Re: Grr

1

I think the point is that politics aren't important to John McCain, which seems undeniably true: the actual work of government, the levers hammers of democracy, the outcomes of particular military campaigns: these are unimportant to him. All he really cares about is having the people he hangs out with every day like him, and a nebulous and poorly thought out concept of "honor" in war.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:14 AM
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What troubles you, Ogged? The implication that McCain may in fact be human, or at least more than the policies that he advocates? Or that since he advocates policies that you disagree with, he must therefore be evil, despite evidence to the contrary, such as in this article. Also remember, Nixon loved his dog.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:15 AM
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Ha, I didn't say anything about McCain because it seems churlish to react as Sifu does to what's basically a sweet anecdote. But in fact I agree with Sifu. Anyway, I was more annoyed by Lewis.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:18 AM
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I agree, ogged.

The thing is that I'm sure that there are plenty of stories about McCain being a nasty human being. The same goes for plenty of Democrats. Many of those stories are never told. That makes it hard for us voters to evaluate a politician on any basis other than the policies he advocates, because it's hard to see how his personal actions will affect his policies which do matter to the rest of us.

Wait, maybe I don't agree with ogged. Aren't you the one who says that it's perfectly valid to judge a politician based on his character?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:22 AM
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1: those aren't "politics", those are "policy". He has no interest in policy beyond a desire not to lose wars.

Politics, that is, getting elected, is extremely important to McCain and is a subset of the "being liked" that even you admit he cares about.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:23 AM
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5: well, "policy" is, in fact, what the article is calling "politics". And "politics", insofar as it refers to something other than merely getting elected, is not something that McCain cares about. As long as he gets elected he could give a fig about politics, and insofar as getting elected is about more than telling the people around you what they want to hear, I doubt he gives a fig about that, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:25 AM
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Where 6 was confusing, I meant to be pointing to the way the article elides "political opposition" and "meaningful policy differences", per the post.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:27 AM
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I am also reminded that while one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic. It would be awfully difficult to get elected to any position, let alone Senator, if one was a truly loathesome individual. But the policies that one advocates affect individuals directly, as Ogged says, and those results can often be loathesome. Add to that the often clubby nature of DC (Gridiron anyone?) and one wonders if the fox isn't guarding the henhouse.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:37 AM
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It would be awfully difficult to get elected to any position, let alone Senator, if one was a truly loathesome individual.

If I act quickly enough, perhaps I can be the first to ridicule this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:40 AM
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Woohoo ! I win.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:40 AM
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It would be awfully difficult to get elected to any position, let alone Senator, if one was a truly loathesome individual.

Strom Thurmond - 47 years in the Senate.
Jesse Helms - 30 years in the Senate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:42 AM
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It would be awfully difficult to get elected to any position, let alone Senator, if one was a truly loathesome individual.

Oh, I think history disproves that pretty conclusively. What you mean to say is that it would be difficult to get elected if one appeared just as loathsome as one actually was. Had Dorian Gray been born in the US, he might've been a fine Senator.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:42 AM
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From Lewis's 1997 Trail Fever:

I'm beginning to understand the war that must occur inside a fourteen-year-old boy who discovers he is more sexually attracted to boys than to girls. The longer I hang around McCain the harder it is to fight the feeling that just maybe I'm...Republican.
.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:43 AM
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I regard it as self-ridiculing.


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:43 AM
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14 to 9-10, but it looks like I missed the pile-on anyway.


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:44 AM
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Without quibbling about definitions, pf, be my guest. Being elected to office entails a certain amount of charisma. The voter does have a choice.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:44 AM
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It looks like a mirror of the "Gore / Kerry is a big phony" stories we had a ton of in 2000 / 2004. Find personal qualities that fit your message, and use them to obscure the actual political issues.

McCain, as far as I can tell, really is or at least once was franker, more off-the-cuff, less plastic and less mealy-mouthed than most politicians. This showed up both in good ways and bad -- the guy can also be very mean and nasty. But talking of the good side is warm and fuzzy and OK, whereas talking about the bad side, while equally relevant and true, is though of as character assassination and pettiness.

Compared to other Republicans McCain is somewhat less of a moron zombie slave, but that's setting a very low bar.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:44 AM
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13.---ew.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:44 AM
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Yeah, McCain's a real sweetie.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:45 AM
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As to the original topic, I think ogged is correct in labelling himself and Sifu churlish.

The correct lesson of the McCain narrative is that there is a place for civility and human decency even when one disagrees about vital matters.

Lewis is at least plausibly correct in saying that, in the context of this narrative, the politics were never that important.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:45 AM
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I look forward to reading Lewis's "Why I want to fuck John McCain."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:46 AM
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The correct lesson of the McCain narrative is that there is a place for civility and human decency even when one disagrees about vital matters.

"Correct" meaning what Lewis intended or "correct" meaning what God intended?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:47 AM
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Again, please separate disagreeing with a policy that one finds disgusting and the individual who advocates same. Both Helms and Thurmond were extremely well liked by their constituents.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:48 AM
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The loathsome can be charismatic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:49 AM
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The correct lesson of the McCain narrative is that Mo Udall was lucky he had Federal health insurance.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:50 AM
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The loathsome can be charismatic.

