Re: What To Say

1

You know, for a country with so many guns, Americans are bedwetters to their warm, moist cores.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:51 AM
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I wonder if the Democratic candidates Persians among us are prepared for the reaction if there's another terror attack before the November election.

Maybe you'll get lucky and the internment camp will be in Utah. I'll sneak by at night and pass contraband through the fence.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:54 AM
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Maybe you'll get lucky and the internment camp will be in Utah.

Obama made this point in his speech last night.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:55 AM
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Heh.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:58 AM
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Seriously, one of the things that really got to me at DCon was wandering around DC and realizing how fucking paranoid and militarized the stupid city feels. It was freaky, and I could see how within the beltway it creates a sense of fear, whereas everywhere else the having-to-take-off-your-shoes-and-belt stuff is just a major, major pain in the ass.

That said, yes: "security theater" is precisely the right term for it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:01 AM
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"Security theater" is Bruce Schneier's term.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:04 AM
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Why don't they say this? Maybe because the media portrayal of such speech would be "X is trying to politicize security." Would it actually hurt, and will they avoid getting picked on anyway? Probably not, but I can imagine that as keeping our famously risk-averse politicians away from it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:09 AM
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5: NYC is on and off like that. For months after 9/11 and now periodically when they turn the Terror Alert up to 11, we have dudes in military uniforms with machine guns on streetcorners. Wholly unnerving -- partly because I realized that "dude in uniform with machine gun on corner" served as a sort of insta-signifier that I wasn't in the US. No more.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:11 AM
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the Republican candidate would get a big boost

Depends on who the GOP nominee is, I think.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:11 AM
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Wholly unnerving -- partly because I realized that "dude in uniform with machine gun on corner" served as a sort of insta-signifier that I wasn't in the US.

Yeah, we've got NG soldiers in completely pointless camo with rifles in Grand Central every day. It freaks me out that it doesn't freak me out any more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:14 AM
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Seriously, one of the things that really got to me at DCon was wandering around DC and realizing how fucking paranoid and militarized the stupid city feels.

Examples?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:16 AM
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Obama would be better than Edwards, in the case of an "event", because he looks stronger and more asssertive, and because he has established his "crazy credentials" with the thing on bombing Pakistan.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:17 AM
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Maybe because the media portrayal of such speech would be "X is trying to politicize security."

That's a good point. And they probably figure it's not worth the risk because it really wouldn't matter what they had said. If there were an attack before November, the Democrats would lose the election.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:17 AM
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I used to think that an attack would help the Republicans, but now I'm not so sure. They haven't been denied anything they wanted, and should an attack occur, there is no one to blame but themselves.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:21 AM
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If there were an attack before November, the Democrats would lose the election.

Defeatist!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:21 AM
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If there were an attack before November, the Democrats would lose the election.

I fear that I'm going to be having a little I-told-you-so moment of my own when a Republican is sworn in in 2009. But maybe this is my crazy-lefty-paranoia speaking, though.

Although really, the properly left thing to be worried about is that we're staring down the barrel of a Clinton or Obama administration. Doom everywhere we turn!

Or rather, doom for most people everywhere we turn; staving off the doom a little longer for the comfortable classes if we elect a Democrat.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:27 AM
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11: Concrete barriers in front of every important-looking building. Uniformed men carrying weapons and wearing unfriendly expressions in front of every important-looking building. Announcements that "security is everyone's concern" on the Metro and the train. Announcements to "report suspicious behavior." Signs that we were in a "quiet zone" while we walked through a residential neighborhood. Video on screens above the security line at the airport urging us to "be efficient" about packing so as to make it easier for ourselves to be shoved through the security line without inconveniencing everyone else--video that included disapproving looks from fellow passengers towards the woman who set a "bad" example and ended up having to run for her plane. A general feeling that here I am in *my* country's capital, and I feel like an unwelcome visitor who's being given the hairy eyeball every time I turn around.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:28 AM
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If there were an attack before November, the Democrats would lose the election.

I am not so sure. HRC obviously has pland for a response, and I presume the others two also think they have an answer. There are several aspects of Obama's core constituency that I like a lot. The kids & blacks are very anti-war, and are less likely to get as scared as the "security moms" (They are also better on gay rights)

I was going to say that the peace wing of the party had best be prepared to ignore some hawkish rhetoric (see Obama on Iran), but FP pr other campaign rhetoric can be committing. I don't know how the candidates would play it. Really don't.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:28 AM
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I think you should stick to your day job. Whatever that is...


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:29 AM
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18 mixes issues that shouldn't be mixed. Blacks aren't that much vetter on gay rights, tho I am not sure about under-thirty blacks.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:30 AM
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19:Oooh, the Obammers really are tribal zealots.

You right, I am a bad person for not drinking the Koolaid. Bye.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:32 AM
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I'm pretty sure 19 was directed at me, bob, you oversensitive revolutionary dog-walker.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:33 AM
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It could have been me, too! And we all know that lefty paranoia is the exclusive property of trustafarians, so that answers the question about my day job.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:36 AM
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17: You know, alot of that describes Chicago. I guess I've gotten more or less used to it. That's probably not a good thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:36 AM
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Everyone takes the vague negative comment to be about them. What a bunch of neurotics we are.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:38 AM
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Everyone takes the vague negative comment to be about them.

Not everyone. Hands up, who likes me?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:43 AM
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25: Fuck you, too.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:43 AM
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27 was really responding to 26, wasn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:45 AM
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24: No, it really felt different. I mean, that stuff *is* in most cities, but in DC it really felt crazy. Partly because the way the city is constructed--at least the important buildings--is all so federalist in the first place: big drives, loooooong buildings, etc. It's not really on a human scale, and then when you add barriers and guards it looks pretty forbidding. Also, of course, we were wandering around on Saturday afternoon, so normal business stuff wasn't happening and the streets felt pretty quiet. Very freaky.

I can't remember the name of the movie I want to compare it to. Dammit. Big, modern concrete plazas, possibly Steve McQueen? Or someone like that, sci-fi end-of-the-worldism....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:46 AM
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Wait, you're all talking about something else. And no one told me. I hate you all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:47 AM
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There's a lot of quasi-facist architecture in DC, especially the 20th century stuff. The Capitol and the White House are a little homier, more reminiscent of the pre Civil War agrarian republic with intimations of future grandeur.

The Mall does have a genuinely public feeling to it in the spring/summer when the tourists are out, though.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:49 AM
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If there were an attack before November, the Democrats would lose the election.

Let me be the 28th to disagree with this assertion. First of all, the election won't be close enough for a small change to swing it. I expect Any D vs. Any R to win by 5-10 million votes. Not that many people are going to jump sides over a little bed-wetting.

Especially since the idea of utter incompetence on the part of Rs in general, and Bush in particular, is now accepted among the general public (not the Village, of course, nor the 28%ers, but the rest of us). More than Iraq, Katrina wounded the Republican Party. The only way a terrorist attack (significantly) helps the R is if Bush is surprisingly competent, and the R is able to associate himself with it. But another 9-11, with The Pet Goat and flying across the country and not catching OBL? Bad for Rs.

