults.

Popular vote applied to Senate.

Effective civil & economic rights extended to females, blacks, Asians, Latinos & GLBT (last 2 in process, others imperfect, of course).

Near-elimination of tarrifs, institution of progressive taxation. Creation of (elements of) social safety net.

Legalization of and, at times, federal support for, labor unions.

All of these have represented gradual improvements in the liberty of Americans. All are emanations from the founding principles that many of us "naively" call America. It's been happening for 200 years, just as surely as imperial ebb and flow. To pretend that the US is just a big scam run by and for the big money boys, and has been since Day One, is ahistorical bullshit of the highest order, faux-sophisticated cynicism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 8:45 AM
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570:Do what ya gotta do, feel what you want to feel. Everybody seems to think I am unfairly judgemental if I fail to praise the obvious candidates or endorse the palliatives.

It's all despair. I am barely interested in a taxonomy of despair, let alone ranking the desperate according to some inner aesthetic. I see Otto Schindler and I see the ovens. I am not comforted.

Hey Here is Sara Robinson of Orcinus on Albions Seed Pt III Quakers

That's more my people than the Irish. There is a lot of stuff there, like sexual prudery, tolerance to excess, gentleness toward children.

But not really the Quakers, the Amish & Mennonites. I saw the people in black on the buggys every day, and I have them in my lineage.

I began the process toward joining an order once.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 8:58 AM
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471- Your comments on Stras' post are at best inconsequential. I don't think you addressed his assertion of a long-standing industrial war complex at all.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 9:00 AM
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"The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be"



Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 9:08 AM
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I was rambling about these topics at length last July...


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 9:16 AM
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Your comments on Stras' post are at best inconsequential. I don't think you addressed his assertion of a long-standing industrial war complex at all.

I was addressing "The business of America is empire, and the business of empire is to grind down the rest of the world to enrich the emperor and his friends. There was never a time when this country was about liberty and justice and A Nation Of Laws, Not Men."

Is that OK? May I address what I thought was wrong in his post? Should I check with you first next time?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 10:02 AM
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Should I check with you first next time?

It's a blog, asshole.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 10:59 AM
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blah blah blah


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 1:08 PM
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Obama: "I have a lot of trouble growing a beard. I don't have a lot of facial hair."

You're never going to be an angry ape that way, man!


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-25-07 1:21 PM
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