Re: The Other, Lesser Clinton and That Biden Guy

1

Has anyone explicitly addressed race yet? I haven't heard it, but I haven't heard all that much of the convention. I'm hoping Bill will.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 6:55 PM
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I'm not sure I know what needs to be said about race.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 6:57 PM
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Someone sure is popular.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 6:58 PM
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4

Goooooo Bill!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 6:58 PM
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I felt kinda bad that that Bayh guy thought he might get to be VP and all he got was some little speech.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:00 PM
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I felt kinda bad that that Bayh guy thought he might get to be VP and all he got was some little speech.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:00 PM
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Stupid line about global warming; that's okay.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:01 PM
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lol@bill saying "shut up fuckers i want to to talk for a long time don't steal my minutes"


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:02 PM
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Awwww pretty cute about talking in the wake of hillary.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:02 PM
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"Actually, that makes 18 million of us": good!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:03 PM
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11

2: Someone needs to say that it is fucking wonderful that a black man was just nominated for president. It's hardly ever said by major politicians because it's playing the to-mention-race-is-to-be-an-anti-white-racist card.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:04 PM
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12

Has convinced him that what? Stupid framedropping.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:04 PM
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See? "Family heritage" and "diversity." Dog whistle to those of us who've noticed he's black.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:05 PM
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14

Well that was pretty darn unequivocal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:05 PM
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11: I don't think you're going to get that. You seem to already know why.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:06 PM
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Huh, am I on a time lag? Sings point to yes. Stupid cspan. Stupid directv.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:06 PM
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Well, okay, if we're counting dog whistles ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:07 PM
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15: Well, sure, but what is Unfogged for but to lament that which isn't?

I wonder what Jesse Jr. said. I'll have to take a look.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:08 PM
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19

Bill seems to know a lot about what Obama's plans are.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:08 PM
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19: Yeah, I thought Obama planned to capitulate to America's enemies. Apparently not ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:09 PM
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21

Chiasmus ftw.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:09 PM
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chiastic rhetoric!--a subtle tribute to Fredrick Douglass from the First Black Prez....


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:10 PM
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23

What next?!?!?!?!??? Zeugma perhaps?!@!!!!


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:11 PM
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24

"power of our example", "example of our power"? Is that chiasmus?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:12 PM
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25

You know it, teach.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:13 PM
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I'd already found the wikipedia, as it turns out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:13 PM
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Sweet indictment of modern republiicanism.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:14 PM
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This bit about McCain could do with a bit more bite.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:14 PM
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Good man my ass. Way to bring up the POW thing. Dude, WTF? Is he really licking McCain's ass like this? The guy's wrong about everything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:15 PM
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(As if we were going to forget that he was a POW.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:15 PM
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Don't call the GOP nominee a "good man" at the convention, jesus fucking christ.

"Their candidate"? JOHN MCCAIN EQUALS BAD.

Stupid, annoying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:16 PM
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19:Well, Clinton just capitulated by calling McCain a "good man."

Look, if the previous Republicans have just made some mistakes, some errors in judgements, then maybe the next batch will be competent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:16 PM
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31:Comity


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:17 PM
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Achievements proof of our continuing progress = most explicit acknowledgement of race we'll get.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:17 PM
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they're just not gonna attack McCain this week--it's not in the master plan, I guess....high road all the way....


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:18 PM
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36

Gofd, all this pro-MCcain shit.
You know Hitler was wounded in Battle too?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:18 PM
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37

The beginning of Jesse Jr.'s speech:

I'm sure Dr. King is looking down on us here in Denver, noting that this is the first political convention in history to take place within sight of his mountaintop.
On the day President Johnson submitted the Voting Rights Act to Congress, he said, "At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom."
So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was at Appomattox. So it was in Selma, Alabama. Tonight, I would like to add: and so it shall be in Denver, Colorado, with the nomination of Barack Obama to be President of the United States.

And the ending:

Forty-five years to the day after a young preacher called out, "Let freedom ring," let history show in this fourth week of August in this Mile-High City, freedom in America has never rung from a higher mountaintop than it does here today.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:18 PM
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Eh, nice, but he could have been tougher - maybe Biden will serve up the red meat.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:19 PM
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39

The chiasmus proves that Clinton's speech is of ancient Israelite origin, just like the Book of Mormon.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:19 PM
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40

U2? They've lost my vote.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:19 PM
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Bill Clinton showing how it's done. Superb speech. He has a solid claim to being the best post-WWII American president, and he's still a master. Every Democrat owes him a lot -- if not for the example of the successful Clinton presidency, Obama would have much less chance of winning now.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:19 PM
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God, this is annoying me. "us" vs. "Obama"? I, overparser.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:20 PM
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43

"us" vs. "Obama"

Everyone in that room is not Obama.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:21 PM
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44

It occurs to me that I could just preëptively disagree with PGD on everything political and not be too far off. I found Bill's speech inadequate, ungracious in some subtle particulars, and just not there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:21 PM
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45

Obama and his people are in charge of the convention.

If it is not partisan enough, if there are insuffcient attacks or if the attacks aren't vicious enough, it may very well be because that is what the post-partisan Obama wants to be the theme or message of the convention, and what we should expect from the candidate tomorrow night.

We luuuuuv Republicans, and Obama will indeed give the fatted calf to the prodigal sons over his more loyal brothers. Fuck us.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:23 PM
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46

I don't get "ungracious." Not sure what more Bill can do beyond saying that Obama in 2008 is like Bill in 1992.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:24 PM
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47

The PBS punditry is so white and male it's ridiculous.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:24 PM
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48

I knew y'all would be freaking out the moment he said McCain was a "good man." Remember that Americans have liked and known McCain for a while. Clinton got the attack just right—this is a guy and a party we thought were good, but when finally given his chance, he hasn't learned a thing.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:25 PM
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49

OK, superb was an overstatement -- Clinton doesn't have the youthful fire he once did. But it was quite good, very solid. I find the "ungracious in subtle particulars" bit incomprehensible...how subtle are you getting here?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:25 PM
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50

47: Hey! It is 33% non-white!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:26 PM
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51

I didn't think the speech was quite that bad, Sifu.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:26 PM
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52

Hey, you know who's not giving a great speech? John Kerry, that's who.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:27 PM
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53

The real flaw in that speech was Clinton's alarming nose. Stop turning your head and making me aware of how weird it looks!


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:28 PM
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54

49: the praise for McCain, the othering of Obama. I thought he cast Obama as somehow different from the Democratic party as represented by his family, in an unfortunate way. But mostly, the praise for McCain was beyond the pale.

48: definitively not true, though. The guy's been an asshole from day one. Playing it any other way leaves room for the press narrative that he's not really an asshole, he's just acting that way to get elected. Bad, bad, bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:28 PM
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51: it doubtless was not. This is why I shouldn't watch these things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:29 PM
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56

Americans have liked McCain—campaign finance reform! and he's pro-choice, you know—but only because they haven't known him.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:29 PM
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YEah, its a kind of like how since americans have known and loved Clinton for years, so they always mention what a noble guy he is before disagreeing with him. Think how it would backfire w/o.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:30 PM
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50: I don't mean just this particular panel. Overall, I've see two women, one white and one black,who are both interviewers rather than "experts," and a black man. David Brooks counts as, like, 20 goddamn white men.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:30 PM
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I can't watch these MSNBC assholes. I notice both Ezra and Yggles are getting permanently burned on the MSM, as in hate their fucking guts and expressing it.

VP Romney-vulture helping McCain on the economy. Clinton draft dodger vas Hanoi John. Fuck these assholes.

Back to Manfred Frank.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:30 PM
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49 to 44.

And 48 is exactly correct. To have the party's leading statesman calling McCain an asshole on national TV at the convention would be idiotic. Clinton framed the election as Republican vs. Democrat rather than a personality contest between McCain and Obama -- Obama is the new youthful champion of Democratic ideals that Clinton once championed, McCain upholds the Republican ideas of the last 8 years. The generic Democrat vote is running 15 points ahead of the generic Republican now.

And now Kerry is cranking up the attack...perfect. It's all one theatrical production, everyone has a role.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:30 PM
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Kerry is doing a good job.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:30 PM
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62

David Brooks counts as, like, 20 goddamn white men.

Irrefutable, really.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:30 PM
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63

"myth of the maverick" is good, but comparing that to "politician" is lame.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:31 PM
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David Brooks counts as, like, 20 goddamn white men.

Irrefutable, really.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:31 PM
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65

And now Kerry is cranking up the attack...perfect

Really? Should I be watching Kerry's speech?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:32 PM
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66

I like Clinton's speech and Kerry's speech.

Wish he had push hard like this in 2004.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:32 PM
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I like Clinton's speech and Kerry's speech.

Wish he had push hard like this in 2004.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:32 PM
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Kerry brings the red meat with Candidate McCain vs. Senator McCain. I'm loving it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:32 PM
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To have the party's leading statesman calling McCain an asshole on national TV at the convention would be idiotic

Whatev, Penn. Grant them not one yard, I say. They're war criminals and assholes and liars, and who wants to be a that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:32 PM
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54: The guy's been a saint in the press from day one. Acting as if everyone has already known this leaves the press a chance to construct a narrative of fiery, out-of-touch Democrats who've learned only the worst from Republican's electoral success.

There's sticking it to the press, and then there's subtlety—which is not John Kerry.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:32 PM
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Hey! I got an error! And then I checked and my comment wasn't there!

Dammit.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:33 PM
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72

Geez, where was *this* John Kerry four years ago?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:33 PM
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David Brooks is the distilled essence of white man.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:34 PM
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74

this s/b that this is a myth


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:34 PM
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75

Kerry's speech got better at about the halfway point.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:34 PM
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76

Don't play to your enemies, man. The press is just another fucking enemy. Republicans: bad bad bad bad baddy mcbad bad bad. At your own fucking convention? Don't capitulate. Those asswipes have a TV network. They're going to attack you whatever you do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:34 PM
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77

Geez, where was *this* John Kerry four years ago?


Reporting for duty!


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:35 PM
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78

Before Kerry started over, I thought he might just be saying "no one can question Barack", full stop.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:36 PM
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Acting as if everyone has already known [that this is the case] leaves the press a chance to construct a narrative of fiery, out-of-touch Democrats who've learned only the worst from Republican's electoral success

I mean this is backwards and crazy on its face. Democrats shouldn't learn from GOP electoral success, lest the press get wind? Learn from fucking success, for fucking fuck's fucking sake.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:36 PM
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80

76: I wish yelling could win elections too.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:37 PM
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81

Kerry's speech got better at about the halfway point ... at about the same time the Red Sox scored another run on the Yankees. Sweet!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:37 PM
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82

Kerry is better.

But WTF was that ad with Matt Damon? R's & D's can come together as one?

Apple does not say "We make slightly better computers than Dell."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:37 PM
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83

Dems should have the discipline to always say "Bush-McCain Republicans."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:37 PM
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84

Sifu's ideal convention speech would look like an Atrios blog comment.

Clinton got the attack just right--this is a guy and a party we thought were good, but when finally given his chance, he hasn't learned a thing.

It was actually sharper than that -- he portrayed the Republicans as a multi-decade conspiracy agains the economic interests of the majority that finally got full power, ripped us all off, and now McCain wants to continue that. There were like two sentences of throat-clearing POW pat on the back for McCain, in the middle of several pages of attacks on the Republicans.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:38 PM
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80: wish no more and read the f'in' fox network archives, skeeter. It has.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:38 PM
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52
Yes, Kerry is up for re-election and his supporters are concerned with getting out the vote for the primary. He has agreed to a debate with his opponent, Ed O'Reilly. Some people are choosing to endorse Kerry in the same way the Clintons have endorsed Obama. Not a direct embrace of "vote for him because of these outstanding qualities," but a quick little air kiss of, "imagine Massachusetts loosing two long standing Senators?"


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:38 PM
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86: interestingly, the people supporting his primary opponent are almost all disgruntled HRC supporters. The PUMA's self-defeating revenge! You want a comically ineffective political organization? I give you the Massachusetts Democratic Party. I know, what if we turn on our senior senator? Then people will have to pay attention to us for sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:39 PM
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88

Its going to be the throat-clearing POW pat that makes the sound bites, though.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:40 PM
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89

I so much wish Obama had picked Wes Clark instead of Biden for VP.

Republicans: bad bad bad bad baddy mcbad bad bad.

Good applause line!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:41 PM
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90

86: on the other hand, if Teddy dies, vote Barney!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:42 PM
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91

89: Good applause line!

Damn right. Bill could sell it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:42 PM
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92

Without having read the thread, I choose to say that I was rather impressed with Bill's speech.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:42 PM
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93

his opponent, E/d O'Rei//y.

A friend of mine is his [staff member]! She says it makes her feel dirty, but that the pay's good.

(Confidential to Democratic convention delegates: shut up and listen to the 3-star general speak!)


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:42 PM
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94

89.1 is so wrong.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:43 PM
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95

84: Yeah, that was the case that Bill made, but it seemed oddly academic. Bill didn't seem very upset about it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:43 PM
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"myth of the maverick" is good

Good to know people can read.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:44 PM
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92: See, that's why you need to read the threads before you comment - you would have found out that you were completely unimpressed.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:45 PM
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90: Senator Fag! Woo-hoo!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:45 PM
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99

Without having heard the speech, I choose to say I was not impressed with Bill's speech.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:46 PM
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100

I'd love to see Barney Frank in the Senate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:46 PM
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101

When has too much red meat *ever* been a problem in a convention speech? From what we've seen, anything short of openly calling for a cultural war on other Americans is considered good clean fun.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:47 PM
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93: ooh, that is dirty. She should get a job with somebody who's not a doomed-to-failure bottom feeder. Let's help her!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:47 PM
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103

Sifu, why can't you be funny like The Editors?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:49 PM
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104

Who's this guy talking now? I was in the kitchen.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:49 PM
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100: oh man he'd be so great. Although, having said that, I actually think I remember hearing he probably wouldn't do it; he has more power now than he'd ever have in the Senate. Which, unfortunately, means the consensus candidate would probably be Ed Fucking Markey, who's so, so easy to hate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:49 PM
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87
Yes, and O'Reilly is from Gloucester (Et tu, Sifu?), the home of the 16 teenage girls who made a pact to have babies together (HOW FUN!) and many of whom chose the same sperm donor- a local homeless man. Setting up to be a class thing, me thinks.
I will be happy when the PUMA's are put on the Endangered Species list.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:49 PM
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107

103: seriously, what's the problem with me?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:50 PM
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108

95: true the affect of the speech was somewhat muted, especially compared to the old Clinton -- the heart attack has taken a lot out of the guy. He saved what vocal energy he had for the praise of Obama at the end. But anyway, structure and rhetoric were all there.

Thinking about it, Sifu's actually right that the Dems should attack McCain harder personally, but it's just petty to tag Clinton's speech for that. To the extent it's not happening, it's a party-wide decision; to the extent it does happen, Clinton's not the guy to do it.

89.1 is so wrong.

why?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:50 PM
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109

You know who should give a speech? Dustin Pedroia, that's who.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:50 PM
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110

Chet Edwards from Texas.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:50 PM
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111

93: if your exposing potentially harmful information in a public forum, are you sure your *her* friend? People have been fired for less.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:51 PM
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112

109: I know, right? It's time for "he hit it out of the park" to stop being so damn metaphorical.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:51 PM
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113

Hey, I think you're funny.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:51 PM
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114

81- 73% of the Yankees titles have come under Democratic presidents, with the last title under a Repiblican in 1958. This despite an even split in years for each ruling party since the Yankees were established. You're rooting for the wrong team.
(Sample size is too small to say anything statistically significant about Boston's titles.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:52 PM
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115

113 to everyone, but especially to 107.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:53 PM
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116

114: hyuk, hyuk hyuk. What are the chances the Yankees'll make the playoffs this year, again?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:53 PM
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117

Tonight is the first night I get my wayward child to fall asleep early enough to watch the convention. I thought Bill Clinton's speech was "meh". Bring on the thousand comment thread about my personality flaws, bitches!

Kerry's speech was awesome. I had put the chances of any Democrats forthrightly condemning Republican torture at approximately zero percent.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:53 PM
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118

Prediction: we're going to hear a lot more about Kansas than Hawaii in Obama's bio video. Also, the WWII service of Obama's grandfather.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:55 PM
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119

116- 2.9%, baby! About to drop to around 2.3%.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:55 PM
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120

On the chance that 111 has a good point, would some of our hosts mind Google-proofing the proper noun in 93?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 7:56 PM
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true the affect of the speech was somewhat muted, especially compared to the old Clinton

Right, look: he was specifically not grandstanding. How's that?

I take the principal purpose of this fucking convention to be to sway undecided voters. You speak to them. You do not diss McCain's POW experience, you do not get all hysterical about how Republicans are EVIL fuckers, you do not speak to the converted. Well, much.

Insofar as the MSM narrative about this convention has been that the Dem party is divided, that the Clinton camp is not fully on board, that Hillary doesn't support Obama as fully as she might, so that wavering voters might be concerned about the party's own confidence in Obama's suitability, Bill's repetition of Barack Obama's full name in the first half or third of his speech was right on.

I'm not going to go on further about what was right about the rest of the speech. Sifu, you're full of shit if you think it was inadequate. Such things can always be better, of course, but Bill Clinton had some specific things to do, and he did them.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:00 PM
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122

119: that's not the pythagorean analysis, I take it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:00 PM
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I thought Bill Clinton did fine. He's always been really, really good at that part of the job.

I'm ready for Biden now.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:04 PM
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Clinton's speech was all about passing his mantle as the last (and successful) Democratic President to Obama, which is the right thing to do.

Forget praising McCain personally, what's amazing to me is how reluctant the Democrats are to really forthrightly attack the Iraq war, and suggest that McCain will get us into more dumb wars. Even McCain's crazy talk about Georgia didn't really get tagged by Kerry, not in a way that people could really get it. It's amazing the impact of militarist conventional wisdom on politicians.

Instead, we see the Dems retreating to the party's social services comfort zone -- care for the veterans! All well and good, but how about they don't get blown apart in the first place.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:07 PM
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U2? They've lost my vote.

A trivial request, but I wish the hell they'd retire "A Beautiful Day." It's too desperate a song to rally a crowd to and it's permanently associated in my mind with the debacle of '04. It's a shame that conventions can't put half the effort that your average DJ does into choosing music to produce an emotional effect.

(I suggest something off Dagmar Krause's Tank Battles.)

Bill Clinton showing how it's done. Superb speech.

I felt that Clinton's speech wavered between superb and perfunctory. When he was praised Obama, his words sounded a little rote, as if he was committed to saying the right things, but just couldn't summon much enthusiasm; but when he started talking about Republicans, the whole timbre of his voice changed, and suddenly he seemed like the old Bill, fired up, daring anyone to challenge him.

Eh. I'm not faulting him, too much. He was unequivocal in his support of Obama and he said all the right things, mostly (I'm dubious about him calling McCain "a good man"). But it was a stirring speech, on the whole. I hope he gives more of them.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:07 PM
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Jeez, what a tough crowd. Good thing they're not trying to talk to any of you. In the world of ordinary people (in which I live, unlike you elitist snobs!), Clinton and Kerry were both very tough on McCain, Clinton was especially effusive about Obama, making up for any criticism anyone might have had of Hillary's speech last night.

Kerry brought up the old wounds without whining.

This is as good as it ever gets, people.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:08 PM
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80: wish no more and read the f'in' fox network archives, skeeter. It has.

The right-wing smear machine has been in, what, full operation for about 10 years? During which it managed to squander the last two years of the Clinton presidency and win one election of its own—and it's already exhausted itself.

I'm not saying we shouldn't attack. We are attacking, and it's working. It's just annoying and pointless to turn restless Democratic energies against a smart campaign that's doing a decent job.

I'm sanguine, I know, but so is this guy, and I believe him.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:09 PM
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It's amazing the impact of militarist conventional wisdom on politicians.

I'm more infuriated than amazed, but yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:09 PM
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108: Because I was breezing past and read it as Jim Webb (it's got a "w" and a military association -- easy mistake). That arguments is that Webb is better in the Senate, too new to pair with Obama.

OTOH, Clark's judgment on the war wasn't as good as the reputation he's gotten.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:10 PM
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The right-wing smear machine has been in, what, full operation for about 10 25 years?

I'm sanguine, too. Just excited, really.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:10 PM
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Baseball prospectus monte carlo simulation, same way fivethirtyeight.com works


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:10 PM
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Tonight has been leaps and bounds better than last night.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:11 PM
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Clinton did alright, but I agree with Sifu on the McCain praise. There should've been one semi-positive sentence, ONE, that just said "McCain served his country well in the Vietnam War, and suffered years of torture for his fellow soldiers." Because everyone knows that McCain was a POW, and the realization that it's pretty much all his campaign has going for him is a good developing theme in the media. That should've been the sole throat-clearing positive phrase before the attacks, since it would reinforce the negative media construct while still sounding generous.

When he started saying the maverick stuff, and claiming McCain has a respectable history in the Senate, I started yelling at the TV.

The rest was pretty good, but the last thing we need is more soundbites of the Clintons saying how great McCain is and has been as a politician. The Big Dog's smart enough to know that.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:11 PM
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131: different analysis, then.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:12 PM
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Is it weird that I find Nancy Pelosi kinda hot?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:12 PM
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Jeez, what a tough crowd. Good thing they're not trying to talk to any of you. In the world of ordinary people (in which I live, unlike you elitist snobs!), Clinton and Kerry were both very tough on McCain, Clinton was especially effusive about Obama, making up for any criticism anyone might have had of Hillary's speech last night.

Well, yeah, except it doesn't matter what we think or what ordinary people think. It only matters what the pundits think.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:12 PM
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Wait...wait...this is Neal Kinnock's bio video!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:13 PM
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135: Not in that suit, no.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:13 PM
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Also, I definitely agree that Kerry was surprisingly good, and I'm looking forward to Biden. Let's get some witty bulldog stylings going on.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:14 PM
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The right-wing smear machine has been in, what, full operation for about 10 25 years?

I'd make a distinction between the conservative movement and its smear machine, but that's neither here nor there. You've still got an awfully weird way of getting excited.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:15 PM
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How do you jump to the end of comments on an iphone?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:15 PM
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140: I'm a Democrat, son. We're freaky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:15 PM
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135: By normal standards, yes.

[Not really. ]

BTW Michele Bachman, Dubya's groupie, will speak at the Repub convention, so the fun isn't over yet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:15 PM
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129: I wonder if one reason Obama overlooked Clark is that little brouhaha where Clark quite correctly pointed out that six years in a tiger cage does not qualify McCain to make smart strategic decisions.

I'd love to see a silver star war hero major general like Wes Clark tearing McCain a new one on defense policy while the press howls. I've always had a vague sense that Biden's a gasbag.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:16 PM
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Pretty remarkable that they were able to film all these spots between Biden's official selection and now.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:16 PM
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HI BO!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:17 PM
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141: Use the sidebar on the main page.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:18 PM
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Beau Biden...Joe Biden...catchy!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:18 PM
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Even McCain's crazy talk about Georgia didn't really get tagged by Kerry, not in a way that people could really get it.

I dunno. Didn't he describe McCain's response as panicked and outdated Cold War era thinking? That seems fairly unequivocal. Especially since Kerry didn't have much speech time to expand on this.

Personally, I'm just happy that there's been some emphasis in Clinton and Kerry's speeches on diplomacy, and really pushing the idea that the best national security policy is to remain a strong nation, but have far fewer enemies. I feared to hope that the Dems would push that idea during national security night, but it's the necessary first step to eliminating the supposed Republican advantage on defense.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:19 PM
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Whoa, that's some kinky marriage. Don't tell Santorum.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:20 PM
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Missed WJC, caught the second half* of Kerry, thought it was quite good.

I actually thought in 2004 he got a bit of a bad rap as a speaker. His uninspired speeches are subpar, but when he's feeling it, he can be pretty good. Just sayin'.

Harry Reid was awful. AB had to explain to Iris the concept of a poorly written speech. Thanks, Harry, for forcing parents all across America to have that most uncomfortable conversation.

* Unless it was pretty short, in which case we caught the last 2/3 - 3/4.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:20 PM
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144.2: Read this interview. It's not great, but it's good.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:21 PM
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He is fighting hard for Penn, isnt he??


JRoth, oudemia, Dr. Vane, get busy!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:21 PM
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He is fighting hard for Penn, isnt he??


JRoth, Dr. Vane, get busy!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:21 PM
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AB had to explain to Iris the concept of a poorly written speech.

She was upset because the speech wasn't good? God, when Iris is older, she's going to be the belle of the ball.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:22 PM
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||

Mets back in first!!

