Re: A thread offering the chance to talk about Mitt's withdrawal

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Joseph Smith made a prophecy that one day the Constitution would hang by a thread but would be saved by an Elder of Israel (i.e., an adult Mormon male). Did Mitt just blow his chance to fulfill prophecy? Or, by giving the nomination to McCain and preventing Hillary's ascent, has he made Brother Joseph's words come true?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:40 AM
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Surely Orrin Hatch has come up with better justifications that he should be considered the Elder of prophecy?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:49 AM
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Perhaps Hugh and K-Lo can find solace in one another's arms. Then (chick-a-bow-bow, chick-a-bow-bow) Rush Limbaugh comes in for the triangle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:52 AM
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Ew.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:53 AM
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I think Hewitt had a column a day or two ago about why Republicans should rally around the eventual nominee, so I don't think we're rid of him yet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:53 AM
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"Chick-a-bow" is a truly accurate onomatopoeia. I am tempted to replace all of my funk rhythm riffs with it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:55 AM
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There have been a few posts around recently that say, more or less, that NRO, Rush, etc. types should STFU about telling McCain how to win them back, because they have nothing to offer. Satisfying.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 10:59 AM
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[drives by to stir pot]

7 -- And of course we see a mirror image of this over on the other side.

[drives off]


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:02 AM
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Do we actually see this, napi? I hadn't run into much of that, and, I think, for pretty good reasons, mainly involving the way the dem nomination is proceeding.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:04 AM
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There have been a few posts around recently that say, more or less, that NRO, Rush, etc. types should STFU about telling McCain how to win them back, because they have nothing to offer. Satisfying.

That's what drives the hope of a McCain/Huckabee ticket for me. What more could McCain do to indicate they were unimportant to him?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:04 AM
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2: That's the great thing about prophecy, ain't it -- who the fuck can say?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:06 AM
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I'm sad. We won't have Mitt to kick around any more.

Who let the dogs out? Not Mitt. Sigh...


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:06 AM
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So, here's my wildly optimistic theory on why McCain's victory is a very good sign for any Democrat in the fall. One of McCain's salient characteristics is the 'maverick', not lined up with the Republican party structure, enemy of Bush thing. I think a vote for McCain is very likely to be a "God, I hate these schmucks" vote, where "schmucks" are the Republican party.

In the general, though, he can't run against the Republican party, particularly since he can't differentiate himself from the last eight years on foreign policy, which is his area. I think a McCain voter in the primary is very likely someone who will flip Democratic (if they're low-information enough to be flaky like that) or stay home in disgust.

This should be taken with a grain of salt, given that I always have an optimistic theory, and then my candidates lose.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:06 AM
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10 - Exactly. Picking Huckabee would shore up McCain's support among religious conservatives, but still piss off the establishment conservatives who hate McCain. Seems like a perfect choice.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:07 AM
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Picking up on Atrios's riff, I wonder if the kids talked him into it. (Tagg: "Um, Dad? I was counting on being megawealthy. If this campaign goes on much longer, I'll merely never have to work a day in my life. I'm not comfortable with that sort of drop in social standing.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:08 AM
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This should be taken with a grain of salt, given that I always have an optimistic theory, and then my candidates lose.

I don't know if your theory is more unrealistic than mine. I'm betting everything on "old" and "Iraq." If HRC's the nominee, I'm betting everything on "old." And I still expect the Dems to win (as I did in '00, and '04).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:11 AM
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What more could McCain do to indicate they were unimportant to him?

I'm sure he'll think of something. As Nelson Muntz would say: haw haw!


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:12 AM
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16 - I think "economy" helps the Democrat against McCain, as well. McCain's obvious total lack of interest in the economy doesn't bode well.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:12 AM
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Maybe it was the kids, but it's more likely to have been the returns on Tuesday night.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:13 AM
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I'm sure he'll think of something.

As evidenced in the past, I'm a big believer in the power of urination to indicate disrespect.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:15 AM
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Seems like a perfect choice.

Especially since it's actually a pretty bad ticket, electorally. Every single person who wants to vote for Huck will have done so in the primaries. He doesn't bring in a single Dem or Indy, while he actively drives away anyone who might think that McCain is not a rightwing nutjob.

It's even better, since McCain's so old that everyone will understand that his VP has a 50/50 chance of sitting in the Oval Office.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:15 AM
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14- Oh, that would be some great entertainment. I suspect it's dream ticket chattiness that passes, but McCain does owe Huckabee. Just don't think it going to be VP, but.....


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:15 AM
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Who let the dogs out? Not Mitt. Sigh...

He did put them on the roof of the car, though.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:17 AM
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It's even better, since McCain's so old that everyone will understand that his VP has a 50/50 chance of sitting in the Oval Office.

I suppose noting publicly that the last time Republicans ran a candidate nearly this old, he began showing symptoms of Alzheimer's while in office, would be uncouth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:19 AM
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McCain does owe Huckabee. Just don't think it going to be VP, but...

It's gonna suck when Huckabee takes Stevens' seat on the Supreme Court.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:20 AM
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24: "uncouth" s/b "mandatory".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:21 AM
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Seriously, how great is this?

CPAC it seems, is directing its loyal goers to not boo McCain. They must be more excited that McCain has finally signed on to appear after years of snubs than they want to let on.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:21 AM
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22: but McCain does owe Huckabee. Just don't think it going to be VP, but.....

Maybe McCain will give Huck the White House furniture if he is elected.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:22 AM
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Classy.


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:22 AM
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I heard talk that people were pressuring him to drop out now, while he was beaten but not embarrassingly so, so that he'd have a chance to run again in 2008 or 2012.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:23 AM
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15: Didn't the Romneykin all have jobs before the campaign started?

Generally, why did any Republicans like Romney anyway? I mean, it's nice to be sucked up to and all that, but the best candidates tend to do it a little less cravenly and transparently than former Governor "Capital Punishment is a Winning Issue in Massachusetts" Romney.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:24 AM
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but McCain does owe Huckabee. Just don't think it going to be VP, but.....

He'd probably rather have Education, so he can cut funding to high schools and universities that teach science. Or Health, so he can run interference against contraception provision. McCain would probably be happy to give him either, since he's not interested in them.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:25 AM
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And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

"In the fight against al Qaeda and the Democrats, Americans of good will must work together".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:26 AM
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Giuliani, of course, will finally be Attorney General. At least he won't influence foreign policy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:26 AM
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27: George W Bush Rudy Giuliani Mitt Romney John McCain has always been a movement conservative.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:26 AM
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32: He'd probably rather have Education

Nah, I think he'd end up going with the furniture.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:28 AM
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Stay classy, Mitt!


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:28 AM
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When candidates contribute to their own campaigns, to what extent is that an unrecoverable expense? Most estimates indicate that Romney spent upwards of $35 million.

Rich people pouring millions from their personal fortunes into failed political campaigns is not an ideal mechanism of wealth redistribution, but every little bit helps.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:29 AM
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When candidates contribute to their own campaigns, to what extent is that an unrecoverable expense?

Do they get to book it as a loss to offset the income from their next book/speaking engagement/directorship?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:31 AM
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Christ, what an asshole.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:31 AM
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Jeez, I was just curious.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:32 AM
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wealth redistribution

Rich Candidate to Big Media.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:32 AM
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but McCain does owe Huckabee. Just don't think it going to be VP, but.....

Witchfinder General


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:35 AM
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I'm betting everything on "old" and "Iraq." If HRC's the nominee, I'm betting everything on "old."

One great thing about McCain is that he's been running so hard on Iraq - "stay for 100 years" - that I think he may still manage to make HRC look OK to people who want the war to end. While I agree with stras that HRC's positioning on starting the war is all too Kerry-like, the message for Election 2008 is going to be "Bring our boys home" vs. "Iraq 4ever." Even HRC can win that. [I think that BO's a more obvious and appealing contrast; I'm just saying that McCain is so warmongering that he turns HRC into a dove]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:40 AM
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Picking up on Atrios's riff, I wonder if the kids talked him into it.

I said to Rah the other night that if I'd been one of Mitt's spawn the day the news came out of the $18m loan to his own campaign I would have been off that bus at the speed of light to keep him from blowing any more of my inheritance.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:41 AM
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Especially since it's actually a pretty bad ticket, electorally. Every single person who wants to vote for Huck will have done so in the primaries. He doesn't bring in a single Dem or Indy, while he actively drives away anyone who might think that McCain is not a rightwing nutjob.

Reflecting a bit about this, I think this is wrong. Rove's claim over the last two elections was that undecideds (and, I assume, crossovers) don't matter that much, as there really aren't that many of them. What matters is turnout, and what matters for Republicans is evangelical turnout. It seems at least probable to me that an obvious and deep evangelical on the ticket--after the evangelicals have been pissed on during the primary by the Establishment--would help drive turnout up in that community. Show the flag, and all that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:43 AM
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You're not thinking Calvinisty enough, Robust. Sure, money is a sign of God's favor, but being U.S. President is so much so!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:44 AM
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One great thing about McCain is that he's been running so hard on Iraq - "stay for 100 years" - that I think he may still manage to make HRC look OK to people who want the war to end.

I so don't believe that. As Spack argued, HRC's got feet in both camps. I think she'll do the typical Dem thing and try to take the issue off of the table.

But he's still going to be oh so very old.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:47 AM
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oh so very old

That picture the NYT ran the other night of McCain with his wife, her arms raised high in triumph, his right held up by her left because he can't do it on his own: sad. Get that man a rocking chair. Let him sit on the porch and yell at the damn kids in peace.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:51 AM
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But he's still going to be oh so very old.

Younger than Reagan in 84.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:54 AM
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Rich Candidate to Big Media.

Point taken, but a lot of that money goes to campaign staff, and to his credit, Romney is reportedly giving his staff two weeks pay, which is better than most enterprises that go belly-up. That's the only thing I can give Romney credit for, because otherwise I've been impressed only by his utter loathsomeness.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:54 AM
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48 is right. Clinton will never be able to use Iraq against McCain; they both have the same basic position on it ("the war was good, but it was so mismanaged!"). McCain's biggest weakness is our culture's natural hatred of the elderly. Whether that's enough to overpower our culture's natural hatred of women, I've no idea.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:55 AM
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49: John McCain had his arms broken. John McCain had his legs broken. John McCain had his head completely cut off. But he didn't give up. Not one bit."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 11:57 AM
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46: Not buying it. Not in 2008. My SIL worked for Gall/p, doing corporate stuff, and was told by people on the polling side that, this year, the Reps can't win, period. IOW, the numbers are far worse than mere horserace comparisons show, and the Rs can't turn out enough bodies to stop the tidal wave of "throw the bums out" that's coming.

I'm not putting full faith in that - you'll not I haven't been pushing Kucinich as viable in 2008 - but I don't see how a base strategy - which barely worked in R-friendly election environments in 00 and 04 - can possibly work this year.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:01 PM
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52 is too backwards-looking. 2008 isn't a referendum on 2002/2003. It's a referendum on 2009 and forward. HRC's and McCain's positions on the latter are opposite. It doesn't matter if you think that, for whatever reason, HRC can't/won't pull out troops in 2009 or 2010; she'll say time and again that she will, and McCain will reply, no, we have to stay forever.

The only way McCain wins that argument is by calling withdrawal surrender, but he does that against Obama, too. Whether the "surrender" claim is strong is independent of how the D voted/leaned in 2002 (I'm not denying that BO has a more coherent story to tell, but that's marginal - either Americans want a D to get us the F out of Iraq, or they get scared by McCain).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:09 PM
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I think she'll do the typical Dem thing and try to take the issue off of the table.

I meant to say: I do fear this. Dems can't run away from Iraq. It's probably true that HRC is more prone to this than BO, but I don't have a good sense of how he'll run in the general. Neither one of them has the guts to call McCain an irrelevant old man who won't face reality in Iraq.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:15 PM
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My SIL worked for Gall/p, doing corporate stuff, and was told by people on the polling side that, this year, the Reps can't win, period. IOW, the numbers are far worse than mere horserace comparisons show, and the Rs can't turn out enough bodies to stop the tidal wave of "throw the bums out" that's coming.

Swing voters vote for the man, not the party. Because they are idiots, mostly.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:20 PM
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Neither one of them has the guts to call McCain an irrelevant old man who won't face reality in Iraq.

It's early yet. It wouldn't shock me if Senator Straight Talk is widely seen as what he is--an older, ornerier Mitt Romney--by the time this is over. No guarantees, but Clinton and Obama have both shown some talent for that sort of thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:23 PM
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Mukasey: no integrity.

I finally got one right!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:28 PM
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My SIL worked for Gall/p, doing corporate stuff, and was told by people on the polling side that, this year, the Reps can't win, period.

Ask her what they were saying a mere nine months ago about McCain's chances of getting the Republican nomination. It doesn't make me feel secure about what will happen nine months from now.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:29 PM
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Swing vVoters vote for the man, not the party. Because they are idiots, mostly.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:35 PM
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Ask her what they were saying a mere nine months ago about McCain's chances of getting the Republican nomination. It doesn't make me feel secure about what will happen nine months from now.

Eh. As has been said by a thousand liberal bloggers, none of these guys could win the R nomination. And yet one of them had to.

Not denying that McCain looked deader than a doornail last summer. But, seriously, who should have beaten him? Especially since the media never gave up their crush on him; in his absence, maybe they don't openly mock Romney the way that they did. They treated Romney like a Dem, fer cryin out loud.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:36 PM
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Okay Okay Okay here it is

Half of the delegates walk out of the Democratic convention on the 2nd day after Fl & MI are credentialed. Obama starts an independent campaign with Avril Lavigne as his running mate.

After the Republican convention where Huckabee is chosen as VP, McCain has a major stroke. Huck chooses Ron Paul as his running mate.

Bush bombs Iran in October and Osama attacks Chicago. The Commies are overthrown in China and a trade embargo is enacted. Dow to 500.

General hilarity ensues.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:39 PM
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63: No sale. I could accept a Vice President Aguilera, but not some filthy Canadian.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:41 PM
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Anyone putting Hewitt on suicide watch?

YouTube, hopefully.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:50 PM
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Hewitt was apparently warned, because he put out a "Why we should support McCain" piece before Romney announced.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:51 PM
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59: When you remember Mukasey, don't forget to remember the fuckers who voted to confirm him. Especially now that one of them is constantly mentioned as a possible VP pick.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 12:53 PM
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Bayh, Carper, Feinstein, Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson (the Nebraska one), Schumer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:00 PM
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2008 isn't a referendum on 2002/2003. It's a referendum on 2009 and forward.

That's incredibly naive. Clinton spent years using language and rhetoric that's more or less identical to the language and rhetoric McCain was using at the time, and that Hillary Clinton is on video. There are going to be hours of tapes produced of her cheerleading the war, saying the war is necessary, has made America safer, can't be given up, etc., which McCain will use to make Clinton look like the second coming of John Kerry. John Kerry's forward-looking Iraq policy was pretty different from George Bush's in 2004, but voters didn't care, because as long as that election was about the war, it was about 2002, not 2004. The same thing will happen this time around, and Democrats are fooling themselves to think otherwise.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:01 PM
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Yeah, if I end up having to pull the lever for a Clinton/Bayh ticket, I might develop an ulcer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:02 PM
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The public in 2004 wasn't anti-war, stras. 70+% are against the war now. 2004 was 16 months after the fall of Baghdad. 2008 will be 64 months later. Things change.

I'll admit it - if every debate and ad is predicated on "Who voted for what six years ago?" then HRC is in a weaker position. OTOH, if HRC gets to run her own ads - which I think is still permitted - they'll say things like "John McCain wants to keep US troops in Iraq for 100 years. HRC wants to bring them home in less than 100 weeks."

Maybe you think the latter argument is weak.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:11 PM
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Who the fuck is Carper?

I mean, I can see that he's a Senator from Del, but I've never heard of him before. A douchebag, evidently.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:12 PM
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So great:

I happened upon one of the CPAC security chiefs explaining to DC police that they'll need some extra security for John McCain's speech later this afternoon: "This is a pretty right-wing group; they don't like McCain". (Though he quickly added that organizers didn't actually expect any problems.)

they'll say things like "John McCain wants to keep US troops in Iraq for 100 years. HRC wants to bring them home in less than 100 weeks."