Oh, Ben. Your youthful optimism is inspiring.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:50 AM
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or "correct" meaning what God intended?

"Correct" meaning what I think is right.

For our purposes here, I view the words "I" and "God" as effectively interchangeable.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:51 AM
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Wait. The quote in 13 is real?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:51 AM
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24 not actually to 23, but it works well, so hey.

Being personable and being loathsome are perfectly compatible, and I don't see what more one might want to convict someone of loathsomeness than a history of advocating and enacting loathsome policies.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:51 AM
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Both Helms and Thurmond were extremely well liked by their constituents.

So was Hitler.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:58 AM
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In defense of Michael Lewis, the John McCain of 1997 had a lot more redeeming qualities than the one who just prevailed in the GOP primary, not the least of which is that he seemed (at the time) to be the best hope of ensuring that George W. Bush never got close to the White House.

OTOH, Lewis is a sucker for eccentric candidates who relieve the tedium of being part of the campaign press, as his infatuation with Morry Taylor in the 1996 primary race amply demonstrates.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:59 AM
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I don't see what more one might want to convict someone of loathsomeness than a history of advocating and enacting loathsome policies.

As determined by whom? Just because one disagrees with a policy doesn't necessarily make it loathsome, although I agree that certainly such policies exist.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:59 AM
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As determined by whom?

I already answered this in 27.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:01 AM
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32 is indeed a sticky point.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:01 AM
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IIRC, McCain was the hero of Trail Fever, and Morry Taylor and Pat Buchanan were the lovable cranks.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:02 AM
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30. a little early in the thread for Godwin Apo. Like I said, Nixon was fond of his dog.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:02 AM
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Nixon was also a proficient bowler, unlike the pantywaists running for the Democratic ticket today. How's McCain's bowling? Until I know this, I will be unable to make up my mind for November.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:06 AM
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Now is the time for some of you Hill staffers to delurk and dish to us about truly loathesome individuals in the U.S. Senate (present or past). John Sununu? Trent Lott? George Allen? Conrad Burns? Carol Moseley-Braun?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:11 AM
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a little early in the thread for Godwin

I'm not comparing you to Hitler, TLL. Maybe I'm a little touchy on this subject from having had that evil fucker for a senator for thirty years, but Helms was popular with the people who voted for him and hated with a white-hot passion by the people who didn't. And he mostly got elected by openly appealing to the racism and homophobia of his constituents. If Jesse Helms isn't loathsome, nobody is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:11 AM
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Thurmond and Helms had some loathsome constitutents.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:12 AM
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And that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:13 AM
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well, they do say you get the government you deserve.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:15 AM
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I guess I don't think there is much of a point to the story beyond indicating that McCain is sometimes likable. The piece is a genre piece, and it calls for a likability vignette to be slotted in somewhere. I can easily imagine a similar Obama piece--I think, actually, I've read them--mentioning his call to the student whose play for a woman he salted.

Likability is important, but--excepting those who want to be excepted--we kind of already know which politicians are likable. The story is just there to make us think that there's real substance to our impression.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:16 AM
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38: Will the House do? Actually, come to think of it, Howard Metzenbaum was personally a very, very difficult guy. But he was also a procedural (I really am sorry about this) giant and great on policy. May he rest in peace.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:19 AM
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Thurmond and Helms had some loathsome constitutents.

Democracy sucks, sometimes.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:21 AM
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I, churl because I love.

You all, not John McCain. Don't love him, no sir.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:25 AM
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Lewis got taken. McCain anticipated running for office in Arizona again, and running for Presdient. There was an excellent political reason to visit the dying but still fondly remembered Senator Mo Udall WITH A JOURNALIST AT YOUR SIDE. It got McCain a useful soft story in 1996 and again today, a fine payoff for fulfilling an unpleasant but not difficult duty. I'd bet Lewis wasn't the first journalist to tag along on these visits. The prior evidence would be in small town Arizona newspapers.

Bonus: McCain's kindness to Mo Udall put him in good graces with a powerful Arizona politician, Mo's brother Stewart Udall, who could have made life difficult for McCain at re-election time. And perhaps the family relationship led Mo's son and nephew, both current Congressmen planning to run for Senate, to seek elective office in other states rather than challenge McCain in Arizona.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:28 AM
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Will the House do?

Naming loathesome House members is trivially easy. North Carolina alone has, like, three of them.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:29 AM
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The correct lesson of the McCain narrative is that there is a place for civility and human decency even when one disagrees about vital matters.

Bingo. And this is correct from the "god's eye view" perspective, and from the practical politics perspective.

I know a lot of y'all profess that the US is heading towards a fascist tyranny, and that the war in Iraq was an intrinsically immoral action equivalent to the intentional decision to kill civilians. That may be an exaggeration of the mean unfogged view, but it probably isn't off by an order of magnitude on the JECDS.* And if so, then sure, I can understand the weariness with civility and human decency. If your domestic opponent is bad enough -- and let's break out the second Hitler reference of the thread -- civility and decency will be beside the point. The question is how your sensitivity/specificity on making this judgment. If you set the barrier too low, the danger is you end up "compromising" with people who are acting in bad faith, secretly hold you in contempt, and will destroy all you hold dear. If you set the barrier too high, you compromise on nothing, drive away anyone but fanatics, and get nothing accomplished. If there's a middle ground, it probably requires a view like the one Lewis describes:

We disagree in politics but not in life. It was one man saying to another, party political differences cut only so deep. Having made that step, they found much to agree upon and many useful ways to work together.