What? I was born in NY. Don't look at me like that.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:22 PM
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Sort of unfortunate that he stuttered when delivering that line.
147- So the unfogged mobile page is just a sick joke, then?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:23 PM
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Holy shit, Biden called Milosevic a war criminal to his face? Balls!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:24 PM
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157.2: yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:24 PM
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Let him draw blood.


Posted by: Frogmorton5 | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:25 PM
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158: dude! That's nothing. Milosevic called me a cultist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:25 PM
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A 65-year-old has a son named "Hunter"? I thought that became trendy like 15 years ago.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:25 PM
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It took that long for people to catch up, Fatman.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:26 PM
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I liked Beau Biden's line, "some people think my Dad talks too much." At least he acknowledged it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:26 PM
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Get to the bloody point, Joe.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:26 PM
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Delaware: First in freedom, first in WASPy names.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:27 PM
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Hey, an inside joke for all the viewers working in the Justice Department.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:27 PM
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158: Yeah, but you haven't killed any of your political opponents, so he was on safer ground.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:27 PM
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158:

BIDEN: Just like I told George Bush all along! I told him in the Oval Office, "You're gonna go in without enough troops and you're not gonna plan for the occupation and it's gonna be the biggest mistake of your presidency and I'm gonna vote for it!"
FB: Wow, that all seems so prescient.
BIDEN: And then Batman jumped in through the window and said "Senator, the Justice League needs you right away!" and I said "Shut up and move, rich boy, we've got a moon to save!"


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:27 PM
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FINNEGAN


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:28 PM
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Joe Biden's father was in Chumbawumba.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:28 PM
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This is not the barn-burner I was promised.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:29 PM
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Kerry and Biden both have some intense facelift action going. I don't understand why all the DC people don't just go to Pelosi's plastic surgeon; she looks fantastic.

I actually thought in 2004 he got a bit of a bad rap as a speaker.

Kerry did an excellent job in the foreign policy debate. I think he got bad advice from advisors not to keep going after Bush hard like he did in that debate. You could tell he was properly contemptuous of Bush, but never really let that loose. Should have gone with his animal instincts more.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:29 PM
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"God sends no cross that you cannot bear": Biden gives unfogged threads a shoutout.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:30 PM
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"God sends you no cross you cannot bear."

Oh, Joe. Joe, Joe, Joe. So early in the speech to punch me in the pet peeve.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:30 PM
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Aha, here he is talking about the trouble we're in because of Bush.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:31 PM
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I'm glad I'm not watching. Joe Biden: that same dude I never liked that much. Obama better call down lightning bolts and unicorn kisses tomorrow or I'm voting in a Canadian election, I swear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:31 PM
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I'm not moving, mind you. I'm just voting northwise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:31 PM
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This is not the barn-burner I was promised.

Just wait an hour or two, he'll get to it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:32 PM
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This bit would be a hell of a lot better if Joe hadn't championed the bankruptcy bill.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:32 PM
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Get to the bloody point, Joe.

I think this speech is what it must be like to be in Joe Biden's head.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:32 PM
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Couldn't he have just said "George W. McCain with a straight face, instead of correcting himself?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:32 PM
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They probably shouldn't have mentioned that he struggled with a speech impediment when he was younger. Or was that lowering expectations?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:33 PM
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I don't understand why all the DC people don't just go to Pelosi's plastic surgeon; she looks fantastic.

Well, there you go, Apo: you're not alone.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:33 PM
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The report is that Biden is a bad speaker but includes nice aggressive sound bites in his speeches. IIRC he did "A noun, a verb, 9/11".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:33 PM
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Langston Hughes reference?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:34 PM
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I doubt there would be room enough to be inside Joe Biden's head with those teeth.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:34 PM
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Deliberate slip? I hope so!

And yeah... He's gotta get after McCain again soon. We've had enough Obama soft-focus biopic this week.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:34 PM
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He's very engaging, which is more important than a few stumbles and a little meandering. It's a good speech.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:35 PM
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Does this American dream stuff actually work? I'm from elsewhere.


Posted by: Frogmorton5 | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:35 PM
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I think it's been abysmal!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:36 PM
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180: This would be a hell of a lot better if Joe hadn't championed the Iraq war, the Kosovo war, the drug war, NATO expansion and other Russia hawkery, the redirection of foreign development aid to military anti-drug operations in Colombia and Afghanistan, an invasion of the Sudan, escalation of the Afghan war, and any other war he could get his bloody little mitts on.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:36 PM
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Joe gives a shout-out to socialized transportation!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:36 PM
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Now he blamed McCain for "taxes on corporate America". I guess he meant to say "tax breaks".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:37 PM
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192: Nitpicker.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:38 PM
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191: you would, Ned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:38 PM
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"John McCain is my friend. No, really; John McCain is my friend. I've taken his arm and helped him walk out of the Senate on many occasions."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:38 PM
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Now it's getting good. You're a peachy campaigner by me, Joe.

Also, for a crowd with so many minorities, the Democrats have absolutely no rhythm in their "That's The Same" chant.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:39 PM
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You know what bugs me? That Democrats have bought into idea that tax cuts are what you have to sell to get elected. I'm pretty sure I heard Hillary use Frank Luntz's phrase, "tax relief."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:39 PM
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Still hasn't nailed a good one-liner. This is a laundry list.


Posted by: Avon B | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:40 PM
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"These times require more than a good soldier, they require a wise leader."

Probably not intentional, but I'd love it if the negative connotations of "good soldier" get play from here on.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:40 PM
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Does Biden look older than he did during the primaries, or is it just me?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:41 PM
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IIRC he did "A noun, a verb, 9/11".

Wake me when he comes up with a wisecrack for the guy he's actually running against.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:41 PM
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194: i noticed that too.

Sir Kraab, the Amtrak line was great. The bankruptcy bill vote really did make his complaints about people struggling to pay the bills.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:42 PM
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I just totally lost my stream.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:43 PM
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WHAT THE FUCK IS IT WITH THIS GEORGIA BULLSHIT>!?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:43 PM
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You can only pee for so long, Ben.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:44 PM
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205: Microsoft Silverfish can't be trusted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:44 PM
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Also, I feel bad for Brazil not getting a shout-out with the rest of the BRIC economies. What's wrong, Joe? Can't deal with some Latin American success? Lula's done a good job, and he's pretty US-friendly, throw him a bone!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:44 PM
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205: Try Uroxatral.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:45 PM
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I discovered today that Biden's been in the Senate since two years before I was born. And I'm not young anymore.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:46 PM
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205, 210: Or a six-pack, like our fathers and their fathers before them.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:46 PM
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That was... underwhelming.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:46 PM
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211: you're young at heart. And he's been in the Senate since at heart.

Huh, that doesn't work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:46 PM
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Was Biden an athlete in high school? His mistaking yelling for emphasis and husky whispering for empathy reminds me of a high school coach.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:47 PM
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211: oh yes you are.

Biden gets points for volume.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:47 PM
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Whoever said, much earlier, that there wasn't enough talk about race -- Sir Kraab? -- might want to take note of the fact that tomorrow if the anniversary of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. If others have noted this already, sorry.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:47 PM
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His wife looks very good.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:47 PM
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OH SNAP!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:48 PM
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The surprise guest line, however, was lame.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:48 PM
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Obama says we're going to "take America back." I like that phrase.


Posted by: b | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:49 PM
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Do you think Obama picked Biden so Obama could appear even better looking and more eloquent in comparison?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:50 PM
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Most memorable bit from JB was his mother's beautiful face in the cutaways.


Posted by: Tex Perkins | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:50 PM
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You know, the problem really is this whole president thing. We should switch to a parliamentary system and tone down this nonsense.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:50 PM
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Kevin Drum is making me like Bill's speech better. Fine, radical centrist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:51 PM
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224 is so true. A parliamentary system would help us see our politicians as careerist mediocrities they are, and thus trust them less.

We could split the Presidency into a Prime Minister and then a powerless but heavily publicized ceremonial king-type position that we would elect heroes or celebrities to. The ceremonial celebrity would give TV speeches at moments of national crisis.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:54 PM
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Well. Biden, not so good. Kinda into the war thing, eh? Do not talk about Georgia that way! Got a little overexcited there, maybe.

Er.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:54 PM
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WHAT THE FUCK IS IT WITH THIS GEORGIA BULLSHIT>!?

Yeah, what the fuck, dude? Times like this I want to bury my head in Dennis Kucinich's lap.

ALSO: Are Springsteen and U2 the only bands the DNC has ever heard of?

(Ok, now, at least, it's the great gay anthem.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:55 PM
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I did like the bit where Biden said that his mother told him to fight back, bloody the other guy's nose, so he could walk down the street with his head up, and his mother mouthed, "it's true."

Today I watched a speech Obama gave in MA in support of Deval Patrick when he was getting a lot of press for being the new Senator, and he said that he was a bit of a star after 2004, but he went in 2000 after losing another election, broke after neglecting his law practice, and the rental car company declined his card. He had to beg to get it covered and then he got crappy seats. That was only 8 years ago.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:56 PM
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Was that Biden's daughter he grabbed by the chin & kissed on the lips, or grandaughter? She looked scared.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:57 PM
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The NPR commentator just mentioned that he's not sure how the American public is going to take Biden's speech, there, you know he's sometimes thought to be a little bit of clown, so.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:57 PM
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I liked that Biden came out and said that Bush's foreign policy has been a disaster and that McCain is wrong on issue after issue. The annoying fact of the matter is that Biden is one of the few Democrats with the self-confidence and stature (especially with the press) to challenge the Republicans directly on foreign policy.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:57 PM
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Too bad Deval isn't so much of a governor, so far.

(HINT, DEVAL.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:57 PM
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232: And the fact is, that I think his foreign policy credentials are totally overrated.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 8:58 PM
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A quick channel surf suggests that most of the media should be dragged out back and shot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:00 PM
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233: Be fair, the man has huge shoes to fill.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:00 PM
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Oh, he has the credentials (he does chair the Foreign Relations Committee, after all). Just not the right philosophy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:01 PM
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I think his foreign policy credentials are totally overrated.

Absolutely. He just goes on Meet the Press a lot.

On PBS right now, David Brooks is saying McCain needs to pick Lieberman, which would be awesome.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:02 PM
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But the stuff he actually says about foreign policy is often really bad, kind of mindless conventional wisdom plus some hysterical overreaching for originality and "boldness".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:02 PM
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235: Rachel Maddow is kicking ass, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:03 PM
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236: Mike Dukakis's shoes are pretty normals sized, actually.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:03 PM
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"normal"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:03 PM
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Do you guys think that one of reasons they picked Biden is so that there can be lots of photos of an old, totally white-haired guy hugging Obama? On a visceral level, the two of them strike me as showcasing "Good Ol' Boys Love Obama". I don't know what I mean, and I'll take it back if you all vehemently disagree.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:03 PM
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243:One of the reasons, yes. They are "underperforming" with over-70s.

Foreign policy and insider status were others.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:06 PM
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"normal"

Nope, you were right the first time; there are two of them.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:06 PM
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You're always wrong, little girl. Despite what everyone says.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:06 PM
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233: I know. I watched Patrick's speech, and I wasn't all that impressed--mainly, because I've heard that stuff from him before.

He's not Romney, thank God, and he's better than Kerry Healey. He'll probably be more liberal on CORI issues, and the new prison commisioner is prettygood, though MA is less liberal than WA on this stuff. He is struggling with teh corrections officers.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:07 PM
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He's not Romney, thank God

From what I hear he's not the governor Romney was, either. And that's just an unfortunate thing. Making all the same mistakes as Duke 1, is what I hear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:08 PM
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I hear all of 248 from my Massachusetts relatives. But, like Jetpack, they're all racists, so...


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:10 PM
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Dude, if Lieberman ran as the Republican VP, would his career as a Senator be toast or would he keep his seat with all of the Republican support in CT.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:11 PM
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I just flipped from C-SPAN to CNN and I feel like I took a huge hit of crack. Paul Begala you weird-headed motherfucker why are you talking so fast about arugala and ham-and-cheese sandwiches and the jar of jam on the low shelf?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:12 PM
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A quick channel surf suggests that most of the media should be dragged out back and shot.

Death's too good for them. Really, we'd all be better off if cartoons and music videos (reruns of "120 Minutes" preferably) replaced most of the news media's talking heads.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:12 PM
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Charlie Rose is better than the NewsHour people. Tavis Smiley is interviewing Evan Bayh and is practically fellating him.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:13 PM
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248: I hear it from... well, it's too bad that they're saying it, the people I hear it from. They sure'd know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:14 PM
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We could split the Presidency into a Prime Minister and then a powerless but heavily publicized ceremonial king-type position that we would elect heroes or celebrities to.

Electing the ceremonial monarchical figure (queens are better than kings, though: people like them better) is a nice touch. You could basically have a British-style parliamentary system, while pretending the whole thing was new and improved and American!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:16 PM
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Biden's tone really wasn't right. He needs to really start kicking McCain to one side. Treat him with derision, not outrage.

Exactly like when Biden skewered Rudy over his Iran hysteria while munching his bagel. McCain deserves no more. Bill Clinton gets it, but not Biden. Yet.


Posted by: Sheppard | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:16 PM
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The Democrats should've figured out how to attack McCain long before now; it's not like the drooling old goober's made of teflon. That they're only trying to figure it out at the end of August is not a promising sign.

Connect him to Bush; play up his various and obvious mental incapacities; mercilessly exploit his doddering age as a symbol of decay and death. Repeat.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:21 PM
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Can I tell you how much I fucking hate it when people who are obviously on the side of the Democrats say "the Democrats" like it doesn't include them? We are the Democrats.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:26 PM
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Someone on TPM was saying that the "more of the same" line is bad: it should be "even fucking worse". They were right. Give McCain a special loser brand just for himself.


Posted by: Sheppard | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:28 PM
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He really did mean to add a perfunctory "No offense, Namond." Jetpack's just really upset about Deval Patrick.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:28 PM
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No offense, whoever you are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:31 PM
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So I said earlier that I'd seen the "Hillary thinks McCain is far more qualified than Obama" ad twice in an hour last night and it looked quite effective. I mean, what can she say about it? That wasn't even 6 months ago that she said that.

Tonight I saw the "Obama is friends with Bill Ayers" ad. This one will not work. Guilt by association has to be done perfectly in order to be plausible...and all they can say is "they are friends", not even that they collaborated on anything. What does "friends" mean? Also, they actually showed pictures of Ayers as he is today, instead of as he was back then. This sixtyish bald white guy in a suit is a terrorist? That's far from intuitive, and then you have to make the additional leap to completely nonspecific guilt by association.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:35 PM
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the "more of the same" line is bad: it should be "even fucking worse"

In light of the way it exacerbates already existing calamities, even fucking worse. Sure, that works. The "more of the same" thing is, of course, the theme many Dems have been impatiently urging on the Obama campaign for some time. Now they're going with it.

It's too bad Biden's such a lame speaker. He may well have cemented certain lines in the public's imagination (assuming they're repeated ad nauseam via mass media), and the reservation I'd have about branding McCain as "the same" while Obama is "change" is that conservatives presumably do have a gut reaction against the suggestion that change is good in and of itself. We need the conservatives.

I'm apparently tired enough now that I'm voicing what sound to me like very simple thoughts.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:38 PM
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McCain's team has been really pathetic with understanding the visual components of these ads. The Celebrity one was especially dumb: "Here's Obama ... lookin' good! Blah Blah something bad about this."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:40 PM
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Hey you guys what's the movie where the candidate hires a hit on himself and hooks up with a black girl from across the tracks and busts out some hip hop on a podium before regaining his zest for a life of politics?

Joe Biden looks like that guy. He should start doing his speeches with a beat box.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:47 PM
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Can I tell you how much I fucking hate it when people who are obviously on the side of the Democrats say "the Democrats" like it doesn't include them? We are the Democrats.

Speak for yourself, kid.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:48 PM
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Joe Biden looks like Warren Beatty? You might be right, but careful, keep it subliminal.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:49 PM
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Namond Withheldfield is pulling for McCain.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:52 PM
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Namond Withheldfield doesn't have to vote if he doesn't want to. And I'm not signing onto a ticket with Mr. and Mr. Forever War on it.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:54 PM
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Aw, Namond is an independent! Shows us. Iraq? Katrina? Namond is above that shit. Our petty partisan asses could learn from that. Nothing is his fault.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 9:58 PM
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Namond has that certain familiar "I just shat in your punch bowl. For righteousness!" vibe.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:02 PM
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271: yeah. Well, darn. New fight, same as the old fight. You know what I like? Earth Raping.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:03 PM
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271. Hm. Light dawns.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:07 PM
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It does that, yes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:09 PM
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270: Iraq? Katrina?

Joe Biden voted to invade Iraq, and he currently supports carving it up into ethnic partitions. And do you seriously think the architect of the Bankruptcy Bill gives a flying fuck about the victims of Katrina?

But of course, I'm just a Purity Troll, with my not wanting to vote for a psychopath. Obama, after all, is going to End The War - around 2010 or 2011, not counting of course those famous "residual forces," which are not in any way to be confused with permanent bases. They'll be in bases, mind you, and they'll be around for some unspecified, undetermined, indefinite period of time, but we sure wouldn't like to call them permanent bases. In the meantime it's 100,000 more troops for the military and a Surge for Afghanistan, and the NSA gets to spy on us whenever it likes.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:11 PM
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Namond it was funner before I'd figured out who you were. Now it's just the same old argument.

he currently supports carving it up into ethnic partitions

Actually not a bad solution.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:13 PM
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Namond, what are your thoughts on a McCain presidency? And do you live in a swing state?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:14 PM
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Namond has that certain familiar "I just shat in your punch bowl. For righteousness!" vibe

Sifu Tweety picked this fight back in #258, with his "we're all Democrats so stop talking about 'Democrats'" thing. I said "I'm not a Democrat" and in a followup explained why; people started getting snarly. When exactly did I "shit in your punch-bowl"?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:15 PM
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Actually not a bad solution

Unless you're Iraqi.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:16 PM
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279: right, where you would want to pick one of the manifold good solutions. Good call!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:17 PM
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Namond it was funner before I'd figured out who you were

Does someone sane want to explain this to me?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:17 PM
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Who here is sane, really?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:19 PM
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I think Sifu was saying that he was anticipating the prospect of some ideological argument or other with you, not knowing who you are and therefore thinking something or other about what that might entail (beats me what), but then he realized that he's already had that argument with you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:20 PM
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right, where you would want to pick one of the manifold good solutions.

Back when liberals used to make sense on the internet, conservatives used to pout at them with lines like, "Well, what's your solution for Iraq?" To which the liberal would sensibly respond, "Stop fucking around where we shouldn't be in the first place, and get the fuck out of there."

The problem with Biden's plan is precisely that it attempts to shove a "solution" down Iraq's throat - a solution that would inevitably involve lots and lots of ethnic cleansing. America has plenty of blood on its hands already, thanks.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:22 PM
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Namond Withheldfield doesn't have to vote if he doesn't want to.

Hey, knock yourself out, dude. But don't forget, this year you can choose to vote for Charles Jay and Thomas Knapp of the Boston Tea Party, Chuck Baldwin and Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente of the Green Party, Bob Barr and Wayne Allyn Roo of the Libertarian Party, Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Gene Amondson and Leroy Pletten of the Prohibition Party, Ted Weill and Frank McEnulty of the Reform Party, Brian Moore and Sewart Alexander of the Socialist Party USA, Róger Calero and Alyson Kennedy of the Socialist Workers Party, Jackson Kirk Grimes (Fascist), Alan Keyes (Nutball), Frank Moore (Performance Artist), Ralph Nader (Spoilsport), or Kelcey Wilson (Another Nutball).

You have lots of choices! Cast your vote wisely!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:22 PM
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283: To say that we're "talking past each other" is putting it mildly.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:24 PM
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As in, I've no idea what the fuck you people are talking about, or if you just do this to everyone new who posts here.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:25 PM
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There was a blog post, unlinkable from my phone, claiming that Biden no longer supports ethnic partition and now holds approximately Obama's position.

The troll is getting basic facts wrong, trollishly.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:26 PM
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288: There was a post at Matt Yglesias's place the other day that actually said something like the reverse - that Obama was open to considering Biden's partition plan.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:28 PM
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if you just do this to everyone new who posts here

A fascinatingly fungible category.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:28 PM
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Haven't read this yet but ask yourself "am I feeding a troll?"


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:31 PM
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As in, I've no idea what the fuck you people are talking about, or if you just do this to everyone new who posts here.

Sorry, Namond. You just happen to exactly resemble in every specific a former commenter.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:33 PM
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Watching the last episode of Generation Kill

Writer dude I swear us alluding all over the place to Band of Brothers, as contrast. These Marines are not nice people. I like them.

One of the better, nicer marines says very near the end:"All religious considerations aside, those who can't kill will always be ruled by those who can kill."

Last lines by a Marine to close the show:

"There it is folks. We sit here in Iraq fighting for your freedoms. You have the right to say what you want.

We have the right to punch you in the fucking mouth if we disagree."

The End.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:34 PM
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There's a troll in my pants that I have to keep fed pretty regularly.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:34 PM
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292: You had a previous commenter who didn't like Joe Biden, and you freakout out at them too?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:35 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:35 PM
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Well, shit, maybe you should consider the fact that Joe Biden just isn't that popular.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:37 PM
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Does anyone like Joe Biden? And do we have former commenters? Isn't that like saying "former alcoholic"?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:37 PM
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Joe Biden isn't that popular with a lot of people here, Namond.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:39 PM
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Hey Ben, why is stras (I'm guessing) considered a former commenter?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:40 PM
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297: among both you and [ whoever it was ]? Shit I had no idea the idea was that widespread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:40 PM
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299: Then maybe I'm secretly all of you! WOOOOOOOOO!


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:41 PM
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I dunno, it just seems as if he hasn't commented here in a while.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:42 PM
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I'm fairly certain you're not me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:42 PM
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304: No way for anyone else to know.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:43 PM
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They could take my word for it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:44 PM
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306: Why would they, when you're in on the plot?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:45 PM
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305: well, there's the super secret elite commenter mailing list, where we share IP addresses for suspicio... oh. Oh, gosh. Never mind.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:45 PM
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Why would they, when you're in on the plot?

Shit, you've got me.

Ok, I admit it: I'm Namond; Namond is I.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:46 PM
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And we're both gay.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:47 PM
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That's our act, folks!

Try the veal!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:49 PM
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I'm a vegetarian, ben. How rude.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:54 PM
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You don't have to like it. Just try it. Or else.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 10:55 PM
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Hmmm. Not bad.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 11:08 PM
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Biden's partition bullshit is indeed criminally bad. Biden's current position is that he still favors it, but only if Iraq wants to do it voluntarily, and they never will. We'd have to cram it down Iraq's throat by force, and that won't happen.

I think Biden comes up with a lot of dumb foreign policy ideas just so he can have a brilliant Biden Plan to talk about with the press, and he won't scheme to actually do them.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 11:26 PM
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Partition will happen by accident, or desperation. Might be the only way out, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-27-08 11:29 PM
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315: That is to say, Biden has backed off that plan.

Sifu gets it right in 280. In an environment where: 1. All options look bad and 2. politicians are obligated to come up with something that sounds plausibly good, Biden's partition plan filled the bill.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:16 AM
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There was a time when encouraging soft partition wasn't the worst idea around. The Kurds are doing it anyway, and the Hakims were talking about a southern superstate -- negotiated partition would have been a way to cut Baghdad and the Sunni heartland in on the oil revenue.

Biden was a good pick for the constituency they were trying to win with it.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:13 AM
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Populuxe--Does Alan Keyes have a named party that he's running through?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:01 AM
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285: Why does Populuxe leave out the Natural Law Party?

293: Bob, Marines and combat infantry are ruled, not rulers. For whatever reason they let themselves be put through hell. When they come back to civilian life they seldom feel that their sacrifices are acknowledged adequately, and that's because their sacrifices aren't acknowledged properly. Around here people defer somewhat to combat veterans, but it's small potatoes and some them are a mess.

In the old days retired military would get a state sinecure or return to their estate and live off others, but in our society they're just returned to the labor pool. There's a lot of resentment about that, and that's where you get the permanent "stabbed in the back" constituency.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:16 AM
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320, 285: Apparently they folded, that's why. Populuxe knows his stuff. I'll never question him or her again.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:18 AM
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a former commenter.

Don't count your chickens, ben.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:24 AM
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People think Namond is Stras? See, this is the sort of thing that makes me really wish people wouldn't change their names at all -- when it's a fairly common thing to do, people get all accusational about it.