My recollection is that McCain was explicitly talking about a Germany/Korea scenario. If she says, "I'm bring them home before he will on those grounds," I suspect "cut and run" will be a pretty good line of attack. But chances are we'll get to find out.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:17 PM
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How long has it been since I've given my "Chuck Schumer is history's greatest monster" spiel?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:19 PM
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72: Senator Combover of the non-Firefox-compatible website.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:20 PM
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74: do tell. I for one haven't seen it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:21 PM
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Schumer is an absolute toad. No, I take that back - I actually really like toads.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:22 PM
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71: Clinton isn't going to run those kinds of ads, though, because Clinton doesn't want to give the impression that she's going to bring the troops home in 100 weeks. Clinton has given every impression that she thinks the way to beat McCain - and Republicans in general - is to compete with them on "toughness." This is what her husband and her wing of the party has tried to do on crime and welfare and civil liberties - not to fight from the left, even when the left position is more popular, but to co-opt the position of the right. I'm predicting that Clinton will try to do this on the war in the general, because she's already said that's what she plans to do.

I'm also predicting that isn't going to work. In a fight of toughness versus toughness, Clinton comes across as the "less genuine" warmonger. McCain will both try to minimize the actual policy distinctions between himself and Clinton while making her look like a cowardly cut-and-runner - not unlike Bush did with Kerry in 2004. And people will fall for it again because people are fucking stupid.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:34 PM
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People are fucking stupid, BUT exit polls have indicated that a number of these fucking stupid people have voted for Clinton because they oppose the war. She's indicated that she won't pull the troops out, she's even said that she won't pull the troops out; the entire Republican field could accuse her of being a cut-and-run hypocrit who won't pull the troops out, and the average fucking stupid voter will think that between her and McCain, she's the candidate who will pull the troops out.

She might as well have opposed the war in 2002, for Christ's sake.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:38 PM
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I think Clinton can portray herself as a clear-headed warrior while portraying McCain as an unbalanced tough guy. It's a hard row to hoe given the electorate's record on responding to alpha-male toughness, but I think that Clinton can make it hard for McCain, as a Republican, to be a convincing critic of the war's execution, and people hate the war's execution more than they did four years ago.

Which is to say: you are right about her weaknesses (and certainly about the Clintons' loathsomeness) but any Democrat can win.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:39 PM
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exit polls have indicated that a number of these fucking stupid people have voted for Clinton because they oppose the war.

McCain has attracted enormous support from Republicans who oppose the war.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:40 PM
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Clinton can make it hard for McCain, as a Republican, to be a convincing critic of the war's execution,

McCain's whole shpeil is that he was critical of the execution before criticism was cool.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:42 PM
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Choice of the Nude Generation ...Stirling Newberry at the Agonist. This could have gone on a meetup thread.

this conspiracy to overturn the past is driven my many things, it make sense because the past really has robbed the nude generation blind. in the last 30 years the end of the GI generation, and the beginning of the baby boom, has spent the money that the second half of the baby boom, the baby bust and the echo boom assumed would be there. they have eaten the air, fouled the economy, spent the credit, burned the oil, used up the land to build, largely, parking lots.

the networked society

the networked society has three important parts:

1. the networking of information
2. the networking of social connection
3. the networking of economic power.

the first is the nominal reason for it, but even in its earlies days, the second two were as important. finding like people, and staying employed.

the nude generation is the generation that is being stripped of all of the rest of its defining characteristics. they aren't going to inherit a net surplus of credit with the rest of the world, a rising standard of living, or even the house they grew up in. they are going to pay off the loans for their college. they are going to spend more years in school genuflecting at intellectual rent. in debt at age 30, and still not married.

this is why the nude generation is a high passion generation, it is passion that attracts people to them, and which is rewarded, by young and old, as the shining light that they bring.

obama is merely the the two girls and a cup of the moment that is holding their attention. but they are passionate now, because they are passionate about not wanting to grow up to be soccer moms, and not wanting to be, as importantly, soccer dads"



Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:44 PM
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If Hugh Hewitt is intent on committing suicide, who am I to stand in his way?


Posted by: Anthony Cartouche | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:46 PM
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Playing an incompetence dodger against another incompetence dodger isn't going to do it. To win against a hawk, you need to make a strong criticism of the hawkishness that lead America into war in the first place. Clinton can't and won't do that. Obama maybe can do that, and has been pointing in that direction.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:47 PM
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83: obama is merely the the two girls and a cup of the moment that is holding their attention.

So, they all cringe, vomit and flee when they see Obama?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:48 PM
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Clinton doesn't want to give the impression that she's going to bring the troops home in 100 weeks.

She's indicated that she won't pull the troops out, she's even said that she won't pull the troops out

Is this the part where, even though she talks at length about bringing the troops home, you know it's not true, because she's eeeeevil?

"Our message to the president is clear. It is time to begin ending this war -- not next year, not next month -- but today.
"We have heard for years now that as the Iraqis stand up, our troops will stand down. Every year, we hear about how next year they may start coming home. Now we are hearing a new version of that yet again from the president as he has more troops in Iraq than ever and the Iraqi government is more fractured and ineffective than ever.
"Well, the right strategy before the surge and post-escalation is the same: start bringing home America's troops now."
If President Bush does not end the war, when Hillary Clinton is president, she will.
[...]
Starting Phased Redeployment within Hillary's First Days in Office: The most important part of Hillary's plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq's civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home. As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration.
I would note that, elsewhere, she has talked about 12 months as a timeframe for bringing the troops home.

I'll also admit that she will, almost certainly, leave some number of troops there. Hell, we need 1,000 troops to secure that insane embassy. But she's clearly talking in terms of pulling out 90+% of the troops. "Ending the War in Iraq" is the #3 issue on her website. You can claim that she's lying, but you can't claim that she isn't saying it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:50 PM
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in debt at age 30, and still not married.

Hey!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:51 PM
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87.--I probably shouldn't have asserted what I asserted without thinking more than I did. Sorry.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:53 PM
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But she's clearly talking in terms of pulling out 90+% of the troops

Where are you getting that number from? It doesn't seem to be at the link.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:53 PM
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I wonder whether some people's attraction to Obama over Hillary is precisely that he has so little experience that you can still project your favorite policy fantasy on him. You know what you're getting with Hillary; after all these years she's unlikely to surprise you much. But Obama is more of a charismatic empty vessel. He'll be the one who points a way beyond hegemonic imperialism, takes down Republican dominance, etc. etc.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:55 PM
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83 - Good to see Mr. Newberry is still as utterly insufferable as ever.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:56 PM
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We could dynamite the embassy and build a normal one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:56 PM
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At the debate, HRC said she'd beginning withdrawing troops within 60 days of taking office, and withdrawing 1-2 brigades a month. There are 19 or 20 brigades there, I think.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:58 PM
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93:Or we could pay somebody to do it for us. We already are.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 1:59 PM
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We could dynamite the embassy

That seems like a waste. Couldn't we turn it into a big mall or something? With a kick-ass food court and a Baby Gap?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:00 PM
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91 sound right. J. Judis cheered me up a bit.

Also I read the agonist all the time and this is the first all-lowercase entry I've seen.

"White working-class voters make up a majority in many of the key Midwestern and Middle Atlantic states. If a Democrat can't win a majority of these voters in a state like Pennsylvania, Missouri, or Ohio, they'll have trouble winning the election. And as February 5 indicated, both Clinton and Obama are going to have trouble with these voters. Who would have more trouble? My feeling is that it's a standoff. Hillary has less of a handicap than Obama, but she is not his equal as a politician. "


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:01 PM
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I wonder whether some people's attraction to Obama over Hillary is precisely that he has so little experience that you can still project your favorite policy fantasy on him.

I'll totally cop to that---without shame, really.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:01 PM
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76: PGD: not "history's greatest monster," more "everything that is wrong with the D.C. Democrats". He's an incumbent in a very blue state. That seat could be filled with someone like Durbin, or Kennedy, or Leahy, or Dodd--an actual liberal, who actually cares about enacting liberal policies & effectively advocates for them. But Schumer is too damn busy communing with Joe & Eileen Bailey, his imaginary friends from Massapequa about how much they don't care about poor people in New Orleans & hate flag burners & love the troops & won't let the Democrats oppose the Iraq war or the Military Commissions Act.

Joe & Eileen were, at one point, Irish Catholics, until Schumer decided that was a little too ethnic.
Well, you know, I'm from a middle class Irish Catholic family in Nassau county. I'm not claiming to be typical of that demographic, but I am an actual person, not a figment of Chuck Schumer's imagination, & he is supposed to be representing actual New Yorkers rather than pandering to imaginary ones. Actual New Yorkers will, in fact, re-elect him if he panders to Joe & Eileen, but they'd re-elect him anyway. As far as reaching real, live swing voters nationally, they seem to like Obama & Edwards--who dare to make actual moral arguments & talk to voters like they're adults, with consciences--much better than they like Schumer.

I'm sure the Nassau county thing & the fact that he lives a few blocks from my in-laws exacerbates this.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:01 PM
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90: Other discussions. I only went to the site to get something definitive in response to the counterfactual assertions in italics. But HRC has been publicly anti-permanent bases since 2006, so that doesn't suggest much in the way of long-term commitments of large numbers of troops. And, as I said, I've seen other places where she's talked about withdrawal - she's not talk reduction in troop strength, she's talking withdrawal.

I'm not denying that it's possible that the troops won't all come home in 12 months under HRC; I think it's also possible under BO - he's neither Dean nor Kucinich on this point (i.e., making it the centerpiece of his campaign in a way that obligates him to do exactly what he's promised). I'm just saying that HRC's position as a candidate is quite clear.

93: We so fucking should. Hell of a way to piss away $1B, though.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:02 PM
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The 97.3 is a quote from the thing linked in 97.1. 97.2 is unrelated and should not be interfering in the middle there.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:02 PM
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91: well, there's also the fact that his legislative record in both the U.S. & Illinois Senates is more impressive than hers.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:04 PM
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91: I wonder whether some people's attraction to Obama over Hillary is precisely that he has so little experience that you can still project your favorite policy fantasy on him.

I wonder whether some people aren't prone to attribute "fantasies" and hero-worship to Obama supporters without noticing that those same supporters cite specific actions and policy positions as reasons for their support.

after all these years she's unlikely to surprise impress you much

Fixed.

87: One reason people view Hillary's dovishness with a certain degree of suspicion (either than her initial stupid support for the war): her draw-down plan will involve U.S. troops engaging in "narrow and targeted attacks on al-Qaeda" going forward. If there's one thing that the years of the Iraq occupation has shown, it's that the Iraqi resistance, when freed up from fighting the Americans, is every bit as competent at shutting down al-Qaeda as Saddam himself was pre-invasion. This therefore reads like a dishonest excuse to maintain an active US troop presence in the area.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:04 PM
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Katherine: if you're still here, would please you e-mail me at: kelmanari at geemail dot com. It's about a question regarding issues of the rule of law. And I'm sorry to bug you.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:07 PM
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Napi, given your expertise, it would be great if you could e-mail as well. Thanks again. And sorry to bug you all.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:08 PM
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97: Why would that cheer you up?

I actually don't buy a lot of what's in that article, and I tend to like Judis. But the independent vote in CA (58-30 for BO)? Well, Obama brings in independents - that's his raison d'etre. I know that they also like McCain, but I just think it's a very simplistic reading of that number.

The bottom line is that both HRC and BO doubled McCain's overall vote tally on Tuesday*; to spin that as a problem for the Dems is just stupid.

* Think about what that implies in terms of the Gall/p thing I mentioned earlier. Does it make any sense that a party base so demoralized that it's turning out at less than half the rate of the Dem base can magically win in November?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:10 PM
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"fantasies" and hero-worship to Obama supporters

There's plenty of that on display, but I think that's mostly a function of having lots of very young voters in his base.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:10 PM
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I wonder whether some people's attraction to Obama over Hillary is precisely that he has so little experience that you can still project your favorite policy fantasy on him.

I tend to think of it this way: You must pick a babysitter from A and B. A did a little time for diddling his son. While it may be fair and true to point out that B doesn't have any kids, I still know whom I'd pick in that situation.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:11 PM
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103.2: Eh, it's as likely to be troll prophylactic as anything. Not that I don't think she'll use US troops to "attack al Qaeda;" just that it's one of those things you talk about to deflect accusations of cutting and running. I don't view it as evidence of 50k troops left in place.

I'm actually an adherent of the argument that the right number of US troops in Iraq is zero: that even a token force does us no good. But I don't think Obama or anyone else can convince the public of that in the short term - at least not during the election. Pulling out the last US soldier will evoke helicopters on roofs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:15 PM
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There's certainly more substance behind the Obama fantasy than there was behind the fucking Kennedy fantasy. For instance.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:15 PM
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108:Wow.

Even I haven't tried to seed and turn viral the rumour that Obama is a child molester.

Tim, I think that is over the line.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:16 PM
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No, Tim, B has kids. He has a policy record. And it's better than A's. Please don't cede the point that support for Obama is based only on speculation or longing for a savior. Because that's just not true for many of his partisans.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:16 PM
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Even I haven't tried to seed and turn viral the rumour that Obama is a child molester.

No, you've just tried to spread the rumor that he beats his wife.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:18 PM
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And I wasn't suggesting that A is a child molestor. That's a fair point, Bob. Though, in fairness, that's a pretty tough reading of Tim's comment.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:20 PM
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No, Tim, B has kids. He has a policy record.

I agree with you. It's only a concession for the sake of the argument ("while it may be true"). There are any number of reasons to prefer HRC to Obama, but "The war in Iraq was a mistake" isn't one of them.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:21 PM
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I don't think bob was being completely serious.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:22 PM
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103: Let's keep in mind that Clinton doesn't want to just keep residual forces in Iraq to "fight al Qaeda." She wants them in there for "training missions" and to "protect the border" and to "promote stability" and to "support our allies and interests in the region." In other words, she wants them in there doing everything they're doing right now. How exactly is the war ending under Clinton?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:23 PM
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I don't think bob was being completely serious.

Oh? Can you tell? Because I'm not sure Bob can.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:24 PM
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Hey Ari, I'll email you.

Also, PGD: it should not be news to you that some of Obama's supporters support him for irrational, emotional reasons rather than a careful consideration of his policy positions & voting records. You know who else that is true of? Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Robert Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush & indeed, just about every single successful politician of the past 50 years. If you're saying that it's the ONLY thing driving his support, I think you're totally wrong.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:24 PM
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116: Either way. So, for the sake of propriety, let's just say that A is a seated U.S. Senator. And so is B. They both have experience. They both have a legislative record. There's a really long paper trail for both.

It's possible, in other words, to compare their policy positions and their records. In short, one need not assume that either A's or B's supporters relied on childish crushes, wistful projection, or Professor Trelawney when deciding which candidate they'd support in the race.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:27 PM
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just about every single successful politician of the past 50 years

And a bunch of unsuccessful ones as well (e.g., Ron Paul, Howard Dean, Ralph Nader, et al). Nature of the game.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:28 PM
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People today have trouble imagining a time when Catholics were second-class citizens, but that was a lot of Kennedy's significance. Postmaster General was the lowest-ranking cabinet position then, but when a Pole was named Postmaster General he was the first Polish cabinet minister ever, and Polish-American really cared about that. Kennedy also campaigned directly and personally for black and Hispanic votes, with less reliance on proxies, and that made a difference too.

I really think that this was the end of WASP domination. There are still imbalances, particularly in the South, but there was something transformational about Kennedy at that symbolic level.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:31 PM
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83: What the hell is he talking about?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:31 PM
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117: "He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda." Link.

As I said, Obama doesn't plan to take us to zero, either.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:34 PM
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123:Sometimes you can read a Newberry post five times and not know for sure. But a link to the entire piece is provided, and in general it is about an inevitable political/social change in America due to...well lots of stuff.

Newberry is not happy with either Clinton or Obama, and neither am I.

"clinton capitulates on foreign policy, while obama on domestic policy. clinton fights on domestic policy, while obama on foreign policy. between the two, you have one progressive, or one conservative democrat. clinton's vector is more liberal, while obama has nakedly appealed to republicans" ...SN


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:40 PM
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Sometimes you can read a Newberry post five times and not know for sure.

A sure sign of his genius.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:42 PM
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As I said, Obama doesn't plan to take us to zero, either.

No, he doesn't. But your argument is that Clinton can effectively use the war against McCain because she's planning to get us out of Iraq - which she isn't planning to do. Nor has Clinton said anything to indicate that she plans to campaign against McCain in this way. In fact, in at least two recent debates she has explicitly argued that she would meet McCain's hawkishness with her own hawkishness, and that primary voters should pick her for that reason. Obama, by contrast, has explicitly argued that he could use his opposition to the war - and his opposition to Bush's general foreign policy - to better position himself against McCain's fearmongering in the general.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:43 PM
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I guess I'm anti-Semitic. I'd assumed that Schumer was Jewish.

Actually, we could kill two birds with one stone and stack all of out munitions in the embassy and then drop all of our remaining bombs on it. That would make withdrawal easier and safer and keep anything from falling into our enemies' hands. (Ideally Bush and Cheney and a few hundred others would be in the building at the time.)