That said, an attack after 1/20/09 will be very bad for Ds. This is another reason that the Ds should be saying what ogged suggests - if you're on the record saying that our security system is fucked up, then it's not your fault that it fucks up. Then you have to push Congress to fix it, and if the Rs filibuster, you're covered. Worst case is you push for change, change comes, and the attack still happens. But that's way the fuck down the road.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:50 AM
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29: Omega Man, with Charleton Heston?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:50 AM
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33: Yes! That one! Bless you.

31: Sure, once we ran into the other tourists it felt a lot better. And I've been to DC before, so I know some of the architecture is fucked up. But man, it was bad bad this time.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:53 AM
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Democrats seem not to have the ability to think in advance and prepare for contingencies. They should have been seeding the meme "..... and we're still not safe" constantly. "Instead of tying up our resources in a pointles Iraq adventure, we should have....."

Of course, maybe they've been saying that all along, and the traction gods in the media have just smothered it. Democratic statements are often ignored.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:56 AM
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The mall is great, but the cabinet buildings etc. etc. are depressing. They all look the same, they're all enormous, you can't get into any of them without a metal detector, it's less walkable than it feels like it ought to be, there aren't pedestrians or normal urban stores, restaurants etc. around, and then, yeah, the extra concrete barriers & security. Depressing all around. When I compare it to the Loop--I love seeing the monuments lit up at night but I really don't think that height restriction is worth it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:58 AM
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In Kennedy airport, the NG soldier in spiffy camo was a very cute little Hispanic chick. I just assumed that it was some sort of promo for some designer's fall line. She was on break and carried not weapon.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:01 AM
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At DC I got a strong feeling that American Empire is being held securely down by billions of tons of cement. Living out in the boonies I've tended to underestimated the weightiness of the opposition. I'd walk past an enormous, impressive looking building and then find that it was the National Bureau of Sump Inspection or something equally unimpressive.

(Yes, Megan. I know that sumps are very important in the big water-quality picture. )


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:05 AM
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Nah.
During arguments for the craven FISA bill this summer (Rep. Tiahrt R-Asshole) had this to say:

If you don't pass this legislation, you will be responsible for any attacks that could occur on America.

So since the Dems showed their mettle by caving on the bill, they're clearly off the hook...

With the standard narratives of the Imperial Press Corps at the ready, I think any attack hurts the Dems.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:10 AM
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Signs that we were in a "quiet zone" while we walked through a residential neighborhood.

Hear, hear! Motherfucking bourgie scum in their tidy little houses should not be allowed to sleep through the night!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:10 AM
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When the terrorists take out the Sump Inspectors, you'll find out just how much good drainage effects your quality of life. Then you'll appreciate the unsung heroes that nobly and quietly did their duty to the country, inspecting sumps.

I wonder what the commemorative stamp would look like.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:14 AM
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Squishy and damp. But self-licking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:15 AM
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40: Yes, that was exactly my point.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:17 AM
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I always used to forget that the Mall and all the looming federal buildings and monuments were in the same city as I was, I had so little cause for or interest in going anywhere near them. Then I would periodically go take advantage of the great wonder that is the Library of Congress and be surprised all over again. It's definitely true that all that federalist architecture seems extra uninviting in combination with the security measures.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:17 AM
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I've never posted here before, always just enjoyed the usually intelligent commentary, but this is so misguided I have to speak up. Look at what the Dems and GOP were saying about terrorism before 9/11 and tell me which party should have benefited by being right on the issue. Bush was talking about missile defense and China and actively stopping efforts by Dems to put more money into things like anti-terrorism and international money laundering (used by terrorists to fund their operations). It doesn't matter a lick what the Dems say or do now. The Dems have been saying for years we need to secure our ports and borders and Bush hasn't done shit to do it, but I guarantee you if a dirty bomb goes off in a container ship in Long Beach harbor the GOP will find some way to benefit off of it at the expense of the Dems.


Posted by: JDS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:18 AM
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Squishy and damp. But self-licking.

Hott.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:18 AM
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I'd just like to say that I wish to God Bruce Schneier would enter politics. He's probably too smart for it, but I'd vote for a candidate that had him on his or her team even if their plank promised to speed global warming by burning the corpses of baby polar bears.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:19 AM
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There's a lot of quasi-facist architecture

Actually, less than you might think, mostly because it's hard to fathom just how fascist fascist architecture was [going to be].

Example.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:19 AM
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With the standard narratives of the Imperial Press Corps at the ready, I think any attack hurts the Dems.

Yep. It's stupid and unfair and utterly irrational, of course, but an attack helps the GOP. Those who suggest otherwise seem to imagine a well-informed electorate making deliberative-democracy type judgements in a rational public sphere.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:20 AM
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Hands up, who likes me?

....................../´¯/)
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........('(...´...´.... ¯~/'...')
.........\.................'...../
..........''...\.......... _.·´
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..............\.............\...


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:21 AM
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JDS, IA, I think you're missing the point that this kind of talk is designed to shift the discourse in favor of Dems. Of course, given the status quo, an attack hurts the Dems, but I think some rhetoric that has a little traction, ie, Republicans won't really make us safe because they hate government, can change things. And with that I'm outta here for a while.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:22 AM
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spaz, that is really awesome, and if you've started a trend, I'm going to have to kill you. Then ban you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:23 AM
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Sorry, I'm looking like a rage-risk with my comments today. Really, this is me in a good mood.

I was talking about Ogged. If you're going to give advice on political talk, shouldn't it be just a teeny bit compelling? Your paragraph is totally unreadable.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:23 AM
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an attack helps the GOP

Maybe. Or perhaps it plays out like the attack in Madrid.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:24 AM
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I'm going to have to kill you. Then ban you.

Aw, shucks. I just knew googling ascii middle finger would yield gold.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:27 AM
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45:Of course there's a lot to this. My argument is that this narrative has been fractured by Bush's staggering incompetence. On 9-10-01, the virtually universal consensus was that "Rs are better on defense." In the Great Fetal Ball that this country became afterwards, no one was going to question those assumptions. But in the last 6 years, Bush has broken that consensus.

Will the press still say it's true? Of course. Will some portion of currently disaffected Rs revert? Absolutely. But there are tens of millions more Americans willing to ignore that now than there were 6 years ago. No one will be writing "Thank God Bush is President and Not a Weakling Dem" in the NYT. Can you even conceive of such an article? No. That's the difference between now and then.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:29 AM
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My baseline response--that the occasional terrorist attack is just statistical noise amid all the other mayhem created by the American Way of Life--is one of many reasons why I have no future in politics.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:32 AM
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45,49:Well this summer aside for a moment, this is why war & militarism are always my third priority. This stuff is really hard for leftists, progressives, liberals.

Which is why economics and social issues have higher priorities for me than war. Increase social spending to the moon to make no room for defense and war, liberalize (and yes "feminize") social attitudes so the polity is less macho...attack militarism indirectly. Make war economically difficult.

Europe has gone a long way in that direction. Yes, the UK went to Iraq, but they didn't have much to send there, and they sure couldn't have gone on their.

UHC is an anti-war program.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:32 AM
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of course, but an attack helps the GOP

This is so true... they're the party of fear and hatred. And nothing would center the national mood in our lizard brains like a big attack.