FTR, I don't share that impression, and I kind of hate the 'I know who you really are' conversation. It's possible I'm wrong, in which case I wish stras hadn't done that, but mostly I like taking people at face value unless they're really being unpleasant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:30 AM
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323: I don't know what I could've said to give people much of an impression at all, given that I've only commented at any length in what, two threads here? And my big offense in this one was saying that I wasn't voting for Joe Biden.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:00 AM
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I think people took 271 too literally.

The point, Namond, is that your comments read a lot like those of another commenter whose very annoying, leftier than thou schtick has worn pretty thin.

I don't think stras [the other commenter in question] would change pseuds - although he does have this chip on his shoulder about the social dynamics around here, so he might - and I don't really think you sound all that much like him. Let's just say that, j'accuse aside, 271 is pretty apt, and folks around here really don't need another commenter who says things a lot of us agree with, then accuses us of not getting it, man.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:06 AM
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According to Cleveland.com:

DENVER -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama used his editing pen on Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich's speech Tuesday night, according to The Hill, a Washington, D.C., newspaper.

The Obama campaign has been looking closely at speeches during the convention, trying to keep them on message. The campaign struck this line, addressing Republicans, from Kucinich's speech:

"They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20."

It's a great line.

Cowards.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:11 AM
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It's a great line.

It is. I'm baffled by the deletion. Especially from a non-prime-time speech.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:14 AM
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325: I'll take the collective "fuck off" and go on my way, then. My general impression is that the atmosphere here is incredibly touchy and more than a bit paranoid, a lot more so than I'd have imagined as a casual lurker. Find for me in my Biden comments where I was personally accusing anyone of "not getting it." As I said before, someone described me as a Democrat, I replied that I wasn't, and then I explained why I wasn't, at which point the other person went apeshit and I officially became the reincarnation of some old troll of yours. In the meantime I'll head somewhere less thin-skinned and, frankly, less insane.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:21 AM
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OK, and I'm watching the Kerry vid now - I only missed the first minute or two on the radio - and I still think it's pretty good.

One thing that he does rhetorically that I like is to pause at applause lines, but then keep rolling in order to maintain momentum. It's especially effective when he does repeated lines, like the candidate McCain vs. Senator McCain thing - he would let people cheer a bit at each one, but then go on, so that, when he gave the zinger, people went nuts. Too many speakers let the applause play out, making for chopped-up oratory.

That said, there were a few inapt - or underpolished - lines, places where I thought the crescendo of a paragraph would be a better turn of phrase. I don't know if that's on Kerry, or just that there's too many speeches in 4 days, and not enough top-notch speechwriters to go around (JMM or Ezra noted that the Clinton speech wasn't well-written, but he's got the chops to make it soar anyway).

Alright, and they just got to the great uncle part, and I'm tearing up - much more effective on the TV.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:22 AM
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I'm baffled by the deletion. Especially from a non-prime-time speech.

This is what we've all been afraid of all along. If Obama had the slightest intention of dealing with the illegalities of the last 8 years, he wouldn't be afraid of a little zinger like that in an afternoon speech by someone that most people - esp. outside the party - consider a joke.

It's a sign of not wanting to admit what has been happening and/or of being afraid to poke the Scary Republicans. Either way, depressing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:26 AM
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Namond speaks of insanity and paranoia as though they were bad things. Obviously he doesn't belong here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:26 AM
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folks around here really don't need another commenter who says things a lot of us agree with, then accuses us of not getting it, man.

oh yes you bloody well do, precisely because those "things you agree with" are actually a perfectly reasonable basis for someone to make the decision that they're not going to vote for the Democratic Party and you are, collectively and individually, not very sensible about recognising this.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:27 AM
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329: Somebody, I think it was Tom Brokaw, said that Bill Clinton wrote his own speech.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:36 AM
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I'm sure that Ted Sorenson wrote his own speech. The style was a little old-fashioned, but that would have been fine. His delivery wasn't great.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:37 AM
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332: dsquared is right. The point isn't that the Democratic party will do things that we like; it's that McCain would do so very man bad things.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:38 AM
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332: I'm among those who think there is essentially no reasonable basis for not voting Democratic in this cycle. But I'd be sorry if stras, Purity Troll or no, had decided to stop commenting here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:42 AM
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The decision not to vote is laborious and won't accomplish anything. It's just easier and more economical to vote.

All I hope for now is less adventurist imperialism and a move away from supply side economics and the accompanying reductions of "discretionary spending". These are attainable goals within the actual United States. For most of 32 years I voted for third party candidates and boycotted elections in pursuit of goals unattainable in the actual United States of that or any later time. Talk about futility.

I do get tired of having it condescendingly explained to me that Obama is crap, because I've suspected that he might be from the beginning. I can't imagine a way in which he'd be as bad as McCain, and that's the choice I'm facing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:43 AM
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dsquared is right wrong. The point isn't that the Democratic party will do things that we like; it's that McCain would do so very man bad things.

Fixed that.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:48 AM
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Does D^2 really think that the body of commenters here has never gone through the thought process of deciding that the flaws in the Democratic Party outweighed its flaws so egregiously as to demand not voting for them?

Speaking as a former Nader voter*, fuck off.

* In a blue state! It was OK!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:52 AM
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* In a blue state! It was OK!

This is a common, and puzzling, rationalization. Even if you were in Florida in 2000, your Nader vote wouldn't have made any difference to the result of the election. By my reckoning, the question is: as a citizen in a country with a lot of the attributes of a democracy, how do I want to stand up and be counted?

People who think they are voting to affect the outcome of an election aren't being realistic.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:56 AM
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I'm sure d^2 has another great option for us that we just aren't thinking of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:58 AM
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Does D^2 really think that the body of commenters here has never gone through the thought process of deciding that the flaws in the Democratic Party outweighed its flaws so egregiously as to demand not voting for them?

I don't really care what thought processes you've gone through - my comment was about your treatment of people who don't agree with you, and the complete failure to recognise that their point of view is valid to. To the extent, now, of chasing them off the comments section of your blog.

I'm sure d^2 has another great option for us that we just aren't thinking of.

it's called "not being such a cunt about it" and it's surprisingly easy.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:03 AM
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* In a blue state! It was OK!

love the way you made sure to find out that the "Namond" guy definitely lived in a swing state, by the way.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:05 AM
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Even if you were in Florida in 2000, your Nader vote wouldn't have made any difference to the result of the election.

It would have made 1/537th of a difference. That's only a bit less than a Member of Congress gets.

But anyway, the reason for the "rationalization" is that the foolishness of a Nader vote is proportional to the closeness of the state - practicality had no bearing on voting Nader in MA or TX, and only a small bearing in PA. In FL or OH, practicality had to be a real consideration.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:05 AM
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it's called "not being such a cunt about it" and it's surprisingly easy.

Huh. Funny, I would have applied that precise advice to other commenters here.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:06 AM
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as a citizen in a country with a lot of the attributes of a democracy, how do I want to stand up and be counted?

Presidential elections are the loss leaders of our system. The hope is that the excitement of the pres. contest will get voters out to participate in the more local elections where their votes really do make a difference.

National effects range from the optimistic 'rippling up' to the cynical 'one party with two faces.'


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:09 AM
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Does Alan Keyes have a named party that he's running through?

Apparently, after running for president this year and last first as a Republican candidate, then as a Constitution Party candidate, Keyes is now running as AIP's (America's Independent Party, not American International Pictures) candidate for president with Wiley Drake (he of the "imprecatory prayers") as his VP.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:20 AM
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It would have made 1/537th of a difference.

No, it would have made zero difference.

A House member who has a vote that makes 1/435th of a difference - that is to say, who is voting against the entire House - does so for reasons other than changing the outcome.

If the principle of Nader support is one you can stand by - as I think stras does - then that principle makes as much sense in Florida as in Ohio.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:21 AM
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345: Really? You're entitled to your opinion (although obviously if you start telling me to "fuck off", you can hardly expect the kid gloves treatment in return), but posts 258 to about 280 are pure and simple bullying.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:24 AM
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love the way you made sure to find out that the "Namond" guy definitely lived in a swing state, by the way.

That actually has not a thing to do with it. If I came 'round here berating people for being stupid enough to have voted for Gush or Bore in 2000, I'd be playing the asshole regardless of where I voted.

Anyway, it wasn't my intention at all to drive off Namond; I was trying to make explicit what was going on, because s/he was being talked about in allusive, insidery terms that were kind of shitty. It is true that, if s/he were to stay, I was hoping for a less stras-ey tone, but that's personal preference.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:30 AM
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posts 258 to about 280 are pure and simple bullying.

350 before I saw 349, but as I said in 350, I was trying to make things a bit less shitty (although neither 258 nor 280 are at all bully-ish, IMO, but in between was shittier).

But I'd be sorry if stras, Purity Troll or no, had decided to stop commenting here.

AFAICS, he was disgruntled at the turn things took after ogged left, but he still comes round sometimes. But the 2 or 3 times he said since then that he might leave, he got plenty of "oh please don't go"s that seemed entirely sincere to me, so I'm not sure this is quite the Stalinist enclave it's being painted.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:38 AM
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I wasn't involved much in the Namond thing just now, but as a defeated leftist I confess that I'm tired of people explaining things to me that I figured out decades ago, and I'm also subject to depression that makes me unnecessarily surly at times, for example at Stras.

After the Nader disaster (even from the Green point of view: there was no Green party-building) I resigned myself to being a Democrat, but that was a defeat, and most things I've learned about since 2001 have made me more depressed still: the stranglehold of money on the Democrats, the way militarism is locked in in both parties, the increasingly horrendous political media, the hard-core near-fascist 30%, and the still-clueless centrist 40%. Against this you have the blogosphere and not much else. I don't know what to do about it, and as far as I know neither does Namond, or Stras, or McManus, or anyone else here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:42 AM
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I don't know what to do about it, and as far as I know neither does Namond, or Stras, or McManus, or anyone else here.

stras's position is "I already changed my mind to accommodate the concept of a party to the left of the Democrats, now we just have to get 50 million people who are unlike me in every way to agree with me. What is taking so long?!?"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 7:46 AM
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RTFA, Sifu. If Namond is trolling, he's been taking his time to get around to it. That "the Democrats" or "we" distinction is bullshit, anyway. It's perfectly reasonable to say "the Democrats" when referring to the people who are crafting campaign strategy, who are most certainly not a bunch of 47-y-o balding men.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:11 AM
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At least not this group of 47-y-o balding men.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:12 AM
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354 gets it right. Sifu's initial complaint made no sense, are we supposed to say "We should have planned the convention better, dammit". Not all of us have big pull with the top players in the Democratic party who are our close personal friends like Sify does.

Also I refer to my favorite baseball team as "they" even though some people like to say "we really beat the Mud Hens last night, hoo boy!"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:17 AM
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354: I'm not entirely sure that distinction holds up, especially when you're talking about people with blogs and so on. If we'd like somebody to be tough on the GOP, maybe we should just go on ahead and be that somebody. That's what bothered me about the distinction; the assumption of impotence, and, more than that, the abdication of responsibility for trying to do something.

But then I was probably being surly, too. And a bully! I bet I do it to cover up my shame and embarrassment that I'm not actually Batman.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:17 AM
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352.2 is pretty on-target with what I find depressing about the current state of American politics. All I've figured out to do about it is to resign myself to lesser-of-two-evilsism. Once you realize that's the only game that's being offered, it becomes a lot easier to swallow.

I doubt Obama will actually represent much, if any, kind of change from the evergreen militarism and corporatism of the Democratic Party, and lord knows Joe Biden doesn't represent any change from it. As far as that goes, Namongelo is correct, however much people are tired of hearing it. But the GOP has slid so far into neo-fascist imperialism that the Democrats look benign by comparison, and there is at least the appearance that the most hawkish wing of the Democratic Party has to move to the back of the bus for a bit. That ain't much, but it is *something*.

And as Emerson has said many times, most of the country doesn't agree with me and beggars can't be choosers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:21 AM
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Yeah, 258 really annoyed me last night, but I was severely sleep-deprived and went to bed instead of responding. "We" are not the Democrats. Nearly all of us are closer to agreeing with the Democratic platform than the Republican. But really, not everyone here has views that plausibly fit within the Democratic tent -- plenty of us are to the left of Kucinich on lots of things, and the party edits him and laughs at him.

And really, as 'Smasher notes, we're commenters on a blog, not politicians or political operatives. And if we can't try out some unpopular, possibly counterproductive lines of out-there and radical though in the comments section of a blog without throwing the election to McCain, then what's the fucking point?

Namond wasn't being particularly original, but neither is all the knee-jerk "Nader: Never Again" piling-on.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:24 AM
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even from the Green point of view: there was no Green party-building

And that was (in the short term) the most depressing part of it - there really had been a lot of energy rallied around Nader in 2000, and it seemed like it might translate into a situation where localities would have an occasional Green councilmember or alderperson, and Dems would feel obliged to throw Greens a bone the way that Republicans throw the Religious Right a bone.

I realize that, in some sense, none of that would ever happen, but it could have come closer.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:25 AM
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9: Awwww pretty cute about talking in the wake of hillary.

Am I the only one who thought that line came off as patronizing and insincere?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:26 AM
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If we'd like somebody to be tough on the GOP, maybe we should just go on ahead and be that somebody.

This isn't that kind of blog, and you know it. "Unfogged" and "message discipline" do not go together.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:26 AM
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as a citizenparticipant in a countryblog with a lot of the attributes of a democracycommunity, how do I want to stand up and be counted?

I find the trolling borderline elusive.



Posted by: lurky lou | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:26 AM
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If Namond is trolling, he's been taking his time to get around to it.

Huh? The linked comment reads precisely like stras. Assuming no one meant troll in the literal, ToS sense, the linked comment is in no way exculpatory.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:27 AM
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But the GOP has slid so far into neo-fascist imperialism that the Democrats look benign by comparison

Dennis Perrin makes a reasonably strong case that they don't. And the alternative is obviously single-issue protest politics, which does occasionally achieve things (like the scuppering of the TRIPS agreement at the Seattle WTO meetings)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:28 AM
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Yeah, I mean, for me the moment I realized how crappy my choices were was when Clinton took office, and established the unapologetic profit-seeking of the Reagan era as a bipartisan consensus. That said, there's still a whole metric buttload of difference, and there are enough good people in the Democratic party that occasional good things can happen, and given the choice between being hopelessly, angrily alienated and briefly, occasionally optimistic, I usually narrowly opt for the latter. The "I'ma take my ball and go home" griping and uninformed thursday afternoon quarterback have just been rankling me a little more this cycle. I'm sure I'll get over it, or join in, soon enough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:28 AM
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I bet I do it to cover up my shame and embarrassment that I'm not actually Batman.

That's ok. Deep down, where it counts, you'll always be the Batman to us the Democrats.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:28 AM
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366 to 358, nominally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:29 AM
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Dems would feel obliged to throw Greens a bone the way that Republicans throw the Religious Right a bone

The Republican throw the religious right bones because the RR functions as a caucus within the GOP. When the Naderites decided it would be better to stand outside the Democratic Party and throw rocks, the only logical reaction from the Democrats was to come down on them with both feet. To do otherwise is to ignore the basic calculus of our electoral system.

Whether anybody like it or not, there are only two real political parties in this country. Unless and until one of them implodes, third parties are just so much political masturbation. If you want to want to move the party to the left, get involved in it. You won't change it from the outside.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:30 AM
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Dennis Perrin makes a reasonably strong case that they don't.

On the imperialism issue, has any government with the opportunity to indulge in imperialism ever declined to do so?

At this juncture in history I think at least the Democrats are not insane enough to think we can still afford an empire, even if we'd like one. And that that's a difference between the parties.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:30 AM
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Whether anybody like it or not, there are only two real political parties in this country. Unless and until one of them implodes, third parties are just so much political masturbation. If you want to want to move the party to the left, get involved in it. You won't change it from the outside.

Apostropher says what I meant to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:31 AM
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I do the thing Sifu objects to in 258 all the time, and I am the yellow-doggiest of yellow dog Democrats.

But Sifu amends 258 appropriately in 357. Ultimately, citizens in a country like ours, which has many of the attributes of a democracy, have to be intent on being part of an electoral majority. In that sense, the Democrats need to be "we," and "we" need to take responsibilty for the failure to establish a less savage majority.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:31 AM
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I think the one strong advantage to the Democratic brand of corporatist plutocracy is that the corporations involved are not the ones that stand to immediately profit from endless war and a suicidal commitment to the oil economy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:32 AM
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Am I the only one who thought that line came off as patronizing and insincere?

Probably not, but I liked it because A. it was a really, really good speech, and everyone thinks so, B. he really seemed to enjoy HRC's speech in real time, and C. he has long said that he considers HRC to be a better politician than he is. Most people have always treated C. as patronizing and insincere, but he's never wavered from it, and he certainly went all-in for her this year in a way that suggested that he thought she was a plausible presidential candidate, not just a legacy making a run.

I mean, it's WJC, so there are always negative/cynical/conspiratorial explanations, but you don't have to embrace them all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:33 AM
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Vote Democrat: Slightly More Benign Corporate Overlords!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:33 AM
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375: damn straight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:35 AM
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Most people have always treated C. as patronizing and insincere

I've never doubted his sincerity on this point, actually.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:37 AM
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I agree with 372.2 whole-heartedly.

One thing that the convention always reminds me of: 90% of the non-superdelegates are totally normal, workaday people. They have chosen to make the Democratic Party the thing that they dedicate their discretionary time to, and they're the ones who create Democratic voters. Each delegate can probably point to a hundred specific voters who wouldn't vote D without them (in addition to whatever canvassing/phone banking they might do). To the average voter, the local committeewoman or precinct captain is the face of the Party as much as Obama or Clinton or Clinton.

If we chose to, we imaginary internet people could actually take that path, and accrue, in whatever small way, some power within the Party, and push it in the direction we think right. But we tend to prefer to complain that the Party isn't us, it's Rahm Immanuel.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:39 AM
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If you want to want to move the party to the left, get involved in it

This has such a long history of not working (and it has hardly delivered the goods for the religious right either in terms of any of their real core demands) that it has to be considered at least questionable.

third parties are just so much political masturbation

really? you laugh at the Greens (haha! those silly greens!), but precisely which left issue has achieved as much mainstream political support and success as the green agenda over the last ten years? trade union recognition? universal healthcare? I think not. At least as strong or stronger a case could be made that minority caucauses in non-Left parties are the truly masturbatory activity.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:39 AM
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I'm not entirely sure that distinction holds up, especially when you're talking about people with blogs and so on.

I think it holds up. E.g., I am not being paid. I think it holds up even more for people commenting on other people's unpaid blogs. Not paying attention to that sort of distinction leads to conversations like whether it's okay to criticize the Clintons in comments because the Republicans won't think we're unified. And you know, fuck that.

As to the rest of it, I don't really know. Namond didn't read like stras to me, and Sifu's comment surprised me a little bit, but Namond didn't read like a newbie who just started to delurk a couple days ago, either. It looked like two conversations that weren't actually meeting up in the middle.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:42 AM
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which left issue has achieved as much mainstream political support and success as the green agenda

If you think that's a result of the US Green Party, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:42 AM
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379: way to cherry-pick your sample set, d^2. Why don't we go back (say) 30 years and examine the data on progressive policy proposals. Was great society a third party? Was the EPA a third party? Was the civil rights movement a third party? No?!? How can that be?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:43 AM
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The Green Party in this country is not really the environmentalist party, dsquared. It's the "leftist without any political philosophy" party.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:43 AM
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I've never doubted his sincerity on this point, actually.

TBH, most people have doubted it because HRC never seemed a very impressive politician before this year. An impressive policy person, perhaps, but from "baking cookies" to Hillarycare to winning NY by forfeit, she didn't seem an especially good politician, esp. compared with her absurdly good politician husband.

But I think that this year has really changed that perception. However much blame you want to assign her for Mark Penn and Howie W-lfs-n, her retail political skills proved to be razor sharp, and her rhetorical skills are upper echelon, if not elite.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:43 AM
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380: No cookies for comments.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:45 AM
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382: I am sorry, Doctor Who, I didn't realise that this thread was dedicated to discussing the 1968 Democratic convention. Curses, you spotted my trick, I carefully and arbitrarily selected "now" as my starting point.

Was the civil rights movement a third party?

yes, by the way.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:49 AM
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369.1: Well yeah, that's why I said "none of that would ever happen."

I think that, if there was ever a plausible story for how the Greens could do good nationally, it involved A. creating a space to the left of Dems (so the national conversation wouldn't be limited to far right all the way to just left of center) and B. creating someplace else for liberal Dems to go.

The radical religious right has the threat of staying home - everyone accepts that they won't vote unless their pastor tells them to. Nobody believes such a thing about lefties, so you need a different way of threatening to pull them from the Big Dem Tent.

If a million collegetown liberals could plausibly threaten to vote Green unless Steny Hoyer loses his position of power, that would give them a bigger voice within the Party. Which, I suppose, is why the Dems stomped the Greens with both feet. But mostly, Nader didn't really care about party-building, and 2000 was a disaster everyone could recognize, and so blah.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:50 AM
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I think it holds up. E.g., I am not being paid. I think it holds up even more for people commenting on other people's unpaid blogs.

Oh, in general it probably does, but as 378 points out, the vast majority of the Democratic party, including the vast majority of people working on campaigns, isn't getting paid for it. Politics operates on volunteerism, grass root politics is the most effective kind of politics, etc. Not to be all techno-triumphalist here, but if you'd like to see an ad attacking McCain for X, Y and Z, you can make one pretty easily. Maybe you don't feel like doing that, but if you don't I reserve the right to call your griping about how "those people" aren't doing what you wish they would tiresome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:50 AM
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you laugh at the Greens (haha! those silly greens!), but precisely which left issue has achieved as much mainstream political support and success as the green agenda over the last ten years?

But the 'green agenda' has the advantage of appealing to (relatively) simple, mechanical issues of self-preservation. People don't want their homes to flood, nor do they want carcinogenic smogs to smother their cities. So a 'green agenda' can get traction in the same way that a 'food agenda' would if there were a situation which threatened universal starvation. 'Social equality' doesn't impinge as a need in quite the same way.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:51 AM
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381, 383: So what (and I used the term "The Greens" rather than a party name, actually)? The entire success of the green movement shows that, in fact, it is possible to have a very great degree of influence over American politics indeed without operating through electoral parties.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:53 AM
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And the alternative is obviously single-issue protest politics....

That's where I came from. I was just disgruntled and grumbly 1984-2000, but my last active period was 1980-83 working against Clinton/Reagan's dirty war in Central America. I ended up believing that you can't treat something as big as that as a single issue. It was one of the cornerstones of Reagan's program, and we were essentially asking Reagan to stop being Reagan entirely (rather than just trying to block a particular policy). We did get a fair amount of Democratic Congressional support, but that's where the second problem arose: the executive has a pretty free hand, de jure and even more de facto (Iran Contra).

I personally and a fair proportion of the people here and elsewhere in the blogosphere have already figured out that after Nov. 7 2008 we will probably be opposing and resisting Obama, at least on foreign policy, and trying to get a left faction going in Congress.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:53 AM
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"The last ten years" is an unfortunate time period for the Green Party, because they haven't done as much post-2000 election.

388: But surely you can't call it tiresome when griping about the convention. I can make free YouTube ads, but I can't really design Biden's speech (e.g.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:55 AM
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337, 352:

John, you have such good insight.

This is what I meant earlier this year when I said you need to work on fixing yourself instead of getting all pissed at me and trying to fix me because I don't have the answers you need.

You must have access to the Serenity Prayer right?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:56 AM
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386: my point was that the past 10 years -- given that they've featured Republican control of one to several of the branches of government, with an attempted impeachment of the Democratic executive for those few slims years when your sample features one -- are hardly the best test of whether a government with Democrats, you know, in power would enact progressive legislation. If we go back to the most recent era when the Democrats had both the executive and the legislative in some capacity, we have... well, we have Bill being a DLC turd. But if we go back to the time before that, which is to say thirty years ago, we find that a lot of good legislation got passed, somehow or other. But yes, by all means, let's restrict ourselves purely to the present moment. What has the Democratic party accomplished in the past 10 minutes? That's what's really important.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:56 AM
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Tripp, I'll email.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:57 AM
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I'd love it if 388 was spun off into an Unfogged Directing Group and all of the Attack More! comments were used to produce an ad for that cheap new start-up that puts ads on local television across the country. I wouldn't chip in or contribute, but I also wouldn't have to read them.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:57 AM
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So what (and I used the term "The Greens" rather than a party name, actually)? The entire success of the green movement shows that, in fact, it is possible to have a very great degree of influence over American politics indeed without operating through electoral parties.