We could call the site "The Baghdad 9/11 Memorial". That would make as much sense as the rest of what we've done.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:43 PM
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Nominations are being sent out presently for the Newberry Medal for outstanding alarmist commentary.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:44 PM
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at least two recent debates she has explicitly argued that she would meet McCain's hawkishness with her own hawkishness

I'm generally with you on the Clinton-bashing, but I must have missed this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:45 PM
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Schumer is Jewish. Who said he isn't?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:45 PM
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I'm generally with you on the Clinton-bashing, but I must have missed this.

Stras is right about this, as I recall. I can't remember the exact phrase, but the gist was that she was hawkish enough to be a credible alternative to McCain.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:46 PM
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Sometimes you can read a Newberry post five times and not know for sure.

When my sweeth tooth for the obscurantist bites, I'll read Stanley Cavell.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:47 PM
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Huh. I haven't seen all the debates, and I'm generally watching them with children running/crawling around so I could easily miss something.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:49 PM
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131: Didn't Katherine say that?

OK, I see that she said that Schumer's ideal constituent was Irish Catholic.

Some Iriah Catholic, maybe Somerby who's predominantly Irish Catholic even though his name isn't, did a thing recently about how a lot of the stereotypical jerks in Americna media are big on the Irish Catholic thing. O'Reilly is only one of many.

Sort of like the Jewish neocon thing, or the Scandinavian nice liberal thing. (But: Norquist. Rehnquist).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:51 PM
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Chris Matthews is the quintessential jerky Irish Catholic. And there's Dowd. Strange gender norms, sexualizing of politics, etc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:53 PM
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134: Funny, I would have expected that your kids would sit quietly on the couch with their hands on their laps and only speak when spoken to. The ones that weren't locked in closets.

Bratty kids and indulgent child-raising have been an American theme since before the Revolution (Crevecoeur). Even some conservative Christians I know are pretty tolerant of brattiness up to a point.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:55 PM
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Is there really an Irish Catholic stereotype, or is this just an application of White Ethnic stereotypes (itself perhaps an application of lower middle class white Archie Bunker stereotypes)?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim` | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:55 PM
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"The Baghdad 9/11 Memorial"

It would be so fitting.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:57 PM
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because she's planning to get us out of Iraq - which she isn't planning to do

Oh, just stop with the bullshit, stras. She fucking says she will. She says it in every debate. She has it on her campaign site. I understand that you hate her with a hot passion, and don't trust her. I don't blame you for that. But you don't just get to jump from that into claiming that your personal conspiracy theories are the agreed-upon facts.

Attacking McCain from a position of hawkishness is not actually identical to having the same Iraq policies that he has. Do you need me to explain to you how this is true?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:58 PM
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I would have expected that your kids would sit quietly on the couch with their hands on their laps and only speak when spoken to

My oldest is closer to that. Something went screwy with the two little ones.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 2:58 PM
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the gist was that she was hawkish enough to be a credible alternative to McCain.

For people who don't trust DFHs. Duh. The point isn't that she's to the right of McCain - although stras no doubt believes that she is, being married to WJC, who was worse than GWB - the point is that she can't be dismissed as a soft Dem.

I don't entirely buy that premise, but it's not hard to understand. And it's not hard to distinguish from "won't withdraw troops from Iraq, even though she's been saying she would for 2 years."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:00 PM
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140: Right, it's just my personal conspiracy theory. Mine and, apparently, those of her campaign staff, who've said to the New York Times that she'll probably have troops in Iraq at the end of her second term.

Attacking McCain from a position of hawkishness is not actually identical to having the same Iraq policies that he has

JRoth, you were the one who started making the argument in 44 that a McCain v. Clinton matchup would favor Clinton because McCain "would make her look like a dove." So pardon me for getting in the way with actual things Clinton has said about how she'll go out of her way to try to look as hawkish as McCain in the general.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:05 PM
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Schumer is a Jew from Park Slope who has written at great length (which PGD probably knows but I probably didn't make clear enough) about how he makes policy decisions by consulting with an imaginary Irish Catholic couple from Nassau County.

It drives me crazy when Democrats vote for crappy policies because of condescending assumptions about what Real Americans (tm) think. It drives me especially crazy in Schumer's case, because:
1. I am from an Irish Catholic family in Nassau county
2. I married a Jew from Park Slope
3. The first vote I ever cast in a close election, & one of the few winning votes in a close election I've ever cast, was for Chuck Schumer
4. He has completely failed to listen to either of our actual families & the majority of his actual constituents' calls & emails on war, foreign policy, torture, etc. because we are not Real Americans--instead, to get in touch with what Real Americans think, he consults with his imaginary friends. And he brags about this!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:06 PM
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although stras no doubt believes that she is, being married to WJC, who was worse than GWB

Why is it impossible for you to engage in any discussion without devolving into crude strawman arguments and willful distortions of what other people say?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:07 PM
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he makes policy decisions by consulting with an imaginary Irish Catholic couple from Nassau County

Wait, this is serious? Holy crap.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:07 PM
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144, 146: He wrote a whole book about Joe and Eileen, as I recall.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:09 PM
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But I don't think Obama or anyone else can convince the public of that in the short term - at least not during the election.

One bit of evidence in support of this assertion is that neither Obama nor anyone else is trying to convince the public of this. Not even Edwards tried to make this sale.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:09 PM
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I think that there's an important book in this. The "real Americans" conservatives and centrist Democrats cater to are portrayed as blue-collar urban or else rural salt-of-the-earth, but my guess is that they're mostly suburban and often quite prosperous. They're caricatured as ignorant hillbillies, but a lot of them are narrowminded, selfish people with tech educations and pretty good careers. More of them live in exurbs and middle-sized cities than in the country or in urban ethnic neighborhoods -- the truly rural population is less than 20% and significantly black, Hispanic, and Indian.

Very rural people do tend to be Republican, but they've been used to construct a myth, just like the ethnic Irish blue-collar thing.

And among the conservative Christian churches are plenty of New Churches that function like cleaner versions of pickup bars. Orcinus had something on this just now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:13 PM
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Why I Think the Primaries Are Funny

Chis Bowers taking the moral position.

produces a total of 7,700,976 for Obama, and 7,609,709 for Clinton (I took the Super Tuesday numbers from here, and added them to the four early states). As of 3 p.m. today, the pledged delegate total stands at 878 for Obama, and 859 for Clinton. The first total leads to a two candidate breakdown of Obama 50.3%--49.7% Clinton, and the second leads to Obama 50.5%--49.5% Clinton. So, across all primaries and caucuses, pledged delegate totals add up very closely to the will of the voters, and as such are a very good metric to use to determine popular support
Second, I vastly prefer the popular support definition of campaign progress than the strict rules definition. This is because if a candidate wins the popular support of participants in nomination contests but does not win the nomination, large numbers of Democrats, and indeed all Americans, will reject that nominee as illegitimate.

A >1% difference in popular support should provide unquestioned legitimacy. ROTFL

Oh, and Clinton(Obama) supporters are evil.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:15 PM
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OT: Katherine, what should people who are concerned about the rule of law do? Other than voting the right way and writing to their elected officials, I mean. Is there an organization, a lobby, something that deserves support. Answer here, via e-mail, or at my blog. That's it.

Again, sorry.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:16 PM
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147: yep--"Positively American." See Michael Tomasky on this:

Schumer's fixation on the middle class is such that he has even invented a couple, Joe and Eileen Bailey of Massapequa (at one point he goes so far as to refer to them as "actual, albeit imaginary"), who, average in every way, serve as his lodestar. Franklin Roosevelt might have wanted to "clear it with Sidney," in the famous phrase referring to union leader Sidney Hillman's influence with Roosevelt. But Schumer clears everything with Joe and Eileen. The prescriptions he lays out in the book's final twelve chapters--increase reading and math scores, reduce property taxes, reduce illegal immigration while increasing legal immigration, reduce cancer mortality, reduce abortions, cut children's access to Internet pornography; all by 50 percent--are aimed obsessively at them.

Certainly, any political party seeking at least 51 percent of the votes must be attuned to the needs of the middle class, and it would be foolish to belittle the importance of the issues Schumer writes about. But sometimes leaders must lead instead of cater. He allows at one point that "I would not act purely on the basis of what Joe and Eileen wanted." But his "50 percent solutions" give little indication of this. They include nothing about universal health care or global warming or reducing poverty or rebuilding New Orleans or indeed about any larger vision for the country. And it's clear why: these are not safe issues since the Baileys won't find that their self-interest is at stake in any of them. On issues like these, it is up to politicians to encourage in the Baileys of America an awareness and an empathy that they would not otherwise have. Or, to take another example, there's Iraq. It seems likely that Schumer's imaginary friends would, like most Americans at the time, have supported the case for war back in October 2002, when the Senate voted to authorize unconditionally the use of force against Iraq. And sure enough, Schumer voted for the war. That was catering to the Baileys, all right. But it was a disgraceful vote, which poorly served his country, his party, and, as I'm sure they'd now agree, his beloved Baileys.

I was also serious about him explaining how the Baileys hate flag burners, & using them as justification for the Democrats not opposing the Military Commissions Act.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:17 PM
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145: Holy fucking black pot. Stras, everything has been civil and rational, until the point where, in the face of all actual evidence, you insisted on treating your personal paranoia about HRC as the baseline that we must all treat as fact. I can't fucking stand it. You claim A; someone shows you not-A, and so you claim A again.

Your quotes - with no cite, but they seem plausible, so I didn't ask - don't prove what you say they do. But goddamn if you won't use them as proof for whatever the hell you want to prove. It's bullshit, stras, no matter how many times you want to play the innocent victim.

Oh, and if you really need me to, I can go back to find your claim that WJC was worse than GWB. But I'd really rather not.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:19 PM
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So pardon me for getting in the way with actual things Clinton has said about how she'll go out of her way to try to look as hawkish as McCain in the general.

Which actual things? Stras, really, I saw the part of the debate that you and ogged are talking about, and this seems like a pretty idiosyncratic interpretation of her words. Can you cite the actual thing she said?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:24 PM
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143: Sorry, didn't see this before 145. Why will McCain "make HRC look like a dove?" Because there isn't any actual room to his right on war.

You think that, since HRC plans to run as a hawk to McCain's hawk, that must mean that she will out-hawk him. This is pretty naive. Hawkery is a threshold. HRC's gambit is that she will be enough of a hawk to not frighten the people who hate DFHs. You seem to think that, as a hawk, HRC cannot possibly bring home troops. The reality is that a hawk is well-positioned to bring home the troops. Eisenhower did it; Nixon did it.

HRC talks extensively about "ending the war," "no permanent bases," and "bringing home the troops." She knows that won't just evaporate the day after the convention. It's not rational to assume that she will campaign this fall on a "keep the troops in forever" platform.

who've said to the New York Times that she'll probably have troops in Iraq at the end of her second term.

Again, Obama's plan includes US troops in Iraq for the indefinite future. This is the common Beltway position. To pretend that one is a secret plan for 100k troops in 2016 while the other is a secret plan for four guys sharing a rifle is bullshit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:27 PM
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Nixon did it.

Probably not the example you want to use. IIRC, either troop movements or bombing runs were timed to effect congressional elections.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:30 PM
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"make HRC look like a dove"

I apologize if this phrase of mine led some of you to believe that I thought HRC would actually wear love beads and tie-dye to a debate. I should have been more clear.

I do not think that HRC will propose a Department of Peace in the general. I do think that people will compare someone who wants US troops in Iraq in 2109 with someone who wants to bring troops home starting in March, 2009, and view the latter as more representative of their own desires to bring home troops starting immediately.

I could, of course, be wrong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:33 PM
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156: My point is that even an odious, despicable hawk like Nixon or Hillary Clinton is capable of withdrawing US troops from a foreign country. Others here don't seem to believe that such a thing is possible.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:34 PM
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Here's the part I was remembering. Not as clear-cut as it seemed to me when I heard it.

CLINTON: ... let me just get in here, because there are a lot of polls showing that I'm beating them higher than anybody else. I don't think that has -- I don't think, frankly, that has much to recommend this far from an election.

If John is right and Senator McCain is the Republican nominee, we know that once again we will have a general election about national security. That is what will happen.
I believe of any one of us, I am better positioned and better able to take on John McCain or any Republican when it comes to issues about protecting and defending our country and promoting our interest in the world. And if it is indeed the classic Republican campaign, I've been there. I've done that.
They've been after me for 16 years, and much to their dismay I am still here. And I intend to be still here when that election comes around and we win in November 2008.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:38 PM
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Oh, and if you really need me to, I can go back to find your claim that WJC was worse than GWB.

Go and find it. I'll wait.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:43 PM
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158: If you want to make the case that Hillary Clinton is the new Nixon, don't let me stop you.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:45 PM
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159: She also addressed this very directly in the L.A. debate. Betcha a nickel that those words, too, have no relationship to stras's characterization of them. I'll see if I can fetch.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:47 PM
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There are two different, independent arguments: "Is Clinton a hawk?" and "Is Obama a dove?" I don't trust either, but I trust Obama slightly more.

I didn't even trust Edwards. Actual doves have few choices around here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:48 PM
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Also, PGD: it should not be news to you that some of Obama's supporters support him for irrational, emotional reasons rather than a careful consideration of his policy positions & voting records....If you're saying that it's the ONLY thing driving his support, I think you're totally wrong.

It's not the only thing, sure. I just think that the level of vituperation directed at Hilary and the level of adulation for Obama is entirely out of proportion to the actual differences between their positions and records. We're reading tea leaves here.

For the record, I support Obama by a slight margin (for mostly Iraq-related reasons, along with a growing belief that he has a sharp, new, and original political perspective). But I don't see a huge difference. I'd be happy whoever is nominated.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:49 PM
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164 was me of course.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:49 PM
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May I ask, in all seriousness, if Stras and JRoth would be willing to outline what they both think Obama and Hillary are likely to do about Iraq if either the one or the other (the candidates, not Stras or JRoth) are elected. And maybe to offer links consolidated in one comment. I know that's a lot to ask. But I'm genuinely curious. Because I have no idea.


Posted by: Professor Trollawney | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:50 PM
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I don't see a huge difference. I'd be happy whoever is nominated

A lot of people say this, and maybe as an Edwards guy, I won't seem like a cultist when I say that it seems wrong to me. Obama's rhetoric is very different from that of the other Dems, and he has a mediator's way of "hearing" both sides without giving up essential ground. This seems very important to me. Otherwise, what's the end state of our current political climate, in which incredibly vicious attacks and demonization are the norm? I don't know that Obama can make a big difference, but I do know that he's the only one who's talking about trying and the only one who seems like he might have the skills to pull it off. Yes, they're close on policy, but it seems to me that they'd be very different leaders.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:53 PM
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I don't think HRC is trying to outhawk McCain, and I don't think it's reasonable to conclude that she's more warlike than he. That said, she's staked out similar ground, no doubt to contrast herself with Obama during the primaries. And she has said that her hawkishness will be valuable in the general election.

My worry is that her position concedes too much: we were right to go to war in Iraq, but the administration cocked it up. McCain can say the same thing, and he's not beloved by his party, and has this reputation as a straight talk, clearheaded guy. So the question is who looks more believable holding that position, to someone inclined to believe it. (I assume here that the electorate isn't anti-war, just anti-losing-war.)

I am inclined to say that McCain does, mostly because of his maverick reputation. This is a problem Obama wouldn't have against McCain. But that is not to say that Obama would necessarily be a better candidate, because I'm not sure how "100 years of occupation, bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb Iran" plays against "I'm against dumb wars." But at least it isn't playing the same game.

I wonder whether some people's attraction to Obama over Hillary is precisely that he has so little experience that you can still project your favorite policy fantasy on him.

No offense to PGD, but I'd like to kick this meme in the teeth. Look, the guy is not just winning among the stupid younger voters or lusty young women, which was an annoying enough claim even before the Obama voters got defined as 'everyone under 50 who didn't vote for Clinton.' The guy has more elected experience than Clinton, but hilzoy's covered that area pretty well.

I am sure some projection is going on. But fuck me if all the Clinton supporters have carefully read her white papers. It couldn't be her strength of name and nostalgia for prosperity and comparative sanity of the 90s. No, no. Clinton supporters are grown-ups.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:56 PM
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The Iraq vote is not a tea leaf. It was the worst in a long series of betrayals by the party leadership on the issues that I care most about. You betray someone, you have to earn their trust back, & she hasn't.

Their records & stated positions are just close enough that it's barely plausible to tell yourself they're no different on these issues if you support Clinton for other reasons. But I don't know a single person supporting her BECAUSE of her stand on human rights/civil liberties/foreign policy issues, & I know many, many, many people supporting Obama for those reasons. And we're not naive cultists.