Note that this is absolutely not the same statement a "policy differences are irrelevant." This is a strawman.

*The Jones/Emerson Civilizational Despair Scale


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:30 AM
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49 is an excellent comment, and also introduces the useful concept of the JECDS.

Hillary was super impressive in the Senate yesterday. Reminded me of just how good she can be.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:34 AM
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Who is Jones, baa?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:34 AM
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If you set the barrier too low, the danger is you end up "compromising" with people who are acting in bad faith, secretly hold you in contempt, and will destroy all you hold dear.

One problem with this formulation of the issue is "bad faith." For example, I don't see how a reasonable person could read what the neocons write and not believe that they were acting on the basis of bad faith. And, yet, I think the neocons are entirely (or at least mostly) sincere. They're just idiots along some important vector.

The issue isn't just "not compromise"; it's "drive out." See the discusson of John Yoo.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:37 AM
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51: Stras.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:37 AM
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in the Senate yesterday. Reminded me of just how good she can be.

So will someone please muscle Reid into trading the Leader post for her going quietly before the Convention? Win-win, if ever there was.

PS - How awesome would that leadership be? Obama, Pelosi, HRC. Maybe Barney Frank could be Veep.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:37 AM
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51: strasmangelo (sp?) jones, I think, who would be surprised if the human race doesn't go extinction in our children's lifetimes.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:38 AM
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Is the JECDS an unbounded logarhythmic scale, like the Richter scale? Or unbounded linear? Or bounded linear? Are negative values permissible ("Instapundit's post today on the prospects for transhumanist colonization of distant solar systems was a -4.2 on the JECDS...")?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:38 AM
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"Extinction" s/b "extinct," of course.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:38 AM
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OT, except as related to loathsomeness: The local figure I've described a number of times here as the most frankly corrupt individual I've ever encountered in gov't has been outed in pretty definitive fashion.

Got a surround-sound system from a billboard exec; gave the billboard exec a sweetheart deal on a giant LED sign Downtown, bypassing 2, if not 3, public hearings. Quid pro quo, clear as day.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:41 AM
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On the general topic of politician attractiveness, I turned on C-SPAN today to watch the House floor, and saw an extremely hot middle-aged woman speaking. I was like, is that a representative? She's the best-looking Congresscritter I've ever seen.

Then her name went up: Mary Bono.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:49 AM
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2, 49 and others: The problem with "The politics were never all that important," is the writer himself, not McCain. Which is what ogged said way back in 3.

If you want to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, you can say that he phrased it badly or just too concisely, and he was really only talking about the specific case in front of him rather than in general. However, the final line seems like a common attitude in the press as a whole. There is a place for human interest stories about political leaders, but it sure would be nice if it didn't make up, at a rough estimate, 80 percent of in-depth reporting about government.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:50 AM
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Jones = human extinction by 2208 or bust!

SCMT,

Part of the point is that "drive out" is usually a fantasy. Or at least that one needs to know when the goal of driving out is in any degree practical. In the event, Udall and McCain were no more likely to "drive out" the other's views from the public sphere than they were to fly to the moon and bring back delicious green cheese to feed the world's poor. If McCain had said "I am going to help the American poor by bringing back moon cheese, and it's that or bust" you'd mock him, right? But this plan sounds eminently sensible compared to one which relies on the complete defeat of political opinions like Udall's. You aren't going to "drive out" the mainstream of either of the two major US political parties.

KR,

Is the JECDS an unbounded logarhythmic scale, like the Richter scale? Or unbounded linear?

Great, great question. I had imagined it like the atomic doomsday clock -- never better than two minutes to midnight. But perhaps an unbounded log scale is better. And "soft landing" singularitarians definitely need access to negative numbers.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:51 AM
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. You aren't going to "drive out" the mainstream of either of the two major US political parties.

I don't know about that, except insofar as we're measuring "mainstream" in bodies holding an opinion at a given moment. I'd suggest that the run-up to the Iraq war suggests that you can drive out mainstream--here meaning something like "of longstanding, well-regarded lineage"--opinions, at least out of important policy-setting or enabling forums.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 11:58 AM
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We talk about politics too much as cheerleaders, or as if it's a badly written soap opera. Will McCain's chumminess win him the election? Is Hillary perceived as too shrill? Meanwhile, we debate whether Obama is a Secret Muslim Black Radical (Albatross?) Will Stefano's machinations finally prevail? Next on Days of Our Lives. . . It's like Cyrus says. It's 80% human interest stories and hairstyles.

Look, I get that "driving out the bastards" is going to be unlikely given that would require driving out half the country, and that having a genial personality might be one way to make the bastards less relevant.