The only time the green movement had any success in America was during the Nixon administration and in the last 12 months. I wish we had another president like Nixon who had no principles on domestic policy and just did what the polls said Americans wanted to do.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 8:58 AM
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390: so wait, what you're saying is that it's possible to have influence over one or both of the major parties if there's an issue you care about? There's a mind-bending revelation.

Obviously if you have an issue or set of issues you care deeply about, you have to build awareness of, and support for, your cause before you have any hope of seeing change. Obviously the Democratic party is not going to accept your pet unpopular position as gospel because they like the cut of your jib. But when it comes time to get your (popular, achievable, delicious) ideas implemented as, you know, policy, you have to talk to the people that actually run the government, and if you do that without picking a side people are going to pay fuck-all attention to you, even if you let them take pictures with Bono.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:00 AM
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Tripp, I'll email.

Ruh Row.

Hey, I'm sorry man. I'm just doing my thing.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:01 AM
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392: you'd be amazed what I can call tiresome. That said, sure, gripe away about the convention. I wholeheartedly agree that nobody here has any control over that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:02 AM
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396: I would make an ad, but people would point out that it wasn't funny.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:03 AM
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The entire success of the green movement shows that, in fact, it is possible to have a very great degree of influence over American politics indeed without operating through electoral parties.

dsquared, I'm going to need you to add some specifics to this comment before I'll believe you're actually saying anything. Which successes, in the American context, are you speaking about?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:03 AM
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Yah rilly. I mean, the environmental movement in this country per se has (a) been pretty robustly unsuccessful compared to most other developed countries, and (b) has seen it's fortunes rise and fall in pretty much linear correlation with Democratic electoral fortunes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:05 AM
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401: That's why you need Unfogged consensus humor. Something about a wizard cocksucker, and RTFA if you don't like it you damn hicks!


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:05 AM
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Dennis Perrin makes a reasonably strong case that they don't.

Why the fuck should I care what Dennis Perrin has to say about things?

Look, part of the reason that the Nader thing keeps getting dredged up is that the Greens laid out their case very clearly that, in 2000, the Dems and Republicans were offering the exact same thing. Somehow, this exact same thing wasn't torture, occupation of foreign countries, politicization of civil service that would be comical if not for its deadly impact, and actual political prosecutions out of the DOJ.

Once it turned out that one of the two parties actually did offer these things, the same crowd quickly back-tracked to insisting that Gore would have done the exact same thing. Really? Why the fuck didn't you tell us at the time? You had no illusions; you were the wise cynics, condescending to the fools who couldn't see that Dems would rule just as Republicans would. Yet, somehow, you never mentioned what that meant.

Perhaps it's because you had no fucking clue what Republican rule would bring, and your longtime distaste for Dems means that you must hurriedly assign the unforeseen pox upon both houses, lest you be forced to admit that, in 2000, you were making an ass of yourself.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:07 AM
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Personally I take courage from Robert Kennedy.

He came to the conclusion that, yeah, we've got flaws and yeah, in the end we all die but those are not good enough excuses for stopping the good fight.

Right now the Titanic world is heading for the iceberg and there is no way in Hell we'll miss it.

On the other hand, from the flotsam we can rebuild this global ship in the shape we want.

We probably won't. We'll probably muddle through as best we can, like usual, but maybe not.

Even so the future is not now. We need to do the best we can right now and that means getting Obama elected.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:08 AM
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This is what I meant earlier this year when I said you need to work on fixing yourself instead of getting all pissed at me and trying to fix me because I don't have the answers you need.

Excellent! Historical meta that has absolutely nothing to do with this thread.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:10 AM
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So what (and I used the term "The Greens" rather than a party name, actually)? The entire success of the green movement shows that, in fact, it is possible to have a very great degree of influence over American politics indeed without operating through electoral parties.

Most effective environmentalists in the US do operate through the Democratic party, d2. If someone tells me that their main issue is supporting government action on environmental issues, I'm pretty safe in assuming that they (a) vote Democratic, and (b) rely on working with Democratic politicians. (This is a purely verbal thing, but in American-speak, I would understand 'the Greens' to mean the Green Party only. If I were talking about environmental activists, I'd describe them as such. "Green" as an adjective refers to policies, practices or objects designed in an environmentally conscious fashion, not so much to people.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:10 AM
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390: so wait, what you're saying is that it's possible to have influence over one or both of the major parties if there's an issue you care about? There's a mind-bending revelation.

this sarcasm of yours really isn't as charming as you apparently think it is; you've got a really leaden touch with comedy today.

The mind-bending revelation that appears to have escaped you is that it isn't possible to have anything like as much influence over anything if you can't credibly threaten to withhold your vote.

By the way, have we agreed yet that it's possible to have lots of political success without working in the context of a major electoral party? 'Cos I seem to remember that this was being described as "masturbation" not so very long ago.

But if we go back to the time before that, which is to say thirty years ago, we find that a lot of good legislation got passed, somehow or other

1978? Are you really so excited about the Airline Deregulation Act, or do you think that the camp David Accords were specifically the result of pressure from the Left or something? If you're going to patronise, you could at least get it right.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:10 AM
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Environmentalism, gay liberation, and feminism have to good luck to appeal to moderate Republicans. Economic populism, labor issues, social spending, etc. do not; in fact I think that anti-union feeling might be the defining issue for moderate Republicans (who are increasingly extinct anyway).

Anti-war appeals to a fair number of people of various sorts, but war is wired in and you really need about 75% opposition and some extreme militance to have any success at all. The Vietnam War lasted 9 years and had strong opposition for more than half that time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:11 AM
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Please note Davies is talking past you or changing goal posts. Presumably no one objects to people engaging in a cause/single issue group rather than the dem party.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:11 AM
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407: with a little treacley sanctimony thrown in to put it over the top. New mouseover? It would be irresponsible not to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:11 AM
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411: aye. "Third party politics" is the only way to accomplish things if one defines "third", "party", and "politics" to mean "not third', "not a party", and "not politics".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:13 AM
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I used the term "The Greens" rather than a party name, actually

Hold on, does this mean that when I talk about The Democrats I'm not talking about the Democratic Party? O! Brave new language, with such nuance in it.

Look, pal, we're talking about the Green Party, and its role in the US electoral process. Insofar as there is a cohesive set of greens unassociated with that party, they have had very little to do with the success of the green agenda in recent years - buildings aren't LEED certified because the World Wildlife Fund says they should.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:14 AM
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Which successes, in the American context, are you speaking about?

OK, taking an example chosen on grounds of its definite concreteness rather than - how many companies, municipalities and so on now attempt to achieve carbon-neutral status? And does their doing so have anything at all to do with electoral politics?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:15 AM
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in fact I think that anti-union feeling might be the defining issue for moderate Republicans (who are increasingly extinct anyway).

BTW, I'm currently rereading everything Thomas Geoghegan's written. Everyone else should too -- he's very convincing on the 'it all comes down to labor' front. And on civic engagement, and pretty much everything else. (Well, he's confusing and I think wrong on crime. But other than that, everyone should be reading him.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:16 AM
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No cookies for comments.

I'm beginning to think that you're just stingy with the cookies, Armsmasher. That's no way to keep people happy.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:18 AM
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404 - I'm thinking we could do an ad with David Duke in Klan regalia fellating Obama, and voice over that that says "Barack Hussein Obama: Wizard Cocksucker!"

It would play well in the midwest, I'm sure.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:18 AM
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LB, on your recommendation I picked up Geoghegan's Which Side Are You On? and I will take your second recommendation as sign that I should read the damn thing.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:19 AM
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You know who's not all that convincing but super interesting to read? Saul Alinsky. Good writer, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:20 AM
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411: No I'm not (and it's OK, you have my permission to call me by my nickname; if you'd rather keep it formal it's "Mr. Davies" please). The point was made above (in defence of some pretty indefensible behaviour aimed at someone who had decided they didn't agree enough with the Democrats' politics to vote for them) that the only possible politics in the USA was electoral politics within the two-party system and that therefore anyone who wasn't prepared to support the Democrats in an election couldn't achieve anything.

I'm trying to establish that this isn't true. I have no idea why Tweety thinks I'm talking about third parties when I've pretty consistently used the phrase "single issue campaigning" - John appears to understand this so the fault certainly isn't entirely on my side.

Environmentalism, gay liberation, and feminism have to good luck to appeal to moderate Republicans. Economic populism, labor issues, social spending, etc. do not; in fact I think that anti-union feeling might be the defining issue for moderate Republicans (who are increasingly extinct anyway).

Well, in that case, single issue campaigners ought to choose their issues based on what they might be able to achieve something in, not what they'd really like most. Pragmatism isn't the wholly owned intellectual property of people who want to compromise with the Democratic Party.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:20 AM
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Insofar as there is a cohesive set of greens unassociated with that party, they have had very little to do with the success of the green agenda in recent years

yeah yeah, and the dirty hippies have nothing to do with the success of the antiwar movement, and Malcolm X had nothing to do with black liberation - fucking spare me, please.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:23 AM
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how many companies, municipalities and so on now attempt to achieve carbon-neutral status? And does their doing so have anything at all to do with electoral politics?

Well, yes, of course it does. Municipalities are run by elected officials, and while I don't have statistics in front of me, I'd bet that the vast majority of officials in the us working on environmentally forward-thinking policies are Democrats.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:24 AM
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421: well, look, if you're talking about issues that don't require the involvement of the federal government, right, sure, there's third and fourth and fifth ways to go about it. Speaking within the context of national politics, on the other hand, and specifically speaking about e.g. getting laws passed, there turn out to be two parties who ever have the ability to get anything done, and you get to work with one or the other. That working with the Democrats over the past 10 years has been a poor way of getting things done is less than totally surprising, given that they've been out of power for the vast majority of that time, and hobbled (partly by incompetence, partly by circumstance) the rest of the time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:25 AM
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And of course, my ne plus ultra of concrete examples - the Seattle TRIPS agreement. This would have made it impossible for Brazil and Soth Africa to provide cheap AIDS drugs if it had been passed in 1998. It was not passed in 1998, and this is entirely due to the protestors, who entirely deserve the credit for the thousands of lives saved as a result. The anti-WTO movement is another example of a non-party political movement that's achieved vastly more than any left current within the Democratic party.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:26 AM
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I'd bet that the vast majority of officials in the us working on environmentally forward-thinking policies are Democrats.

And with the same lack of stats, I'll raise you that the vast majority of self seeking corporate Panjandrums who understand that their long term interest lies in doing something about carbon neutrality, especially before somebody else has made all the money in it, are Republicans.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:28 AM
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423 suggests to me that I probably came too far towards the middle in 424. Just like a Democrat! It is indubitably true that even on the state level the vast majority of legislators and executives taking even the tiniest little steps in a progressive direction (on the environment or anything else) are Democrats.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:28 AM
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The successes of the environmental movement in the last ten years have intersected with movement inside the Democratic Party, but I think we're seeing a broad social movement that's winning Dems over to it, and is having a lot more success in doing so now than just 5 years ago. So D^2's right to see its success as distinct from the party's attention to it.

But it has zip to do with the US Green Party.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:30 AM
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in fact, even Fairtrade fucking bananas have probably achieved more of their aims than the cause of trying to move the Democrats to the left.

That working with the Democrats over the past 10 years all of history apart from five minutes in 1964 has been a poor way of getting things done is less than totally surprising.

fixed. and clearing up ...

Why the fuck should I care what Dennis Perrin has to say about things?

because he's right.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:31 AM
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therefore anyone who wasn't prepared to support the Democrats in an election couldn't achieve anything

That's a pretty awful misreading of what I wrote. What I said was that moving *the Democratic Party* to the left isn't accomplished by voting third party. And there's a pretty obvious argument to be made that voting Green in 2000 effectively moved the country sharply rightward for next 4-8 years. If you want to talk about issue advocacy groups, that's an entirely different discussion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:32 AM
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If we chose to, we imaginary internet people could actually take that path, and accrue, in whatever small way, some power within the Party, and push it in the direction we think right.

Fuck, this blog? It's full of middle-to-upper class educated whities capable of utter cynicism if it advances a goal. We could probably create a couple congresscritters from our ranks.

And bizarrely enough, my real hope for changing a party from the inside comes from China. It's surprising how much debate actually occurs within the Party, so long as its understood that final decisions and all power will remain with the nebulous entity. Still, it's willing to change if that's what it takes to survive.

To address what dsquared was talking about with the green party pushing current lefty dialogue: a lot of the big issues of this election cycle (equal pay for women, universal health care, a less belligerent foreign policy, etc.) have been kicked around in wonkier circles for years with only the occasional appearance in an actual election platform. As for what caused the (slight) leftward shift in the Democratic platform over the past 8 years that made them major issues this time around, I'd say it has a couple clear causes:

a) We had a major economic boom, with substantial asset price increases making everyone feel like they should be richer. However, most salaries were stagnant in real terms so in order to profit from the boom you had to be a major capital holder or you had to go into massive debt on your most important asset. This is a pretty good recipe for grassroots economic discontent.

b) The rise of the internet and the blogosphere, and especially its initial success with the Dean campaign, proved that politicians could use to internet to raise enormous amounts of money with less fundraising effort while recruiting and coordinating large numbers of excited volunteers. However, in order to do so, you would have to take on some policy positions that excite the leftier, younger base that supplied those donations and volunteers. This meant the Democratic party had a large new resource pool to pull from, but quickly figured out it had to start building widespread party support for the leftier policies in order to mine that vein.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:32 AM
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||
LB, I just ordered Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants for my own garden; cheap, informative and concise. Put out by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
|>

On environmental responsibility in the US, IMO a lot of the problem is land use, driven by unplanned building and thoughtless or easily corrupted zoning. In big cities at least, planning entities and zoning process seem more relevant and powerful than a decade ago. The real change will come when people willingly give up their lawns and low density close-in housing gets rebuilt, hopefully in a sounder way. Outside the cities, subsidized farming is a problem that shows no sign of going away.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:32 AM
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428 is an early entrant in the Unfogged Redundies Awards, to be announced next week. Post-pwnage: the new, old pwnage.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:33 AM
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429: you keep pointing out to me that the New Deal and Great Society never happened, and I keep just not getting it. That must be frustrating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:33 AM
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425 and 429 still have nothing to do with "threaten[ing] to withhold your vote" (409), which is probably the second position for the goalpost after the Green Party.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:36 AM
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That working with the Democrats ...all of history apart from five minutes in 1964 has been a poor way of getting things done is less than totally surprising.

Yeah, OK. That's credible.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:37 AM
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What I said was that moving *the Democratic Party* to the left isn't accomplished by voting third party

no, you said that it couldn't be achieved other than by working within the Democratic Party. Which it can; viz, greens and WTO protestors.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:37 AM
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If you want to talk about issue advocacy groups, that's an entirely different discussion.

Since, you know, The Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund don't actually appear on any ballots.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:37 AM
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435: I can't really figure out what d^2 is arguing. That voting for democrats, in the absence of any other political participation, is a bad way to promote your single issue? That voting for the Democrats is a bad way to support the Democratic platform? That not having policy goals leads to those non-goals not being achieved? It's a puzzle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:39 AM
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437: I was speaking specifically about voting, dsquared, as that was the topic under discussion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:39 AM
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438: Nor, it could be argued, does anything else of importance.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:40 AM
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435: I thought we had settled it (in the brief discussion of the Republican Right) that a large part of the reason why Democratic Left pressure groups are so ineffectual is that they don't stay home when not pandered to. We're never going to make any progress if people keep resurrecting these zombie issues.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:40 AM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:40 AM
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437: nothing in electoral politics, dude. There are many realms in which working with the Democratic party is not useful. Baking, furniture joinery, table tennis. The list goes on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:41 AM
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yeah yeah, and the dirty hippies have nothing to do with the success of the antiwar movement, and Malcolm X had nothing to do with black liberation - fucking spare me, please

The only political commitments I have are to environmental groups, asshole. I know what I'm talking about here, unlike you.

The vast majority of enviro groups over here are focused on issues where there has been very little traction. Your example of success was carbon neutrality. Would you care to identify who you think has had the most impact on this issue? It isn't Earth First!, and it ain't the fucking Conservation Fund.

The explicitly non-partisan enviros have had very little traction, because they always make sure to pat some Republicans on the head, ensuring that DeLay and Inhofe and McConnell get their anti-environmental majorities, and the nice, environmentally-friendly Republicans get fuck-all.

NARAL has been guilty of the same thing, I might add, albeit to a lesser extent. Progressive groups who have been nonpartisan in good faith have not had a good track record in this country. In contrast, rightwing groups that are nonpartisan only for tax purposes have gotten increasing restrictions on abortion, 4 stridently anti-abortion SCOTUS justices (plus one who leans), anti-gay legislation in dozens of states and the Federal gov't, non-functioning abstinence programs here and abroad, and taxpayer dollars thrown to religious groups that discriminate. And that's just one set of people who understand that, to get things done in this country, you work in a party structure, not on the outside.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:43 AM
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apo: "third parties are just so much political masturbation."
d^2: "really? you laugh at the Greens"
further d^2 (paraphrased): I wasn't talking about parties, you twit."

You can see how your further bit could be a bit opaque?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:45 AM
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442: I don't agree that negative electoral reinforcement is a good strategy for changing the Democratic Party. I agree strongly that leading on an issue without regard to its electoral impact is vital. "If the people lead, the leaders will follow" is hokey but makes a lot of sense--more than "if the people vote for Nader, the Democrats will try to win back their votes" anyhow.

This thing started when NW put forward that he didn't identify with the Democrats and got run off. (Easily.) The groupthink right now seems to be that our individual votes and fealty matter a whole super heck of a lot. There are other things that matter, and outside of ballot box Obamania there remain a number of valid and effective ways to do politics.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:47 AM
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no, you said that it couldn't be achieved other than by working within the Democratic Party. Which it can; viz, greens and WTO protestors.

So, influencing unelected global organizations cannot be accomplished by working within the Democratic Party. Counterintuitive but it just might be true.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:47 AM
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442: Zombie issue? That cuts to the heart of this argument. If you think gaining influence within the party at the expense of influence within the government is a smart thing to do, you're getting eight years of Bush, all because you're blind to the many other effective ways of influencing the party going on right now.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:48 AM
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I bet it turns out I'm dsquared, too.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:48 AM
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I can't really figure out what d^2 is arguing

that's abundantly clear. doesn't stop you trying to patronise me though, apparently.

Look I'll make it as simple as possible:

If you don't support a political party's aims (and specifically, if you think that a political party's decision to appoint a warmongering arsehole responsible for a terrible bankruptcy bill, is decent evidence that its aims are very different from yours), then there is a decent argument to be made that you probably shouldn't vote for it.

Following on from the radical "don't vote for parties you don't support" idea, a decent argument can be made that if you've decided that none of the parties on offer are worth you voting for, you shouldn't allow yourself to be bullied or blackmailed into voting for one.

From thence, 'tis but a skip and a jump to the position that if you want to be involved in politics, but didn't want to support any major political party, then you would have to carry out your political activity in a non-party way.

There would be a big problem for this argument if it turned out that it wasn't possible to achieve anything meaningful outside the party system, but luckily, that isn't true.

There would also be a big problem for this argument if it turned out that it was much more efficient and easier to achieve political goals working within a political party. But that isn't true either.

There is a somewhat smaller problem for this argument from the empirical fact that otherwise pleasant and politically asture people have this habit of behaving like total hacks and cunts once every four years when they want to cajole votes for their favourite party. That problem's soluble for robust characters like me, but apparently remains a serious problem for normal people like our friend Namond.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:49 AM
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442: a large part of the reason why Democratic Left pressure groups are so ineffectual is that they don't stay home when not pandered to.

445: The explicitly non-partisan enviros have had very little traction, because they always make sure to pat some Republicans on the head, ensuring that DeLay and Inhofe and McConnell get their anti-environmental majorities, and the nice, environmentally-friendly Republicans get fuck-all.

You know what the difference is between the Religious Right and non-partisan environmental groups, that makes the first an effective pressure group within the Republican party and the second not effective? It's that the RR is really committed to the Republicans (or against the Democrats). Their pressure is "Do what we say, or this absolutely reliable block of Republican votes will stay home." But there's no risk that they're going to vote Democratic.

The non-partisan issue group version of that -- we'll vote for whoever did the last useful thing for us -- seems vastly less effective in terms of electoral pressure. I'd have to think about it a little harder to figure out why.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:49 AM
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And that's just one set of people who understand that, to get things done in this country, you work in a party structure, not on the outside.

But isn't this a set of people who will stay home if they're not being pandered to?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:49 AM
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448: Certainly not the ones that are supported by a Democratic U.S. President.

444: Unfair, Tweeters. In between "electoral politics" and "furniture joinery" are a whole world of politics, and there is lots of political action that can be taken without regard for the people in Denver.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:50 AM
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But isn't this a set of people who will stay home if they're not being pandered to?

That really isn't clear, since it hasn't been tested.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:52 AM
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I don't agree that negative electoral reinforcement is a good strategy for changing the Democratic Party.

Otoh it's not clear anyone has come up with an effective method of changing the Democratic Party leftwards in the last few decades, at least.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:53 AM
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because he's right.

Show me where he knew what Bush was going to do, and show me where he predicted that Gore would do the same. Until them, fuck him and his false equivalency.

We ran the fucking experiment. Republicans have given us Iran-Contra, politicized impeachment, the Iraq War, the end of the Fourth Amendment, and a good try at turning the DOJ into an arm of the GOP. Democrats gave us too much corporate whoredom and a blowjob.

Oh, and PS, Republicans gave us the worst economic "expansion" in US history. But Bill Clinton bombed an aspirin factory, so I guess it's all even.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:53 AM
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Yeah, dsquared, you really are smudging a vital difference between environmental lobbying and, well, pretty much every other area of a progressive platform.

Environmental issues, as they're often driven by corporate and household consumption, are particularly vulnerable to grassroots non-governmental pressure so long as the marginal consumer proves willing to put their money where they're told their mouth is. Now, of course, the big problem with this is enforcement. Even as carbon neutrality and green corporate behavior become big things, there's no government regulation or oversight for these behaviors. And that's why, even though consumers may desperately want to do the right thing at an individual, they're easily hoodwinked by corporate "greenwashing" without the check of actual watchdog groups ensuring that the corporation is following environmental best practices. And I hate to say it, but really the only group in the US that's proved effective at gaining the necessary access and applying transparent standards across the board has been government agencies. So ultimately we still need Democrats in national office to really give the environmental movement the info it needs to have fangs.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:54 AM
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451: There's a better party, and there's a worse party, and which or whether you vote for every couple of years need have no bearing on how active you are in extra-party political affairs. Why does activism need to be yoked to idiotic electoral self-destruction?

(Because the punch bowl requires shitting-in, I guess)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:55 AM
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451: so, to sum up, no need to vote (because, if you vote for a third party candidate in a national election, and you aren't in Vermont voting for Bernie Sanders, that's what you're doing), because you can occasionally show up to protests? You should do a college tour on that one, it'd be a big hit.

Look, I don't like the fact that this country is a two-party system. I don't like the fact that -- at the current moment in this country -- the President has a nearly unfettered hand in foreign policy. I don't like the fact that neither of the two parties has adopted the platform of "do what Sifu Tweety says all the time (unless he's drunk)". But these are, to use your phrase, empirical facts, and we must work with them.

This reminds me of nothing so much as the "Purity of Essence" speech in Dr. Strangelove: "I do not avoid women politics, but I do deny them it my essence vote."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:56 AM
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There would also be a big problem for this argument if it turned out that it was much more efficient and easier to achieve political goals working within a political party. But that isn't true either.

It's not clear that it's false. And you're ignoring losses that occur as your hypothetical person focuses on his or her single issue.

This all sounds a bit like a free rider problem.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:57 AM
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But Bill Clinton bombed an aspirin factory

More on that "aspirin factory":

It is difficult to assess how many people in this poor African country died as a consequence of the destruction of the Al-Shifa factory, but several tens of thousands seems a reasonable guess. The factory produced some of the basic medicines on the World Health Organization list, covering 20 to 60 percent of Sudan's market and 100 percent of the market for intravenous liquids. It took more than three months for these products to be replaced with imports. It was, naturally, the poor and the vulnerable who would suffer from the plant's destruction, not the rich.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 9:59 AM
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so, to sum up, no need to vote

I can see we're going to have to start calling you Sherlock.

Yes. There is no need to vote, particularly if you do not support any of the candidates standing for election. There is doubly and triply no civic duty to harass and browbeat other people who have made a different decision from you about whether they want to vote or not.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:00 AM
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Holy Ministry of Information Batman!