And talking about better IT projects and more translators in the face of that is capital L lame.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:34 AM
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Maybe the NYT wouldn't run an editorial expressing thanks that Bush is on the job, but I can definitely see them saying something about how the terrorist attack makes it clear that someone like Obama isn't up to the job of protecting us - especially if he's running against someone like tough-guy McCain who has the benefit of being a war hero, a crazy hawk who wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, and someone is adamantly against torture. That is hitting the NYT sweet spot.


Posted by: JDS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:35 AM
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45: That's pretty much my point. In 2002-2003 I harped on this, but even Democrats did not seem interested. I looked closely at the 9/11 report when it came out, and it confirmed that before 9/11 the Democrats were significantly stronger than the Republicans on the issue. And there's lots of evidence that Giuliani screwed up everything he put his hands on.

You have to look at why the Democrats can't get their message out. Blaming the stupid voters is a common response, but that's bullshit. Blaming bylined media gets closer, but they are all hirelings -- their bosses don't appear on TV much. Blaming (or crediting) the powerful Republican machine is on the money, of course.

That said, I think that there's a saboteur faction within the Democratic organization, whether from divided loyalties or from pure laziness and venality I don't know. Look at Shrum.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:38 AM
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56:In part I agree, it has changed for the better, especially in specific demographics.

The problem is that for instance after the dirty-bomb in Long Beach, the "Peace Party" has a hard time getting time & space in the discourse. There was a large anti-Iraqwar voice out there in 2002, fromScowcroft to Chomsky, but they couldn't find a seat at the Chris Matthews table, even tho Matthews himself was skeptical about the war.

This is not new, in fact may be 1000s of years old.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:40 AM
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61 looks like Emerson


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:41 AM
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I just checked my sister's facebook page and the kid is now a Ron Paul fan.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:42 AM
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Several Bush anti-terrorism people supported Kerry in 2002 -- Beers, Clarke, and there were more. A number of generals did too. It made little difference. The media and the Republican machine controlled the message.

No one will be writing "Thank God Bush is President and Not a Weakling Dem" in the NYT. Can you even conceive of such an article? No.

100% disagreement. The article is already written, and the author is just praying for an attack. The Times itself probably won't say that, but the WSJ certainly will and the Post might, and the Times will publish an Op-ed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:43 AM
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makes it clear that someone like Obama isn't up to the job of protecting us

No, no. That's when Obama gets to start making speeches about how, as a muslim, he knows how best to handle these people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:43 AM
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64: See what comes of social security pessimism?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:45 AM
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But I disagree with 61, having studied the Zimmerwald Conference, and how hard it was for fricking Communists & Socialists to unify on an anti-war anti-nationalist message after the Guns of August started firing.

Never underestimate blood simple.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:46 AM
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67: Now, now. I'm not sure she realizes he's a Republican.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:50 AM
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58: make meds, not bombs?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:58 AM
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And talking about better IT projects and more translators in the face of that is capital L lame.

Agreed on the rhetoric, but anyone who had even a passing whiff of the smell of the FBI IT upgrade project that bombed out a few years ago would know that this is, for reals, one of those huge boring failures that good technocrats would fix. (Contrawise, its continuing failure to work properly even after billions of dollars are shoveled down into the firepit is one of those things that makes me more sympathetic to libertarians.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:58 AM
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one of those huge boring failures that good technocrats would fix

Trouble is, I'm not sure how to translate, "We're from the government, and we actually are here to help" - which I think that people, after the object lesson of 93-00 vs. 01-08, are open to this (it's a big part of HRC's appeal, actually) - into a useful "We'll save you against terrorists" argument.

It's right up above that Kerry had outstanding arguments - well-phrased, even - that he would, in fact, be much better against terrorists than Bush. But it was pre-Katrina, and less than 50% of the electorate was open to the basic argument "Rs could - and will - fuck-up a two car funeral." But after Kerry's failure, I don't think the Ds get another swing at that piñata.

One big diff from post-9-11: from here (next month, actually) on out, if anything happens, we have a figurehead to actually make our arguments. The press, bad and evil and fucked-up as it is, will pay attention to the D nominee. That was not true post-9-11: Al Gore couldn't get himself arrested, and when he spoke up, he was openly mocked. Obama will get a national address, and no "non-partisan" pundits will mock him. People will hear our side of the story next time.

I just hope Big O is ambitious enough to use that pulpit to destroy the R party, not talk about Unity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:15 PM
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Once again, the point isn't that this language would be convincing when uttered, but that it would seem prescient in retrospect.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:18 PM
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David Brooks has outdone himself with his spin of the Huckabee victory.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:27 PM
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Once again, the point isn't that this language would be convincing when uttered, but that it would seem prescient in retrospect.

IOW, You'll all be sorry when I'm gone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:27 PM
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If there's an attack before the election, Bush declares himself Presdident-For-Life by fiat and cancels the election. Duh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:31 PM
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I just checked my sister's facebook page and the kid is now a Ron Paul fan.

I checked out my significantly younger brother's facebook page and found out that one of his buddies is the daughter of my first serious girlfriend. Ouch. (they are approx the same age.)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:33 PM
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JROTH I wish I could share in your optimism, but I just can't. I really don't believe that the D nominee will get a fair shake in '08. Look at how the media is already swooning over McCain's fourth place finish! I think our best bet is for Al Gore to take on the burden of being the guy who says and does what the nominee can't for fear of pissing off the press. He's high profile enough that the press will listen to him in a way they wouldn't in '04 (especially after that Dean endorsement).


Posted by: JDS | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:35 PM
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Just remember that traction is one thing, and public opinion a different thing, partly dependent on traction. The media report what they want people to think as though it were public opinion. (They were calling Bush popular after his approval had gone below 40%). They don't always succeed in controlling opinion, but even when they don't, they succeed in demoralizing the majorities they disagree with.

If all the media had diligently and accurately reported Bush's anti-terrorism weaknesses (before and after 9/11) he would have been a one-term President.

And to repeat, the Democrats are extraordinarily weak at setting things up for the future. Everything they say seems oriented toward the vote on the table now, rather than being part of a long-term plan to set up something two or years from now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:35 PM
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The media are also swooning over Giuliani's 4%. There's no depth to which they won't stoop.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:37 PM
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JRoth is right, even if such rhetoric would seem prescient in retrospect, it needs to be heard now, because simply reminding people that Dems said such things at the time gets very poor earplay after the fact.

In the event of an attack, there's very little time to forward arguments about who's been saying what: the 'Don't change horses in midstream' mentality kicks in.

It might not be a bad idea for Dems to talk explicitly about another attack [not that we want to acknowledge that possibility, but let's face it, folks], what our weak points are, how the current administration's approach leaves us vulnerable. As it stands, another attack would probably give the election to the Republicans, or to Hillary if she's the nominee.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:43 PM
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it would seem prescient in retrospect

what, so he could tell his buddies he was right all along over lunch at the kennedy school?

the basic argument "Rs could - and will - fuck-up a two car funeral."

see, now that's rhetoric we could use.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:46 PM
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The CW is not reliable in this very weird year. Nobody really knows how another attack would play out.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:47 PM
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See also the discussion a few of years ago when I suggested "George Bush doesn't play by the rules" as a similar strategy and was roundly called an idiot. You're all stuck INSIDE THE BOX! You need to expand your TEMPORAL HORIZON!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:49 PM
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81: for Dems to talk explicitly about another attack [not that we want to acknowledge that possibility, but let's face it, folks], what our weak points are, how the current administration's approach leaves us vulnerable.