But we're electing a President, not a cheerleading captain, and however honest a gentleman McCain actually is, he's coming along with a set of policies that seem to be the last eight years but with a straight-shooting style. McCain (or his persona, at least), sounds like a nice guy. He'd be welcome to have a beer. But his party ain't fit to manage gas station.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:05 PM
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SCMT,

Maybe there's clarification here that's useful. It's obviously true that the mainstream can change. It's likewise obviously true that policies views held by many people can be overridden in the policy formation process. The point I was trying to make was a smaller one: that as a matter of political pragmatism, you should not base your plans on "driving out" people who are represent a huge chunk of the population. This is as much true intra-party as inter-party. If you think 80% of the people in your party are sell-outs and morally decrepit and won't work with them, you aren't going to get a lot accomplished. Likewise, I think, if you take this view with respect to a large number of legislators/voters in a two-party system. Now sometimes you just need to make this call. "No pact with unrepentant wrong," etc. But insofar as a political actor is over-disposed to make this call, he'll be ineffective. Insofar as one is are under-disposed to make this call, he is likely to be a tool for evil causes.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:06 PM
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For our entire national history, dating back to Valley Forge, torture had been driven out of the political conversation in this country. The fact that the Republican Party dragged it back in doesn't make it impossible to drive it back out.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:07 PM
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Will Stefano's machinations finally prevail? Next on Days of Our Lives. . .

I knew I liked you.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:07 PM
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Next on Days of Our Lives. . . As teh stomach churns.

Politics in some regards is a poorly written soap opera.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:11 PM
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I forget where I saw the McCain story about the non-nice side of McCain, but he was arguing with some bedwetting conservative about immigration (you know the 'we're being overrun let's require ID to buy a soda' kind, once they have more than 2% Hispanic people in their state), and I think his line was "Fuck you, I know more about this than anyone else in the room."

I think it was being cited wherever I read it as proof of McCain's irresponsible temper but I actually think it describes the source of McCain's appeal.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:13 PM
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But insofar as a political actor is over-disposed to make this call, he'll be ineffective. Insofar as one is are under-disposed to make this call, he is likely to be a tool for evil causes.

My impression is that the latter type has been the rule for Dems in recent years (WJC talks warmly about Gingrich in his memoir, fer cryin out loud). A number of prominent Rs, especially, DeLay, speak as if they're entirely over-disposed to make that call, with no electoral disadvantage (he was indicted for corruption, not excessive partisanship). It's likely that DeLay at al aren't quite as over-disposed as they say, but it's awfully close (they didn't even want votes from moderate Rs on their bills).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:13 PM
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I actually think it describes the source of McCain's appeal.

Oh, no question. His "Get together the Sunnis and the Shi'a and tell them to 'cut the bullshit'" is one of the stupidest things ever said by a presidential candidate [not named GWB], but it sounds awesome to the casual voter who himself says things like, "They're all crazy over there."

That said, it's also part of why I feel comfortable about November. McCain's line of no-nonsense, cut-the-BS is great as a soundbite, or an anecdote, but it's so incredibly dumb that an actual living opponent can hang it around his neck like an albatross (just like "100 years"). It's dumb enough that you don't have to sound like Professor McNerdly to smack it down. The fact that he can't reliably distinguish between Sunni and Shi'a helps, I'll also note.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:19 PM
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The fact that he can't reliably distinguish between Sunni and Shi'a helps, I'll also note.

Surely I won't be the first to note that this sort of ignorance has never troubled a majority of the electorate in the past.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:23 PM
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I mean, they're all A-rabs, right?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:23 PM
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Jesus fucking Christ, I'm tired of this nation of overgrown children waddling to the polls every four years to elect a surrogate daddy figure. America, either grow the fuck up and try putting people in charge based on the sanity and soundness of what they plan to do while they're in charge, or stay home and play with your action figures, because the rest of the world gets to live or die by your grotesque fantasies of Manly Authenticity.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:23 PM
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||
Apropos of nothing in particular, it pleases me to see that "the ogged" persists on Wikipedia.
|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:26 PM
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That's awesome.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:27 PM
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you get the government you deserve.

I do not, goddamit, and I regard this as a personal insult.

(Then again, at least I was never a constituent of Jesse Helms.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:29 PM
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Surely I won't be the first to note that this sort of ignorance has never troubled a majority of the electorate in the past.

I didn't mean that voters will hear McCain's line, then think to themselves, "does he even know the difference?" I mean that it's a big fat softball for Obama: "Mr. Obama, your opponent wants to sit down the Sunni and Shi'a for frank talks." "Will he even be able to tell the difference? [zing!] It's time America had a leader who knows what's going on beyond our shores...." Etc.

We need to destroy McCain's credibility on nat'l security issues; being able to portray him as just as ignorant as GWB is a great start.

For the record, I don't endorse stras' proposed campaign theme in 73. I think that would be problematic language for Obama or Hillary.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:30 PM
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74: Wow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:31 PM
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74 is awesome. I remain desolated that urban dictionary didn't accept this


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:34 PM
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If you set the barrier too high, you compromise on nothing, drive away anyone but fanatics, and get nothing accomplished.

This is either a platitude or a platitude that the Bush Administration has spent the last 8 years refuting.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:35 PM
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77: This gets back to the idea that if Kerry had responded to being swiftboated with a speech about his military service, as Obama did to the Wright charges with his speech on race, we'd be arriving at the end of President Kerry's first term. The problem is, I really don't believe that most Americans (I have no evidence for this contention whatsoever) care if their president knows the difference between Sunnis and
Shi'as. I was being glib in 72, of course, but I think there's some truth in that. Still, Jake Tapper is pretending to care.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:37 PM
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Huh, my link didn't work.