More like `holy standard practice in US politics, Batman'. Everything is managed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:00 AM
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I'm pretty sure it's not true that no one here opposes working on issues as opposed to trying to elect Democratic candidates, but I may be confusing conversations about that here with conversations elsewhere.

I don't know how effective the religious right has been at getting their goals accomplished as opposed to being cynically pandered to, but to the extent that they have been more effective I'd suggest it's because there are more of them. 20-25% of the country making an issue a top priority as opposed to maybe 5% makes a difference. There's absolutely no difference, as far as electoral impact is concerned, between the voting Green-voting-Democratic choice & the staying-home-voting-GOP choice. Greens don't vote Republican & pro-lifers don't vote Democratic. But, social conservatives are just a larger & more essential part of the GOP coalition.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:01 AM
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In between "electoral politics" and "furniture joinery" are a whole world of politics, and there is lots of political action that can be taken without regard for the people in Denver.

Unquestionably the case. But for those few bits of political action which do depend on the outcome of national elections (such as "avoiding pointless wars slightly more often than currently") you pretty much have two teams to pick from. If none of the issues which depend on the outcome of national elections concern you, then you're sort of insane, but by all means avoid voting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:01 AM
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Yeah, part of it is that there's a bundle of issues defining a large chunk of the population; RR voters really don't care much about non-RR issues. For a environmental voter to vote on only environmental issues is hard if it requires voting for someone you're opposed to on equally important issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:04 AM
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There is doubly and triply no civic duty to harass and browbeat other people who have made a different decision from you about whether they want to vote or not.

Actually, provided that they're people who seem to share views even remotely aligned with our own, we kind of do. For more local offices, even senatorial and gubernatorial races, we get to select from a wider variety of potential candidates to pick someone who more closely matches our views and the views of our locality. But every 4 years, we all have to choose one person who's given shitloads of power to basically run an international agenda single-handedly while potentially derailing any domestic agenda through vetos, incompetent or politically-charged civil service appointments, and systematic defunding of the government departments they don't like.

Given that sort of power, and the extreme discrepancy between the two national parties (even if the local parties are frequently pretty close to one another), it's pretty much a civic duty to do everything you can to get the slightly better choice elected.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:05 AM
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Bill Clinton's kill count (including Kosovo) outdoes Buscho's

Huh? Bush has a million Iraqis on his head. To start.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:06 AM
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But for those few bits of political action which do depend on the outcome of national elections (such as "avoiding pointless wars slightly more often than currently") you pretty much have two teams to pick from

Or alternatively, in the opinion of some people and well supported by both historical and current evidence, no you don't; you've got one team and a vote of acclamation, from which it is currently possible to abstain.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:06 AM
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Right, I forgot to mention "not letting a crazy asshole who loves war get the keys to thousands of nuclear warheads". That's another one of those narrow political niches were national elections are relevant. "Not enabling massive giveaways to the super-rich" is another one. Just a couple pet issues, but they're quite dear to some of us.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:07 AM
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the extreme discrepancy between the two national parties

This was the exact point I was questioning in the nomination of Joe Biden.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:07 AM
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look out for the t-r-o-l-l, soup.

There is some confusion about progress in the world of green building over the last ten to fifteen years. The creation and early adoption of LEED standards was entirely extra-governmental. Recently some local governments have adopted green building codes for their own construction, and a very few are requiring green building for new construction. In the West, at least, those have been non-partisan local electeds.

Up til now, the Democratic Party has had very little to do with the proliferation of green standards for the built environment. The next step, however, is getting state governments and ojala the federal government to institute requirements for green construction. This will require action by partisan officials; place your bets accordingly.

JRoth, does this sound right?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:07 AM
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the extreme discrepancy between the two national parties

the what?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:08 AM
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"not letting a crazy asshole who loves war get the keys to thousands of nuclear warheads"

This, too, is relevant in my decision to not want to vote for Joe Biden.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:08 AM
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If you don't support a political party's aims ... then there is a decent argument to be made that you probably shouldn't vote for it.

If you don't support the aim of keeping John McCain out of the White House, then you ought not boohoo if you get treated roughly for saying so around here. There's a pretty strong anti-McCain attitude around here.

The mind-bending revelation that appears to have escaped you is that it isn't possible to have anything like as much influence over anything if you can't credibly threaten to withhold your vote.

The Nader voters pretty much hit the jackpot in 2000 - they witheld their votes from the party they would like to influence in a manner that proved decisive. Guess what? They didn't gain any influence in the party or in the electorate at large, and the more sensible among them feel pretty bad about it.

I wouldn't beat up on a Nader supporter any more than I would an Iraq War supporter - people err, and guess wrongly about outcomes, and ought to be allowed to learn and grow. But surely in hindsight we have to see that the Iraq War and support for Nader were bad ideas, no matter how nobly motivated.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:08 AM
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`extreme discrepancy' is relatively recent, if it exists at all. It's not expected that the current Dems could or will fuck things up as badly as the Bush whitehouse has, but then again it hasn't been demonstrated yet.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:09 AM
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in the opinion of some people and well supported by both historical and current evidence

By "well supported" I assume you mean "not particularly well supported at all unless you're deeply confused about what the 'President' does", because otherwise I find this sentence rather puzzling.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:09 AM
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Huh? Bush has a million Iraqis on his head. To start.

You know, I've seen that claim made here and there (albeit always casually and in passing), and I've never had any idea whether it's just lying, whether there's some weird method of counting that makes it arguably true, or whether there was a five-year shooting war during the Clinton administration that I missed, on top of the stuff in the Balkans.

I would guess that the second is the case -- all deaths worldwide attributable by any means to US policies, including insufficient foreign aid, are on Clinton's head, while only people personally shot by American soldiers count for Bush.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:10 AM
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472: As I said to BG, the VP having any power to speak of (absent a president dying in office) is largely a phenomenon born in 2000. If the VP position returns to its traditional role under an Obama administration (tie breaks, speeches, and funerals), then VP Biden will have immensely less influence over American politics than Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Biden.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:11 AM
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Yes. There is no need to vote, particularly if you do not support any of the candidates standing for election. There is doubly and triply no civic duty to harass and browbeat other people who have made a different decision from you about whether they want to vote or not.

What are you talking about? Browbeat? Harass?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:11 AM
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In a blue state! It was OK!

Sorry, but no.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:12 AM
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Bill Clinton's kill count (including Kosovo) outdoes Buscho's

Is there some new consensus that Kosovo was a bad idea? My impression is biased having represented a sweet little old Kosovar activist in asylum proceedings who was immensely grateful for the outside help.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:12 AM
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LB, it's just lying.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:13 AM
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What are you talking about? Browbeat? Harass?

posts 258 to 285 in this thread refer, which more or less everyone has agreed were bullying. Could we drive a stake through this zombie too please.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:13 AM
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Is there some new consensus that Kosovo was a bad idea?

Let me tell you about this little place called Georgia...


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:14 AM
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475: as it (luckily) turns out, the President, not the Vice President has the responsibility for making President-type decisions, and since Obama has shown every sign of not being a shallow, easily snowed fratboy with anger management and father issues, we can safely assume that he will fail to delegate war-making authority to Joe Biden.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:14 AM
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And I think the Nader debate is pretty much a tiresome waste of time, which generates emotion far beyond its ability to actually change anything & leads to people who understandably think there's a duty to support the less bad party make an awful lot of awfully lame excuses for that party. I do not think the Green party is going to accomplish anything, & obviously it was quite destructive in 2000, & I think anyone who thinks that not-voting or voting Green is actually going to improve anything is kidding themselves. But, their votes are going to affect the outcome of the election any more or less than any other vote. If you volunteered for a campaign & were making phone calls or canvassing--first of all, you wouldn't bother people in safe states. Second of all, in non-safe states, you do not take the tactic of shrieking at people who support or leaning towards supporting someone else that they're hurting America & being babies. If they're firmly committed to another candidate, you thank them for their time & hang up; otherwise you try to non-hostile-ly persuade them if they're open to it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:14 AM
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BTW, 462 kind of proves my point. Against a million Iraqis (and counting!), Namond wants to balance 3 months of reduced medicine in Sudan. It's not that the latter is good, OK, or acceptable. It's that the former is (literally) thousands of times worse, and I really am fucking tired of people treating them as equal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:14 AM
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486: Okay, go on... The situation in Georgia is a result of the Kosovo War?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:15 AM
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aren't going to affect the outcome of the election, that is.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:15 AM
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I think that the Clinton international death count relies mostly on a) estimates of mortality caused by extended sanctions on Iraq which were later found to be too high and b) Noam Chomsky's estimate of the deaths attributable to the bombing of what JRoth so very tastefully calls an "aspirin factory". And so the real number is clearly much lower. On the other hand, of course, you do have to remember that this was a ten year period when America faced no overseas threats at all; Christ alone knows what he'd have done after 9/11 but you have to say that the most likely guess would have been war.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:16 AM
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you do not take the tactic of shrieking at people who support or leaning towards supporting someone else that they're hurting America & being babies.

Did you miss the MoveOn training?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:17 AM
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I hold little hope of convincing Namond to do anything, d^2, regardless of how much bullying my busy little typing fingers might be able to muster. I was just yelling at him, because I think the argument for failing to vote in a national on principled grounds is plum stupid, and one of the great joys of the internet is the ability to freely call such ideas out for what they are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:17 AM
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Against a million Iraqis (and counting!),

while we're on the subject of exaggerated numbers, this is an exaggerated number.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:18 AM
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"in a national election"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:18 AM
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490: Russia's power-move in the Caucasus is widely seen as responsive to the recognition of Kosovo's independence. You dismantle one of my client states, I'll dismantle one of yours.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:19 AM
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As I said to BG, the VP having any power to speak of (absent a president dying in office) is largely a phenomenon born in 2000

Tell that to Al Gore. And what exactly does it say about Obama - who already endorses escalation of the war in Afghanistan, "residual forces" in Iraq, and an additional 100,000 troops for the U.S. military - that he picked, as his foreign-policy cred VP, the guy who'll be one heartbeat away, Joe "let's invade Sudan" Biden?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:19 AM
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I wouldn't beat up on a Nader supporter any more than I would an Iraq War supporter

Iraq War supporters deserve much more kicking than Nader voters (first time round, anyway).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:19 AM
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473 sounds about right, although political support for LEED is staunchly Dem everyplace I've seen.

Alas, I won't be able to contribute here anymore because I'm getting a fucking migraine, and I can barely see to type right now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:19 AM
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I was just yelling at him

and accusing him of being a troll, and accusing him of being someone other than who he claimed to be.

and one of the great joys of the internet is the ability to freely call such ideas out for what they are.

I wholly agree; that's why I said that you were bullying.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:19 AM
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I'm sure we're only 500 comments away from 'by 'green', I obviously meant the color, and by 'party', I obviously meant a celebration.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:20 AM
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and accusing him of being a troll, and accusing him of being someone other than who he claimed to be.

Both quite cogent points on my part, really.

I wholly agree; that's why I said that you were bullying.

A cogent point on yours. I certainly hope everybody else is having fun, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:21 AM
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496: "in a national guitar"

"in a national/r.e.m. show"

"on a [national] hot dog!"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:21 AM
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posts 258 to 285 in this thread refer, which more or less everyone has agreed were bullying.

Well, the bullying tone was created by a belief that Namond was sockpuppeting, which makes people irritated, rather than just his politics. That was (I hope. I haven't looked at the IP addresses.) mistaken, but it wasn't so much purely political-disagreement-based bullying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:21 AM
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Christ alone knows what [Clinton]'d have done after 9/11 but you have to say that the most likely guess would have been war.

But how many?


Posted by: lurky lou | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:21 AM
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498: Thanks -- I freely admit that I am not qualified to serve as commander in chief...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:21 AM
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Sorry about the migraine, JRoth.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:22 AM
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493: cute. I think MoveOn actually did perfectly standard, competent GOTV in 2004 though. I'd expect Obama's organization to be better--I think/hope his organizing strategy is as important as, and a 20x better than, his media strategy, & we're overlooking it because by its nature it's not going to show up in polls, & because of the unfortunate inability of liberal blogs to do anything more useful than obsess over the news cycle & horse race.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:22 AM
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A million is unsupported (and wasn't what Lancet said), but claiming that Hitch of all people debunked the Lancet report and showed "statistical fraud(!)" is like waving a sign that you don't know what you're talking about.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:22 AM
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Nyet. The Lancet was debunked a few years ago-

This is false, and Hitchens was wrong.

The 1 million number is still the wrong one to use, but your reasoning is bs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:22 AM
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The Lancet was debunked a few years ago--one may not care for Hitchens, but he did a good job pointing out the various types of statistical fraud (like "cluster sampling") committed by the Lancet comrades . Approx. 150,000 deaths or so.

while we're on the subject of exaggerated numbers, no, you're wrong. A reasonable combination of excess death estimates would be at least 500k and probably more like 650k.

PS: please don't use the phrase "cluster sampling" in my presence when you don't know what it means; you are the equivalent of a one-legged man entering into an arse-kicking contest against a horrible beast with a thousand booted feet and no arse.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:22 AM
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Plum stupid, and once someone decides to mount the podium and become a cheerleader for the position, dangerous enough to draw rebuke.

Absent geographic evidence, I don't care much about Namond's vote. I care a whole lot about his movement. It has to be confronted; I think there are many among the membership of this movement, even if not Namond him/herself, who can be reached.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:23 AM
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I officially regret my role in the Namond disaster of last night and am glad to see that he/I is/am commenting again.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:23 AM
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Tell that to Al Gore.

I certainly will if I see him. Did I miss that he ran foreign policy for Clinton? Musta been covered in the sports section.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:23 AM
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re: 483

I don't know about consensus, but there's always been a sizeable minority of people who think it was a big mistake.

re: 497

There's absolutely nothing wrong with cluster sampling. It's how these things are done. The million figure bandied about might not be the correct one, but the methodology of the Lancet study isn't the reason.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:23 AM
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you are the equivalent of a one-legged man entering into an arse-kicking contest against a horrible beast with a thousand booted feet and no arse.

Awesome.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:25 AM
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516: But Tweety, you read the sports section!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:26 AM
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Is 497 the ToS's most effective troll yet? Signs point to yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:27 AM
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514: if this were 2000, you'd have a point. As it is now? Whole discussion is an alienating waste of time. The people who were open to being persuaded, have been, but a portion of the Democratic party still finds it satisfying to tell them how very wrong they were. You seriously think Namond's movement is a threat to Obama? In what states, based on what evidence?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:28 AM
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510-512: You're responding to him, people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:30 AM
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Did I miss that he ran foreign policy for Clinton?

Gore was no Cheney, but he was frequently consulted on policy and politics and his word carried a lot of weight. He weighed in on, among other things, an early version of the torture outsourcing program, according to Richard Clarke's book - IIRC, he called it a "no brainer" and said "the guy's a terrorist, go grab his ass."


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:30 AM
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'by 'green', I obviously meant the color, and by 'party', I obviously meant a celebration.'

Rainbow party—comity!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:30 AM
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'extreme discrepancy' is relatively recent, if it exists at all.

I'd say it's pretty clear that a large discrepancy does exist, at least in terms of presidential politics.

The current crop of justices will be undermining precedents for years to steadily shore up states rights (to be more conservative, of course) and undercut corporate regulation whereever possible.

While Democrats argue whether to pull almost entirely out of Iraq as soon as possible or keep an independent diminished force there, Republicans argue about whether we should attack Iran.

All three frontrunner for the Democratic presidential race had an enormous broadening of healthcare coverage at the heart of their platform. McCain waved in the direction of a vast change which would shift almost all risk to the individual and probably raise healthcare costs for most of the currently insured (even including indirect costs).

Last I heard, the Democrats weren't looking to defund the EPA, the FDA, the SEC, or any of the other major regulatory agencies. When I was covering healthcare device companies, one of the major issues that cropped up when talking to management about new products is how hard it was to get anything through the FDA because they have no staff anymore and the liason kept changing over the multi-year clinical trials. It's somewhat invisible for the first few years when the regulatory and diplomatic civil services are eviscerated, but probably it probably carries some of the most terrifying long-term consequences due to how vital those organizations' functions are and how difficult that experienced specialty staff can be to replace.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:31 AM
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In what states, based on what evidence?

There are indeed many states polling within the margin of error.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:32 AM
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519: Not sure what you're after. "Responsive to" is deliberately wishy-washy; one could also include the establishment of missile defense systems in Poland among things that establish a context for the Ossetia business.

If that came off as "no other large country is ever an asshole unless deliberately provoked by the U.S.", I was unclear. But a contextual link between those two moves can be established. Consider Yggles.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:35 AM
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Joe "let's invade Sudan" Biden

Also, my bleeding internationalist heart still feels that military interventions in an attempt to quell genocide will still be a vast improvement over invading to prevent imaginary security threats.

Still a stupid fucking mess to get into, but one that my conscience would rest slightly easier about and one that probably would not result in so much international hatred.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:35 AM
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522: My point being, it's extremely disingenuous to wave away an ugly VP pick by saying "oh well, the Vice President doesn't do anything anyway," when the last two vice presidents have ranged from fairly influential to extraordinarily influential, and when the ugly VP pick in question is being picked ostensibly for his foreign policy experience - that is, for his ability to advise the future president on foreign policy.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:36 AM
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Due to the Green "movement's" strength in the polls? Does it even show up in the polls in any way?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:36 AM
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526: At least one comment vanished from this thread, 519 refers to a different 497.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:36 AM
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520 -- I don't know that it isn't 2000. I don't know how close Ohio, for example, is going to be. turnout is going to be a big deal -- I think we can see that already. I do know that anyone operating at a level above the most simplistic can see a material difference between Obama and McCain on any of the issues mentioned above. Talking down those differences, at this point (or any other until victory is had) is a very bad idea.

People in safe states who speak in public contribute to tropes, memes, etc. People in safe states who hear someone say 'there's not a dimes worth of difference between Obama and McCain' have a choice to make. A choice for which they are responsible.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:38 AM
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530: Thank you.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:38 AM
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the ugly VP pick in question is being picked ostensibly for his foreign policy experience

Ostensibly, perhaps, but I feel pretty certain that the VP pick in question is being picked for electoral purposes, not policy ones. It's not clear to me exactly how much power Gore actually had within the Clinton administration, given that the ideological difference between the two men was negligible.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:39 AM
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I'd say it's pretty clear that a large discrepancy does exist,

Rhetorically, anyway. And I hope plays out that way. I'm not naive enough to take what politicians say they're going to do or not do as being worth all that much. So we'll see.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:39 AM
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Still a stupid fucking mess to get into, but one that my conscience would rest slightly easier about and one that probably would not result in so much international hatred.

Dead people are still dead, whether they were killed for evil nasty reasons or tragic mistaken ones.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:39 AM
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I generally regard arguments about the influence of the VP on poilcy -- with Cheney as the exception -- as specious nonsense, so that may be where we're talking past each other, here. I'm not particularly happy with Biden as VP, largely because I hate the thought of having to vote for him for President eight years down the line, but arguably he'll do less damage safely ensconced in the Naval Observatory than he did in the Senate. I am reminded, as always, of my co-blogger's phrase about "constitutionally mandated powers rivaling those of Miss Teen Delaware".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:40 AM
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533: But he easily became the next presidential nominee. While Biden's old, it's not clear that he's coming aboard in the Cheney "Just let me play with the toys and then I'll go away" capacity -- and that wouldn't be better.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:42 AM
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I should be more clear in 534: I don't in any way believe that an Obama presidency would look like a McCain presidency. On the other hand, I think a lot of the `Oh, the Dems would never have done X' stuff is pretty speculative, and I'm also pretty sure that an Obama presidency wouldn't look much like some of his supporters seem to expect.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:42 AM
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535: Yes, but whereas I've run into a number of Bosnians who thought very highly of the Americans after the 1990s intervention, I bet I'd have one hell of a time finding many Iraqis who feel similarly.

The number of people who survive or have a better life because a genocide's been averted does matter enough to prevent the two situations from being equivalent, certainly.

This doesn't mean it's a good idea. Just a better one. I'm not saying all Democrats at the national level are great, just that they're pretty much uniformly better than the alternative. And that withholding a vote is extremely unlikely to lead to any future gains, just near-term agony as the screws get tightened further.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:44 AM
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I'm also pretty sure that an Obama presidency wouldn't look much like some of his supporters seem to expect

I can't imagine it'll look much of anything like what Obama expects, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:44 AM
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largely because I hate the thought of having to vote for him for President eight years down the line

hypothetically, how bad would he have to be before you considered not voting for him? Assume for the purposes of thought experiment that the Republican candidate is always fractionally worse.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:46 AM
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And I think Namond (and his friends) would have better luck influencing policy with Biden in the Naval Observatory than Lieberman or Romney. The logic, in our system, of withholding the vote from the clearly lesser evil is simple nonsense.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:46 AM
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538: Well, I certainly don't think that the Dems would have been great on the civil liberties after 9/11. Nor do I think they would have avoided war (though Iraq would've been less likely, I'm quite sure). A lot of the big annoying legislative stuff probably still would've happened, even if it was tempered by slight amounts of sanity. That's why I focused on the stuff that's more directly under the president's control, and where I feel Bush has done a particularly awful job even compared to past Republican administrations (err... Ford and Bush Sr., at least).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:48 AM
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I can't imagine it'll look much of anything like what Obama expects, either.

true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:48 AM
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arguably he'll do less damage safely ensconced in the Naval Observatory than he did in the Senate

God damn, when I saw that it was coming down to Biden or Bayh I knew there was going to be some heavy rationalization going on, but this one's a keeper. Joe Biden gets the ear of the president and a position a heartbeat away, but that just means he's actually getting demoted! Why, progressives everywhere should be rejoicing!


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:51 AM
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541: Assume for the purposes of thought experiment that the Republican candidate is always fractionally worse.

Then I'd always vote for him. Really, you're acting like you've got me trapped in a paradox here, but I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea that presidential general elections provide little-to-no opportunity to tilt the Democratic party in a hoped-for direction. I'm perfectly comfortable with this idea because it is -- as we've been so rigorously demanding -- empirically true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:51 AM
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545: Miss. Teen. Delaware. I don't know what else to say to you. Will Biden be able to vote on bankruptcy bills? No. Will he be able to start wars? No. Will he be able to do anything other than run his mouth and hope somebody listens? Not unless Obama decides it would be a good idea.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:53 AM
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543 -- Dems would have had a tought time with warrantless wiretapping, and all the rest on the civil liberties side, with a Republican Congress. Five decades of working the refs with charges of treason and complicity have made a big difference, as much as we might want to wish it away.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:53 AM
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re: 546

The 'always vote for the marginally lesser of two evils, even if the marginally lesser of two evils is pretty fucking evil' position might be obvious to you, but it's by no means as obvious to some of the rest of us.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:54 AM
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545: Look at the rest of the FR Committee and tell me whether Biden's replacement is likely to be an improvement. My guess is yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:55 AM
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Why, progressives everywhere should be rejoicing!

On the other hand, this is a hilarious straw man. Stras would be so proud of you, Namond.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:56 AM
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it's by no means as obvious to some of the rest of us

The nattarGcM caucus in the Rest of Us Party lives under a multiparty parliamentary system. You have a different set of options than those of us here in McDonaldsLand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:57 AM
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549: I'm definitely open to any alternatives you can come up with that don't result in the greater evil taking power.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:58 AM
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Then I'd always vote for him

Well you're not taking this seriously then. Obviously, if the Democrats were proposing extermination camps and the Republicans slightly larger extermination camps then you'd emigrate, or take to the hills, or leave party politics in some other way. How about if Biden ran on a "war with Iran" ticket while the Republicans were "war with Egypt"?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:58 AM
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553: So does JE's hog farm, though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:58 AM
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549 -- Is the lesser evil taking your calls?

Marginally is doing a whole lot of work here, more than any circumstance, at the national level, in the life of anyone commenting here.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:58 AM
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pretend that 555 made sense as a response to 553


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:59 AM
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Miss. Teen. Delaware.

Keep repeating that golden one-liner to yourself over the next four-to-eight years; I'm sure it'll make you feel better.

At this point the conversation will probably start circling again - I already said most of what I had to say about Biden and Obama in #192 and #275 - and I should probably head elsewhere.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 10:59 AM
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Well you're not taking this seriously then.