OK ogged, something like this?
Every day I hope and pray that the country does not suffer another catastrophic attack before we can get an adminstration in place that will provide real security based on actions rather than words.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:55 PM
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Oh yeah, I forgot how you really brought the machine to its knees with that one.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:55 PM
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83: It's amazing how the big Republicans are going after Huckabee. The only thing he really disagrees with them about is taxes, and he's no more incompetent on foreign policy than Bush was at the same stage.

And it's amazing how quickly and transparently they dropped the "heartland" scam and showed the world how much they hate hicks. It's especially amazing to me, because even though I'm ultra-left and hate the Huckabee politics, I know lots of those guys and know that they're often very nice people. Whereas the people Greenwald cites really completely despise them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:56 PM
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86: Spaz, what are you trying to say? Only so much dumping is allowed around here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 12:59 PM
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I like Stormcrow's formulation.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:02 PM
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It's amazing how the big Republicans are going after Huckabee. The only thing he really disagrees with them about is taxes,

This amazes you? I always sort of assume that taxes and business friendly regulation are all they care about -- the foreign policy is smoke and mirrors to keep the rubes voting for them. (as is the gay bashing, anti-feminism, racism, and so on). Huckabee totally seems like the Republican power structure's worst nightmare -- very appealing to their voters, but not invested in any of their real goals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:02 PM
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This amazes you?

Yes. Openly attacking their evangelical base is risky, risky business.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:04 PM
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But letting it get loose and do what it wants is catastrophic -- without the totally unnatural alliance between evangelicals and their associated salt-of-the-earth-types and Big Business, the Republicans are nowhere. If the evangelicals start splitting off from Big Business, Big Business stops winning any elections.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:07 PM
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84: Is anybody (besides spaz) calling you an idiot? More just that your suggestion goes only part way. That's all. Too defensive -- why just an "I told you so" moment? Why not also an active campaign strategy? Per Stormcrow's suggestion.

The only conceivable problem with it is that it may appear to contribute to the fearmongering: we might consider that we should be afraid that we're vulnerable to attack. But is this a problematic approach? I myself find it preferable to Obama's "it's a new day, it's time for a change!" fluffery.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:09 PM
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91: I am genuinely interested in seeing what, if anything, Karl Rove writes about Huckabee. You know whatever it is will be spin, but the flavor of spin will be interesting. He might just sit it out—it is a particularly delicate issue for him given his active courting of the "base".

Rove is probably off looking for as much dirt on the Huckster as he can for others to use.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:10 PM
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I just wanted to say "expand your temporal horizon." Spaz just likes to give me a hard time. Obviously I don't intend my formulation to be precisely the one used; mostly I'm in love with the idea of setting things up so that when things that people who are paying attention are confident will happen do happen, they'll seem like geniuses to people who don't pay attention.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:12 PM
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93: it may appear to contribute to the fearmongering

Yeah, it really is a variant of "vote for me or you will die". So I somewhat hate it myself* (as well as the pander to the God Squad with "pray"), but it may be the kind of thing it takes - a Rovian attack on their perceived strength.

* All this shows is that I absolutely do not have what it takes for hardball politics.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:17 PM
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I wouldn't expect the big Republicans to support Huckabee, but they're being both hysterical and blatant, and they're failing to pretend that they ever had any respect for the evangelicals.

A few years ago Ralph Reed was hired by one gambling group to recruit evangelicals to work against a competing gambling group, and word got out. It was pretty blatant betrayal (the evangelicals were mostly volunteering their time, whereas Reed collected tons of money), and it probably ended Reed's electoral career, but it never made a national splash. But the alliance with the evangelicals is pretty fragile by now.

So I'd expect the Republicans to be trying desperately to patch the leaks, rather than just slamming Huckabee. Perhaps they've given up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:18 PM
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when things that people who are paying attention are confident will happen do happen, they'll seem like geniuses to people who don't pay attention.

Ummm, Ogged, the problem is that people who don't pay attention will have no idea that the people who do pay attention predicted the thing in advance. And the press certainly won't tell them, not least because the press ignored the warning too. Besides that, nobody likes hearing "I told you so".

There are other problems with this particular case too...even beyond the fact that the Democrats are not team players and can't push a consistent message to save their lives.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:19 PM
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Meh, you put up a few youtube videos of yourself saying it two years ago, some blogs pick it up, eventually the message gets out.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:20 PM
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Perhaps they've given up.

Some of them may already have accepted that they're very likely to lose this election and have decided that control of the party is the more important battle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:21 PM
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If he's not theirs, and he turns into the spokesman for the evangelicals, they're completely fucked. Assuming they don't think they've got him under control, they have to get rid of him quickly and replace him with someone pliable as the public leader of the evangelical movement.

(He's completely batshit insane, of course. But if we've got to have a politically engaged evangelical movement, and if the batshit insane stuff has to be part of it, on lunchbox issues he's the kind of guy I want to see leading it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:22 PM
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Also, Huckabee is really fascinating...a revival of WJ Bryan style prarie religious populism. If he is the Rep nominee they could legitimately claim to be the populist party against the coastal elites.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:22 PM
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98: I think Ogged just means he's into the personal preening.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:23 PM
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I thought I was arguing against JRoth, but he, Ogged and I are agreeing that the Democrats should be saying things today in order to set up how we respond to a terrorist attack when and if it comes.

It's the same way with Congressional votes. Votes should be pushed sometimes, even though a filibuster or veto is inevitable. That way you can hang the veto and the filibuster around the Republicans' necks and continue to hammer away at the issue. Gingrich did tons of that as minority leader.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:23 PM
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they have to get rid of him quickly and replace him with someone pliable as the public leader of the evangelical movement

Thing is, though, that can't be done from outside the movement. The more they pound on Huckabee, the more many evangelicals will dig in their heels about it.

He's completely batshit insane

Except he isn't. He holds very standard views for an evangelical leader, and his apostasy comes on issues like not hating Mexicans and not believing that increasing marginal tax rates is the highest expression of evil, which are perfectly reasonable stances for anybody outside Free Republic's peanut gallery.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:26 PM
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98: Ogged, your error is that you're saying what the Democrats should do if they actually gave a shit about anything. There's a hidden premise there that you failed to express, and your argument falls apart once it's made explicit.

There are ways of saying "I told you so" that work fine. Gingrich made it work even when what he was saying was totally loony.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:28 PM
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97: Yeah, it is too bad that Ralph Reed disappeared from the scene so quickly. My personal "framing" suggestion was that Dems should refer to him as "gambling lobbyist Ralph Reed" (he probably did derive the majority of his income from it), but he didn't stick around long enough.*

*But per this story from this summer, he is looking to get back in.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:29 PM
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But this ain't the Free Republic peanut gallery, and stuff like the Fair Tax really is batshit insane.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:30 PM
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96: Yeah, it really is a variant of "vote for me or you will die". So I somewhat hate it myself* (as well as the pander to the God Squad with "pray"), but it may be the kind of thing it takes - a Rovian attack on their perceived strength.