Also, per 79, I mourn the editors' bad judgment with you.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:39 PM
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Christ, sorry for the syntax in 81. I'd blame my failings on fatigue, and ptsd from my steel-cage match with D2, but the truth is I'm just worthless.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:41 PM
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but the truth is I'm just worthless.

Ari and dsquared achieve comity at last !!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 12:50 PM
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65
For our entire national history, dating back to Valley Forge, torture had been driven out of the political conversation in the non-slave-owning parts of this country.

Fixed.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 1:09 PM
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85: Yeah, I thought of that. The Injuns weren't exactly treated as respected prisoners, either.

Really, it's the same impulse - the dark-skinned must suffer physically. We used to get around the tabu against torture by stating frankly our racism. Now that we can't openly call Muslims sub-human (not that plenty of rightwing bloggers, and Christopher Hitchens, don't), we exhibit our need to punish the darkies by advocating torture itself as High Principle.

Not an edifying development.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 1:18 PM
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treating other people like human beings is a better way to practice politics.

And even if it's not, it's the entire *point* of politics and governance. Or should be.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:07 PM
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it's the entire *point* of politics and governance.

Pols treating each other like human beings while chummily treating hoi polloi like cannon fodder doesn't seem to be helpful.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:15 PM
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Muslims sub-human (not that plenty of rightwing bloggers, and Christopher Hitchens, don't)

Without a reference it is hard to tell, but I would venture to say that Islamic fundamentalist terrorists were being considered sub-human, not all Muslims. A rhetorical over reach even so.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:37 PM
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I would venture to say that Islamic fundamentalist terrorists were being considered sub-human, not all Muslims

No, all of them, quite often. See Peretz, Marty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:38 PM
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89: for that matter, some of them haven't demonstrated an understanding much more nuanced than "Islamic fundamentalist terrorists" == "brown people over there"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:40 PM
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See Peretz, Marty.

There's my problem. In my book Peretz is a "lefty". Other side of the Emerson scale, I guess.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:53 PM
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The point I was trying to make was a smaller one: that as a matter of political pragmatism, you should not base your plans on "driving out" people who are represent a huge chunk of the population. This is as much true intra-party as inter-party....Likewise, I think, if you take this view with respect to a large number of legislators/voters in a two-party system.

I think the point in need of clarification may come earlier. I don't think most people hold well specified political views. (For a sufficient level of specification, nobody does.) So "driving out people" really means making some small set of people and the ideas associated with them sufficiently unpopular that those people cannot effectively take part in the elaboration of political views. Basically, this is about limiting the ingredients from which a menu of political and policy choices is constructed. Obviously, some groups of people are more susceptible to this sort of treatment than others, and people on the other side probably should aknowledge this. Tainting longhairs who don't wash--easy. Tainting war heroes beloved by the media--hard. Tainting Republicans (or neocons, or Southern Conservatives) in the shade of the Bush Administration...we'll find out.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:53 PM
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92: not for a long time, I'd argue. Anyhow it's hardly confined to him. See like half the right-wing blogosphere, circa 2001-present. I can understand if you'd rather not; I sure wouldn't care to revisit it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:55 PM
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If you're really a paleo, TLL, Peretz and the neocons are lefties. But that's crazy talk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:56 PM
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In my book Peretz is a "lefty".

None of us are willing to accept him.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:56 PM
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Tainting Republicans (or neocons, or Southern Conservatives) in the shade of the Bush Administration...we'll find out.

From your pixels to god's ears. For the good of the nation, for the good of my sanity, and, come to think of it, for the good of my future sanity. I honestly don't think I'll be able to bear it if, over the long term, movement conservatives win the memory war sure to be fought over the happenings of the past seven years.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:58 PM
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In my book Peretz is a "lefty".

Did you mean to type "Jew"?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 2:59 PM
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I honestly don't think I'll be able to bear it if

I won't be able to bear it if they aren't slapped around in the next election, let alone poisoning the historical record.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:00 PM
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97, 99: if they managed it in 1946 they can pull it off now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:01 PM
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99: I suspect that this is as close to a foregone conclusion as there is in political prognostication more than six months out from an election. Maybe not at the presidential level -- though I have a hard time believing that Obama won't win -- but certainly in both houses of Congress. And also, if Obama is the nominee, in many state races as well.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:03 PM
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Highly understandable why any self-respecting Ogged would want to "Grr" the "Bomb-bomb-Iran" guy; but isn't this the wrong vignette? Maybe this story would have been better.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:06 PM
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FWIW, I have given up on the National Review now that the guiding light has been extinguished. I don't know if that makes me a paleocon, but it aint neo.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:07 PM
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101: I think you're right, but it'll be a real loss if--given the moment--the only gains are Election '08 ones.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:07 PM
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101: There was just a piece - linked from TPM maybe? - today showing that there are ~10 "battleground" Senate races; 9 of them have D incumbents. It's a mind-bogglingly target-rich environment for Dems. We cleaned the field pretty well in 2006, but I suspect there are another 10-15 seats we can pick up in the House, as well.