His supporters aren't more irrational, they're just more active, & more likely to post odes to him on their myspace pages. Guess what: the insurgent candidate needs activists or he's screwed. It will always be possible to dismiss them as "cultists"--the same way anyone who successfully provides leadership on poverty issues probably won't be poor, & that you have to use planes to fly to D.C. & lobby Congress on global warming.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:58 PM
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Digby put something up today saying that the anti-Hillary feeling, including among liberals and Democrats, is totally excessive and obviously misogynist. I think she's right. She even caught Olbermann playing Matthews' sick game, which saddens me terribly.

My anti-Hillary feeling is of one piece with my anti-Bill, anti-DLC feeling, and it's pretty deep-rooted, but I'll vote for her if nominated. And I don't even think that there's a big step from Obama to Hillary.

Ultimately, as I've said, not sabotaging the ultimate Democratic nominee is far more important than choosing correctly between Obama and Hillary. The militants on both sides should STFU.

And yes, they're both seriously flawed. Developing a real left opposition is a long-term goal, though I'm not optimistic about that within my expected lifetime, but at the moment we're still trying to turn back the neocon-Armageddonist offensive.

I'm optimistic, but a lot of people are calling the Presidential odds 50-50, and a lot of other people are unreasonably and dangerously overconfident.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 3:58 PM
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What Ogged said.

People keep hearing Obama's message of change and reconciliation as rhetoric, but I think it is a genuinely different approach to politics, and that matters.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:00 PM
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A mediator's way of "hearing" both sides without giving up essential ground.

That's the part of Obama I hate. I almost switched my vote after I heard the Obama speeches at the caucus. The leader of one party should not be a mediator -- he should be a competitor. The Republicans are as weak now as they've been since 1965, and they need to be squashed. And demonized, because they're that bad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:04 PM
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She even caught Olbermann playing Matthews' sick game, which saddens me terribly.

Olbermann had a long career of being completely apolitical before suddenly discovering the anti-Bush niche a couple years ago. Also, he appears to be a complete douche, from various interviews and magazine stories. I wouldn't have ever trusted him.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:06 PM
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We disagree on that, then. There's no squashing Republicans, there's only convincing their supporters to support your instead, and I think Obama does that better than anyone else, and in a way that's not toxic.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:06 PM
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Obama's rhetoric is very different from that of the other Dems, and he has a mediator's way of "hearing" both sides without giving up essential ground. This seems very important to me....Yes, they're close on policy, but it seems to me that they'd be very different leaders.

You put your finger on it. This possibility is exactly what's pulling me toward Obama. It would be very exciting if it were true, if he could pull it off. Some things in his actual policy positions seem to reinforce it too. But sometimes I hear him speak and the rhetoric of unity seems incredibly vapid and sort of evasive, although delivered in a very inspiring way. So I bounce back and forth.

The guy has more elected experience than Clinton, but hilzoy's covered that area pretty well.

I disagree with this. Hilary was effectively the top aide to the Governor of Arkansas and then the top aide to the President. For better or worse, it's real experience -- some of it, like the health care debacle, not that impressive, but all real.

169: Obviously you need impassioned supporters, and Obama supporters are no more cultists than anyone else impressed by a political leader. But the level of intensity directed against Hilary seems out of line to me.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:07 PM
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Again, though, while I agree with Ogged and Megan, I don't think it's right just to talk about "approaches" or "rhetoric." Those may be the things that resonate for some people. And I'm certainly moved by his rhetoric and believe that his approach has a shot at working somewhat better than the alternatives. But it's also important for me, because of the accusation contained in PGD's comment upthread, that Obama has a record. And it's substantively different from Hillary's. The war is the most glaring difference, to be sure. But there are many others, outlined, again, nicely in Hilzoy's recent post.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:08 PM
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175: the level of intensity directed against Hilary seems out of line to me.

After all, she only voted for the Iraq War. No biggie.

How dare people take serious issues seriously?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:09 PM
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No offense, John, but the idea of "squashing" a political party is oddly ahistorical, no? Parties do die. But such a thing is very rare. And while the GOP may be at the end of its useful life, odds are that it's not, that its partisans will continue to gather under that tent. Given that, slash and burn politics isn't likely to yield more fertile ground for Democrats.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:11 PM
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And I'm totally pwned by Ogged. Sorry.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:11 PM
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This conversation is just going to piss me off.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:12 PM
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Jesus (not you, McQ), we're at the point of actually maybe winning for once against a fragmented, demoralized, and discredited opponent which has been smashing us in the face for 25+ years, and suddenly we're going to change the game to mediation.

This is like Franz Fanon. The oppressed have internalized their oppression and cannot resist even when the oppressor weakens.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:12 PM
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I don't care if they're not squashed if they're passing my legislation.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:13 PM
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John, no one is saying that Obama is or should be a mediator, but that he has that skill of making people feel heard. Furthermore, since he seems to be substantively more liberal than Clinton, I'm not sure what's not to like.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:14 PM
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Ari, "squash" is a very loose metaphor. We should treat them the way they've treated us for most of 13 years and quite a bit of 37 years. Their leader should look on helplessly and beg for favors the way ours have, and they shouldn't always get the favors.

Even with the majority, Congress has failed even to resist. The intransigent Republican minority has controlled the agenda. Obama's rhetoric suggest more of the same.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:15 PM
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That's the part of Obama I hate. I almost switched my vote after I heard the Obama speeches at the caucus. The leader of one party should not be a mediator -- he should be a competitor. The Republicans are as weak now as they've been since 1965, and they need to be squashed. And demonized, because they're that bad.

We can't. They're a third of our country and live with and among us. In a non-dictatorial country, you simply can not quash a large subsection of the population. Worse, pushing people down makes them push back equal or harder, and there are lots of venues for that resistance. Demonizing them only escalates a shame and antagonism cycle.

They are us. If we don't want them to act like that, we have to bring them along the hard way. I'm sure you read Altemeyer; he said that authoritarians are susceptable to college education and prolonged personal contact with outsider groups. That's what we have to offer to get them to change.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:15 PM
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Everyone should read Mark Schmitt on Obama. He gets it. (Not "Obama is the messiah." What he gets is that Obama is a smart, effective, politician, running a deliberate campaign strategy & running it well, or he would never have gotten this far. He's also pretty right about the campaign's shortcomings--though I would add: I think Obama could have reassured liberals more last year w/o screwing up his overall conciliatory midwestern approach; I think he could do more to go after Clinton from the left on substantive policy grounds; & I think his national media strategy is not as good as the rest of his campaign.).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:16 PM
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183 - I am, 'cause I believe that mediation approaches work.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:17 PM
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Yeah, but you're a hippie.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:18 PM
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Even with the majority, Congress has failed even to resist. The intransigent Republican minority has controlled the agenda. Obama's rhetoric suggest more of the same.

A lot of the Republicans who don't actually hold any power would like to go against their tyrannical leaders sometimes, but never do. I don't think we're going to get a president who makes those people more scared of him/her than they are of Mitch McConnell and Tom DeLay's cronies. But we could get a president who convinces those people that they don't need to be scared of McConnell anymore, at least on some issues.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:19 PM
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Everybody needs to look at the filibuster of the "Stimulus Package" and get real. I didn't notice Snow & Collins in public torment over foodstamps and unemployment insurance. Nor do I believe magical Barack will flip them. I do not want to listen to people that filibuster foodstamps.

The Republicans, all Republicans, can't be dealt with, they can only be surrendered to.

I don't know what will happen. I do know that if anything gets passed with even a few Republican votes it will less than optimal, and very likely bad.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:20 PM
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I wasn't meaning to "accuse" people in the post above. One of my reasons for supporting Obama would be that he has a higher upside than Hillary, precisely because we don't really know him as well yet. And one reason for thinking that is that -- as Hilzoy points out -- he has been pretty sharp in the areas where he has advanced proposals.

But he has a *much, much* less extensive record in public life than Hillary does. I just don't see why people are denying that, except perhaps that their judgement is a little clouded by the desire to believe (OK, that is an accusation, I guess). I'm not sure what Hilzoy post Ari is referring to (did you link it, Ari?). But there's not a hell of a lot you can tell from 8 years as a state legislator and a brief period in the Senate, most of which was spent running for office. Sure, at the state level he showed he was solidly conversant with progressive state/local issues, and as a Senator he advanced a few of the intelligent, worthy microinitiatives that a solid junior backbencher will do, but I just don't see how anyone can really have a rounded picture of what the man will be like in a central executive position. Whereas for Hillary I think we do.

Anyway, this isn't the first Unfogged thread where we've gone round on this stuff, so I'll retire from the fray now.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:20 PM
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Here's some relevant stuff from the L.A. debate:

Hillary says, regarding Iraq troops:

CLINTON:I hope to have nearly all of them out within a year.

And Obama says:

Both of us have said we would make sure that our embassies and our civilians are protected. Both of us have said that we've got to care for Iraqi civilians, including the 4 million who have been displaced already. We already have a humanitarian crisis and we have not taken those responsibilities seriously. We both have said that we need to have a strike force that can take out potential terrorist bases that get set up in Iraq. But the one thing that I think is very important is that we not get mission creep and we not start suggesting that we should have troops in Iraq to blunt Iranian influence.

Hillary:

CLINTON: The other point that I want to underscore, though, is that -- I asked Barack a few debates ago -- we've had so many of them -- to join with me on legislation, which he has agreed to do, that's very important, to prevent President Bush from committing our country to an ongoing presence in Iraq. (Applause.)

Hillary's comments mostly followed this from Obama:

I think I will be the Democrat who will be most effective in going up against a John McCain -- or any other Republican, because they all want basically a continuation of George Bush's policies

Also, Hillary specifically on McCain:

and if Senator McCain is the nominee, 100 years as stretching forward, he doesn't have to bring that to the United States Congress; he only has to get the approval of the Iraqi parliament.

Well, we are saying absolutely no. And we're going to do everything we can to prevent him from binding any of us going into the future in a way that will undermine America's interests.

And here's some more:

But I think now we have to look at how we go forward. There will be a great debate between us and the Republicans, because the Republicans are still committed to George Bush's policy. And some are more committed than others, with Senator McCain's recent comments. He's now accusing me of surrendering, because I believe we should withdraw starting within 60 days of my becoming president.

Well, that is a debate I welcome because I think the Democrats have a much better grasp of the reality of the situation that we are confronting. And we have to continue to press that case. It will be important, however, that our nominee be able to present both a reasoned argument against continuing our presence in Iraq, and the necessary credentials and gravitas for commander in chief. That has to cross that threshold in the mind of every American voter. The Republicans will try to put either one of us into the same box -- that if we oppose this president's Iraq policy, somehow we cannot fully represent the interests of the United States, be commander in chief. I reject that out of hand, and I actually welcome that debate with whomever they nominate. (Applause.)

There's just boatloads of this stuff available to anyone with an internet connection and an interest in factuality.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:20 PM
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160:

here, here, here, here, here, and probably more in that thread.

Essentially, an argument that on torture, civil liberties, and empire, the ONLY diff between WJC and GWB was that WJC didn't get the chance, due to the timing of 9-11.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:21 PM
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We're a third of the population and they have thoroughly squashed us. Even our Democratic Presidents since 1968 have been on the conservative end of the Democratic scale. We have a chance to turn things around.

I'm still an Obama supporter of sorts, and Obama is sort of a pig in a poke. Maybe his rhetoric doesn't mean what I think it means. But there's no evidence that the Republicans will want to do anything but sabotage the Democratic President, and because he's going to be cleaning up Bush's messes he's going to have a tough row to hoe. Everything that goes wrong will be blamed on him. He's going to have determined, ruthless enemies, and he's going to have to be able to deal with them.

The Obama people at the caucus were not official reps, but they were goo-goo-eyed awful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:21 PM
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Sure, but I'm still more than "no one". Three-fifths of a person or something.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:21 PM
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Fuck goddamn.

Snow & Collins are filibustering foodstamps at the start of a recession.

Don't ever tell me to get along with those people.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:23 PM
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After all, she only voted for the Iraq War. No biggie.

As did Edwards. The Iraq war is a huge issue, and the major reason I'll vote for Obama. But it is symptomatic of a systemic failure and I'm not fully confident that Obama will roll it back either.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:23 PM
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184.2 We've been talking about this over at Eric's blog (I've disowned it since he wrote another book -- too much pressure). And while I share your frustration, and think that Reid and Pelosi have been far too craven for my tastes, I believe that the Dems are in a holding pattern because the terrain ahead looks so favorable to them. For better or worse (worse in my view), I don't think they want to overreach. That strategery worked leading to the mid-terms; they think it will work again and will yield bigger Congressional majorities. Again, I don't like the strategy, but I suspect that's what's happening

And then there's this: a president is different. I'm not looking for a mediator-in-chief. But the ability to project an understanding of the opposition, while not capitulating on core issues, is a huge advantage.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:23 PM
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Fair enough.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:23 PM
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I said "elected", not "public." Clinton has a huge advantage in having had a lot of public exposure. We know what we're getting. We don't have nearly as much public information about Obama, but that which we do have seems promising.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:25 PM
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But there's no evidence that the Republicans will want to do anything but sabotage the Democratic President, and because he's going to be cleaning up Bush's messes he's going to have a tough row to hoe. Everything that goes wrong will be blamed on him. He's going to have determined, ruthless enemies, and he's going to have to be able to deal with them.

It's clear to me that the Republicans have the advantage in every situation imaginable because they don't care whether the government achieves any of its goals, and maybe they care on an individual basis about certain people who they know the government can help, but they can put that off indefinitely because they know that when Republicans use the government to hurt people, it convinces people that Republican ideology is valid.

The Obama people at the caucus were not official reps, but they were goo-goo-eyed awful.

I believe this. I also presume that the so-called ruthless tough guys who are working for HRC will be working for Obama if he's president, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:26 PM
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We're a third of the population and they have thoroughly squashed us.

No they haven't. We are in the process of winning a huge election. People have been activists all along, checking their will. We're winning (and losing) court cases. There's been the rise of blogs. Our system has too many outlets and checks to quash any subset. It can't be done.

Since it can't be done, I'd rather we spent our efforts on other conversion methods.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:27 PM
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Interesting observation from shivbunny's employer (Canadian): they think there is no pro-oil candidate running, and that whoever wins the Democratic nomination will win.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:28 PM
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Canadians fell for Harper (granted, it was a bad set of choices). I wouldn't put too much faith in their political acumen at the moment.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:30 PM
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PF, I don't know if we should keep talking, but Hillary is localizing Iraq as a limited issue. It's her statements about Iran that bother me. I do not trust her Middle East policy or her foreign policy.

When she says that the execution is the problem, that's where I disagree. It was the strategy. And the war was a fraud, not a mishandled nice try.

If she's the nominee, I'll glumly vote for her. That's the most you'll ever get out of me or a lot of others. Quit digging.

If I vote for Hillary and she turns out badly on Middle East policy I'll accept that with resignation but no surprise. But the longer you argue, the less respect that I'll have for you (and all the others who tried to misrepresent her to me.) I know what I'm dealing with.

Remember, I'm an actual dove, not just someone who wants to cut our Iraq losses.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:30 PM
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197: and Edwards acknowledged it was a mistake & reassured voters that he wouldn't make it again. And she didn't, nor has she ever given me any reason to believe that it was.

I flatly don't buy that she has a more extensive public record. She's more of a public figure but her Senate term was so cautious & useless & calculated to one day winning the presidency as opposed to getting good policies enacted that I'm left simply guessing which parts of her husband's administration she's responsible for & which she wasn't. As a result of which, I tend to treat the whole thing as a package, & I think without his charisma it's a lousy deal ill-suited to the situation we're in. But I really have no clue. I'm left just hoping that she's a skillful enough politician to actually enact good policies (her better discipline hopefully making up for much less charisma), and that she's somewhat less amoral than him. I know more about Obama. I have no idea what kind of President she'd be, & I don't trust her at all.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:31 PM
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It's clear to me that the Republicans have the advantage in every situation imaginable because they don't care whether the government achieves any of its goals, and maybe they care on an individual basis about certain people who they know the government can help, but they can put that off indefinitely because they know that when Republicans use the government to hurt people, it convinces people that Republican ideology is valid.

This is true. And a good point well made. But there are ways of seizing the advantage: a popular president, with the people behind him, especially during a time of crisis, can get a lot done. And can convince people that government is a force for positive change.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:32 PM
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202: Quashed was too strong. Beaten and politically marginalized is fairly accurate, I think.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:32 PM
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164: PGD speaks for me here, entirely.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:34 PM
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204: I wouldn't, really, either. But his employers are in the oil exploration business, so I thought that was noteworthy.