At this point I have no problem whatsoever with appealing to voters. !! And we do indeed have a problem with lax port security and so on.

The "let's be honest" routine works if it's actually honest, and I seem still to think that voters aren't so stupid that they can't distinguish true from faux honesty when they hear it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:30 PM
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apo's right. The thing with Huckabee is that he actually seems to be a Christian in the pre-I-have-an-iPod-because-God-likes-me sense. Not that this makes me want to vote for him, because I'm a big fan of having a republic and all, but he's probably the real compassionate conservative that they tried to sell Bush as.

In any case, I am thrilled to watch that coalition explode.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:31 PM
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holds very standard views for an evangelical leader,

That's what I'm calling batshit insane -- I'm figuring that I'm not going to get an evangelical leader who isn't insane by my standards. Which is why, while I think he'd make a nightmare of a president, I'm happy to see him emerging as the leader of the evangelicals.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:33 PM
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stuff like the Fair Tax really is batshit insane

It's dumb policy, certainly, but it isn't insane on the level of John Hagee's push for war in Israel to hasten the Second Coming of Jesus or Pat Robertson's belief that he prayed a hurricane away from South Carolina's coast. True batshittery is a high bar to clear in the context of the Religious Right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:34 PM
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But a real compassionate religious conservative starts from a worldview that makes him likely to fuck domestic policy up as badly or worse than Bush has.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:34 PM
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Evangelicals are often insane, but on a number of issues Huckabee is more rationalor more humane than the other Republicans.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:34 PM
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In the end LB just prefers Giuliani because of, you know, Manhattan elite omerta.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:36 PM
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on a number of issues Huckabee is more rationalor more humane than the other Republicans.

Is this actually true? I thought I read something recently that said that he's mostly show and his policies have been mostly regular old Republicanism. And isn't he in favor of some very regressive tax?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:37 PM
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True batshittery is a high bar to clear in the context of the Religious Right.

But that's because they're all way the hell and gone out on the tail of the batshit insane curve if you're looking at the general population. "Less nuts than Fred Phelps" isn't all that meaningful in the great scheme of things.

I do get what you're saying and sort of agree with it, but it's important to keep reminding everyone that it's only cute until someone loses an eye.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:38 PM
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113: Doesn't matter if he doesn't get elected.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:38 PM
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116: Yeah, I'd like to see the list of issues where Huckabee is less evil than the average Republican. Talking big about helping the little guy doesn't count when your economic agenda consists entirely of scrapping progressive income tax and instituting a 30% national sales tax.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:40 PM
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his policies have been mostly regular old Republicanism

Only if you define regular old Republicanism as what it was when Bob Michel was Minority Leader. The modern Republican Party is about scorched earth and demonization. Huckabee compromised with Democrats while he was governor, which is what has the Huns all spluttering with rage.

And isn't he in favor of some very regressive tax?

Well, if you hear him tell it, he frames it as a progressive tax. Still, I think his Fair Tax proposal springs more from not really having a firm grip on policy implications rather than general nuttiness.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:41 PM
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Well, look, the evangelicals weren't supposed to have a political leader; the evangelical-Repub coalition was supposed to be a strategic one, destined to be unstable and comparatively short-lived. It's been heading toward a breakdown for a while, and we like Huckabee for advancing that.

Huckabee won in *Iowa*, but I seriously doubt this is going to convince mainstream Republicans to switch to his side. The money machine will see that McCain or Romney, or god knows, Thompson is the nominee, and it just remains to see where Huckabee supporters will cast their support in that case. Who's least offensive to them?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:41 PM
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Less anti-immigrant, more pro-social services, less anti-tax, and skeptical about the Pakistanis and Saudis. The blank check to the Saudis is one of the most infuriating thing about the Bush foreign policy. It was inevitable given the ties between Bush and the Saudis, big oil and the Saudis, and past U.S. involvements with the Saudis and the Pakistanis, but if U.S. pressure had been applied there instead of in Iraq, I think that results would have been better.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:42 PM
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I'm not advocating for Huckabee, folks. I'm warning against underestimating his appeal. Watch the polls in Florida and South Carolina to see if he starts picking up steam there. I suspect he's going to do pretty well throughout the south despite the party funders' horror.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:43 PM
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doubt this is going to convince mainstream Republicans to switch

The evangelicals *are* mainstream Republicans. Anybody have numbers on what percentage of the GOP they make up? I'd bet it's awfully close to a plurality, if it isn't one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:45 PM
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124: 35% is what I've either heard or am pulling out of my ass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:48 PM
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Evangelicals provide the bulk of Republican support in many of their must-win states, and they provide a substantial proportion of the hard-core 30% loyalists. the very fact of Huckabee's candidacy puts the coalition at risk -- the evangelical politicos all support mainstream candidates. If a big chunk of Huckabee's people end up pissed off and sit out the election or go third party, the Republicans are done for.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:48 PM
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less anti-tax

I don't know how you can get more anti-tax than doing away with income tax and replacing it with an incredibly regressive national sales tax. "Skeptical about the Pakistanis and Saudis" cuts neither right nor left. Cuddling up to unpopular dictatorships in the Muslim world is a favorite of bipartisan centrist/realists; the right-wing alternative to this is the Kristol doctrine of invading everyone in the Middle East.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:49 PM
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Here is a story worth reading on Huckabee from Matt Taibbi back in November. (I think someone else posted it somewhere around here recently, but can't find it. Thanks to whoever that was.) From what I can ascertain, Huckabee has a gut-level political acumen as well many of the characteristics of typical Jimmy Swaggart-style televangelist, with all of the moral slipperiness that implies. I do not think he is just going to sit out there as a maverick. Right now I supect his dialogue with the National Party is along the lines of "nice little electoral coalition you got going there, be a shame if anything happened to it". And the party establishment is trying to establish wheher they can a)kill him off or failing that b)buy him off and make him one of them. (And I have no doubt that the Huckster is willing to deal.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:49 PM
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123: Okay. Is a strong showing in the south enough to propel him to the nomination? With party money against him? I honestly don't know.

I'm told his Christmas TV ad was quite the most charming of them all.

Actually, hearing what the conservative equivalent of the left blogosphere is saying would be helpful.

The other question, of course, is how a Huckabee vs., Clinton or Obama race would fare.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:50 PM
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I wonder whether the break between the GOP establishment and the voters on the ground in any way reflects the Republican strategy to depend on misinformation and misleading media outlets to airs its message. There's a break between the GOP think tank and workaday voters, but FOX is supposed to bridge that gap; what is happening if this isn't working?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:50 PM
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Most of the conservative blogosphere seems to regard him as a "socialist."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:52 PM
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I'm warning against underestimating his appeal.

That I'll get behind. Not because he's less crazy, but because of his "folksy charm." A proven ability to chuckle amiably on camera can win even the most utterly bugfuck politician a good 30-40% in an election right there.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:52 PM
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The evangelicals *are* mainstream Republicans. ... I'd bet it's awfully close to a plurality, if it isn't one.

Jesus, really? I've been hiding under a rock. What about, uh, now I'm starting to be concerned ... what about the libertarian-leaning contingent who would really rather have government out of our bedrooms, etc.? A minority, I take it.