Biggest thing is that this year sets the stage in state houses for the next redistricting; barring a hideous reversal in 2010, the next set of districts should be much more D-favorable; something like 15-20 additional seats without even trying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:08 PM
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100 Oh I agree it isn't likely. But it's disturbingly plausible.

101: It would be tragic.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:10 PM
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sets the stage in state houses for the next redistricting

That's the big prize, indeed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:12 PM
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105: "D" in the sense of "R".

"American Conservative" is the paleo rag. Anti-this-war, anti-globalist, anti-immigrant, anti-tax, anti-spending, and with a taste of Christocentrism and racism. Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are the stars.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:12 PM
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104-105: Indeed. And I don't think there's any reason to think of a 10-15 seat gain in the House as aspirational. Really, there have been few moments in modern political history in which one party was in such woeful shape as the Republicans are right now.

The future, though, is much more complicated. Which isn't to say I don't agree with Tim, that 2008 must be treated as just the first step -- still another reason to embrace Obama, who, relatively speaking, has embraced the fifty-state strategy. But I worry about the economy, about peace with dishonor, about more terrorism, etc. Assuming that the Democrats control both the executive and legislative branches, they're going to have a big mess to clean up. Is there any reason to believe that they're up to the job?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:15 PM
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Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are the stars.

Sheesh, I'd rather read the Nation.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:15 PM
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"Peace with dishonor," I hope it goes without saying, as an effective Republican talking point -- not my view.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:17 PM
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100: I'm not sure 1946 is a good analogue. There was postwar-weariness and an economic downturn, but the Dems were the incumbents. It's hard to convince people that the party out of power would be even worse. And, frankly, I suspect the Dems had given up some of the killer instinct in 14 years of hardly-opposed power.

Besides, the Red Scare was already venerable by 1946; there's no obvious reason to think that Dems could have headed it off without being irresponsible (after all, McCarthyism was, more than anything else, an attack on Dems for not being stupid and irrational).

Anyway, this is why so many of us are praying that Obama's definition of "post-partisan" somehow includes "sticking the shiv in a dying body." I'd like every Dem candidate in the country to have to chuck a dollar in a jar for every sentence s/he fails to start with "after almost 30 years of failed Republican ideas." Rs have made "liberal" a dirty word; "Republican" needs to become even dirtier.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:18 PM
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109: Even if they are up for the job (and this is at best debateable), there is a very real open tactical path for the R's to try and pin a lot of this stuff on them. Which is the kind of dirty work R's have proved quite proficient at. A 2008 D win followed by a morass and a 2012 reversal isn't inconceivable. Neither is a 2008 win followed by a run to the right (at least in some areas) to avoid same.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:19 PM
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they're going to have a big mess to clean up.

Absolutely. But 4 years is a long time. Either the economy will be better, and there'll be a coronation of a reelection, or we'll still be in the shitter, and it'll be like 1936 - people hate GWB, and they won't forget whose Depression it is.

Obviously, the war is the wildcard on that analysis, but I have trouble seeing how it could entirely trump the economic side.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:22 PM
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If you're really a paleo, TLL, Peretz and the neocons are lefties. But that's crazy talk.

I think it's fair to say that they exist somewhere off the standard right/left scale. However, they are authoritarians and colonialists.

I think people are unfortunately too optimistic about Obama electorally, just from a pragmatic perspective. But despite that, the Dems will almost for certain expand their House/Senate majorities.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:23 PM
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a very real open tactical path for the R's to try and pin a lot of this stuff on them

On the economy? Bullshit. Seriously, there's nothing there. I mean, I suppose that the Dem Party at its worst could succeed in failing here, but there's no way I'd describe it as likely, or "an open path."

Poisoning the well on the war is much more within the R's power, but I don't think it'll work in that timeframe, barring a withdrawal from Iraq followed 6 months later by another 9/11.

One thing to note about the Dolchstoss this time 'round - there won't be any potent symbols of failure/loss in Iraq - no helicopters on the embassy, no boat people, no lost POWs. What event could happen in Baghdad that will look, to the average American, like proof that we "lost?" A Shi'ite gov't? A Sunni gov't? Daily violence? The President of Iran being welcomed with flowers?

The Rs will try, and a lot of Americans who hate the war now will, in 10 years, blame the Ds for ending it. But I don't see it being a symbol of weakness the way Vietnam was. In Vietnam, we left and the Commies - whom we opposed for 50 years at that point - took over. But bin Laden won't become President of Iraq. Hell, if we caught bin Laden in February '09, I'd say we could pull out every last troop by March and throw a fucking parade. "We won!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:29 PM
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"American Conservative" is the paleo rag. Anti-this-war, anti-globalist, anti-immigrant, anti-tax, anti-spending, and with a taste of Christocentrism and racism. Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are the stars.

I think it's a flat-out great magazine. Buchanan and Paul don't write much of the actual content of the thing. They've found a whole bunch of terrific new conservative writers from a sort of paleo/communitarian perspective. They've been strongly anti-Bush and anti-Iraq since the beginning.

Andrew Bacevich is probably my favorite writer regularly published there, but there are many other good and interesting ones.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:34 PM
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PGD, have you seen the number of new voters the Obama camp has been registering? Check out Nicholas Beaudrot's numbers and maps at Cogitamus on the subject. I know that I'm a shameless Obama booster. But this is why: his ability to create a new Democratic Party, both with new voters and new donors.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:34 PM
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On the economy? Bullshit.