206: She was responsible for the ones that worked, with her 35 years of experience, and not responsible for the ones that didn't work, because she wasn't officially in the administration.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:34 PM
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" But it is symptomatic of a systemic failure "

which I blame on the DLC, & the Democratic Establishments combined unwillingness to treat voters like they're rational adults with functioning consciences. Clinton's a lot smarter than Schumer, &she at least seems to want to actually pass policies that are in the middle class's best interest rather than lame gimmicks. But she basically plays "Joe & Eileen" politics & that simply won't work anymore.


Posted by: Katherien | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:35 PM
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Megan, I'm talking about 39 years and you're talking about two or three. The Democrats have been fighting a losing battle for most of my life. And since 1994 they've been absolutely vicious, and they're not going to improve.

If we can split 5% or 10% of the opportunist Republicans off in order to cripple their majority leaders, that would be great. That's a form of squashing -- that's what the Republicans did to us. But you do that with hard ball, a combination of bribes (pork barrel) and threats, not with good vibes.

Psychological approaches to politics are terribly misleading. A political struggle isn't like a personal spat multiplied three hundred million times.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:35 PM
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There's some uncertainty wrt O, of course, and plenty of chance that conciliatory rhetoric isn't going to do anything when it comes to governance. What of it: I've yet to hear word one that amounts even to informed specualtion that O ends up worse than C on any policy position.

Is O Jesus? No. Is there some reason for thinking he'd be worse than C by any measurement? I haven't heard it.

C may not be going with the kumbaya in the nomination race, but her record in the Senate, and the record of the Administration of which she was a senior member tells you plenty about this: people who think she'll "crush" Republicans or their policies aren't paying very close attention.

There's a class of low information voter who is supporting C because they've bought into the right-wing spin that she's some kind of radical. I have no idea if that outnumbers the voters who are going with the O is Jesus line, but I'd not be surprised to find it does.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:37 PM
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167: he has a mediator's way of "hearing" both sides without giving up essential ground

I am hopeful about Obama because I think he has a bullshitters way of pretending to hear both sides and then doing what he wants.

Is that what you meant with the scare quotes around "hearing"?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:37 PM
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208 - Even so, you get an equal and opposite reaction. You marginalize people, they get more extreme and vehement. You exclude them, they get more determined to seek power and participate. People act very predictably to being shut out and repressed. It is great when you're on top, better us on top than them, but the dynamic is always the same.

Better to step outside that whole cycle and bring them with us. That's the transformative part.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:38 PM
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you do that with hard ball, a combination of bribes (pork barrel) and threats

Individual Democrats do fine with pork and maintaining their seats. But things like What's The Matter With Kansas, and, I'd argue, the weird presumption that Republicans are authentic but Democrats aren't, can't be explained by material reasons; those are all about framing the debate and winning people's hearts. The Republicans win the viciousness game for the reasons Ned gives; the Democrats have a much better chance with Obama's approach.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:40 PM
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What of it: I've yet to hear word one that amounts even to informed specualtion that O ends up worse than C on any policy position.

Health care plan? I'm not sure if you think the people arguing that his mandate-less, and lower subsidy, plan is worse than hers are wrong in detail; you think that it's irrational to compare plans because it's what comes out of Congress that matters; or you hadn't heard that there were people who thought there was a measurable difference?

I'm not certain, myself. But it's an issue where I'd really like to rely on Krugman and Klein, generally, and they both seem to think Obama's a policy problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:41 PM
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Why is it that the Democrats never have ads or press conferences, directed at the constituents of the Republicans (e.g. the Maine "moderates" filibustering everything their constituents want), trying to get a little bit of shame going? The Republicans certainly do that, and even mostly in situations where the Democrats don't actually deserve it


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:42 PM
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Parties do die. But such a thing is very rare. And while the GOP may be at the end of its useful life, odds are that it's not, that its partisans will continue to gather under that tent.

Ari very tactfully understates this, but the modern GOP is going nowhere. Despite all the excited talk by the typically excitable pundit class, the Republican coalition isn't due for a collapse or a major realignment. None of the structural factors have changed; the party's weaknesses are primarily superficial (weak/unpopular presidential field, weak/unpopular incumbent), but the actual forces that give rise to the political entity we know as the Republican Party still exist (religious, military-industrial, and capitalist elites), they're not going away, and if their representatives in the GOP lose in November they'll hurt for a little while before returning to what they're naturally good at - fighting as the nastiest opposition party in modern American history before they find an acceptable face for the national party in 2012.

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is in for some major problems if and when it takes back the White House. I don't think the next Democratic President can win reelection if they haven't ended the Iraq War by then - but ending the war will bring on the stab-in-the-back attack the party's been terrified of since before the war actually started. And that doesn't even get into Afghanistan, which American liberals haven't even started to come to grips with, and turning this country back onto civil liberties and the rule of law at a time when the radical right is screaming for a police state. It doesn't help that these are a lot of the issues the party was faced with back in the seventies, and that the neoliberal/DLC/TNR wing seems to think that era doomed Democrats to the political wilderness. All of which is to say that the job of the next Democratic president isn't going to be to "squash the Republican Party," which is a pipe dream, but to actually take the country in a sane and moral decision while keeping this (insane, amoral, cowardly) party together.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:43 PM
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And since 1994 they've been absolutely vicious, and they're not going to improve.

I'll grant you that if we keep doing the same kind of politics, we will get exactly the same results (with increasing polarization).

Psychological approaches to politics are terribly misleading. A political struggle isn't like a personal spat multiplied three hundred million times.

They are people conducting the politics. What changes in the scaling to make that model not accurate any more?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:43 PM
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217 -- I have zero confidence -- less than zero actually -- that the shades of nuance announced in candidate's health plans have any meaning at all when it comes to governance. The health plan is going to be a joint effort between Admin, Congress and K Street. No matter who wins. All minor differences on this sort of thing wash away.

Although I'd expect C to be friendlier to K Street.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:45 PM
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Megan, the Republicans can't get more extreme and vehement without actually taking up arms against the government. You seem to be speaking from some abstract theoretical space completely detached from recent American political history.

Romney just said "If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

And Romney is actually saner than Huckabee, Paul, Giuliani or McCain. That's what Republicans are today

Look, I'm not talking about pulling individual Republicans out of their houses and beating them. We should convince the reasonable ones that the Republican party is toxic and that they should become Democrats.

And I'm not talking about refusing to deal with individual Congressmen who want to deal. But the overall policy has to be competitive. Announcing bipartisanship (unless it's just a sly trick) is just silly, and actually trying bipartisanship would be fatal.

remember, the next Democratic President will be attacked at every point, and he'll be blamed for all the consequences of and costs of Bush's policies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:47 PM
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221: Yeah, the question is what your negotiating position is going in. I'm really not educated enough on the details to be certain there's a big difference in the proposed plans, but if it is important, I worry about the starting point affecting the outcome.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:47 PM
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What changes in the scaling to make that model not accurate any more?

The few thousand people within the system are professional ideologues and lobbyists who look for advantage, period. They are paid to engage in conflict.

With that said, votes are the equivalent of bullets in this battle, and if you can make ordinary voters feel included you can take away the bullets from the opposing side. They will realize that or else marginalize themselves.

One other thing: the conciliatory/not concilatory thing is odd, in the sense that Hillary has been very good at being concilatory and inclusive in her Senate experience (not so much in the 93 health reform debate, but whatever). The reason she is divisive is almost purely because of the intense, hateful, misogynistic, and false propaganda directed against her in the 90s. That is a real factor though. Obama is more of a fresh start.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:48 PM
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If we can split 5% or 10% of the opportunist Republicans off

I can't see it. This isn't a fucking illusion of a bitter old hippie, this is happening this week. For whatever reason, the filibuster of foodstamps and unemployment will stand. I don't see your 5-10 decent Repubs.

What will happen:

1) Like Greenspan with Clinton in 93, Bernanke will get Obama in a room and tell him:"Cut taxes and spending or there will be a depression." Obama's economic, not willing to say that Bernanke can cause the depression, will say "well maybe so. If you fire Bernanke the markets and dollars will crash."

Clinton, having been thru it in 93, having no bipartisan weight to carry, will tell Bernanke to fuck off, or fire him.

2) Senate Repubs will eat Obama alive. Or have already done so.

I just read Obama's "Blueprint for Change". Some nice programs without funding, lots of tax cuts/credits, and tons of good governance stuff. the stuff hilzoy and Katherine like. End fraud, abuse, corruption, get open accountable government. No huge defense cuts.

Looks like Reagan redux to me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:49 PM
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216: Ogged, I think that you're way off. The reason why the Republican Congress was so united, and a large part of the reason why the budgets were so unbalanced, is that the Republican leadership leveraged their pork very effectively. Threats and bribes. (Look at Abramoff and half a dozen other big time Republican jailbirds). They're corrupt now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:51 PM
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I agree with a lot of 222, but would remind John that the electoral map, especially in the Senate, is very favorable to us. We may not get to 60, but we'll be a hell of a lot closer than we are now.

I also think O has better downticket dynamics than C.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:51 PM
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Megan, the Republicans can't get more extreme and vehement without actually taking up arms against the government.

What's going to happen to the paramilitary wing of the Republican party when a Democratic president is trying to tell it what to do, anyway?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:51 PM
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I just think that the level of vituperation directed at Hilary

It seems to me like the same level of vituperation directed at the DLC, Friedman, the "SCLM," TNR, and various other Vichy Dems. And for more or less exactly the same reasons.

and the level of adulation for Obama

It seems to me like the same level of adulation as for the blogosphere, Krugman, the Dixie Chicks, Dean, etc. And for more less exactly the same reasons.

is entirely out of proportion to the actual differences between their positions and records.

It's not the message or the messenger by itself. It's that there is a viable messenger for the message. Once upon a time, this would have been pretty straightforwardly understood in, of all places, the blogosphere.

What is astonishing to me is how many anti-war Dems seem willing to forgive and forget with respect to Dems, but seem equally sure that there is a principled reason not to extend that same charity (or lack of accountability, depending on your accounting scheme) to Republicans.

I still think HRC is the favorite. And I will still vote for her in Nov. But people who are befuddled by anti-Iraq war folks' unwillingness--in the face of an alternate viable candidate--to move to HRC are incomprehensible to me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:52 PM
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What is astonishing to me is how many anti-war Dems seem willing to forgive and forget with respect to Dems, but seem equally sure that there is a principled reason not to extend that same charity (or lack of accountability, depending on your accounting scheme) to Republicans.

Probably because the people who vote for Republicans actually want them to be warmongers, whereas when Democrats do it it is usually in defiance of what their constituents want them to do.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:55 PM
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LB: I think Klein's reading th e politics wrong & Krugman's giving a one sided & at times actively misleading view of the policy question.

Whether an individal mandate is good policy or not depends on: (1) details of the plan we don't yet know (Clinton's enforcement mechanism; whether Obama can come up with some mix of default opt-out enrollment & anti-free-riding provisions that make up for the difference). (2) what comes out of Congress. I don't just mean, Obama is more charismatic & will have a better shot at getting more of his bill passed. I mean: mandates are not something in the category of: "good idea that every liberal should support, but we may not have the votes." Whether they work, and whether they're a good idea or bad idea turns on other details of the plan.

Klein's argument for mandates is political: he thinks that once you attain '"universality", you've got a gov't program that's hard to attack, like social security or medicare, & it will be easier to ensure that it's adequately funded, etc., etc. I don't buy this at all. I think the opposite story--you pass mandates, than cut the funding for lower & lower middle class families, they're worse off, & you give gov't health care a bad name--is, if anything, more plausible.

(A reason to fear that mandates make it through Congress & subsidies & cost control measures don't: insurance companies LIKE invidual mandates. This is not a straightforward: "politically courageous v. not" issue--swing voters may prefer Obama's approach, but insurance companies may prefer Clinton's)

That said, the health free-rider issue is, if not the main problem, a real problem, & Obama is going to need to bite the bullet & address at some point if this is going to work. But so is Clinton, who hasn't explained how to enforce a mandate.

As far as the political effect of the campaign debate on it: the whole debate is destructive because it's focusing away from the more important aspects of the health plans which the candidates agree on--I don't know who started that but Clinton & Obama & Krugman are all contributing.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:56 PM
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There was some guy on a Mark Thoma thread who had a real economic plan. Confiscate all income over 600,000 dollars, ten years retroactive. Spend it on infrastructure (jobs) especially energy and global warming.

We need a trillion dollars next year, there will be a 2 trillion dollar deficit in 2009, 2008 is already looking to be a trillion. Bernanke will have a depression to show Obama. Defense/war cuts might get us 200 billion, although unlikely.

We need a trillion dollars. Show me the money.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:57 PM
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If we're entering into the realm of electability and pure speculation, I have a question that's been bugging me all day: can someone name for me a state that Hillary wins but Obama loses? I can't think of any. But I can think of at least one where he has a very good chance but she has none: Georgia. And I think there may be others as well, but the argument is harder to make. Anyway, just wondering.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:57 PM
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I just read Obama's "Blueprint for Change".

Unlike Edwards, Obama has in general not been willing to take any risks to step out to the left in his campaign platform. (One obvious example is military spending -- it's absurdly high and needs to be cut, but you won't be seeing either Obama or Hillary say that, probably wisdom in that but still). He's riding his 2002 opposition to the war for left-wing cred, and frankly I wonder whether he would have been opposed had he been in the Senate at the time. One of the first things he did in Congress was start to urge divestment from Iran, probably looking to his right flank a bit.

One interpretation of Obama is that he is a slick young opportunist with a good line of bullshit. Had he not entered the race, we might well be seeing Edwards pushing Hillary to the wall right about now.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:58 PM
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when Democrats do it it is usually in defiance of what their constituents want them to do

Except for imaginary Irish Catholic constituents.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:58 PM
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I have a question that's been bugging me all day: can someone name for me a state that Hillary wins but Obama loses? I can't think of any.

Arkansas.

Are there any other southern-style states with few black people? Kentucky maybe?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:58 PM
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What changes in the scaling to make that model not accurate any more?

Megan, God forgive me, but the higher scaling of human relationships is studied by sociologists, political scientist, economists, historians, and others. There's no short answer to your question, but trust me that a nation of three hundred million works differently than a face-to-face workgroup or a neighborhood organization.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 4:58 PM
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Hold on, Bob, I'm checking between the cushions of my recliner.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:00 PM
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There was some guy on a Mark Thoma thread who had a real economic plan. Confiscate all income over 600,000 dollars, ten years retroactive. Spend it on infrastructure (jobs) especially energy and global warming.

McManus, you just lost my vote.

there will be a 2 trillion dollar deficit in 2009, 2008 is already looking to be a trillion.

Unlikely.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:00 PM
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233 -- The nightmare scenario is that the answer to this question is California.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:01 PM
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233: we can't possibly know yet. For all we know, Napi could be right.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:02 PM
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Oh, and I'm not assuming the Republicans in Congress sucking less than anyone else, & I don't think Obama is either. The question is: (1) can he reach enough GOP/independent voters to have sig. coattails & get us closer to 60 votes in the Senate; (2) can he do well enough to make the Democratic Congressmen less skittish about voting with him, & GOP Congressmen more skittish about opposing him? The assumptions are: (1) Obama's going to get more votes & help elect more Dems down-ticket; (2) elected officials in both parties respond to public opinion in SOME fashion, & get skittish long before their seat is actually in danger. It IS a more optimistic view but it doesn't require optimism about the GOP leadership--it requires optimism about the electorate's susceptibility to persuasion & ability to influence their elected officials.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:02 PM
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HRC gets killed in Kentucky. But you're right: Arkansas likely goes to McCain if Obama's the nominee, whereas Hillary has more than a fighting chance there. Still, Georgia has, I think, 15 electoral votes. And Arkansas has 5 maybe 6. Okay, too speculative. Sifu will be hear to smite me at any moment.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:03 PM
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Napi, see, once we have nearly sixty seats in the Senate, we can freeze out all of the Republican initiatives, and offer little favors to a few Republicans who are willing to play with us, thus basically crushing the Republican leadership. (I really wasn't planning to squash them until their brains came out of their ears). The closer we are to a majority, the less havoc the conservative Democrats can wreak. The Democratic leaders will really control the agenda and have the upper hand, and there will be no reason for them to deal with the Democrats except in order to split them off from their leadership.

Maybe that's what Obama's talking about. I hope so.

Remember, I'm an actual Obama delegate to the county convention.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:03 PM
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Megan, the Republicans can't get more extreme and vehement without actually taking up arms against the government. You seem to be speaking from some abstract theoretical space completely detached from recent American political history.