You aren't proposing serious scenarios.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:00 AM
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It's pretty ahistorical to suggest that a President Gore would have invaded Iraq. Bush had to do a hell of a lot besides order some troops around to make that happen.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:00 AM
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arguably he'll do less damage safely ensconced in the Naval Observatory than he did in the Senate

Also consider that the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations committee after Biden leaves the Senate would be Chris Dodd, who supports a one-year timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Sifu's also got it in 546. Grassroots change in the party direction just doesn't happen at the presidential level, it happens at the local level. That's why political interest groups mostly fund congressional runs by politicians who agree with them. As a new interest group picks up a lot of money, it can cultivate a lot of influence among governers and congresspeople who rely on it for reelection funds. And then a decade or so down the line, those people are the bench for the presidency, but in the meantime they're trying to pass sympathetic legislation that the president will likely rubber-stamp if he/she is from the same party, providing another potential route for change. But it's a slow-as-hell process.

Not to mention the not-insignificant role of think tanks that really get into the nitty-gritty instead of just thinking up "big ideas". Major right-wing think tanks founded decades ago realized quickly how to do this: work up your policy proposals, put together a punchy list of reasons why they're the best thing since sliced bread, then, most importantly, write up the actual legislation as it would need to be submitted, so all the congresspeople have to do is slap their name on it and maybe get an aide to make a couple tweaks.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:00 AM
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that don't result in the greater evil taking power.

Sifu is un-a-merkin. What happened to being #1 ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:00 AM
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It's pretty ahistorical to suggest that a President Gore would have invaded Iraq.

Did someone suggest that?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:01 AM
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a hilarious straw man

As opposed to "you there, person who disagrees with me! You must be a troll, and an impostor to boot! Release the hounds!"


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:01 AM
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554: right, great point. Also, what if one of the candidates were proposing that I be torn apart by wild horses, and the other was proposing that I merely be shot. I was under the misapprehension that you didn't want me to to elucidate every obvious limit case where "voting for a presidential candidate" would be a worse option than "flee the country". My bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:02 AM
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while the Republicans were "war with Egypt"

If we promised to keep it low-budget, this could actually be a money-saver, as I presume we'd stop the billions in financial and military aid.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:02 AM
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560 -- I think Gore would have been impeached and removed as soon as the August 6, 2001 PDB came to light. Indeed, he'd have resigned when the courts ordered him to turn it over.

So your counterfactual has to be about whether President Lieberman would have invaded Iraq. The answer is still no, but for different reasons.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:02 AM
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re: 552

Not exactly. The government of the UK has been controlled by one of two main parties since the 1920s. Our system is, to all intents and purposes, a two party system at the level of the executive.

Obviously, in a parliamentary system there's always the scope for third parties to exert some pressure over tight parliamentary votes or wring some sort of concessions from the party of government, but at the level of government, the UK is a two party system.*

* I'm speaking about Westminster, here. The Scottish parliament functions differently.

re: 556

You think? The differences between the main political parties here in the UK are pretty marginal. Certainly considerably more marginal than 20 years ago.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:03 AM
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564: I have hounds? Fresh!

You aren't, as far as I know, an impostor, unless there's some other Namond Withheldfield who you're pretending to be.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:04 AM
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568: but the nature of the executive is pretty different.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:05 AM
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Also, 'marginal' is politically loaded in itself. There's an assumption that we can take two parties and index them on some nicely commensurable index of evil and then vote for the lesser one.

Whether the two parties are marginally different or extremely different depends a great deal on the ideology that underlies your ranking system. For some people, people with sincerely held and by-no-means-stupid beliefs, the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats are pretty marginal.*

* those people don't actually include me. If I were voting in a US election, the choice would be clear. But I'm not.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:08 AM
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565: no, I asked you a serious, non-hypothetical question - given that Biden is definitely in favour of irresponsible wars, and in favour of credit card companies versus poor people, how bad would he have to be before you gave up on electoral politics? It doesn't seem at all out of the question to me, given the general rightward drift of things, that he could end up running on a platform significantly more right-wing than Bush 2004.

So, Biden's running on the ticket of war with Iran (possible) plus privatising Social Security (also possible), plus a compulsory national identity card scheme (also possible). The Republican is running on the same ticket, but also prayer in schools and abolishing estate tax. You're still on the bus?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:08 AM
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I now look forward to the impending discussion of what political event would spur the people here to take to the hills, armed to the teeth.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:08 AM
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For some people, people with sincerely held and by-no-means-stupid beliefs, the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats are pretty marginal.*

I agree with all of this except "by-no-means-".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:09 AM
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re: 573

I think the answer is 'nothing'. All of my own ideological red lines were passed by my own government in the past decade, and I discover that I've done ... nothing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:11 AM
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how bad would he have to be before you gave up on electoral politics?

Worse than he would get without resulting to alternate world scenarios.

It doesn't seem at all out of the question to me, given the general rightward drift of things, that he could end up running on a platform significantly more right-wing than Bush 2004.

It does seem more than out of the question to me and, I suspect, anybody else who lives here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:11 AM
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567 - I think there's better than even odds that under Gore 9/11 wouldn't have happened. The Clinton administration did really well on preventing terrorism. During the run up to 2000 there were signs of an imminent attack and Clinton made damn sure everyone worked to stop it. The signs leading up to 9/11 were even clearer if anyone had been paying attention, which they weren't thanks to Bush/Cheney being relentlessly focused on Iraq and missile defense. Had Gore pursued the Clinton approach the flight school suspicions might have been followed up on, and Atta's connections would have been pursued with greater vigor. Either one had the potential to unravel the plot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:12 AM
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558 -- I'm sorry, I was actually thinking the words 'in the US' as I was typing 556 but my fingers didn't hit the keys.

Your UK parties are marinally different but hugely evil, though, so you're still not anywhere near the neighborhood of the hypothetical.

This kind of hypothetical reminds me of the ticking timebomb hypos you used to see played out incessantly in 2002 through 2005 or so. Sure, you can construct a scenario where it seems perfectly reasonable to torture someone. While that chatter was going on, actual people were getting tortured, with just a few changes in the hypothetical: instead of 'we know this guy knows the location of a nuclear bomb in the middle of NYC' it became 'hey, this guy might know something that might hurt someone' -- and so it is now. In the worst imaginings, Biden is pretty tame stuff compared to his likely opponent, and he's going to have to get Congress and the President to buy into whatever nefarious shit he wants to pull.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:13 AM
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So, Biden's running on the ticket of war with Iran (possible) plus privatising Social Security (also possible), plus a compulsory national identity card scheme (also possible). The Republican is running on the same ticket, but also prayer in schools and abolishing estate tax. You're still on the bus?

You're really arguing that a Democratic candidate could win the primary on this platform? It's just not a realistic scenario. If I'm wrong, hey, see you on Santorini, but the political situation would have to be so vastly different than it is now as to make the counterfactual pointless. If everything was different than it is, would I say something different than I do now? Signs point to yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:13 AM
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It's pretty ahistorical to suggest that a President Gore would have invaded Iraq.

No it isn't. Vice President Gore was in an administration that dropped tons of bombs on Iraq and which specifically invented the doctrine that UN resolution 1441 allowed the USA to launch military action against Iraq "without delay, diplomacy or warning". Operation Desert Fox also involved the manipulation of UNSCOM teams, false intelligence provided to the American public and lies about weapons of mass destruction.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:14 AM
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Seriously how do people get so confused about how much power the vice president wields? Robert Reich was in the Clinton administration, too, but nobody accuses him of invading Iraq.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:16 AM
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580: And which was several orders of magnitude less, in duration and destructive effect, than the Bush invasion of Iraq. I'm not claiming that Desert Fox was right -- it was wrong for pretty much the reasons you give. But the difference in size is a real qualitative difference in the type of action we're talking about, and I don't see a conversation that doesn't recognize that as representing reality terribly well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:17 AM
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Bombing Iraq, whatever. Invading with bombs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:18 AM
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Jesus, 572.2 is getting ridiculous. Biden wants to impeach Bush if he bombs Iran, and he has an 89% rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans, in part because he voted against personal accounts.

What about the non-hypothetical scenario of the last eight years? And what point is being scored, exactly, by proving that at the absurd extremes voting for the lesser of two evils is absurd? We are not in those extremes, and failing to recognize that is what makes this argument and adherents like Namond so annoying.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:18 AM
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573 is a good question. ttaM's 575, alas, also sounds like an honest answer for me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:18 AM
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re: 574

Well, we're back to ideology again. Pragmatic centrism isn't the only ideological game in town.

As I said, I'm not personally of the view that the two main US parties are indistinguishable. The choice for me would be clear.

But dsquared's arguments, in general, are sound. Abrogation from electoral politics isn't an incoherent or always immoral position to take and the circumstances in which that is a reasonable position to take aren't (contra what everyone seems to be saying) wildly counter-factual.

Just on a personal level, I have already passed the point in the UK where I'm prepared to vote [probably ever again] for 'my' party and the fact that Cameron might be marginally more of a shitebag than the guy the Labour party eventually chooses to replace Brown isn't going to sway me to vote for them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:20 AM
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582: someone was claiming that it was obvious that Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq. What's the case for believing that it's "ahistorical"? Bush administration policy with respect to Iraq was a continuation of US policy since 1991; it wasn't a massive break with a previous policy of peaceful containment.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:21 AM
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re: 586

NOT prepared to vote, I mean


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:21 AM
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Wow, is this argument seriously "the Democrats are evil, just like the Republicans--indistinguishably so!--so there's no reason to vote for them"? I honestly thought we were done with this in 2000.

In the first-past-the-post two party system of government that the United States has, yes, you vote for the lesser of two evils, because otherwise the greater evil might win.

Do you do other things to try to move the Democratic Party to the left? I sure as shit hope so, but I really don't get why one should preclude the other.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:23 AM
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Bush administration policy with respect to Iraq was a continuation of US policy since 1991; it wasn't a massive break with a previous policy of peaceful containment.

This is nonsense. While it's fair to say the Clinton administration's Iraq policy wasn't peaceful containment (more like hostile containment, with erratic intervals of small scale hostility), are you really saying that the people of Iraq didn't perceive 2003 as a massive break with prior US policy toward Iraq? You can't mean that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:23 AM
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Continuation my fanny. There was an explicit shift in goals to one of regime change in the run-up to war, a run-up that, it should be pointed out, Gore vigorously and publicly opposed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:23 AM
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Well, I know the answer to 573 is certainly "nothing" for me, unless the government shut down the borders and prevented any flight from the country. I'd definitely skip town before it got anywhere near my red-line scenarios, but I'm not so sure what those would even be. I acknowledge that I'm pretty adaptable when given little option, though I'll always push for the slightly better at any opportunity (which is what this whole discussion is about, n'est pas?).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:23 AM
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582: But the response to that is that pre-9/11 it wasn't viewed as politically possible to invade Iraq. And then you can say, well, but we know what Gore wanted to do about the proposed post-9/11 invasion, and the answer is definitely not invade. And then d-squared or someone else can say that it's only because Gore wasn't in office exercising the power to invade, and would have had different views if he had been. Which is unsupported speculation, and I'm not sure where the conversation goes from there.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:24 AM
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I'd definitely skip town before it got anywhere near my red-line scenarios

It hasn't even gotten near them yet?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:25 AM
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Do you do other things to try to move the Democratic Party to the left? I sure as shit hope so, but I really don't get why one should preclude the other.

Well because the ineluctable march of history will lead to the Democratic party sponsoring elderly death camps in Tehran in lieu of social security eight years from now. That's why.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:25 AM
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It's just not a realistic scenario. If I'm wrong, hey, see you on Santorini

Okay, we're narrowing it down. Now let's say he's talking about sending "military advisors" to the presumed new fledgling government of DR Congo, rewriting the Geneva Conventions to include a role for humanitarian invasion, repealing the Community Reinvestment Act and lowering corporation tax to 12.5%, to be paid for with a federal VAT. Repubs, same but with school prayer or something. On the bus?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:25 AM
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596: it's just not realistic, dude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:26 AM
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I'm not sure where the conversation goes from there

To here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:27 AM
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596: Well, except, honestly, if the Democrats ever turned into the caricature you describe, just imagine what the Republican platform would be. State religion, burning heretics at the stake, and apartheid? Yeah, I'm voting against that hypothetical.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:28 AM
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I'll take the collective "fuck off" and go on my way, then. My general impression is that the atmosphere here is incredibly touchy and more than a bit paranoid, a lot more so than I'd have imagined as a casual lurker.

Frankly, I think there's something to this assessment of the atmosphere here. Once you get used to it, it can actually be sort of fun, but defining disagreement as "trolling" and meeting it with abuse drives away new commenters. Pointing out the manifold major problems with Joe Biden and proclaiming opposition to the Democratic party should hardly be a hanging offense.

316-318: a U.S. led partition of Iraq would be a disaster, morally and pragmatically. The ethnic cleansing that has already occurred is bad enough. Biden's plan actually called for an imposed federal arrangement. The central problem with it was the idea that the U.S. would impose Iraq's governmental system from without -- it made me despair that even the "liberal wing" of opinion here is so patronizing and racist toward other nations. Obama has correctly stated that whatever governing arrangement Iraq ends up with will have to come from the Iraqis.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:28 AM
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590: Also, and I really don't mean this as a moral defense of the Democrats in power, it's not, they're indefensible, just as a defense of it being sensible to vote for them in the hopes that they'll be less awful than the Republicans: not always and for all warmongering foreign policy, but for a lot of it, the evil stuff Democrats did and supported was done under severe pressure from Republicans in stronger political positions.

Democrats in Congress were threatened and bullied into voting for the AUMF. That doesn't excuse them -- they're still responsible -- but as between someone who did something ghastly because they thought it was a great idea, and someone who did the same thing under duress, I'm going to think the second guy is less likely (if those are my only two choices) to do similar ghastly things going forward.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:29 AM
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599: why wouldn't you just leave?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:29 AM
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Frankly, I think there's something to this assessment of the atmosphere here. Once you get used to it, it can actually be sort of fun, but defining disagreement as "trolling" and meeting it with abuse drives away new commenters.

Not nice behavior, sure, but on the other hand, I think there's something to be said for new people having gentler tongues and thicker skins.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:30 AM
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602: Because I'd feel guilty when they lit the pyre under you?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:31 AM
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There's also something to be said for new people actually being new people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:31 AM
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Abrogation from electoral politics isn't an incoherent or always immoral position to take and the circumstances in which that is a reasonable position to take aren't (contra what everyone seems to be saying) wildly counter-factual.

What possible good does it do to not vote for the lesser of two evils in one's eye? People may think that the sins of their chosen candidate rest upon their vote, but that's essentially the sunk-cost fallacy. The actual sins or boons that a vote is responsible for are the marginal sins or boons that result from the voter's chosen candidate relative to the other.

So if you have two candidates, one of whom is certain to become president, and one supports two new wars while the other supports one, you're voting for one less war by voting for the lesser of the two evils. If you abrogate your vote through staying home or voting for a third party, and the greater of two evils wins, you've essentially contributed to that additional war by the fraction with which your abstention enabled the electoral victory of the greater evil. The only way to escape this marginal analysis is to renounce the country and move.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:31 AM
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Repubs, same but with school prayer or something.

"And no pony."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:31 AM
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The only way to escape this marginal analysis is to renounce the country and move.

Unless your abstention means that the greater evil wins, and so you're back to being fucked, morally speaking.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:32 AM
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are you really saying that the people of Iraq didn't perceive 2003 as a massive break with prior US policy toward Iraq?

9/11 did change some things. Recall that Bush actually campaigned on a ticket of "we don't do nation building" while Gore said that he wanted to give "robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein"; if Gore had won and invaded Iraq, disgruntled Bush supporters would have a much, much firmer foundation for saying that it's "totally ahistorical" to claim that Bush would have done the same. Even when he came out against the Iraq invasion plan, it was in the context of demanding a massively larger force in Afghanistan.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:32 AM
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So, Biden's running on the ticket of war with Iran (possible) plus privatising Social Security (also possible), plus a compulsory national identity card scheme (also possible).

The parenthetical "possibles" here are doing a hell a lot of work. The problem with the Democrats is that their opposition to war with Iran and SS privatization is too wishy-washy and qualified, while the Republicans actually *support* these things.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:32 AM
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Unless your abstention means that the greater evil wins, and so you're back to being fucked, morally speaking.

If that's the way you're thinking, I'm not sure why voting for the lesser of two evils doesn't also fuck you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:37 AM
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not that that ever phased the varsity town left

I assume you mean "fazed"?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:38 AM
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(Recalling at all times that there's no guarantee that there's going to be an option that doesn't fuck you, morally speaking.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:38 AM
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So if you have two candidates, one of whom is certain to become president, and one supports two new wars while the other supports one, you're voting for one less war by voting for the lesser of the two evils. If you abrogate your vote through staying home or voting for a third party, and the greater of two evils wins, you've essentially contributed to that additional war by the fraction with which your abstention enabled the electoral victory of the greater evil. The only way to escape this marginal analysis is to renounce the country and move.

The implicit assumption here is that your only participation in the system is to vote in an election, which has been discussed above.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:39 AM
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If that's the way you're thinking, I'm not sure why voting for the lesser of two evils doesn't also fuck you.

In my calculation, being fucked is not a binary state; rather it exists on a continuum. Perhaps voting for the lesser of two evils merely makes sweet love to you.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:39 AM
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On the other hand, perhaps voting for the lesser of two evils makes you complicit in an acknowledged evil.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:42 AM
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9/11 did change some things.

So, you're agreeing that the invasion was a huge change in policy, but just claiming that Gore would have reacted to 9/11 just like Bush did, by invading Iraq?

This just doesn't sound likely to me. Not because Gore is better than that, or Democrats generally are better than that. But Bush invaded Iraq for domestic political reasons -- having a war going (at least at the outset) is a huge political plus for Republicans, and not for Democrats. Gore wouldn't have had the same corrupt incentives Bush did, even if you assume one's exactly as evil as the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:43 AM
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Am I on drugs? Dsquared's argument makes so little sense to me that I feel that my faculties must be impaired. I was at the Seattle WTO protests, despite a) not being a member of the Green party, and b) voting Democrat. If there were large-scale protests there involving people withholding their votes from the Democratic party, I missed them. Though I guess it would explain why we all got tear-gassed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:43 AM
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On the other hand, perhaps voting for the lesser of two evils makes you complicit in an acknowledged evil.

A citizen in a democracy is culpable whether he or she votes or not. But I'm sure I'm out of my depth arguing with a philosopher, and someone will be along soon with a colorful analogy to illustrate how wrong I am.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:44 AM
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611: Now THAT'S some real quality trolling. In case people forgot what it looked like.

OK, Mr. Rommel, since IBC counts 90,000 civilian deaths based *only on violent incidents explicitly reported in the newspapers*, since IBC themselves admits this has to be a substantial underestimate, and since every single survey-based study has found hundreds of thousands of excess Iraqi deaths, would you agree that 200-300,000 excess deaths from the invasion has got to be the bare minimum we're looking at? And would you agree with the undisputed U.N. refugee counts of 4-5 million Iraqis displaced from their homes, with 2 million fleeing to foreign nations? Is the mommycrat left wrong to be upset about this?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:44 AM
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608: Nah, if you've left the country, you're no longer supporting it with your tax dollars and you've officially skipped out on the Social Contract. That's about as good as any individual can do, and I'd consider it sufficient to wash that person's hands clean of whatever shit their former country gets up to.

It hasn't even gotten near [my red-line scenarios] yet?

To be honest, not really. I mean, it's gotten bad, and there've been a lot of things that pissed me off and went against my major principles, but this country is still my home. And it's still capable of being pulled away from the edge. If McCain gets re-elected, I may consider that sufficient reason to skip town. Not so much because I expect him to do utterly irreversible damage (he would be hamstrung by a seriously Democratic congress on the domestic agenda, at least), but because I would feel so disheartened about any chances of things improving soon if the populace still wasn't willing to maybe suspend the culture wars for a few years in order to kick out a nigh-universally reviled executive.

I could probably live under a pretty repressive regime without a big loss in quality of life, if that was my only alternative. Of course, I will fight that at every turn, but we're still a long way from the sort of government where arming up and taking to the hills is more effective rebellion than procedural combat and selectively donating large wads of cash.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:47 AM
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Awww...you guys immediately deleted the troll. No fun. I was hoping he might rouse d-2 to some pyrotechnics.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:47 AM
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HERE IS THE PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT.

Replies to the ToS will soon suffer the same disappearing fate as all of his comments.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:48 AM
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Awww...you guys immediately deleted the troll. No fun. I was hoping he might rouse d-2 to some pyrotechnics.

If that's your attitude, you can fuck off too, PGD.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:48 AM
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Why did 611 get deleted instead of ignored or, at worst, blanked out?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:49 AM
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it was in the context of demanding a massively larger force in Afghanistan.

turned out he was right about that (leaving aside the wisdom of attempting it in the first place)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:49 AM
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Apo, Ben: you guys can tell which comments come from He Who Must Not Be Named, but we can't tell which are just garden variety assholes. So, ease up on us, eh?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:50 AM
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As for why it didn't get ignored, ask your perfectly goddam delightful comrade that.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:50 AM
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Could anyone who's concerned about troll management and responses email rather than comment? Trust us that we're not being pointlessly cagy, okay?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:51 AM
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The implicit assumption here is that your only participation in the system is to vote in an election, which has been discussed above.

On election day, it is.

All other forms of issue activism, the cash, the organization, the funding of alternative primary candidates, the GOTV, the corporate boycotts, the protest movements, those can happen as well. But when you get into the booth for the general election, you've got only two realistic choices and can throw your marginal impact in with one of them.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:51 AM
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Why did 611 get deleted instead of ignored or, at worst, blanked out?

doesn tend to mess up the references. Quick, ben, write a script to adjust all the comment references upon removal without messing up other numerical content .... err, nevermind


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:51 AM
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It won't be personal, mrh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:52 AM
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claiming that Gore would have reacted to 9/11 just like Bush did, by invading Iraq?

This seems highly unlikely to me. The Iraq invasion was driven by behind-the-scenes lobbying from PNAC types. The Clinton administration explicitly resisted exactly this lobbying in the late 1990s. By any logical standard, 9/11 made Iraq a *lower* foreign policy priority, since Iraq had nothing to do with AQ and we now had a new shooting war and occupation in Afghanistan to take care of. It's very hard for me to believe that Gore would have sucked troops and resources out of Afghanistan to invade Iraq. Let alone doing so against the opposition of all U.S. European allies. Certainly he would never have invaded after Saddam agreed to let the inspectors back in (though who knows if Saddam would have done this without an invasion threat).

Invading Iraq was a wildly illogical course of action, you needed a strong ideological committment to want to do it. The Bush administration had that committment pre-9/11.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:52 AM
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Go ahead and delete my reply to the troll, fine with me. I wasn't around for any of the original ToS stuff.

I generally enjoy even hard-core trolls, but that's just my eccentricity.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:56 AM
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634: They're only potentially fun if they aren't morons. This one fails the test.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:57 AM
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The Bush administration had that committment pre-9/11.

Right. While it's true that Bush campaigned on a 'no nation-building' platform, it's also true that PNAC and similar partisan Republican pressure groups were pushing for an Iraq invasion all along. There wasn't that pressure within the Democratic party.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:57 AM
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This just doesn't sound likely to me. Not because Gore is better than that, or Democrats generally are better than that. But Bush invaded Iraq for domestic political reasons -- having a war going (at least at the outset) is a huge political plus for Republicans, and not for Democrats. Gore wouldn't have had the same corrupt incentives Bush did, even if you assume one's exactly as evil as the other.

This argument just doesn't work for me -- if Gore was President during 9/11 there would probably have been tremendous pressure on him to do something to prove that he wasn't a wimpy peacenik.

I'm also not convinced that Bush attacked Iraq for domestic political reasons -- I suppose they played a role, but I'm not sure they were more important than some kind of Oedipal issues...or maybe it was just because Dick told him to.

Still I don't think Gore would have attacked Iraq...because I do believe that Gore is less evil than Bush.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:57 AM
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At the State level I feel like I've been able to make more of a difference by getting involved with an organization like GBIO than trying to infiltrate the Democratic party. In a rural state like Maine or Vermont it's easier to be active by just showing up, but there's more of a machine in Mass. There are so few Republicans here outside of the rich suburbs that the debate seems to be more about which type of Democrat you want to help. (The Rainbow-Greens are all nut jobs.)

and there are a lot of local issues, that, as of yet, don't break down along party lines. Zoning stuff, for one. In terms of property development I'm more familiar with D.C., but all of the big developers work with Democrats, so you fight a particularly atrocious development by showing up at hearings, but your town can organize around that issue without making it a party issue.