That really depends how badly it goes, and when.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:34 PM
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a lot of Americans who hate the war now will, in 10 years, blame the Ds for ending it

See, there you go again: making my blood pressure go up using only your words.

Hell, if we caught bin Laden in February '09, I'd say we could pull out every last troop by March and throw a fucking parade. "We won!"

This is almost certainly true.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:37 PM
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Hell, if we caught bin Laden in February '09, I'd say we could pull out every last troop by March and throw a fucking parade. "We won!"

That's probably true. I can't see it as likely, but true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 3:40 PM
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They won't forget whose Depression it is.

They need to be constantly reminded with 3-word soundbites, or they will certainly forget. Some for the war. We can be sure that the Republican soundbites will be out there in force.

This is among the things that Democrats are bad at that drive me absolutely crazy. What's the soundbite for Bush's failed war? I don't believe that it's out there. What's the soundbite for closeted Republican sex criminals? What's the sound bite for the Greenspan-Bush recession / depression? What's the soundbite for the most fiscally irresponsible President in U.S. history? What's the soundbite for record-breaking Republican porkbarrel spending?

You need simple, easy-to-understand messages, and they have to be repeated until they're taken for granted. "Tax and spend". "Corrupt unions". "Failing schools". "Blame America first". "Death tax".

It helps if it's true, but that's not actually very important. But we don't need to lie or be cagy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 4:01 PM
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You don't think "procedural liberalism" is a winner, John? Because I think it's got legs as a slogan.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 4:04 PM
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It is two words, but nine syllables is too many. "Blame America first" is at the long end for a soundbite.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 4:10 PM
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"Pointless sacrifice of American lives" (N.B., never "waste")
"Trillions down a Middle Eastern rathole" (sorry about the implicit racism, but, you know...)
"Squandering the world's finest military"
"Handouts to millionaire bankers"
"Wrecked the economy"
"Bankrupted the treasury"
"Saddled America with debt"
"Lined the pockets of his friends"
"Fiddled while the economy burns"
"Out to lunch"
"At the mercy of OPEC"
"Economy in shambles"
"Threw middle class families to the wolves"
"Let the banks do as they please"
"Never once said 'no' to Big Oil"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 4:29 PM
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KR, they all break the six-syllable rule except "out to lunch", but "out to lunch" is too unspecific.

Crafting these soundbites isn't easy. Has to be short, catchy, and have some specific meaning. My "Bush recession" came close, but there's nothing catchy or memorable about it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 4:31 PM
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Has to be short, catchy, and have some specific meaning.

"Heads on pikes"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 5:17 PM
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"heads in hogs"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 6:00 PM
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"hogsheads for everyone!"


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 6:54 PM
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"The Hog Farm Solution"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:07 PM
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Actually, I think "Heads oughta' roll!" could be a good slogan. It takes "Had enough?" and "Throw the bums out!" a step and a half further.

The DCCC might not be so comfortable with it, but as long as our side can keep friendly fire casualties to a minimum, it's not a bad idea to give voice to the inchoate rage of the electorate.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:11 PM
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The implied political violence of your slogan will have you visited by the authorities, Knecht.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:22 PM
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122

"... What's the soundbite for Bush's failed war? ..."

"Bush lied, people died"


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:22 PM
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122: Nope, been played.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:24 PM
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"Bush lied, people died"

No good. Tainted by association with the DFH's.

My hunch is that the most effective slogan will convey either that the war degraded the world's best army for no good reason, or that it wasted a lot of tax dollars on ungrateful brown people.

Something like Bismarck's "The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier", or LBJ's "American boys shouldn't be over there doing a job that Vietnamese boys should be doing".

If the slogan can also work in that GWB is too much of a pussy to admit a mistake, so much the better.

Only in six syllables or less, obviously.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:32 PM
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LBJ's "American boys shouldn't be over there doing a job that Vietnamese boys should be doing".

That one has REALLY been played.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:34 PM
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122

"... and they have to be repeated until they're taken for granted. ..."

134

"... Nope, been played."

So how is been played a valid objection?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:41 PM
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James, how about doing a little Jack Welch style "destroy your own business" exercise. What is the most effective slogan the Dems could use to impugn the GOP in 2008 and beyond?

Brer-Rabbit posturing is obviously pointless, since none of us here holds any sway over the Dems anyway.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 7:47 PM
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138

Are you under the misapprehension that I support Bush and the war?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:01 PM
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James, are you a bot? "Bush lied, people died" has already been through the whole soundbite life cycle. It was not very effective because at the time it went out, no one took it seriously.

"Valid objection" is not a term from the soundbite universe of discourse.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:02 PM
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139: No, but you seem to have an affinity for the Republican party, so your perspective on its vulnerabilities is interesting to me.

The slogan needn't necessarily attack the Republicans' stance on the war, though their fealty to Bush on the subject is no doubt a weak spot in their armor.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:06 PM
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140

"James, are you a bot? "Bush lied, people died" has already been through the whole soundbite life cycle. It was not very effective because at the time it went out, no one took it seriously."