I'm not, really. I'm talking from watching the same cycle in a small town that devoured itself, and from a recent reading streak about developing the Civil Rights movement, and from reading about Malkin's readers stalking people in their houses. That's where I've put together my theories that:

1. You cannot push people so far down that they won't push back.
1a. Our system has too many venues to completely shut anyone out.
1b. There is NOTHING people won't sacrifice when they are sure of their righteousness.
2. People who have behaved horribly are so locked in shame that they have to escalate their beliefs and actions to avoid all introspection (with the exception of the sociopaths, who are true fucking menaces).
3. Antagonistic political conflict is self-reinforcing; people get more polarized over time.

Those together make me think that we have to do something entirely different. Being better at the same game still leads to the same outcomes. I think (reinforced by reading Altemeyer on Authoritarians, about how they are fear-based and it triggers violence for them), that we have to do something based on an entirely different conflict model. Like a mediation approach.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:03 PM
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231: See, I think the "how does she enforce it?" is a much more easily solved problem than the "how does he make his plan more universal?"

Figure, the voluntarily uninsured -- the people you need the mandate to cover -- are young, healthy, and probably employed, just not in a manner that has health insurance. So the gov't already has their withholding taxes, and can easily require proof of insurance when they file your taxes, or take payment at that time. (Someone uninsured not in that demographic is probably going to be well enough subsidized that they just need to be found and actively signed up for insurance.) This sounds fairly straightforward.

And Klein's argument about universality seems to me to be a strong one. Taking away government health care once everyone's had access to it seems to me to be guaranteed to be unpopular, and so would crippling costs for poor people. Once a functional universal system gets set up at all, I think it'll be hard to use it to make low-income people worse off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:07 PM
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it doesn't require optimism about the GOP leadership--it requires optimism about the electorate's susceptibility to persuasion & ability to influence their elected officials

Yes, yes, yes. And I'll offer, ex recto, that people like Nelson of NE would get more pressure/cover from back home on an Obama request that goes against Rep orthodoxy than on a Clinton request. Because she's the Wicked Witch.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:07 PM
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But he has a *much, much* less extensive record in public life than Hillary does.

This is genuinely moronic. No, we don't. She was first lady with portfolio for two years. After that, it goes dark. Oh wait, she's for kids. Excellent. I don't know if Obama is pro-children. Or pro-puppies, for that matter. (HRC partisans are just nutty on this point.)

Until, of course, 2000 at which point she starts building the "bipartisan" cred that is, after all, more substantive evidence of "working with Republicans" than the Obama rhetoric that apparently worries HRC partisans. (Again, nutters.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:08 PM
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Megan, God forgive me, but the higher scaling of human relationships is studied by sociologists, political scientist, economists, historians, and others. There's no short answer to your question, but trust me that a nation of three hundred million works differently than a face-to-face workgroup or a neighborhood organization.

That is assertation that doesn't rule out using psychological approaches to large-scale problems. I generally do trust your judgment on stuff, but in my policy classes, we talked very explicitly about creating a model of the individual and scaling upwards. I'd have to know what the break is to know why my model can't scale. It is surely no more complex than the Rational Economic Actor (which I have profound doubts about). So I'm not going to believe an economist or historian either unless they tell me what the exact problem is in applying this to national politics.

PGD mentioned a good potential reason, in 224. But I still don't believe that paid ideologues aren't people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:11 PM
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246 -- I don't necessarily disagree with you. I just don't think anyone is locked into any of these details at all. Long before it comes time to submit proposed legislation, people who work in this field will have sat down and hashed about a whole bunch of details.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:11 PM
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239: With just a interpretative spin.

2008:

450 pre-existing deficit +
150 stimulus +
75 Iraq now +
100 Iraq fall (at least)
200 Social Security moved to unified budget (spin) +
unforeseen revenue decreases and more stimulus(recession)

oh, the 450 base deficit includes very optimistic revenue projections and all the Bush cuts in domestic programs. That won't get passed. I don't know if anything gets passed

Not including a possible bailout of the monolines = 200 billion.

We need a massive tax increase, biggest in history.
Obama doesn't have a dream of doing it. Does Clinton? She may be able to use the Patriot Act and National Guard for leverage against the scum.

2009:Bernanke crashes us. Double everything above.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:12 PM
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I'll grant you that if we keep doing the same kind of politics, we will get exactly the same results

A dozen years in the majority, 3/4 of the federal court system, and a near lock on the presidency? I'd be okay with that, Megan.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:12 PM
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Probably because the people who vote for Republicans actually want them to be warmongers, whereas when Democrats do it it is usually in defiance of what their constituents want them to do.

Wither the Reagan Democrats? Or, I guess, McCain Democrats?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:12 PM
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But the longer you argue, the less respect that I'll have for you (and all the others who tried to misrepresent her to me.) I know what I'm dealing with.

Blow me, Emerson. Seriously: Fuck you.

The only things I've said on this thread in support of a candidate have been in support of Obama (I refer you to 209 and 214). If you can point to some statement I've made in support of Hillary - or some statement I have inaccurately attributed to her - that would be one thing.

Instead, you accuse me of misrepresentation without even hinting at what I've misrepresented.

I've been trying very hard to be as dryly factual as possible because I know that my opinions are unacceptable to you and - let's face it - I'm playing in your playground. I know this. But have we reached the point where quoting Hillary - even mentioning her - gets me ostracized?

PF, I don't know if we should keep talking

In what sense are we talking? What substantive issue have I raised that you've even addressed? Fuck you.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:14 PM
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I don't buy the "McCain will beat Obama among Latinos" argument at all, by the way. I realize he's better than Romney etc. on immigration but if they were voting on immigration POLICY Obama would be beating Clinton. The best explanations I've heard for Clinton's success are: (1) a very very long head start re: ties to the community--Villagiarosa, Dolores Huerta, etc. (2) her usual advantage on economic issues from traditional, working class dems who remember better times under her husband's administration; (3) really strong support among Latino women. McCain beats Obama in zero of these categories. Unless you subscribe to the "Latinos hate black people" theory but the evidence for that is not especially strong--for one thing, if that's true whether Latinos hate black people seems to depend very heavily on whether there's a strong, local Democratic machine & whom they're endorsing: even excluding Illinois, Obama got beaten badly in Cal. but did just fine in Connecticut & Colorado & did a lot better in Arizona & New Mexico.

At one point, Obama was losing the black vote to Clinton by a significant margin. I'm not saying that he's going to win over the Latino vote anywhere near as decisively--I mean, a big part of the problem with the African-American community turned out to be they had no idea who he was or that he was black, & it's just much too late to do the kind of outreach he really needs. But, this stuff ALWAYS happens to the insurgent candidate in the primary.

I again commend the Schmitt article to people.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:15 PM
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Megan, Democrats didn't get more polarized when the Republicans went psycho. Democrats got weenier. I'm trying to turn them around, and they're so habituated to defeat that I'm not sure that they can do it. Gaining control of Congress did little.

There are people who we should talk to who have voted republican in the past, without being hard core. What we should do with them isn not dialogue with them as Republicans, but convince tham that they want to be Democrats. I've seen signs that that is happening.

Once the hard core 30% no longer has control of the Republican Party and the U.S. Government, we don't have to conciliate them, dialogue with them, or communicate with them very much. We can just let them do their thing and make sure that they never win anything. Let them sit on the sidelines for a decade or two and watch us doing thing they hate, they way we just did.

That's really how politics works; there are sharp choices, bitter conflicts, and winners and losers, and some people are going to be unhappy.

Our most serious adversaries (Rove, Cheney, George Will, Scaife, Limbaugh, and hundreds of others) have no emotions in the sense you're talking about. They have various plans they want to put into effect and a lot of wealth they want to appropriate, and they're deeply vengeful.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:15 PM
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252 - Until the pendulum shifts the other way.

I mean, if it has got to be this way, better we're on top than they are. But I don't want it to be an oppositional system in general.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:15 PM
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And Klein's argument about universality seems to me to be a strong one.

Here's what seems to me a strong one against: it's 17% of the economy. You're just not getting UHC in the next four years. Dean knew that. I'm pretty sure Obama knows that. Hell, I'm pretty sure HRC knows that.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:15 PM
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258: But like everyone said, it's a campaign. This is supposed to be the position he's negotiating from, not what he settles for once he's in office. If universality is a big advantage, and it seems to me to be clear that it is, it worries me that he doesn't see that, or disagrees. That doesn't mean I'm sure that HRC would achieve universality, but I like her goals better. (I still voted for him on the war.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:18 PM
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257: You know what bothers me about the mediation thing? It assumes that there's a win-win solution -- that if you can get people to come at their conflicts reasonably, you can find ways to compromise and make everyone happy. And what we've got now is a government that's largely devoted to funneling tax money to a number of very wealthy corporations, who through lobbyists control the government so that the money keeps coming. If anything that I want to happen is going to happen, those corporations are going to have to lose. And really lose -- be substantially, significantly injured. I can't see any way to avoid that being an open conflict.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:21 PM
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Once the hard core 30% no longer has control of the Republican Party and the U.S. Government, we don't have to conciliate them, dialogue with them, or communicate with them very much. We can just let them do their thing and make sure that they never win anything. Let them sit on the sidelines for a decade or two and watch us doing thing they hate, they way we just did.

Nope. We have to live with them and they will poison us too. We can't let them fester, because they will keep fighting forever. We have to bring them with us.

That's really how politics works; there are sharp choices, bitter conflicts, and winners and losers, and some people are going to be unhappy.

I don't agree with that. I think that's all our current system is capable of producing, but I don't think it is the only inevitable outcome. I think a better approach opens up a politics with choices, much less conflict, a bigger proportion of winners, and unhappy people still feeling validated.

Our most serious adversaries (Rove, Cheney, George Will, Scaife, Limbaugh, and hundreds of others) have no emotions in the sense you're talking about. They have various plans they want to put into effect and a lot of wealth they want to appropriate, and they're deeply vengeful.

I worry a lot about the real sociopaths.



Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:22 PM
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258:I think you are wrong. Something called "Health Care" will get passed very quickly.

The masses and the liberal wonks will need to be pacified right away.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:22 PM
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In my policy classes, we talked very explicitly about creating a model of the individual and scaling upwards.

I can only say that those were crappy classes. Economists and psychologists favor scaling up from the individual, though I think that that economics is changing. They come up with some pretty wretched results when they're away from their core competencies.

I'd have to know what the break is to know why my model can't scale.

OK, but spend some time finding out. You basically asked me to soum up political sociology, political history, political philosophy and political science in a blog post. The class you took seems to have been based on one or a few unproven new ventures in these areas, and I doubt that its theories would stand up under criticism very well.

,i>It is surely no more complex than the Rational Economic Actor

Far, far more complex, but it's not mathematically formalized so you'tr not dealing with difficult math.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:22 PM
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This is supposed to be the position he's negotiating from, not what he settles for once he's in office.

I think you're wrong about the parties to the negotiation. She's negotiating with the Dem base. It'll be different when she gets in office.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:22 PM
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But I don't want it to be an oppositional system in general.

It always has been, it always will be. Politics is a bloodsport, whether we like or not.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:23 PM
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264: Then why isn't he? I'm the Dem base, and she's offering me what I want (not what I really want, but as close as anyone is). She may not be able to deliver, or she may sell me out, but she's showing some recognition that she knows what I want. What he's offering me (under the same conditions) doesn't seem to be as good. That makes me like her offer better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:27 PM
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And fuck you too, PF! Your theory of Hillary, which you've presented at exhaustive length, is shit. And if I took what you've said seriously, there's a significant possibility that a year or two down the road I would realize that I shouldn't have, and my respect for you would disappear.

As it is, if I have to I'll glumly vote for Hillary in November, and if she turns out badly I'll be mildly disappointed, but hardly surprised or angry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:28 PM
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Oh, and a question I have had for a little while.

In the Health Care plans, I haven't seen much discussion of what happens to Medicare & Medicaid. Or Veterans Administration.

If I were Republican scum, I would merge all US Gov't Health programs in one program, call it "Universal Health Care", arrange it as block grants to states to "cut overhead", make sure total Fed spending was less than before and easily reducible.

Norquist in a private meeting would say "We just killed Medicare and Medicaid. Now Social Security"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:28 PM
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and unhappy people still feeling validated.

I think Megan is right about this, and it's the same thing that ogged was pointing to. It's what made Bill "I feel your pain" Clinton such a good retail politician. People are more sophisticated that we sometimes think, and they'll cut politicians some slack on trust. It's useful to speak the local vernacular when building trust. That's what BJC was so good at--see the King funeral--and that's what Obama's claiming to be able to do.

I mean, it's not like Republicans themselves think that they're opposed to us because they're crazy or evil.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:29 PM
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260 - You know, it doesn't require win-win.

There's a side of it that says that when you negotiate over interests and not positions, you open up more room for mutual agreement. That's kinda like making the whole pie bigger and sorta win-win.

Another aspect is that people want 1. to be heard and 2. to think the process was fair. If they have both of those, they resent losing much less.

But for your example, I'd say that corporations aren't people. Fuck 'em. Lobbyists who lose out on a bill to funnel money to their corporations go home bummed about a day at work. They don't feel their rights violated by governmental oppression that turns them into activists. A corporation can be oppressed and resist. That is a conflict where winning and losing is appropriate.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:30 PM
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It always has been, it always will be. Politics is a bloodsport, whether we like or not.

That's what I don't agree with, and what I think is truly radical about Obama's campaign. Cynics think he is being all nicey-nicey and rhetorical. I think he is being literal and it would be a huge change.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:35 PM
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"And Klein's argument about universality seems to me to be a strong one. Taking away government health care once everyone's had access to it seems to me to be guaranteed to be unpopular, and so would crippling costs for poor people. Once a functional universal system gets set up at all, I think it'll be hard to use it to make low-income people worse off."

Right, but no one's proposing a universal gov't health care system. They're all proposing an opt-in gov't system with subsidies. How good the gov't insurance is, how much individual have to pay for it, & how high the subsidies are are the key points. You can argue that a mandate helps: to keep the insurance good & adequately funded you need to minimize free-riding. And you can argue that there are decent, straightforward ways to enforce it: Edwards proposed mechanism seemed both decent & politically defensible to me. On paper, neither of their plans is as thorough as Edwards, but his is a little more thorough than his. But, we don't know the details even of their proposals, let alone what will come out of Congress. And free-riding is not the MAIN problem, & mandates are not the main solution.

And, it's quite possible to defund gov't health subsidies for the poor--I don't see why people think it's so impossible to do it for the lower middle class.

1. Increase access to health care as much as possible & convince people that the gov't insurance plan is good
2. Then deal with free riding adults if & when it's a problem

makes a lot more sense to me than

1. Mandate that everyone have health insurance. Voila! Universal coverage
2. This will create the political pressure needed to adequately subsidize

Now, ideally, you'd do both at once. But if you can't adequately guarantee access at the start, I think the mandate's a BAD idea.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:35 PM
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266: Because it's open information, he's a bit of a goo-goo, and he doesn't (perhaps wrongly) think he'll have to do so. (That's my guess, anyway.) If you (or someone at your firm) were seeking a potential client's business, you might give...a high side estimate of what you could accomplish. You wouldn't do it in front of the opponent, though. Instead, after you got the business, you'd ratchet down expectations to something reasonable and then go to the other side. You wouldn't go in with something crazy, because that's pretty easy for the other side to deal with.

HRC will either be able to ratchet down expectations, or she'll be forced to go with her full plan and we'll have a replay of 1994.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:36 PM
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Megan, political systems are oppositional. If they pretend that they're not it's because all decisions are made in secret by a tiny elite, and all opposition is whisked off to jail or killed.

Seriously, I beg you to study some politics, history, sociology, etc. (Not so much econ). What you've been taught is one step away from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Baba Ram Das. That stuff works for someone sitting quietly and in smallish groups, but not at the large social levels.

The most important thing is to get the 30% out of power. If someone wants to dialogue with them then, it's OK with me, but they can't be allowed to continue to make the big decisions.

And don't bend over too far backwards. Some of them are nice misinformed people but a lot of them are selfish, brutal, greedy, racist, and bigoted, and some of them are religiously insane and waiting for Armageddon. You can't reach everybody.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:37 PM
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263 - (smiling) But I don't want to spend some time finding out, because I like my model.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:37 PM
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If Obama is talking about talking to Republican voters, I agree. If he's talking about splitting off individual Republican Senators and Representative with the intention of crippling the Republican leadership, I also agree. But he seems to be saying that he'll work cooperatively with the Republican leadership, and I can't support that. There's little reason too and they won't play fair.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:41 PM
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Seriously, Megan. You've got to take more than that one course. I find this extremely depressing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:43 PM
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I think he is being literal and it would be a huge change.