(I've heard from a friend who now lives in VT and who grew up in rural Georgia as a yellow dog Democrat that the Boston Redevelopment Authority does some pretty nasty stuff. Sifu would know more about this than I do.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:58 AM
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609: Right. If we knew a lot less, our opinions would be a lot more like yours. But given the knowledge we have, why should we ignore stuff?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:59 AM
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I think there's something to be said for new people having gentler tongues and thicker skins

My tongue was no less gentle than the norm here, as far as I can tell, until people started calling me a troll.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 11:59 AM
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This argument just doesn't work for me -- if Gore was President during 9/11 there would probably have been tremendous pressure on him to do something to prove that he wasn't a wimpy peacenik.

If anyone is arguing that Gore wouldn't have invaded Afghanistan, I haven't seen it.

And if anyone thinks Bush didn't intend an invasion of Iraq before 9/11, there is at least one contemporaneous cabinet member who disagrees with you.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:01 PM
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To bring it out on pony-land, and into the world we inhabit, the biggest risk -- and I think it's small -- of electing Biden is that he's well connected enough to pull a Cheney like maneuver with respect to subcabinet positions. A very common Washington story out of this Administration is Bush-selected agency heads showing up and finding themselves pretty much figureheads while the Cheney-selected underlings exercised the power. I don't see this happening from either the Obama or Biden ends, but it would be a danger of Obama really was an empty suit, and Biden really was an accomplished schemer.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:01 PM
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if Gore was President during 9/11 there would probably have been tremendous pressure on him to do something to prove that he wasn't a wimpy peacenik.

Yeah, like parade a caged Osama Bin Laden down Pennsylvania Avenue, followed by placing his head on a pike outside the White House. Which we probably *could have done* if we hadn't been starting to shift troops out of Afghanistan to Iraq almost as soon as we took Kabul. We didn't have enough U.S. troops at Tora Bora because the relevant Special Forces troops were already off preparing for Iraq.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:02 PM
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The Clinton administration explicitly resisted exactly this lobbying in the late 1990s.

In what sense? They launched Desert Fox, and Gore campaigned in 2000 on a promise to provide "robust support to the groups trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein".

By any logical standard, 9/11 made Iraq a *lower* foreign policy priority, since Iraq had nothing to do with AQ and we now had a new shooting war and occupation in Afghanistan to take care of

Once more, from the 2000 campaign, it was Gore who was the advocate of humanitarian intervention. He would have been *more* likely to fall for the "self-financing, sweets and flowers, no history of ethnic tensions" line than George "we won't do nation-building" Bush.

Certainly he would never have invaded after Saddam agreed to let the inspectors back in

What's this based on? The administration of which he was a part actually invented the "bogus inspections" trick in 1998.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:03 PM
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He would have been *more* likely to fall for the "self-financing, sweets and flowers, no history of ethnic tensions" line than George "we won't do nation-building" Bush.

What do you mean fall for it? That wasn't something Bush fell for, that was the argument Bush was using to sell the war.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:04 PM
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Seriously, if there was a risk of a full-scale invasion of Iraq for 'humanitarian' reasons, don't you think it would have happened during the Clinton administration? 9-11 was used to sell the idea of Iraq as a threat, and the hearts and flowers arguments were thrown in as a bonus claim that resolving the threat would be cheap. No one was ever likely to invade Iraq purely to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:07 PM
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My tongue was no less gentle than the norm here

I don't think that's what was meant. Before people know `you', it's probably best to step a bit more carefully --- they lack context in which to interpret you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:09 PM
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addendum to 647: I wasn't around for whatever blow up there was around your (new?) posts, so I'm just extrapolating. This sort of thing is very common (here and elsewhere) though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:12 PM
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Speculating on whether Gore would have invaded Iraq is really disingenuous. Cheney accomplished what he did by secretly using intellectually-dishonest mid-level legal opinion and corrupting government agencies in making shit up. Unless you're saying that's a manner on which Gore would have operated, you can't make a credible argument that he'd have invaded Iraq.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:15 PM
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Assuming 9/11 (sorry toglosh in 577, I think the odds are better than 50/50) President Gore may have had a more vigorous invasion of Afghanistan, but it would have taken longer to deploy and run into the same problems the Soviets had earlier. The early success was due in part to (here we go) Rumsfeld's release of SOCOM to work their magic. These light forces were better suited to aiding the Northern Alliance. I don't know who would have been President Gore's SecDef, so the counterfactual starts to spin out of control pretty early.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:15 PM
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Yeah, like parade a caged Osama Bin Laden down Pennsylvania Avenue, followed by placing his head on a pike outside the White House. Which we probably *could have done* if we hadn't been starting to shift troops out of Afghanistan to Iraq almost as soon as we took Kabul. We didn't have enough U.S. troops at Tora Bora because the relevant Special Forces troops were already off preparing for Iraq.

Well, yes, that might have worked for Gore -- and it would also have worked for Bush -- and that is one of the reasons I don't buy the idea that Bush invaded Iraq for domestic political reasons.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:16 PM
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643: If The Dark Side is to be believed, there were real-live CIA directives calling for heads-on-pikes ("pikes can be fashioned in the field") and for the limbs and head of bin Laden to be sent to Langley.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:17 PM
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Seriously, if there was a risk of a full-scale invasion of Iraq for 'humanitarian' reasons, don't you think it would have happened during the Clinton administration?

I think that if it weren't for the second-term scandals, it probably would have happened. The Iraq Liberation Act was passed in 1998, but by the time it got through, Clinton was a busted flush and was already getting "Wag the Dog" assertions. Ex Monica - yeah, I think it would have happened.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:17 PM
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soup in 534: I'm not naive enough to take what politicians say they're going to do or not do as being worth all that much. So we'll see.

The funny thing is that much of what Bush did and attempted were things written into the platform. Krugman took what he said at face value and raised an alarm. Sophisticated people didn't take him seriously.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:18 PM
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re: Aiding the northern alliance --- if your actual goal is to return Afghanastan to the sort of mess it was in pre-Taliban, that's pretty obtainable (and has been pretty much obtained). Actually `fixing' the place isn't so plausible, but even so -- someone could have tried after bombing the hell out of it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:18 PM
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Maybe we should speculate whether or not Gore would have invaded the moon. Also plausible!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:19 PM
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The funny thing is that much of what Bush did and attempted were things written into the platform.

True, he is a bit unusual that way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:19 PM
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Speculating on whether Gore would have invaded Iraq is really disingenuous. Cheney accomplished what he did by secretly using intellectually-dishonest mid-level legal opinion and corrupting government agencies in making shit up. Unless you're saying that's a manner on which Gore would have operated, you can't make a credible argument that he'd have invaded Iraq.

Well, Gore was Vice-President during the Clinton administration during Operation Desert Fox so yes, I am saying that's a manner on which he would have operated. I'm specifically saying that he would have misrepresented intelligence reports and corrupted UN weapons inspectors, because that's what was done in 1998.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:20 PM
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--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:22 PM
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653: That seems totally tin-eared to me as a matter of American politics. The Republicans, who controlled Congress at the time, would have crucified him for entangling the US in a major foreign war. That was the whole point of Bush's (in retrospect absolutely bullshit) claim to be opposed to 'nation building' when running for office in 2000; to condemn Clinton for an overly aggressive foreign policy. They would have organized mutinies led by the Pentagon before we would have launched a full-scale invasion of Iraq.

You sound as if you think the political benefits and harms of starting wars are symmetrical for the two parties in the US. They really aren't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:22 PM
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Well, Gore was Vice-President

Again with this. The Vice-President doesn't have any authority. Would Joycelyn Elders have invaded Iraq?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:23 PM
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Unless you're saying that's a manner on which Gore would have operated, you can't make a credible argument that he'd have invaded Iraq.

I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that the Republicans would have favored an Iraq invasion had Gore been president. We're getting deep into counterfactual land here, but I've always assumed that had Gore presided over 9-11, he would have been in big trouble politically. Does 9-11 and war in general have any significance to the Republican Party other than being means to political ends?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:24 PM
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I agree a lot with Sifu and Po-Po. All other forms of issue activism, the cash, the organization, the funding of alternative primary candidates, the GOTV, the corporate boycotts, the protest movements, those can happen as well. But when you get into the booth for the general election, you've got only two realistic choices and can throw your marginal impact in with one of them. This is the thing.

US national elections are mostly about damage mitigation. You get a very limited range of options - in fact, you get precisely two that matter. You should pick the one that will plunge into hell more slowly than its rival, and that means the Democrats, at this point.

Changing the rosters happens between elections.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:25 PM
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But if you think 653, then what's the point of 646? The facts appear to me that Gore was part of an administration that pushed as close as politically possible to war with Iraq, and that 9/11 changed the space of what was politically possible. It seems to me that there's plenty of pre-2000 evidence that Gore wanted to invade Iraq, so if he could have done, he probably would have done.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:26 PM
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Would Joycelyn Elders have invaded Iraq?

We know she encouraged Cheney to masturbate about it!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:26 PM
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The point of both 653 and 646 is that there wasn't any political benefit to a Democratic president, either before or after 9-11, to be had from invading Iraq.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:28 PM
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661- This is exactly why impeachment was so important. He seems to have been credited with establishing some new VP convention for power while all he did was commit a shit load of crime.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:29 PM
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660. LB, I think you are right that the Republican Congress would have not supported President Gore's Iraq invasion plan pre 9/11. After that, however, certain segments of the population demanded blood. I don't think it is as cut and dried as you seem to think.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:29 PM
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It seems to me that there's plenty of pre-2000 evidence that Gore wanted to invade Iraq

And yet, oddly, when the time came, he publicly opposed the invasion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:29 PM
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667- Cheney, that is.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:30 PM
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President Gore's Iraq invasion plan

What Iraq invasion plan?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:31 PM
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After that, however, certain segments of the population demanded blood.

The demand, however, was not for Iraqi blood. You're forgetting all of the work Bush had to do to fraudulently link Saddam to WMD and bin Laden. It was only after Americans believed that Saddam was connected to 9-11 that the invasion was feasible.

Americans would have been perfectly happy to limit the war to Afghanistan.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:33 PM
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671: oh, so now we're not taking the fact that a vocal critic of the war had a secret plan for war as a given? Talk about disingenuous!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:33 PM
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Does 9-11 and war in general have any significance to the Republican Party other than being means to political ends?

Well, there is or was a genuine contingent of neocons who were champing at the bit to test out their (in some cases, at least, sincerely held) notion that the right dose of aggressive nation-building in the Middle East would tip the region over into democracy and friendship with the US. Whether they would have been in the mood to try out their pet plan in a setting where success would mean that they would have to share credit with a Democratic executive, I couldn't say. Then, of course, there is also a significant war profiteer constituency.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:33 PM
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671. The hypothetical one we are discussing. What, you think PNAC are the only guys who play Risk?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:34 PM
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The Vice-President doesn't have any authority

so your view is that he was actually against Operation Desert Fox, but sadly lacked the power to do anything about it?

I'm wondering how you manage to work the bit in the 2000 debate where he said that he was totally in favour, into this hypothetical.

699: might it possibly have had something to do with the fact that there had been an election in between times?

You sound as if you think the political benefits and harms of starting wars are symmetrical for the two parties in the US. They really aren't

this didn't appear to stop the Democrats from starting the Vietnam War, for example.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:34 PM
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Desert Fox doesn't necessarily seem like evidence of a desire to invade Iraq to me. Legally and practically, a four day bombing campaign against (purportedly) WMD-related targets strikes me as much different than a full-scale invasion and occupation. Desert Fox could just as well have been undertaken to diffuse support for something more extreme. (This is not to say Desert Fox was justified, just saying).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:34 PM
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674: neo-con dillemma!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:35 PM
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so your view is that he was actually against Operation Desert Fox, but sadly lacked the power to do anything about it?

My view is that we have no fucking idea.

this didn't appear to stop the Democrats from starting the Vietnam War, for example.

I thought the cutoff on our counterfactuals was 10 years ago. We can bring in the cold war, now? Kickass. Democrats started World War II, too!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:35 PM
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You're forgetting all of the work Bush had to do to fraudulently link Saddam to WMD and bin Laden

The work on Saddam and WMD had already been done in large part, between 1991 and 1998.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:36 PM
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this didn't appear to stop the Democrats from starting the Vietnam War, for example

Different Democratic party.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:36 PM
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Again with this. The Vice-President doesn't have any authority.

I'm assuming that you were adamantly opposed to a Gore presidency in 2000 on the grounds that he couldn't possibly be qualified to be president, given that he'd been sitting on his thumbs for eight years.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:36 PM
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Dsquared, it's a matter of historical record that the Republicans turned out to vote against a resolution in favor of Mother's Day, rather than let the Democrats have a victory. It seems to me entirely possible that even if a President Gore were to wish a war in Iraq, Congressional Republicans woulnt' have let him have it.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:36 PM
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682: maybe someday you'll have a whole town full of straw people, and you can name them and give them little houses and little cars! Oh, what fun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:37 PM
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683: This can break down in the face of personal gain though, cf 674


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:38 PM
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My view is that we have no fucking idea.

you don't think that him saying

"I was one of the few members of my political party to support former President Bush in the Persian Gulf War resolution, and at the end of that war, for whatever reason, it was not finished in a way that removed Saddam Hussein from power. I know there are all kinds of circumstances and explanations. But the fact is that that's the situation that was left when I got there. And we have maintained the sanctions. Now I want to go further. "

might be considered a bit indicative?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:38 PM
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684 assumes nw doesn't already have one of those, from which he/she/it is trotting them out.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:39 PM
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Different Democratic party.

I know. Now will you tell Tweety?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:39 PM
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Soup Biscuit: Yeah, there is the personal gain consideration, but...these folks vote down their own bills, after all. I can see them deciding that no Democrat should get the glory for attacking Hussein.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:41 PM
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The work on Saddam and WMD had already been done in large part, between 1991 and 1998.

"The work" involved was convincing the American people an invasion was an appropriate response to Saddam's alleged WMD - not that he merely held them. In order to do that, Bush had to convince people that Saddam was not merely the possessor of WMD, but that he was prepared to supply those weapons to terrorists - and the key proof, the deal clincher, was Bush's success in persuading American of Saddam's involvement in 9-11.

And again, Gore opposed it. In real-time.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:41 PM
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691

We need a hypothetical ban, probably more urgently than we ever needed an analogy ban.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:42 PM
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692

I'm willing to make that a counterfactual ban if dsquared loses his right to say 'cunt'.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:43 PM
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692: Not going to happen. It's enshrined in their constitution.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:44 PM
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684: Excuse me? Where's the damn straw man? Earlier you were the one saying that the vice-presidency was "Miss Teen Delaware! Miss Teen Delaware!" I'd like to know if you wanted to elect Miss Teen Delaware president.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:45 PM
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693: I always knew the unwritten constitution let the cunts get away with things we couldn't over here.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:46 PM
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This nonsense about the vice presidency is making me think that Namond Withheldfield isn't strasmangelo jones at all, because it's even stupider than anything s. jones ever used to say.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:48 PM
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Part of what makes the "Gore would have done it too" claim so weird to me is that whatever you think of Democrats in power, Democratic voters are reliably more anti-war than Republicans. Everything aggressive Clinton did had to be in large part slipped past his voting base as not a big deal, not really the kind of 'war' where people die or anything. (This wasn't actually true of the Balkan stuff, but if you weren't paying attention, you could have thought so.) Any votes he was getting for foreign aggression were from 'moderates', not from core Democrats.

A random invasion of Iraq like the one Bush pulled would have murdered Gore with his voting base. He wouldn't have picked up many Republican votes, but he would have lost a 2004 primary to pretty much anyone anti-war.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:49 PM
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698

I'd like to know if you wanted to elect Miss Teen Delaware president.

Sure! Once she turns 35!



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:49 PM
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699

I'm one second away from violating Godwin's Law and tearing this whole thing down.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:51 PM
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694: Some of us understand that "experience" as stated in presidential elections is frequently a canard. Most people have about all the wisdom they'll get by their mid-40s (at least judging by empirical studies of cross-sectional productivity by age), and it's really a matter of future judgement.

Plus, remember all we've been talking about with The Lesser of Two Evils. If she was against Bush, you can fucking bet I'd vote for Miss. Teen Delaware. Even if her platform of "world peace" and "higher self-esteem for young women" had very poor policy support.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:51 PM
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696: Those of us who actually remember the 2000 election might recall everyone in the Clinton administration going on and on about the all the valuable input Clinton was always getting from Al Gore, especially on foreign policy. Yes, yes, I know, stupid of me to bother remembering it that way; in reality, Al Gore served no other function from 1993 to 2000 than to break tie votes and wait for Bill Clinton to die, and everyone who ever said otherwise, from Richard Holbrooke to Richard Clarke to Madeleine Albright, is part of a vast conspiracy to exaggerate the prestige of the American vice presidency.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:53 PM
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702

What's the argument about again? Miss Teen Delaware?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:55 PM
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703

How do any of your answers change if you consider that the US government has been run since 2001 by people who are specifically committed to redefining it as an authoritarian state, rather than a republic?

I somehow doubt Al Gore would have staffed-up out of AEI, Patrick Henry College, and Mike Ledeen's happy sock. (PS, I threw this one at Ken MacLeod and we're still on linking terms, so consider the irony of the last 300 or posts and your declared policy of "not being such a cunt about it".)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:56 PM
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704

Where's the damn straw man?

Right in front of you. The relative unimportance of the VP's office (Cheney notwithstanding) is an argument against assigning too much blame or credit for the actions of an administration on the VP --- it's fairly neutral as to said VP's later run (if any) for pres.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:56 PM
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705

Further to 702: she's smarter than the hosts, so yes, she should replace Biden on the ticket.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:57 PM
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706

Here's a link to a Wiki article that mentions Richard Clarke's meeting with Clinton, Gore, and Lloyd Cutler on rendition. Don't bother to click, though - after all, I'm a troll, and I probably made up "rendition" just to piss you off!


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:57 PM
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707

What, you think PNAC are the only guys who play Risk?

I dunno. If more of those fuckers had played Risk, we sure as hell wouldn't be involved in any wars in Central Asia. We'd have started with bases in Chile and Argentina then spread up through Latin America, with an eye toward using the bridge between Brazil and West Africa for our next invasion.

Or if we were the patient types (unlikely in the four-year political cycle), we'd have just taken Australia, New Zealand, Papau New Guinea, Indonesia and then built our troops up in Thailand/Malaysia.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:58 PM
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708

Fun Fact- 22 Democratic senators (almost half) actually voted against the Iraq war, even with all the crap thrown at them.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:58 PM
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709

Namond, if you don't want people to think you're stras -- who, again, I really like -- you might want to ease up on the sanctimony.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 12:58 PM
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710

There are a couple of reasons that make me think that Namond is really stras. The biggest is the shared inability to imagine that anyone who doesn't agree with you 100% could do so for any reason other than out of ignorance or personal evil.

Clinton was responsible for our policy of extraordinary rendition? Really? Even though it was actually in the papers at the time, and the Republicans love to bring it up every five minutes to justify torture, I guess it just never sank in until now...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:02 PM
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711

Obama/Brindley!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:02 PM
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712

707. We could have turned in our cards, and had enough to sweep through Asia. Might have stalled out in China, who knows.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:04 PM
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713

Namond might not be stras, but at least he links to the same damn articles as he did.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:04 PM
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714

711 pwned by 702, it seems. Ari's just quicker at googling up teen pageant winners--not to imply anything, of course.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:05 PM
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715

you might want to ease up on the sanctimony

That is hilarious. This from a place where an earlier comment asserted that the commenters here have a duty to browbeat and harass people who don't want to vote the way they do. And another one that's concerned with "the movement" I represent. Give me a break, people. Sanctimony? You're swimming in it.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:05 PM
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716

He wouldn't have picked up many Republican votes, but he would have lost a 2004 primary to pretty much anyone anti-war.

If President Gore had done the things that Bush needed to do to lay the groundwork for the Iraq War, it's hard to see how he avoids being impeached.

But goddamit, he was against the war and said so !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:07 PM
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717

Namond might not be stras, but at least he links to the same damn articles as he did

Ah, you mean this other commenter also used the obscure reference source known as "Wikipedia"?


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:08 PM
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718

717: The same subsection of the same article during the same rant about Clinton and rendition.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:09 PM
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719

Namond? If you are stras, could you admit it so everyone would drop it already? And if you say you aren't, and I go home and check the IP addresses, and it turns out you're posting from the same IP address as stras was, I'm going to feel really dumb for having defended you as not sock-puppeting.

If you're really not stras, I do apologize.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:09 PM
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720

So, I get "Withheldfield," and kind of get a kick out of it, I don't quite get "Namond." I guess you drop the "e" in "name" because "Nameond" would look weird?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:10 PM
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721

I don't think "sock-puppet" means what you think it means.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:11 PM
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722

Psst. I see banned people.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:12 PM
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723

If Namond is stras, I hereby repent 336.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:14 PM
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724

What LB is describing is not precisely sock-puppetry, but same sort of screwing about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:14 PM
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725

I don't think "sock-puppet" means what you think it means.

Okay, now I think you're Stras. We really do ask people not to change identities in a deceptive fashion around here. And yes, arguing the same positions under two different names, so as to give the impression that there are two different individuals who hold those positions, is sock-puppeting in my book.

But I'll check the IPs when I get home, and I'll apologize if they don't match.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:15 PM
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726

||

plum stupid

I'd like to think that this derives from the latin plumbum, meaning the metal lead. As in plumb bob, a lead weight on a string used to check that one is building walls true, vertical, or straight up and down. Thus, by metaphoric extension (or something) plumb would mean generally straight or true. Thus, plumb stupid, truly stupid.

I know plums. I've served in the orchard with plums. They're no stupider than most peaches or tangerines.

|>


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:16 PM
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727

715: Yes, 'tis a feted pool. But you've chosen to swim in it. Anyway, I'm with LB: if you're him, stop the games. If you're not, say so directly. Then we'll all drop it -- while still marveling at the similarities in tone and meter that your comment styles betray.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:16 PM
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728

I see banned people

Not here, you don't. I'm not your troll, and nobody banned me.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:16 PM
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729

Psst. I see banned people.

What? No one banned stras.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:16 PM
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730

I don't think it's sock puppetry, BTW. Stras expressed the opinion that he didn't get a fair shake around here, so changing names to see if that makes a difference seems like an intelligible response. It really pisses LB off, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:17 PM
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731

I feel like I watched the wheels turn to produce 721, and they sure landed at the wrong place.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:17 PM
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732

It really pisses LB off, though.

It pisses me off because it leads to threads like this one, with back and forth accusations of dishonesty and intolerance. I'd be happy to have Stras back under his old name, and if this were an experiment to see if people were reacting spontaneously to his comments, or were reading innocuous comments tendentiously because of their history with Stras, I think we've established that it's not the latter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:20 PM
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733

so changing names to see if that makes a difference

... fits the broader definition of sock-puppetry, if not the purest of original meanings.

In any case, repeating the same stuff in the same way under a different name would perhaps form a sociological experiment, but you'd be nutters to actually expect a better response to it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:20 PM
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734

What? No one banned stras.

I hate to see how you talk about people you've actually banned. Anyway, you don't have to ban me, I've taken the hint twice.


Posted by: Namond Withheldfield | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:22 PM
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735

What hint? Stras, I like having you around. I don't agree with you about everything, but even when you're (IMO) wrong I'm usually glad someone arguing your position. You annoy the heck out of a lot of people, but I don't see what there is to do about that.

I'm kind of cross at you right now, because I feel like a fool for having stepped in last night to ask people to stop accusing you of having changed your name. But I'll get over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:25 PM
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736

I'd be pretty surprised if Namond is Stras. Wouldn't it be weird to hang around through 500 comments denying you were Stras if you actually were him? I mean, if Namond actually were Stras, then the jig would have been up and the joke over a long time ago, and one would think any reasonable person would admit to it at that point.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:26 PM
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737

Wow, that's the quickest I've been proven wrong ever.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:28 PM
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738

any reasonable person would admit to it at that point.

This is certainly true.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:28 PM
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739

733: Stras expressed the opinion that Unfogged was clique-ridden, and that he was treated much better the day that we all used fake pseudonyms than other days. So from his point of view it was reasonable to expect a different reaction.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:28 PM
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740

Can we talk about bands to make up? Stras/Namond, I'm liking the Crystal Stilts these days.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:30 PM
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741

'Tis a feted pool. But you've chosen to swim in it.