Support for Bush and his war has dropped steadily so what was so ineffective?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:07 PM
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Since the Republicans were supposed to be the Daddy party- perhaps this lyric

"Papa was a rolling stone
wherever he lay his hat was his home
and when he died
all he left was was alone" Make a pun with a loan.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:10 PM
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It was used heavily at the beginning of the war when opposition was the opinion of a tiny minority. It was ineffective than, and it will have no new effect if it is revived.

Sound bites are like advertisements for gum or soap. Gum advertisers will change campaigns every once in awhile just because familiarity breeds boredom.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:10 PM
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141

"No, but you seem to have an affinity for the Republican party, so your perspective on its vulnerabilities is interesting to me. "

Well if you actually want to split off Republican voters the obvious move is get to the right of Bush on illegal immigration. Put this together with getting out of Iraq and you have a reasonably coherent put America first platform.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:11 PM
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144

"Sound bites are like advertisements for gum or soap. Gum advertisers will change campaigns every once in awhile just because familiarity breeds boredom."

This contradicts your earlier repeat until taken for granted prescription. How long have the Republicans been talking about corrupt unions?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:16 PM
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James, a lot of the best Republican soundbites are 40 years old, but for that very reason they always have to be looking for new ones too. There's this thing called time......


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 8:26 PM
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141

And as long as we are talking about vulnerabilities I think the Democrats biggest vulnerability is winning in 2008 and then failing to accomplish anything. In particular if they win they should pull completely out of Iraq immediately. But I have doubts they will.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 9-08 10:04 PM
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Well, it sure is nice of McCain to visit an old colleague, but it won't stop him from bombing Iran if he gets the presidency.

Personalities don't matter, policies do. And more than policies, ideology.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 3:10 AM
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This is setting the bar about a mm off the ground, but I do take that anecdote as evidence that McCain is a better man and would be a better President than GWB. Bush, I am convinced, has no conscience at all. Not only is he incapable of empathy, he delights in the suffering of others. Like all sociopaths, he is capable of feigning empathy in order to get something he wants, but fundamentally he doesn't care whether any given individual lives or dies.

McCain, like most of humanity, feels afflicted by the experience of other people's suffering--even more so, perhaps, since he has known suffering in an extreme degree.

Will this keep him from bombing Iran? Probably not. He has other things going on in his head that override the capacity for empathy. But in the event of a Walter Reed or a Katrina, he would be genuinely upset, as opposed to merely concerned about what it could do to his approval rating.

Like I say, I'm setting the bar absurdly low, but there it is.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 5:44 AM
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McCain is a better man and would be a better President than GWB

I agree with the first but disagree with the second in the strongest possible way.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:17 AM
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I'm having a hard time imagining how McCain could be worse.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:23 AM
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I think that the human qualities are only worth anything at all if the statesman is trying to do the right thing. McCain is even more hawkish than Bush, and even if he, as a person, maintains some kind of humanity while in office, that will do nothing to reduce the harm he will do.

I'd put humane qualities third on my list. Number one, be reasonably competent and capable. Number two, try to do the right things. Number three, try not to achieve your aims in a completely vicious way, and try to soften the harshest aspects of what you're doing to the extent possible. I'd rather have #1 and #2 alone than #2 and #3 alone. (Either #1 or #2 by itself would be pretty bad, too -- incompetent good intentions or competent evil-doing.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:29 AM
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McCain would be wore because he's actually much more militaristic than Bush. The National Greatness people are worse than the neocons.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:30 AM
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The National Greatness people are worse than the neocons.

The National Greatness people are neocons.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:33 AM
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No they aren't. Related but different. Less Israelocentric, for one thing, and less involved in the neocons non-military projects.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:36 AM
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156: So in your formulation, David Brooks and William Kristol aren't neocons? We differ.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:39 AM
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I have to concede that there's overlap. But McCain isn't a neocon. He's a militarist old conservative.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:40 AM
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McCain is crazier than Bush, and probably just as ignorant/stupid when it comes to the rest of the world. To the extent that he has any coherent foreign policy, it's guided by a sentimental love of militarism and a giddy lust for war. With Bush, I frequently got the impression that he knows on some level that he's in over his head but refuses to acknowledge it because he's just too much of a stubborn and self-aggrandizing idiot; I think McCain looks at the absolute clusterfuck of Iraq and Afghanistan and fetishizes it, because War is Hell and Sacrifice and that's what Our Boys Do, yessir.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:43 AM
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156: Right, National Greatness wants to require everyone to perform "National Service;" neocons couldn't give two shits. Indeed, they'd probably prefer that everyone stay nice and comfortable at home, while they keep busy ruling the Empire.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 8:46 AM
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Marshall whatever his name who wrote the bull moose blog for the DLC was definitely a National Greatness type. He's not a neocon. He's absolutely insufferable and worked for McCain but not a neocon.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:31 AM
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161: Yeah, I was totally going to mention him.

I think the NG people latched onto McCain, but I don't think it's actually his gig - he cares much more about starting wars than the NG people do, plus it's not as if he has a philosophy.

But I may be basing my def of NG too much on Marshall.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:42 AM
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Bush has no guiding philosophy beyond getting elected and protecting the big investor class. I'm sure he feels like he got talked into a bad decision on Iraq, and now just can't back down from it. McCain, on the other hand, doesn't need anybody to talk him into these sorts of military adventures.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-10-08 9:45 AM
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