You're in for a massive disappointment. The other side does not compromise and *they hate you and me* with a burning passion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:44 PM
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274 - Dude, still not with you.

For one, I didn't come by that stuff by being taught. That's what I've pieced together by watching and reading about entrenched conflict. I'm claiming that, and not because I'm following a hippy guru. You're going to have to give me specific alternate readings in politics, history and sociology to challenge my home-grown model.

I still don't know why the part I outlined in 245 wouldn't scale, and I can apply that framework to any conflict I know well enough to give details for. I bet you could too.

Yes, of course. 30% out of power. But then we have to change them, not marginalize and quash them. Because that doesn't work.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:44 PM
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But then we have to change them, not marginalize and quash them. Because that doesn't work.

I'm looking at American history since 1968, and it most certainly does work.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:47 PM
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Megan, in Congress Obama or Clinton will be dealing almost entirely with the representatives of corporations. That's what the big business is mostly about. Another major group is wrmongers, who are often corporate too. Those are the people I want to squash.

Not nice conservatives sitting in their homes singing hymns. They're not even players, they're suckers. They're slowly figuring that out, perhaps. Though probably Huckabee will rope them in again, if he gets a payoff of some kind.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:47 PM
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"Taking away government health care once everyone's had access to it"

You're talking like individual mandates = single payer because you can apply the word "universality" to both. They're very, very different things. The key thing is that: (1) you provide access to governmental health care; (2) it's good; (3) you can sustain funding. An individual mandate could further those goals, or it could not accomplish much of anything, or it could be harmful, depending on what the rest of the deal looks like. It could make K Street go along with other parts of the deal, or it could freak out swing voters so much that the whole thing falls apart. A plan without a "mandate" could actually prevent free-riding almost as effectively as one with a mandate.

What Krugman did to piss me off, by the way, was to take a paper where the author says: "I'm going to assume that an individual mandate is going to be 95% effective at covering everyone who wouldn't otherwise be covered," & use that paper as EVIDENCE that an individual mandate--like, say, the Clinton plan--is going to be 95% effective at getting you to universality. Treating an econ paper's assumptions as its proven conclusions is the #1 way to use economics to mislead people. It's the Wall Street Journal editorial page's favorite technique & it's a lot more misleading than some of Obama's arguments against mandates.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:48 PM
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Megan, different people have different interests, so politics, which is, after all, the practice of prioritizing those interests, will always be contentious and oppositional. Where I think the mediator's approach is valuable is in 1) bringing more people to our side and 2) making the divisions less personal and hateful. There really aren't that many people who have burning face-to-face hatred for people who disagree with them politically, but our political discourse would make you believe that half the country is ready to kill the other half. That's what I think Obama can (maybe maybe) do something to change.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:49 PM
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The other side does not compromise and *they hate you and me* with a burning passion.

We got to here using an oppositional/polarizing system. Staying within that system will yield the same results. Doing something different may not change this (although I think it will), but doing more of the same, only harder, will definitely trap us in this dynamic.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:50 PM
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Megan, you seem to be missing a ten foot shelf of political history. Take some courses. I don't knwo where to start.

Tell me how you'll use your method to handle either the India-Pakistan conflict or the Israel-Palestine conflict. Gandhi tried that method, and they killed him, and there are still millions of Gandhians and the like in India, but Indian foreign policy ended up being conflictual.

Once the winners and losers are decided, your method might be useful for trying to end the struggle and keep it going on forever. But until the struggle is over, that won't work

If Obama could do what you hope for him to do, he'd be by far the greatest political leader in the history of the human race.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:52 PM
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We got to here using an oppositional/polarizing system.

This is exactly backwards. We have an oppositional system because the two parties have completely incompatible visions of governance and society. The system reflects the ideological split, it didn't create it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:53 PM
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If the dynamic goes on forever that's too bad, as long as we can undo their damage and keep them from doing more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:53 PM
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Ogged and John, you realize that convincing Megan of your point will now serve to disprove it, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:54 PM
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281 gets it right. It's humans versus corporations, and apparently the intention of the First Amendment was to give corporations as much power as possible to influence politics.

But Megan said that too. In 270.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:55 PM
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Not if we also make her cry.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:56 PM
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I'm looking at American history since 1968, and it most certainly does work.

No because we are right at this minute afraid that a crazy person is going to assassinate Obama.

(Please reconstruct my thinking, which goes something like -
South loses Civil War, then marginalized, not brought back into the fold
Jim Crow - white southerners still pissed and needing someone to be even lower than they are
Civil Rights movement - start of big change, achieved a lot, BUT
still a core of white supremacist fucks that cannot be so quashed that they will not threaten Obama.)

Repressing those fucks *who hate you and me* DOESN'T WORK. Far better to repress them than to let them run our federal government, but EVEN BETTER is to integrate them and make them whole. This requires a whole different concept than opposition.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:57 PM
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Crap, I'm behind. What do I owe a response on?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 5:59 PM
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John, during an election, Obama IS dealing with "nice conservatives sitting in their homes singing hymns" & they are players. If you treat public opinion as fixed & irrelevant, then yes, his approach makes no sense. But look at his primary & especially caucus results--his success at winning over independents & voters in red states is what's kept him alive in the primaries so far, & if he can continue it (obviously, it'll get a hell of a lot harder when he's running against McCain & not Clinton) it'll help a lotin November. His legislative record is NOT full of examples of him selling out liberals so David Broder will say nice things about him. It's not perfect, but it's the best of the three leading Democratic candidates in this race. So why assume that he's aiming his conciliatory rhetoric at Broder & Brooks & Mitch McConnell & not at nice God-fearing Kansans?


Posted by: katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:00 PM
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I will be interested to see if McCain can respond to being the frontrunner. He has always used his underdog status to his advantage. Mavericks don't lead, they buck the system. My eight year old tells me to vote for Obama.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:08 PM
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Jim Crow was the result of cutting a deal with the defeated South about 1870 which stopped and turned back the progress that had been made during the previous 15 years. Jim Crow lasted almost a century longer with insignificant opposition. When opposition came, the Sotuh reacted violently, but they lost, and substantial progress was made.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:10 PM
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No because we are right at this minute afraid that a crazy person is going to assassinate Obama.

No more than any other political leader. Crazy people tried to kill Ford and Reagan, too. And every leader all over the world has a massive security detail. Murder has always been a part of politics, too, throughout all of history. Look, I agree we have to expand the governing coalition. But the larger point is that the GOP has radically reshaped American society, packed the courts for a generation, and gotten huge chunks of heir agenda written into law. And they did it primarily through successfully demonizing the opposition. You keep saying that it doesn't work, but it sure looks to have been fabulously effective.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:10 PM
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283 - different people have different interests, so politics, which is, after all, the practice of prioritizing those interests, will always be contentious and oppositional

Sure, and some stuff, like LB said, is truly zero sum. I am interested in your 1) and 2), but think not-making-losers-feel-alienated-and-angry is at least as important.

285 - Tell me how you'll use your method to handle either the India-Pakistan conflict or the Israel-Palestine conflict.

My boss, who knows way more about this than I do, says that once you're dealing with a culture of conflict (like Ogged's people!), the problem is damn near intractable and mediation techniques don't work any longer. I don't know what to do there. But I don't think that the vast majority of America is at that point yet.

Once the winners and losers are decided, your method might be useful for trying to end the struggle and keep it going on forever. But until the struggle is over, that won't work.

No. How the struggle is conducted is also vitally important.

286 - The ideological split is why there is conflict. How we conduct that conflict is why there is demonizing and an increasingly polarized population.

290 - Not even close.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:15 PM
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I am exclsuively arguing against the idea that once he's in office Obama should work in a bipartisan way with the Republican leaders in Congress and elsewhere.

If he figures out a way to talk to individual Republicans and plit them off from the Republican party and get them to vote Democratic, that isn't exactly bipartisanship. It's justpartisan political persuasion.

Pretty much the same if he splits individual Congressmen away from the Rebpulican Congressional leaders, thus crippliong them. I suppose that could be what Obama means (I'm making a concession here).

But trying for comity and harmony and consensus is just nuts. It will require giving away too much.

As I said, the Obama people at the convention were frighteningly goo-goo-eyed. They weren't official reps, but they seemed to be working from campaign literature. That kind of approach can really blow up inyour face. (Carter was a bit goo-goo-eyed, and he was utterly trashed, even by people in his own administration).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:16 PM
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Megan, the South lost Civil War on the battlefield and then won it during Reconstruction by upholding the antebellum social order, with minor exceptions, until the era of Civil Rights. And, within the South at least, the antebellum economic order remained intact as well.

And the reason for the above was that Northern Republicans didn't have ths stomach to truly smash the slaveocracy and its political organ, the Democratic Party. Why? Because the war had been bloody, and everyone, Northerners and Southerners alike, preferred to try to get rich rather than continuing the fight until the core issues had been mitigated/sorted out.

Not that I'm siding with John, because I know, from other discussions, that there are no sides. But this part of our political and social history is a big deal and has a lot to say about where we are today. If you're interested, a very well written book that makes this point is Nicholas Lemann's Redemption. Just to maintain my scholarly street cred I'll add this: it's totally derivative of Foner, gets some stuff wrong, and sees characters as more important than arguments. But whatever. It's a good book. And readable.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:17 PM
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And pwned by John. Note to self: type faster and use fewer words.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:18 PM
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That said, maybe Obama really is our generation's Lincoln. The "mediator" that Ogged talks about, able to make all but the truly venal partisans feel like they're part of the process, but totally unwilling to give an inch on the core principles


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:19 PM
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Once you're dealing with a culture of conflict the problem is damn near intractable and mediation techniques don't work any longer.

I think that we're at that point. The hawks want World War Three. The Christians want the illegalization abortion and the marginalization of the gay community. The bigots want about ten million people put in camps and deported. The little government conservatives want to reduce taxes and cut most domestic spending to the bone. Most of them are mad now because they haven't got what they want yet. And they've been palying very hostile, harsh, bullying politics continuously seince 1994 at least.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:21 PM
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There's another point here, and it goes back to something said way upthread: the Democrats, in order to govern effectively and win elections, need people to believe that government is a force for positive change. This makes the job much harder, as marginalizing the opposition at every turn, and destroying the federal appartus, won't help with that goal.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:23 PM
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301 gets it exactly right..


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:23 PM
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TLL!

Obama's approach does not seem to be the sort of compromise made so famous by Lieberman. When he talks about unity, he seems to mean people joining him, rather than him moving. The conservatives I know personally are not impressed by Obama because he's going to beat his wife, but because they think he "gets them", even when his policy is not something they'd support. (Huckabee shows signs of doing this on the Republican side, but then goes and decides he wants to put God in the Constitution and reminds us all he's nuts.)

I don't believe we can, e.g., convince the evangelical wingnut Republican fanatic. But we might be able to convince the guy who goes to church with the fanatic that he doesn't have to vote Republican to be a good Christian. And this can be done without any significant policy shifts. There's more than one way to marginalize the lunatics, and ensuring they can't count on easy identity votes (for example) is one of them.

How this translates into getting legislation passed is not easy to say, but I can imagine a combination of a 'we are better than that' combined with 'those evil motherfuckers are misleading you, and you deserve better' could be powerful. Still a bloodsport, but a more subtle one.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:24 PM
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296 - No, we're afraid they're going to kill him specifically for being black. That comes from marginalizing and not fixing a piece of our citizenry. (Again, better to marginalize that crowd than elect them, but even better to figure out what they need so that they won't be crazy white supremacist fucks any more.)

they did it primarily through successfully demonizing the opposition. You keep saying that it doesn't work, but it sure looks to have been fabulously effective.

Naw, their movement is crumbling around them. The kids vote like us and have piercings and shit. They got a lot of structure in place, and we need to dismantle that, but they did not build a lasting empire, or even make gay people have less sex. They didn't win.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:26 PM
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301:Obama is this generation's Buchanan. It will be the next President who will preside over the shooting war.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:28 PM
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they did not build a lasting empire

Yeah, they did. Those judges? Not going anywhere. The trillions of dollars spent on the military? Not coming back. They may spend a few years wandering in the desert here primarily as a result of losing the Iraq War (not of the war itself, but because they lost it), but they've left a minefield for us to navigate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:32 PM
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Nicholas Lemann's Redemption

Reserved from my library. I think I may also have read his book on the Educational Testing Service.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:32 PM
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307 is awesome, a brilliant piece of high trollery. But also maybe right.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:34 PM
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What Krugman did to piss me off, by the way, was to take a paper where the author says: "I'm going to assume that an individual mandate is going to be 95% effective at covering everyone who wouldn't otherwise be covered," & use that paper as EVIDENCE that an individual mandate--like, say, the Clinton plan--is going to be 95% effective at getting you to universality.

I don't know how to tell you this, Katherine, but this appears to be the Obama campaigns internal "logic" as well. See DeLong, front page, right now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:35 PM
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308 - They fucked us bigtime with the military spending, and I worry a lot that with the onset of climate change, it was a particularly vulnerable time for us. The judges suck, but that is still a rearguard action for them. They didn't permanently shape the nation's psyche. Because you can't through demonization and marginalizing people. You can only do that by including them and transforming them.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:37 PM
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I'm coming off more confrontational than I mean to, but there was going to be a whole new revolution in 1968 too. I'm voting Obama and I'm hoping we have enough strength to actually make some changes. But it's going to be a bitter fight every step of the way and the sooner the left realizes this, the better.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:38 PM
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301: maybe, I guess. I kind of doubt it.

I will repeat--I do not think the Democrats' main problem is their attitude towards the GOP. I think their main problem is their prioritization of staying in power over passing decent policies, and their attitude towards the electorate. Chuck Schumer & Rahm Emanuel are plenty partisan. What they aren't, is liberal. Teddy Kennedy & Russ Feingold can be plenty bipartisan--sometimes too much so in both cases (i.e. Kennedy on No Child Left Behind, Feingold on Ashcroft)--but they do actually care about liberal policies. Bipartisanship & partisanship are morally neutral means to other ends--whether they're good or bad strategy, & moral or immoral, just depends on the specifics of the policies & bills in question. It's a good idea to get John McCain to co-sponsor your anti-torture bill; it's a very poor idea to trust him & Lindsey Graham to represent the anti-torture side in negotiations with David Addington. McCain-Kennedy was a decent immigration bill--Tom Tancredo's immigration bill was horrendous, no matter how many democratic cosponsors he got. John Cornyn is generally loathesome, but for whatever reason, is reasonably pro-FOIA; obviously there's nothing wrong with sponsoring a sunshine in gov't act.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:39 PM
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There's a part of me that loves it when conservatives say things like, "even tho I don't agree with BO's policies, it's clear from some speech that he 'gets it.'" That's some powerful conflict resolution mojo. It is, in some sense, scalable - there used to be a head of City Planning here who could get seriously bad actors (the same corporate types who would tear down Dems on the nat'l stage) to do the thing she wanted, all the while thinking they had won. It's like voodoo.

And then there's the part of me that says that, if it doesn't work, we are SO fucked.

Same deal with the "Obama wins new voters" thing. If it works, best thing ever; if not, heartbreak city, to say the least.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:40 PM
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314: Me too. Meaning I doubt it. Or at least I'm not getting my hopes up.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:42 PM
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Looking at Megan's comments on things like judges, I think part of the disconnect is that her worst-case-scenario may not be as bad as some of ours.

For example:

At best, the landmine judges Bush has strewn throughout the judiciary will undermine virtually any positive change coming from a Dem Congress/WH (the SC has looked at Congressional findings consisting of hundreds of hours of testimony and thousands of pages of legit research and said, "Congress never looked at the facts," and overturned the law in question). At worst, these judges will actively work against a Dem executive while aggressively supporting fascistic changes to our balance of powers (note that Clinton's impeachment was overseen by "respectable" judges appointed by Reagan).

The trouble is that the positive change that Megan seeks is generational; the damage these people can bring is already within sight. It's hard for me to see how to stop the latter without resorting to methods that Megan deprecates.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:47 PM
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315: Turnout's been very high for the Dems this year so far.

||
Season 2 of The Wire impressions: Oh great, a whole bunch of new people to figure out, and also, Stringer Bell is awesome.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:50 PM
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JRoth--I don't get it. That seems like a pretty wildly overoptimistic estimate to me, but I am talking about very specific:

--A paper says "let's assume, to simplify our other calculations, that we can get 98% coverage without a mandate."
--Cutler cites this paper and says: this neutral expert's calculations show that health care plans like ours gets you 98% coverage without a mandate.

(Also, Krugman is supposed to be a journalist, not a member of the Clinton campaign, but that's beside the main point).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:52 PM
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306: Megan, in 1870 the white Southerners stopped being marginalized and the black Southerners lost the rights they had gained and were marginalized by methods which included murder for the next 90 years or so.