O bizarre situation: Dems and Repubs unite toward keeping true evanglicals from true political power. (Um.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 1:56 PM
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"Less crazy than Dubya, Giuliani or McCain" is not high praise. Same as with Ron Paul, Huckabee is being attacked because he's outside the crazy Republican mainstream, not because he's crazy. Dubya's fiscal policy was pretty much as bad as Huckabee's or Paul's, and it's in place.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:01 PM
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Parsimon! The libertarian Republicans haven't been a serious factor since 9/11. They've barely been an extant factor.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:02 PM
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130: but FOX is supposed to bridge that gap; what is happening if this isn't working?

Someone should watch the attitude on Special Report tonight. Britt Hume is about as tapped in to the Repub establishment as they come. As late as yesterday he had a report about Huckabee being a "scab" for going on Letterman. (As if Fox ever cared about that!)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:04 PM
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It's useful to take a minute or two and actually listen to Huckabee himself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRnAUFMSUZc&feature=related


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:04 PM
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what about the libertarian-leaning contingent

That's Ron Paul's 5-10%. They seem more populous than they are because they spend all day on the internet.

Is a strong showing in the south enough to propel him to the nomination?

With the rest of the party unable to settle on any of the other candidates, it certainly has at least the possibility of denying anybody the nomination on the first ballot.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:06 PM
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137 to 119, among others.

This guy definitely seems different, although it remains to be seen what he chooses when push comes to shove. He seems almost shockingly ill-informed on some areas of national policy, but he has more executive experience than most anyone else in the race.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:07 PM
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Digby:
The Republican establishment obviously has no idea what to do about him. He's a creature of the monster they created when they empowered the "low information" rural evangelical base. I suspect they will try to get to the preachers and turn them against him, but they can't afford to go after him too hard or too obviously or they will suffer hugely in the down ticket races in the fall if the evangelicals stay home. And the alternative who seems to be emerging is John McCain, someone who is loathed by the same evangelicals. It's a problem.

What we are seeing is the three legs of the conservative stool fighting for supremacy: Romney from the money wing, McCain (or Rudy) from the hawk wing and Huck from the God wing. The first two are part of the political establishment and rely on it for guidance. Up until now, the God wing did too. But now they have one of their own and they really don't need the permission of the money boyz or the hawks to vote for him. And they sure don't care what the pointy headed TV gasbags think about it.

Huckabee won big last night with no money and no organization. Maybe he can't replicate it anywhere else. But I think he might. The religious right is the biggest single voting bloc in the GOP --- the people they cultivated and trained to vote en masse for the Republicans. They have a very specific agenda of social issues that they care about and understand very well. They are true believers. And they are the only constituency in the party who actually likes their candidate and feels inspired by him. He's one of them. I think he can win it and win it in spite of the many unforced errors he's bound to make. His followers just don't care about stuff like that. Unless he suddenly goes soft on abortion or gay rights or one of their signature issues, he's got them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:11 PM
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Parsimon! The libertarian Republicans haven't been a serious factor since 9/11. They've barely been an extant factor.

Emerson! I think I am talking about (some of) the freakin' swing voters, who have libertarian leanings and therefore don't know at any given time whether they're Republican or Democrat or independent or what.

Maybe they're really only a tiny fraction of the swing vote, and as Apo says, just sound like they have a voice. What's the guy in the local diner every morning at 5 a.m. say?

Ugh, sure, I'll take Huckabee seriously, but again, I'm chiefly interested in what the national election would look like with Huckabee as the Republican nominee.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:13 PM
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What I said a month ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:15 PM
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He's a George Wallace type, right? Only this time there isn't an issue like segregation to blow up the Republican coalition like Wallace did the Democrats'.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:19 PM
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Huckabee really isn't a George Wallace type. As far as I know he's definitely less racist than Giuliani (who has a real track record) and Hunter, and as good as or better than all the other Republicans.

Subject to correction.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:25 PM
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Apo, thanks for 140.

'smasher makes an interesting point in 130:

There's a break between the GOP think tank and workaday voters, but FOX is supposed to bridge that gap; what is happening if this isn't working?

Dunno, what's FOX doing these days?

(Gawd, I imagine behind-the-scenes telephone conversations from Democrat to Republican operatives: What the Fuck are you guys doing? You let these evangelicals loose, what do you propose to do about it? Is your media machine breaking down or what?? Get Rupert on the line.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:27 PM
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144: I didn't think he was grossly racist. He looks to have the same sort of populist appeal, is what I was getting at. Only this time not so threatening to the party.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:34 PM
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They seem more populous than they are because they spend all day on the internet.

Like apostropher.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:39 PM
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Democrats always do that. To them one populist is the same as another, though George Wallace and Joe McCarthy seem to be taken as standards. American populism has a long and mixed history, and it can be a good thing.

"George Wallace type" has to mean a racist, though. Beyond that, Huckabee doesn't seem to feed on rage and resentment. The ones who feed on rage now are Giuliani and Hunter. Limbaugh is an establishment Republican.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:40 PM
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131:

Most of the conservative blogosphere seems to regard him as a "socialist."

Ogged, where are you getting this from?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:40 PM
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(And I have no doubt that the Huckster is willing to deal.)

This is what's so puzzling to me. I can't figure out why the Money Republicans haven't purchased him already - his rhetoric is occasionally a bit hostile to them, but to the extent that he's laid out an economic platform, he's very friendly to Money.

But the R-Money really, really hates him, to the point where one supposes they would sit on their hands in November rather than watch him win.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:41 PM
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I have Hofstadter's books on populism queued up to read. Democrats really are screwed up on this question.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:41 PM
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Huckabee raised taxes once, in part to spend money on social services. Socialist. Q.E.D.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:43 PM
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I don't have a problem with populism. I'd like to see Edwards vs. Huckabee.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:45 PM
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Jesus, man, follow the link in 137! Huckabee talks like John Edwards! It's pretty remarkable.

I get no respect. Nobody ever follows my links. If I justed posted links to disgusting sex or violence, like some people I could name around here, I'm sure I'd be much more influential.

Well, after Huckabee becomes President, all of Apo's links will become illegal.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:46 PM
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Ogged, where are you getting this from?

My vast knowledge of the blogosphere.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:47 PM
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Dude, I just checked in. Give me a minute.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:47 PM
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Limbaugh is an establishment Republican.

He still feeds on rage though. With the exception of guys like Paulson or the libertarians, just about the entire Repub establishment feeds on old anger and resentment from the 60s, now gone sour.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:48 PM
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154 was to 149 and 152, along with everyone else in the world who doesn't pay immediate and fascinated attention to everything I say at all times. Didn't mean to single you out Vanderwheel -- I hadn't even seen 153 when I posted.

Although I'm sure that you, like so many others, are insufficiently impressed by me.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:50 PM
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I mentioned it elsewhere, but y'all really, really ought to have seen Limbaugh on Fox last night. He usually hedges his bets, in case he has to suck up to an eventual nominee, but he really does not like Huckabee even a little. Fascinating to watch.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:51 PM
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Ogged, where are you getting this from?

Like the comments here, for example.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:52 PM
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157: That was my point: many establishment Republicans feed on rage and resentment, but Huckabee really doesn't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:52 PM
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152: I figured it was something like that, but I'd like to see what the (intelligent) conservative blogosphere is saying, and I didn't feel like working to see where they're saying it. Tired of it for now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:52 PM
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Oh, thanks, Apostropher.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:53 PM
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Damn, PGD - 137 was really quite interesting. I've seen Huckabee get off a line or two at the expense of Big Money, but I've never really seen him develop that theme as he does in your link.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:57 PM
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PGD at 154: Jesus, man, follow the link in 137!

Dude, it's a youtube link. Dialup. Duh. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:58 PM
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apo: Is anyone seriously arguing that Huckabee can't win the nomination?

I think an underestimated phenomenon in the primaries this year is that political involvement is more of a function of personality than party affiliation is, and all of the politically involved swing voters and ex-Republicans who have decided "fuck the Republicans" this year are just going to vote in the Democratic primaries/caucuses. That makes the Republican primaries/caucuses even wingnuttier than usual, which helps Huckabee.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 2:59 PM
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I would like to be the first to hate parsimon because she's beautiful. Though with the speed that comments appear here, I'm probably already second.

Also, I predict that all bad news for the country helps the Democrats. The only way the Republicans win is if somehow the economy takes off, or suddenly we win in Iraq.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:02 PM
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I have devised images for two of the Republican candidates.

Giuliani: A sewer alligator who can swallow you whole.

Thompson: Terry Schiavo -- he can fog a mirror and arguably is not brain-dead.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:03 PM
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Is anyone seriously arguing that Huckabee can't win the nomination?

I've seen lots of people arguing it, sure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:04 PM
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Is anyone seriously arguing that Huckabee can't win the nomination?

Yes. I would characterize this as the Conventional Wisdom - Money Republicans have owned the party for my entire living memory, and they don't think they can be beaten.

As chief spokesman for the CW, David Brooks lays out the case in the link in 74.

I'm not so sure he's right, though. It's going to be interesting.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:04 PM
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Does Huckabee have any money?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:05 PM
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171: No - I'd like to hunt the figures on this, but he's not in the same ballpark with the Establishment guys.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:06 PM
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He didn't have any money to speak of going into Iowa. But I'll bet he has more this morning than he did yesterday morning.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:06 PM
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Money people have owned both parties during my lifetime, AFAIK, and probably forever.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:06 PM
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I'll admit to a sneaking affection for Thompson because he's used his political celebrity to make lots of money, have sex with beautiful women, and not work very hard. There's a certain human honesty in that. I also get the feeling he doesn't really want to be President, which seems pretty rational/sane to me.

Dialup. Duh. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

I don't hate you because you're beautiful, just because you have dialup.

Damn, this has been a HUGE procrastination day.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:07 PM
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Does Huckabee have any money?

God will provide.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:07 PM
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I meant anyone here. I didn't see a comment that was laying out an argument that Huckabee couldn't win the nomination.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:10 PM
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NYT back in November on Huckabee and money:

While Mr. Huckabee's fund-raising still badly trails that of his better-known rivals, as well as that of Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, his campaign took in more than $1 million online in October, more than it raised in the entire third quarter.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:12 PM
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Reading that Vodkapundit thread was an eye-opener. I would have guessed the order of hatreds for online Republicans was 1) liberals, 2) Europeans, and 3) Muslims. Apparently they hate rural evangelicals most of all, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:12 PM
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168: Thompson: Terry Schiavo -- he can fog a mirror and arguably is not brain-dead and can beat John McCain in Iowa! ... but of course that is good news for McCain.

I have Huckabee pegged as Buddy Christ right now, but I'm sure there are better ones.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:14 PM
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I meant anyone here.

Just Parsimon in 121, but she's beautiful and on dial-up so it's all good.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:17 PM
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175: just because you have dialup

I am text-based!

If Huckabee can get a decent online fundraising campaign going, there's either a problem or a godsend, as it were. As someone in the Vodkapundit comment thread said: he'd vote for any of the three Dem nominees over Huckabee.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:31 PM
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(And you all know that the "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" thing is from an old tv ad campaign for shampoo, right?)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:36 PM
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Starring Kelly LeBrock.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:37 PM
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Jesus Christ, parsimon, we're not 4 years old. Well, at least some of us aren't.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:40 PM
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Hell, I don't know how old that ad is. Suddenly I wondered. It wouldn't be the first time a cultural reference turned out to be dated.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:42 PM
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It's from 1986 and you can watch it on YouTube.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:44 PM
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Spaz just likes to give me a hard time.

yeah, which is just giving myself a hard time by extension. I'm always having these political epiphanies that look totally lame once committed to paper.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:44 PM
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1986? Practically yesterday.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:46 PM
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Who is Kelly LeBrock?


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:46 PM
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22 years ago!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:47 PM
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Kelly Lebrock, you poor, poor soul, was the incredible hot woman in Woman in Red and the awesome Weird Science. Man, did I have a teenage crush on her.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:48 PM
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look totally lame once committed to paper

I deny the lameness. Temporal horizon, man.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:50 PM
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And by extension, Ogged was the geeky guy with the hawk nose in Woman in Red. Gotcha. The kinky red hair is a disguise.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:53 PM
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Kelly LeBrock was a teenager's wet-dream for a while there among geeky boys.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 3:56 PM
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I'm in danger of getting some work done here. Obama will bring about a Thousand-Year Reich of Comity. Discuss.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:01 PM
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Isn't she/Wasn't she married to Steven Segal?

That rubs some of the hott off her.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:03 PM
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married to Steven Segal

Yup, was.

That rubs some of the hott off her.

Girl, it's alright.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:07 PM
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Girl, it's alright.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:14 PM
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Nope.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:16 PM
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Well, now you know what to get me for my birthday.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:20 PM
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"And Listen to the Sound that is Only Steven Seagal"

Thank god for that.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:20 PM
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ogged was mean to me! I have to shower now.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:21 PM
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203:

Youtube!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:23 PM
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I'm so glad Will went for the straightforward hanging fruit there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:30 PM
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Seagal has mongol ancestors who lived somewhere near Kyahta ircc
it was in our newspapers when he visited
his secretary two yrs ago was a mongolian girl whom my friend's friend know
may be not now
is he considered outcast here? b/c of yakuza?
wasn't he an FBI agent something


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:34 PM
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He is considered un-hot here because he is a crummy wooden superannuated action star.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:36 PM
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an


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:37 PM
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foxytail doesn't appreciate mongols or aikido.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:37 PM
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I'm no respecter of persons.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:38 PM
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i don't know, i'm not a fan
seems not any worse then e.g Jackie Chan


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:40 PM
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Jackie Chan's saving characteristics are that he's funny and not aiming at high machismo.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:41 PM
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Bronson and Yul Brynner were Mongols or Tatars. Don't know about Seagal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:42 PM
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The difference is that Jackie Chan has been in actual good movies.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:46 PM
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213: I don't think he actually has any Asian ancestors whatever. He made up all sorts of weird stuff about himself.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:46 PM
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Also that! Good point.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:46 PM
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Wikipedia.

Steven Seagal was born to an Irish Catholic mother Patricia (an emergency room technician) and Jewish father Stephen (a high school math teacher).