I don't think that there was a way to make everything nice in the South. There were ways to prevent specific types of bad things from happening -- for example lynching, disenfranchisement, and the denial of equal education -- but after 1870 these methods were no longer used.

"1870" is ball-park.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:53 PM
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314 makes some marvelous points, but I think it underestimates the power of true partisanship. A true partisan doesn't sign onto a bill that the other side likes, even if that partisan leans the other way. IOW, Schumer did in fact make that shitty vote on stock earnings (whatever the hell it was - you know what I mean), and it signified that he's not liberal enough (specifically, that he loves the Big Money Boys). But if you turned the tables, no powerful R makes that votes, because it's a vote the other side wants.

If the Dems knew how to play the game, they'd effectively marginalize the Blue Dogs (House and Senate), and a bad vote would be punished. Instead, we let Blue Dogs accrue power, and then shrug when they vote the wrong way - oh, he's beholden to X. But the Rs mustn't win a battle no matter what. This is how Reid has failed - he doesn't seem to know how to manipulate the process to deny Rs victories, whether substantive or rhetorical.

Remember Hastert's 50%+1 rule? He'd rather drive away 20 Rs than allow a single D to vote for a bill that would actually pass. That's partisan.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 6:55 PM
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319: I have no idea what you're saying. Cutler is using imaginary evidence to defend Obama's plan, you seem to understand that the evidence is imaginary, yet you think that this supports Obama. What did I miss?

For those who haven't seen:

Cutler, speaking on behalf of (but not as a part of) the BO campaign, says, "Let's look at the level of coverage you can get without a mandate. Our estimates, based on studies in the literature, is that we can get 98% or 99% coverage without a mandate for adults. There may be some small pockets of people who choose not to buy it." That's it. He offers no backup to that stupendous number. He just wants it to be true. I'm all in favor of BO's plan if it can achieve this. But I'm not taking their "we have numbers; trust us" say-so.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:00 PM
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The trouble is that the positive change that Megan seeks is generational; the damage these people can bring is already within sight. It's hard for me to see how to stop the latter without resorting to methods that Megan deprecates.

There might be something to this difference in time frame, but I'll hold to my view that conducting conflict better is a way to head off the damages we're afraid of.

I don't think that there was a way to make everything nice in the South.

There was a way to make things better: the techniques of the Civil Rights movement. If we want another jump, we use different techniques.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:03 PM
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There's a significant aspect of Republican demonization that is different this time around in ways we can't understand yet. There were a bunch of things about Bill Clinton that just drove the wingers around the bend: the clever draft business, Gennifer Flowers et al, Hillary not baking cooking and '2 for 1,' just to name a few. There's an attempt at this with the madrassa emails, but that's going to stay on the fringe, and the most natural play is off limits to moderates and independents.

I'm not saying Republicans are going to be nice. Just that they'll have a tougher time with demonizing that's socially acceptable.

I haven't thought this through, and this might be the kind of thing that sets off 1,000 comments, but discourse on gender is less charged, at least in some ways. You can write a book called Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and while people will argue with you, you won't be ridden out on a rail. Just try writing Blacks are from Jupiter, Whites are from Saturn. That is, just off the top of my head, I think Bell Curve is more marginal. Am I wrong?

Let me rephrase: in what ways am I wrong?


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:07 PM
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Since people are linking to Brad DeLong

"Time to shut the Republican Party down and replace it with a pro-America opposition to the Democrats." ...BdL 11:05 2/07/08

A tagline that replaced "Impeach George Bush" a while ago.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:11 PM
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May I ask, in all seriousness, if Stras and JRoth would be willing to outline what they both think Obama and Hillary are likely to do about Iraq if either the one or the other (the candidates, not Stras or JRoth) are elected

Well, I kind of think I've been clear, but I'll do part of this (my links would simply be to candidate sites - I'm just not willing to spend an hour racking down something I may have read on any of 2 dozen blogs sometime in the last 3 months):

I think that HRC, if elected, will start to draw down troops almost immediately. I think that, over the course of about 2 years, the troops will be in the low 5 figures (say, under 30k) - barring major events. I think that, by 2012, there will be at least 10k troops left in Iraq.

And I think that, if elected, BO will do almost the exact same thing. He is, I suspect, more likely to keep drawing down troops in the face of negative events, and his 2012 number may be somewhat lower. But I don't expect a meaningful difference in the course of withdrawal.

My evidence? What they've been saying, in debates and in white papers. They've both been saying these things for a long time. All pols lie, but I refuse to play games that, at base, are predicated on my superior knowledge of their souls. Obama could distinguish his Iraq policy from HRC's going forward; he has chosen not to, instead focusing on their differences from 2002 through 2004 (which were significant). I therefore will not credit him with a going-forward policy that he has not stated.

I do think that HRC is more prone to intervention in general than BO, but I also think that the next 4 years will not be auspicious for sending US troops anywhere new.

I would love to hear more from both of them about Afghanistan, but it's been pretty weak soup so far.

OK, daughter to bed, then dinner. Later.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:12 PM
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321: Krugman is a citing a specific source by a neutral expert & actively deceiving people about what it says. Gruber doesn't arrive at 95% based on an unrealistic model with overly optimistic assumptions--"95% coverage" IS the assumption itself.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:14 PM
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324:Just that they'll have a tougher time with demonizing that's socially acceptable.

If it was Colin Powell the Republicans would have great difficulty playing with race.

But it is Barack Hussein Obama. "War on Terra" will work just fine with low-info voters. Or rather, they will try.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:18 PM
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"I refuse to play games that, at base, are predicated on my superior knowledge of their souls"

Tell me: when I decided, based largely on George W. Bush's presiding over the the Texas death penalty system, that his "compassionate conservatism" slogan was complete bullsh*t, was a playing a game predicated on my superior knowledge of his soul when I should've stuck to reading the policy papers on his website? Or just, you know, actually looking at his record? What about if I saw many of his advisors had signed onto PNAC & got concerned--would that be gameplaying? Not that Clinton is equivalent, but it is perfectly rational to trust some politicians more than others based on their actual records in office, their advisors, etc. I think it's stupid to ignore that information.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:20 PM
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Me: I don't think that there was a way to make everything nice in the South.

Megan: There was a way to make things better: the techniques of the Civil Rights movement. If we want another jump, we use different techniques.

I was referring either to the Reconstruction period (which I now realize was closer to 1880 than to 1870) or else to the immediate post-Civil War period. Civil rights movement tactics were fine in 1950-1965, but would have worked in the nineteenth century. People would have been disappeared, and in fact a lot of them were.

To me in politics making the right things happen and the wrong things not happen is the whole story. Dealing with people's feelings may be a means to that end, but sometimes you just use law and force. The end to slavery is an example, and the end to segregation is another (in the end desegregation was done involuntarily at the point of a gun).

It hardly is at that point today, knock wood, but getting the bad guys out and replacing them with non-bad guys, and then doing different things than the bad guys were doing, has to be the main goal. Persuading people who oppose us that they should agree with is is rarely going to be part of the method.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 7:46 PM
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Thinking on the demonization of Obama, presuming Republicans are going to seriously contest the election, and in addition to the "Surrender to Terror" theme repeated by Romney, we have the Rulez.

1) Attack your opponent at her/his strength.
2) Opportunistically use a real event or quote that will make a theme go viral, like Winter Soldier, Whitewater, Edward's hair

Attacking on race seems kinda pointless, I don't think they can alienate the black community from Obama, although Steve Gilliard always said number one was to depress black turnout, so we need to watch for it.

The "bi-partisanship" is too generally useful to Republicans. Maybe something that will alienate Latinos; maybe the Fl & MI credentialing that shows Obama as just another weezly politician; most like something Democrats can't imagine, we aren't as good as Republicans at seeing where our candidates true strengths are.

My paranoid imaginings always involved a "War on Terror" event, a real one when Obama would feel forced to go uber-hawk but with zero credibility as uber-hawk...

Bur Ezra Klein, Steve Clemons, and Matt Yglesias have sworn on their lifetime credibility and careers that President Bush will not attack Iran or otherwise use the military for political advantage in 2008. so I have to blow that fear off.

I trust the lefty pundits, because an attack on Iran could be stopped, if resistance hadn't so clearly shown to be unnecessary based on their informed analysis. If there were an attack on Iran, I know those three would retire to writing detective novels.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:07 PM
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If the Dems knew how to play the game, they'd effectively marginalize the Blue Dogs (House and Senate), and a bad vote would be punished.

What, you mean like if they voted to authorize the war, we'd punish them for it? Wow, that seems like a great idea. And you're right, it sure would be neat if Dems knew how to play that game. Oh well.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:13 PM
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Ezra, on how both HRC and BHO are "establishment candidates":

To make an observational point on the establishment support for Clinton and Obama, one of the fascinating things was watching the major think tanks empty out as talented wonks and communication types signed onto campaigns. The Center for American Progress, the mainstream liberal group, was originally considered a holding pen for Clinton aides, but folks were shocked by how many went to Obama. Similarly, Brookings, and in particular, the Hamilton Project, saw migration to both campaigns. But of the actually liberal think tanks, the ones a bit more on the edge of the conversation, there was almost no recruitment. I don't know of anyone yanked out of the Economic Policy Institute, or the Center for Economic and Policy Research, or Labor's policy departments.

Krugman's claim that Obama is the establishment candidate has driven me nuts. But Ezra's arguments are compelling.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:19 PM
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296

"... But the larger point is that the GOP has radically reshaped American society, packed the courts for a generation, and gotten huge chunks of heir agenda written into law. And they did it primarily through successfully demonizing the opposition. You keep saying that it doesn't work, but it sure looks to have been fabulously effective."

No it hasn't. Making changes is hard and the Republicans accomplished little of their agenda. Or to put it another way if the Democrats achieve a similar degree of dominance for the next 25 years you all will be disappointed at how little changes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:28 PM
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321

"If the Dems knew how to play the game, they'd effectively marginalize the Blue Dogs (House and Senate), and a bad vote would be punished ..."

This can back fire badly as the Republicans found out with Jeffords. You can marginalize extremists as they have no where to go, not so the centrists.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:32 PM
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331: 1) Attack your opponent at her/his strength.
2) Opportunistically use a real event or quote that will make a theme go viral, like Winter Soldier, Whitewater, Edward's hair

I think two avenues of attack will appear. One is an ongoing whisper on Black/drug use/Muslim. The public one that I suspect (and which will reinforce some aspects of the whisper) will revolve around the Rezko story and its connections to the Middle East. (It has come up a bit in the primary, but is not something Clinton could really push given pictures of her and Bill with Rezko, but it is convenient for the Repubs and press if it was mentioned at all by another Dem.) I really do not know the merits or details of Rezko, but they don't matter, just from the aura and "associations", it looks to me like one that they will bring back in some twisted organized manner if Obama is the nominee.

[Or you could take the LaRouchies twist on it that has the "Anglo-Dutch" gang pushing for Bloomberg and using Obama along the way.]

Whether Obama has figured it out yet or not, these people intend to use him to bring down Hillary Clinton, and then dispose of him, the same way they jettisoned former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, through a mountain of crime-infested scandals.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:37 PM
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The Republicans accomplished a lot of their actual agenda, and they hamstrung their Democratic successors.

They don't care much about fiscal responsibility or "little government." They don't care much about any of the social issues., maybe not at all. They even may not even have wanted to succeed. They're moderately bigoted but not willing to make any sacrifices.

They do care tremendously about deregulation, low taxes, free trade, high military spending, and an aggressive foreign policy. They got all of those, and many Democrats helped them along.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:39 PM
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and many Democrats helped them along

Particularly the DLC ones. Which helps explain a big chunk of the hostility toward HRC.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 8:44 PM
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Ezra, on how both HRC and BHO are "establishment candidates"

That seems fair, but what exactly do people think is ever on offer? There's an infrastructure that needs bodies, and the Establishment provides those bodies.

Moreover, the choices are neolib and neolib of a different flavor. Before that it was neolib, differently flavored neolib, and used-to-be-a-neolib. Of course the ranks of the different neolib institutions are being drawn down.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:02 PM
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Oh sure, the madrassa etc thing will continue, but that's going to stay in Mena territory, to borrow from the past. People who buy into it to any degree are people we'll never have. Rezco is going to have to turn into something much bigger than it is now. I guess we'll see. I'm thinking, though, that they'll have a tougher time making an unhinging attack that will resonate with the target audience: undecideds & persuadable 'independents.'

On establishment candidates, I'm not sure about what's tail and what's dog. McCain is the establishment candidate today, in a way he absolutely was not 6 or 9 months ago. Why? Because he's won, and the establishment always knows where its bread is buttered. It barely matters what position Obama takes on any issue: that he might win attracts plenty of establishmentarians. And that the pecking order would have been less established 6-9 months ago only says that establishmentarians had some upside potential if they wanted to cast their lot with him. PGD is right above about the political class -- whenever you think you're being too cynical, think again.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:16 PM
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Of course, all bets are off if Osama does something serious. Anybody know anyone in Al Qaeda?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:19 PM
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I agree, Tim. I just thought it was interesting that Ezra seemed to be making your pont, which is smart, rather than trying to say one or the other is or isn't part of the "establishment."


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:19 PM
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You think we'd tell you, Napi. Also, Obama will have to answer some complicated questions about his church.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:21 PM
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It barely matters what position Obama takes on any issue.

Way overstated. Some issues matter a lot, some not at all. My present surmise is that militarism, deregulation, low taxes, and maybe Israel are the bottom line.

Social issues, nada. Immigration, nada. Fiscal responsibility, nada. Reduction of the size of government, nada. These are all about electioneering, not policy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:26 PM
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340: Rezco is going to have to turn into something much bigger than it is now.

I would hope so, but I could also see it just coming out as CORRUPTION! ARABS! MONEY! OH MY! with nothing more than there is now, or per the "attack the strength" strategy maybe just some kind of "you thought he was 'different' but he is actually yet another politician for sale", no "real" scandal, just enough to take the bloom off the rose. I don't know.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:26 PM
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I knew about the Rezko stuff, and without an actual indictment of Obama, or even with one, I don't see that story doing much danage. Obama has never presented himself as "above reproach" in that way. All of Obama's negative campaigning or dirty tricks have been spun to invisibility.

But an Obama Senate vote to carpet bomb Teheran might even give katherine and hilzoy small stirrings of doubt.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:27 PM
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Or maybe not. Since I don't see Obama's attractions, I can't imagine what it would take for his fans to reject him.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:35 PM
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344: "Social issues, nada. Immigration, nada. Fiscal responsibility, nada. Reduction of the size of government, nada. These are all about electioneering, not policy."

don't get what you mean by this. Are you saying that there aren't genuine policy differences, or that they won't matter if they take office, or that the D.C Establishment doesn't care enough about those issues to matter, or what?

They're different on immigration as far as what they'd do in office. If there's any issue that cries out for Obama's approach, that's it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:38 PM
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an Obama Senate vote to carpet bomb Teheran might even give katherine and hilzoy small stirrings of doubt.

Bob, if Obama does that, I'll walk the streets of Bed-Stuy to protest him.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:39 PM
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D.C Establishment doesn't care enough about those issues to matter.

I was trying to separate out the real issues they care about from the ones they're indifferent to. To the extent that illegal immigration keeps wages low, they're pro-illegal-immigration, but this is one they might bend on. Bot low taxes, deregulation, militarism, and free trade they won't bend on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:41 PM
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346: Again, brilliant. I have to say, Bob, I'm totally learning to love you as a craftsman.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:42 PM
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350: Is there something in Obama's policy profile that makes you certain that he won't raise taxes on the rich? I'm really not being churlish; I just want to know if I've missed something.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:44 PM
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I'm pretty sure Obama's actually on record arguing for raising the cap on SS taxed earnings.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:54 PM
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I don't say that Obama is an establishment candidate. If he is one, though, he won't raise taxes much. The establishment may realize that small symbolic tax increases are necessary for sake of appearance.

"Taxes on the rich" isn't the only issue. Taxes of all kinds.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 7-08 9:58 PM
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337 344

So you believe the real agenda of the Republican leadership differs from their pitch to the Republican base. How about the Democrats? What is the real agenda of the leadership of Democratic party?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 8-08 2:45 AM
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this is just a comment to note I am not commenting on the "Yeah, Weird" thread, because I don't want to be one of the people who receive tons of hate mail when the thread gets linked from CNN as part of their background coverage of whatever school slaying or serial murder spree the guy is clearly planning.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02- 8-08 3:15 AM
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What is the real agenda of the leadership of Democratic party?

Getting re-elected.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 8-08 5:58 AM
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