Probably not a Mongol.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:47 PM
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i don't know it was in the newspapers
and not sure why asian genealogy should be considered weird stuff


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:49 PM
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read, asian ancestors aren't weird, but invented ones are.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:51 PM
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Al Gore invented Asian ancestors.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:54 PM
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Conceivably he in vented Mongol ancestors as a tribute to Bronson and Brynner, who were legit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 4:55 PM
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From his website:

He believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner.

We snarkish slumberers may scoff, it is clearly but our own loss.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 5:10 PM
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There's a great David Rakoff story in Fraud about going to a Buddhist retreat at which Seagal was the keynote attraction. Suffice to say he doesn't come off as a prince among men.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 5:27 PM
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223: Rolling Stone, I believe, did quite a remarkable piece on him that put the lie to all sorts of things he had claimed about himself.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 5:32 PM
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hm, as they say
better broken leg than broken name
i'm mostly upset about my doing stupid grammar mistakes
but i'm like very calm now after reading this :)
http://www.basicinstructions.net/


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 5:37 PM
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re: 224

I've also read that he's a bit of a bastard on set to stunt-men, i.e. he doesn't properly pull moves like he's supposed to, and doesn't stick to the plan. Resulting in injured and pissed off stunt-doubles.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 6:01 PM
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226: Resulting in injured awakened and pissed off enlightened stunt-doubles.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 6:21 PM
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Poor Kelly LeBrock and poor Steven Seagal, and poor Tom Cruise and his wife whose name I forget - Katie Holmes - that the elites are so wary of the disingenuity of theiir movements.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 6:46 PM
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Jackie Chan's saving characteristics are that he's funny and not aiming at high machismo.

No no no no no. Jackie's characteristics are phenomenal athleticism and world-caliber, once or twice in a generation choreography skills. He is also charming, but if you only saw him in late American movies then you haven't seen what he did.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:04 PM
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And in the case of Kelly and Katie alike..... oh, never mind.

Being the proxy sex object for millions of sexually-unviable guys is gross but not directly painful.

Not Cruise's problem, and probably not Seagal's very often.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:07 PM
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I have seen zillions of Jackie Chan movies, and I don't think I would agree with "once or twice in a generation choreography skills".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:16 PM
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OT or so:

Heads up: Ron Paul interviewed now on Bill Moyers show on PBS.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:19 PM
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I've also read that he's a bit of a bastard on set to stunt-men

Supposedly he attacked judo master Gene LeBell once, when LeBell confronted him about his treatment of the stunt men.

LeBell is said to have choked him out and made him piss his pants.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:27 PM
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I love Bill moyers.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:37 PM
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Next up on Bill Moyers: Kucinich.

This is just weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:41 PM
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231: Jackie Chan isn't appropriately compared to Bruce Lee. Jackie Chan is appropriately compared to Gene Kelly. 229 is arguably hyperbole, but it is essentially correct.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 7:43 PM
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Random though while watching Obama's Iowa speech: Obama should really try to work The Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today" into his campaign appearances.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:06 PM
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What Jackie Chan movie has this otherworldly choreography?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:11 PM
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It has been a while, but the one that comes to mind is Project A; I think I'm remembering a scaffolding scene...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:16 PM
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LeBell is said to have choked him out and made him piss his pants.

God I love that story. I spent a few years in a hapkido studio in L.A., and the general word around So Cal seemed to be that the guy was a huge prick.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:17 PM
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Emerson,

So you're saying their existence and popularity has increased utility or whatever for mousy nerd-boys?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:28 PM
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Since this is now an open thread for making random, slightly pissy remarks:

Apparently Kucinich told his Iowa supporters to back Obama. Rather than Edwards. His supporters were pissed off. Bill Moyers asked for an explanation, and Kucinich provided several paragraphs worth of response that amounted to a refusal to answer. What's up with that, I have no idea.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:35 PM
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Oh man. I've been watching a whole bunch of Project A clips. I wasn't emphatic enough before. I forgot how much I love Yuen Biao and Samo Hung, too.

A good sample.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:44 PM
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A better one.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:48 PM
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239:I can't believe people are dissing Jackie Chan.

Police Story 1985
Drunken Master II 1994

are two of my favorites. Jackie Chan was crazy, (he has gotten sane as he aged) and is famous for doinf his own very dangerous stunts. There are spectacular set-pieces, but I think the stuntskill shows best in the climactic fights. He was more willing to take punches (or get too close) and his opponents therefore look better and the fights more balanced than in many action movies.

He also choreographed the rhythms of fights very well:not so fast they didn't make sense(HK Jet Li) and with breaks to build tension.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:55 PM
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Bruce Lee just had as much or more charisma than ten other actors combined. He looked, no he was scarey and sexy just standing still.

But I don't think his fights are exceptionable in terms of choreography.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:58 PM
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I always assumed people who claimed to actually like movies for their fight choreography were in the same boat (an odd boat, containing of both extremely patronizing people and extremely closed-minded people) as people who claim Lil' Wayne is a brilliant artist because he has a likeable tone of voice, but I guess there are people who honestly appreciate it. I've always found like I was being fooled when trying to sit through movies whose acting, writing, directing, and cinematography are irrelevant to their quality, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 8:59 PM
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I honestly appreciate them. They're stunningly beautiful and creative. The things he thought up and the things he could do...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:11 PM
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You know I really liked the fight scene between Hector and Achilles from Troy. In fact, except for the fighting, I didn't enjoy much of what I saw.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:33 PM
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if you only saw him in late American movies then you haven't seen what he did.

I have seen plenty of his early work and I agree! But if his screen persona sucked, I suspect I wouldn't enjoy his athleticism nearly as much.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 9:35 PM
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I am not dissing Jackie Chan! Them's fighting words! I have exactly one book autographed by its author, and that's Jackie Chan's autobiography. That's it, you're going down, McManus.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:01 PM
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Apparently I purchased an autographed copy of World War Z:An Oral History of the Zombie War (that has never before been made with such care or detail). It is actually pretty funny.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:06 PM
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I like this one from First Strike. The best part is with the ladder - about 2:40 in.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:15 PM
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237:

:-)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:41 PM
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Sometimes I ask myself, why is there scaffolding in the background of a Jackie Chan fight. But I never wonder for long.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 10:43 PM
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I think after this video, no one will ever view Jackie Chan the same again.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:04 PM
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The fight in 244 with the bicycle is pretty awesome.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:08 PM
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My two favorite JC fight clips are from Drunken Master 2:

The one where he fights the axe gang.

The first drunken boxing fight.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 4-08 11:37 PM
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Kucinich provided several paragraphs worth of response that amounted to a refusal to answer. What's up with that, I have no idea.

Edwards secretly promised to name him Secretary of Peace.



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 5-08 5:56 AM
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sure i like Jackie Chan
just won't watch it on my own initiatve
Seagal too


Posted by: reed | Link to this comment | 01- 5-08 8:29 AM
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Edwards secretly promised to name him Secretary of Peace.

Knecht, this makes no sense! However, Kucinich has Very Good posture. I kept thinking: Dude, you give good yoga. Or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 5-08 10:39 AM
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Knecht, this makes no sense!

It was intended to be a joke about Kucinich's campaign promise to create a "Department of Peace". But, of course, "Edwards" s/b "Obama" for the joke to make sense. Ah, nevermind.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 5-08 11:22 AM
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