Dude. If I had a feted pool, I'd be swimming in it at every opportunity. After work, watching convention speeches with a few friends, drinking away election-day sorrows, post-frisbee soreness, no excuse would be too small for a fun time in my feted pool.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:32 PM
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742

I don't think Namond sounds like Stras. In terms of comment style, that is. Also, I don't think Stras would come back under another name (without telling people he was now posting under another name, I mean).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:32 PM
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743

739: hence the experiment aspect, which is fair (at least, if reasonably short). But that only works if you are believing that your every utterance is being painted by peoples perception of your nick, based on the things you said that got them annoyed with you. It doesn't work if you start repeating the annoying things in the same way.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:32 PM
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744

I havne't read most of this thread--just the tail end--but for the sake of my sanity can someone please tell me this really isn't a 700-comment argument about whether Namond is Stras? Please?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:33 PM
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745

742: If the IP addresses don't match, I'll apologize.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:34 PM
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746

Wait, so Namond is Stras?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:34 PM
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747

744: No, it's only a couple hundred of them, tops.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:35 PM
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748

744: No, there's a long argument with dsquared in the middle about whether a hypothetical President Gore would have invaded Iraq.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:35 PM
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749

We spent most of it arguing whether you were Namond, Brock. We ruled it out after a statistical analysis of your typos. We're nothing if not dedicated.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:35 PM
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750

I saw the Sam Amidon/Nico Muhly/Doveman show this last weekend, thanks to Ben reminding me, and I pretty much agree with what Ben said. I already had a crush on Amidon, and now I've added Muhly.

I like having Stras around, but I realize I don't comment enough to contribute much to a welcoming environment for him.

The switch to Namond seems reasonable, per 739, except he should have admitted it in this thread when people called him out on it.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:35 PM
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751

734 is unambiguous confirmation to me.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:35 PM
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752

I'd like to swim in a fêted pool! Are all the pools in CA fêted?

Can we talk about Caro's op-ed in the Times? It made me rather misty.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:35 PM
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753

No- most of it has been about Vice President Miss Teen Delaware and if fictional President Gore is a good Risk player.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:36 PM
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754

So you see Brock, it's basically a demonstration piece about how bad thursday afternoons can be for all of us.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:36 PM
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755

Oh, so the Stras/Namond thing is not definitive yet.

The best stuff is the first few hundred comments about the convention speeches last night. We'll need a new thread for Obama's big coming-out party tonight.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:36 PM
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756

I can't decide if 748 makes me feel better or worse. And I don't even want to know who was on the "pro" side of that argument.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:38 PM
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757

Oh, so the Stras/Namond thing is not definitive yet.

It seems to be waiting for LB to go home, look at the logs, and collapse the wave function.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:39 PM
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758

754 sounds right.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:39 PM
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759

Hayes Carll is great. Style like Townes Van Zandt or Steve Earle.

Damon Albarn's new thing is sung in mandarin, the bit I've heard so for is suitably odd.

Giovanni Gabrieli is an underrated Baroque composer. So is Biber, though the best recording mixes spoken religious poetry in between the music.

Proposals for the new administration's house band? Proposals for a hypothetical Uighur-independence supporting Nader-Gore ticket's house band?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:42 PM
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760

I have a confession to make. For some time now, I've been posting under two different names, each of which is associated with a somewhat different persona: sometimes you know me as "Mary Catherine," and sometimes you know me as "James B. Shearer."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:43 PM
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761

760 is excellent.

Try as I might, I have real trouble grouping Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle together.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:44 PM
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762

LB! I'm totally kidding in 760!!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:44 PM
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763

I too am not Stras. But I might be Spartacus.

Incidentally, if you've got a sockpuppet suspicion it's far more constructive to simply respond to the argument than it is to be all "Tweety is really Emerson who's really Unf inhabiting the zombie corpse of Richard Nixon." If you've had the argument before, you've already mustered your facts, figured out how your interlocutor is likely to respond and placed the necessary hedges, and can respond with devastating effectiveness. Another possible approach is to refer them to an earlier thread in which you engaged with the person you suspect of animating the sockpuppet. Alternatively there's always the ignore option, which works pretty well.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:47 PM
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764

it's far more constructive to simply ...

you must be new.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:49 PM
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765

760 is really fucking funny. MC and Shearer are perfectly diametrically opposite. I couldn't have made the same joke because people would probably be, like, "yeah, I knew it all along".

763: and throw out all the gossip value? Screw that. Why are people always suggesting that one ignore fascinating interpersonal dynamics to engage in sober, abstract discourse?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:50 PM
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766

725 confuses me, or makes me think these blog things work differently that I had imagined, from a technical aspect. (Which isn't surprising, since I'm a technical dunce.) What access to the blog's innards does LB have from home that she doesn't have from work? Or, why can't she check the IPs now? (Given the number of comments she's made, the answer surely can't be "time".)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:50 PM
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767

765.1 belongs on teh other blog.

766: I suspect a non-technical constraint


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:51 PM
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768

From this distance, Brock, the tubes are cloudy. LB lives on a hill, so from home she can look out the window, and see the tubes from a long way away.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:52 PM
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769

Cast my vote for not-stras.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:52 PM
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770

Can't is an overstatement. I'm trying not to blog from work, and so I don't have the back-end of the site bookmarked here, and I don't actually remember the URL. If I were desperate to know, I could ask another blogger to email me the link, but I'm not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:53 PM
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771

I already said this, but we don't need to wait for LB.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:53 PM
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772

and 760 is genius. I can't think of who I could claim to be who would be half that funny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:54 PM
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773

How do any of your answers change if you consider that the US government has been run since 2001 by people who are specifically committed to redefining it as an authoritarian state, rather than a republic?

I'm presuming you're talking about the Cheney/Rumsfeld/continuation of government axis, which is certainly a particularly virulent form of the American permanent government. But they don't change all that much; there was a lot of the same tendency under Clinton, and I don't actually see serious proposals from either side to dismantle the US security state.

Gore probably wouldn't have employed anything like as many outright idiots too. But there were plenty of Janet Renos and Madeleine Allbrights hanging round the shop under Clinton (and Larry Summerses for that matter - President Gore would quite likely have seen the whole Washington consensus program cranked up several notches). I'm not an American, but I can certainly see the logic in someone who was deciding not to bother with the differences between them.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:54 PM
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774

It occurs to me that he could have been referring not to a straslife, but his earlier tussle in namondlife. Oh well.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:55 PM
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775

the last time a "third party" had a significant transformative effect on US politics as a whole, the "party" in question operated for most of its life primarily outside the merely-voting elephant-donkey nexus; it was organised round civil rights and then also opposition to the draft: latterly it called itself "the movement", among other things, and it's retrospectively known as the "dirty fucking hippies" (the ironic affection of some using this term perhaps trumping precise sociology), or -- by lazy and slightly complacent metonymy -- "the 60s"

in uneasy unloving good-cop-bad-cop combo with one of the official parties (johnson's and humphrey's dems) it was notably effective on the enactment of civil rights; in englamoured symbolic long-distance combo with third-world marxism it was sorta kinda semi-effective putting some kind of brief brake on a particularly demented high-bodycount phase of us imperialism (the draft is a dead letter, at least) (for now, anyway)

and come 1972, as it was getting fractious and internecine, there was a move (i think honourably intended) to co-opt it into mainstream merely-voting presidential politics, and it came hugely unglued, its energy passing into all kinds of lesser places, and habits, and cliques; and official politics has largely run against the larger spectre of it to this day, with lasting rightward-lurching success economically and more complex results culturally

i'm really not sure what the moral of this is, for the embattled parties upthread: i'm of an age to hold it in huge affection (it attempted something without precedent) but maybe i should hold it to harsher account (it failed, and where we are is the result)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 1:56 PM
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776

But I really need to disappear during working hours again -- I'm spending too much time here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:03 PM
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777

760: That one works better for Mary C than it did for me. But I feel compelled to put on the record that I got there first.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:03 PM
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778

Aww, don't you work for the People now, instead of the Man? I think that means you're free to dick around as much as you please.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:06 PM
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779

OK, I'm feeling better. I suspect it's too late to get an answer on this, but I'm genuinely curious:

D^2 says that a million Iraqis is an exaggerated number. Now, I'll freely admit that I was going for a round number, but, based on the Lancet study (which AFAIK D^2 strenuously supported), didn't we have ~600k dead Iraqis 3 years ago? Is it so implausibly that another few hundred thousand have died? Surely some additional Iraqis have died, such that we'd be looking at over 750k. Is that all wrong?

I am happy to be corrected; I just want to know.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:08 PM
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780

Yes, 'tis a feted pool

Pools, inanimate carbon rods—when will I be feted?

Sifu, your continual insistence that the veep has no authority is kind of silly; the veep may have no constitutionally guaranteed authority to do anything in particular, but that simply doesn't mean that he'll have no authority in a given administration.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:17 PM
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781

I'd like to note that when Stras first appeared there was a controversy about whether he was really Isle of Toads, which he denied, and everyone apologized for doubting his protestations that he was a brand new commenter. Wouldn't it be funny if Stras were Isle of Toads and this Namond guy?


Posted by: historian | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:18 PM
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782

781: Nice to have you back, ogged.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:20 PM
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783

782 is actually Chun.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:22 PM
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784

Wow, really? I can't remember anything about Isle of Toads. OTOH I used to read much less of the political threads.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:24 PM
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785

Stras, for what it's worth, I like having you around and don't quite understand why people get so bent out of shape around you. I also don't understand why you get so bent out of shape at other people. And I thought Hillary's acclaimed speech was pedestrian.

Apparently there are a lot of things I don't understand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:24 PM
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786

782 is actually Chun.

No, it isn't..


Posted by: Bob | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:25 PM
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787

Apparently there are a lot of things I don't understand.

Our own little apo' , he's getting so big. sniff.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:26 PM
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788

All 786 proves is that Bob is Chun.

Also, Bob!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:26 PM
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789

Shut up and dance faster, Bob.


Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:26 PM
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790

Sifu, your continual insistence that the veep has no authority is kind of silly; the veep may have no constitutionally guaranteed authority to do anything in particular, but that simply doesn't mean that he'll have no authority in a given administration.

But outside of Cheney, has this ever happened?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:26 PM
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791

If that's not actually Weiner, that's not cool.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:27 PM
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792

I've been trying to top MC = Shearer, but I can't. This is the best that I've come up with:

DS = W-lfs-n
Ari = B (or maybe Mr. BitchPhd)
LB = McManus
PGD = soup biscuit
heebie geebie = heebie geebie


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:27 PM
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793

I don't understand how to spell fetid. If that helps.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:27 PM
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794

791: It was me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:28 PM
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795

I'm actually alameida.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:29 PM
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796

Are you saying I'm not delightful, Walt?

I'm like 30 goddamn delightful.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:29 PM
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797

But there were plenty of Janet Renos and Madeleine Allbrights hanging round the shop under Clinton

Janet Reno not only appointed Ken Starr, but explicitly worked to get him authorization to expand the bogus Whitewater probe into the bogus Lewinsky probe. To equate Reno with Michael Mukasey, Alberto Gonzales or even John Ashcroft - each of whom seems to have actively covered up real crimes, and in some cases participated in them - seems to be a titanic effort at moral equivalency.

Madeleine Allbright vs. Colin Powell? They share a lot more in common, but by all accounts, Powell wasn't a prime mover regarding Iraq, except for his important PR role. The motivation for the war came from elsewhere.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:29 PM
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798

793: fœtid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:29 PM
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799

I can't believe we got this far without anyone mentioning that the whole Republican project was based on redefining the Vice President into a fourth branch of government specifically charged with invading Iraq, with the special feature of explicitly escaping constitutional restrictions.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:30 PM
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800

Speaking of veeps, friend of mine -- the fellow who coined the word veep -- was on NPR yesterday. Don't care abut 'veep' don't care about my friend: just listen to the speeches.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:30 PM
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801

798: see ari, you just don't have the right keyboard.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:31 PM
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802

This whole blog only exists in my mind.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:31 PM
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803

796: It's because you're more of a life-affirming, angelic delightful. Cherubs sing every time you post.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:32 PM
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804

784: Dude, that's because nobody can remember anything about Isle of Toads except for Ogged. And yes, I was Name Withheld, and no, I didn't want to admit it, for the obvious reason that the whole point was to evade the baggage of my old handle. In my defense I'd like to point out that for the first thread or two I was in I was fairly unobjectionable, as long as I was talking about, you know, stuff I didn't care about.

Please don't go on about how you really want me to stick around because we all know it's not true, and it's really kind of embarrassing, and if this gets any more like a junior high breakup my organs will all curl up and die.

I feel bad about having done this because from now on anyone to the left of Emerson is going to get crucified from the start as yet another Strasoid, which you can be sure was not my intention. Well, whatever. So long and good luck.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:33 PM
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805

Cherubs sing every time you post.

This is actually a pain in the ass after a while.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:33 PM
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806

I'm Emerson. I'm kind of surprised no one got it, what with all that carp shit.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:34 PM
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807

if this gets any more like a junior high breakup my organs will all curl up and die.

I made you a copy of that Joy Division tape you like.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:36 PM
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808

780- Sifu spoke of constitutional authority, I'm guessing.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:36 PM
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809

Please don't go on about how you really want me to stick around because we all know it's not true

This isn't actually true, Stras. I think most people enjoy your comments except when you lose your shit and then dig your heels in. I'm another who is a little puzzled about the amount people got worked up about your schtick, but I really think it's the way you say things, more than the content. see 743.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:37 PM
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810

because we all know it's not true

I absolutely meant it, Stras, and am certain I've never said anything that would indicate otherwise.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:37 PM
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811

804: You can go if that's what you want. But only if you're doing what you want. There are many people, the majority I'd wager, who very much like having you around here. And more people even than that who like hearing from you. I know you've felt aggrieved about the way you've been treated lately, and I'm not sure I blame you. But I think you should chalk it up to election fatigue; everyone's tired and cranky.

Or go, if that's what you want.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:38 PM
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812

Well, crap. Sorry about everything, and come back if you change your mind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:38 PM
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813

Please don't go on about how you really want me to stick around because we all know it's not true

Jesus, stras, I meant 336 when I wrote it, but by all means, don't stick around on my account.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:38 PM
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814

I feel bad about having done this because from now on anyone to the left of Emerson is going to get crucified from the start as yet another Strasoid, which you can be sure was not my intention.

No no no no no no no. It was not your politics but your personality that was identifiable.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:38 PM
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815

If you stick around, I'll weave you a friendship bracelet! (This is a genuine possibility. Sally got a kit with instructions for making those weird little woven bracelets out of embroidery thread, and I had to figure out the instructions by teaching myself how so I could teach her. Now I'm qualified to follow the Grateful Dead, if they weren't the Actually Dead.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:41 PM
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816

Ironically, I probably would never have jumped on stras if he'd been using his handle, just because I've, you know, had that fight before. Anonymity: a mixed blessing!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:41 PM
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817

799-

667 not as eloquently, maybe?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:42 PM
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818

779: two years ago, not three, and August 2006 was more or less the peak (although you remembered right about 600k, sorry). I wouldn't quibble too much about 750k but a million is unlikely.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:42 PM
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819

`except when you lose your shit and then dig your heels in'

was an unfair characterization, so please ignore. Many here have said unreasonable things at various times (me certainly). I think you've been piled on a bit more than most, and I'm not sure why, although I can see how your tone at times can rub people the wrong way.

You've always been welcome here.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:42 PM
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820

814: Actually, it was the meter of his writing, from the first, and later the tone of his comments. At least for me. But I could also tell from Hillary's posture during her speech that she doesn't really support Obama. So there's that.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:43 PM
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821

Not that he cares, but I always liked having stras around. I think I owe him a gimlet.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:43 PM
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822

oh good god, fuck this for a game of soldiers. See you all in November, possibly.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:43 PM
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823

Great, oudemia. Now you've driven off dsquared.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:44 PM
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824

Hillary's posture during her speech that she doesn't really support Obama.

Well, yeah. If she was really supporting Obama, she'd probably need to be crouched a little -- he's a skinny guy, but he's got to go at least 170 or so.


Posted by: Lizardbreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:44 PM
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825

The lesson here is don't try to sock puppet me, bitches!

What tipped me off that it was stras was that his tone annoyed me enough that it tempted me to argue a position I don't actually hold: viz, that Joe Biden does not suck. This is a talent unique to stras.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:45 PM
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826

I probably would never have jumped on stras if he'd been using his handle

Of course not. It is precisely because we were familiar with stras's point of view that we understood there was no productive purpose in rehashing old debates. The familiar alias got treated more kindly, not less, for its familiarity.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:45 PM
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827

--


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:46 PM
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828

823: And I'm the ToS, too. Look upon my works, Unfoggeteers, and despair!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:48 PM
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829

Wait, stras gets a joy division tape and a lanyard? That's bullshit. I'm totally out of here unless the presents begin piling up...NOW.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:48 PM
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830

Don't go, Ari! I'll send you some cookies, okay?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:49 PM
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831

anyone to the left of Emerson

A fine paradoxical phrase - like "any whole number greater than one and less than two."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:49 PM
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832

Oddly, Blair recycled his 1998 Desert Fox rhetoric in the run up to the 2003 invasion. Not just the 'Saddam oppresses his people' stuff, but all kinds of factual claims, such as '30,000 chemical weapons unaccounted for'. These (false and misleading) claims were repeated verbatim, just as if they had been put into a cupboard until it was time to take them out again.

I'm not able to say how much influence Blair might have had, all in all, but he was in on the act with Clinton in 1998, and even if you don't want to credit him with being a mover, he was clearly a major agitator in 2003. What's odd is that the repeated rhetoric suggests a disposition: war-with-Iraq was a category in Blair's mind. You have to ask: what sort of person develops habits of thought where the consequences of applying one's 'handy rules' are things like multiple fatalities, orphans, civil collapse, amputees by the tens of thousand, etc.. Can any of us imagine getting our minds into such a state, if we had that kind of responsibility?

Nonetheless, this is what seems to have happened with Blair. As in: it's Friday, and I always play tennis at the club on Friday. I think the church going is a pointer, also. Church services are numbingly repetitive: I don't know why this aspect of religion isn't criticised more often.

I don't see so much of a repetition robot in Gore, I have to say. Maybe that environmental lecture he does?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:49 PM
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833

So stras has joined the Judean People's Front. Well I guess there's one less person who's wrong on the internet.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:51 PM
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834

I'll send you some cookies, okay?

If you really wanted me to stay, you'd send donuts. Wait, what kind of cookies?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:51 PM
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835

Great, oudemia. Now you've driven off dsquared.

D^2 just hates that the "hey look, it's stras" types were right, after all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:51 PM
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836

a veep-model we can believe in: aaron burr

step 1: challenge a long-time enemy* to duel in weehauken
step 2: shoot him dead
step 3: raise an army in mexico (better: canada) and invade


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:52 PM
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837

IxI is ToS


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:53 PM
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838

sorry ari, we're out of joy division tapes. new order?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:53 PM
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839

837: indeed, read. Who would have thought the absolute value of x was zero?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:55 PM
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840

781 and following is like the final episode of a sitcom, with all the old characters making final, incongruous cameos.

Now, just 50 more comments and I'll be all caught up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:56 PM
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841

I'd prefer bauhaus, but new order's fine. Thanks for asking.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:56 PM
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842

New Order? Might as well be OMD or Blancmange.

Substitute either the first or the third Section 25 album. A band that followed the Joy Division/New Order path into the eighties in only 3 albums, and without even changing their name.


Posted by: satan mayo | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 2:56 PM
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843

even if you don't want to credit him with being a mover, he was clearly a major agitator in 2003.

I do think Blair was a large reason why moderates in the US supported the war. Like Powell, people thought of him as someone who wouldn't be on board with anything pointlessly insane. This was, obviously, a mistake in both cases.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:03 PM
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844

Chocolate chip cookies, Ari. Not being a foodie like the rest of you, that's the only kind I ever make.

(Where's Emerson? The Arctic sovereignty dispute is heating up.)


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:05 PM
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845

844: That's ours. MONROE DOCTRINE, BITCHES!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:08 PM
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846

McCain campaign announces universal health care policy proposal.

Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American - even illegal aliens - as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care. So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:09 PM
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847

Hey guys, what's up? I assume this is the thread to discuss things about Joe Biden? Wouldn't want to start us down any off-topic ratholes.

I was quite glad to see that both Pittsburgh papers* emphasized Biden's Pennsylvanianess. "Scranton native" etc. right up front in their articles. Did not watch any local TV, but I suspect they might have done the same, the local/regional angle is generally emphasized.

*Even the Scaife Sleazeball-Review.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:09 PM
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848

We've seen the movie
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063121/


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:10 PM
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849

the 1/6bill.'s is mine


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:10 PM
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850

I wouldn't quibble too much about 750k but a million is unlikely.

OK, excellent, thank you. Part of it was definitely not being sure how long ago Lancet was - if it was 650k after 3 years, then another 300k in 3 more years was totally plausible, but not in 2, esp. with things having settled down the last 1/3 year or so.

Point being, I wasn't trying to spin BS with the million number. 750k is still an order of magnitude more than I'm willing to accept for Clinton (because I think it's BS to assign him 100% responsibility for the sanctions that were in place when he took office). Plus, of course, Bush is on the hook for more than just Iraq.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:12 PM
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851

I've always been a little shaky on whether the US deserves responsibility for excess deaths attributable to the sanctions. Sure, the sanctions were a but-for cause of excess deaths, but so were the policies of the Iraqi government; it would (to the best of my knowledge, which is fairly limited) have been possible to govern Iraq in a way that would have avoided those public health effects despite the sanctions.

This belief doesn't take me much of anyplace useful, but it still seems reasonable to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:18 PM
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852

Plus, of course, Bush is on the hook for more than just Iraq.

There's an understatement. Bad as it is, is the invasion of Iraq even among the five worst things this administration has done? It's a subjective question, of course, but I'd say no.

I'd probably grant it's in the top 10.



Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:19 PM
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853

I'd like to see your list, Brock, if Iraq isn't in the top five. It would have to be number one for me, and I took Katrina pretty hard.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:21 PM
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854

846: Holy shit! Do you have a link on that? I want to send it out to some people.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:23 PM
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855

It's at TPM, PGD (so many initials).


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:24 PM
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856

854: it's, like, everywhere. Check TPM.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:24 PM
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857

Oh look, all done.

840 was before I saw stras coming out. I'm just going to note the following:

1. I'm really fucking annoyed that stras pulled that shit, especially the ongoing dumb act; once he was caught, he should've fessed up.
2. I'm not the least surprised that, even under a different pseud, people were still annoyed by his bullshit. He always pissed and moaned that he was oppressed by the popular commenters, but the reality is that he is annoying on his own merits, and no name change was going to alter that. Even if he ends up coming back, I hope that's at least one tiresome trope he'll abandon.
3. No jr. high crap from me. I will not miss stras in the least. I've enjoyed political threads around here much more without the turds in the punchbowl.
4. EVERY BEE COUNTS, DAMMIT is one of the funniest things ever said here.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:25 PM
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858

851: I should probably walk that back to "would have lessened the public health effects despite the sanctions."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:25 PM
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859

Meanwhile!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:25 PM
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860

it would (to the best of my knowledge, which is fairly limited) have been possible to govern Iraq in a way that would have avoided those public health effects despite the sanctions.

Regime change?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:26 PM
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861

PGD, here's a link.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:26 PM
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862

860: Nah, just more equitable distribution of available resources, more efforts put into internal food production, and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:28 PM
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863

739:

Whatever else this blog is or is not, it is surely clique-ridden.


Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:30 PM
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864

McCain is such a target-rich environment, I can't believe that Obama hasn't yet been able to really take advantage.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:31 PM
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865

Nah, just more equitable distribution of available resources, more efforts put into internal food production, and so on.

So just a brain/ character transplant for Sadaam. Ok then.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:32 PM
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866

Sure, the sanctions were a but-for cause of excess deaths, but so were the policies of the Iraqi government; it would (to the best of my knowledge, which is fairly limited) have been possible to govern Iraq in a way that would have avoided those public health effects despite the sanctions.

It's not unlike Lincoln's line about the South's threat to secede: "That is cool: you hold a gun to my head and say, stand and deliver, and if you fail to comply, you'll be guilty of murder." The sanctions were designed to hurt the gov't and allow the people to survive. The gov't manipulated them toward the opposite result. You can say that's a predictable result, and throw the blame back on the US, but it's a pretty neat trick to exempt Hussein's giv't from all responsibility.

Every once in awhile I'm reminded that there really are people who blame America first.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:32 PM
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867

re: my comment at 863, it's not that it's always, or even usually, a bad thing; in fact it often makes the comments here more interesting; but it is a fact.


Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:42 PM
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868

PGD = soup biscuit

Am I really that totally devoid of Soup's generally judicious and reasonable tone? Wait, don't answer that.

When I was thinking about contrasts, PGD=B was the one that struck me.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:43 PM
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869

I'm read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:44 PM
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870

Huh. You guys suck. You drove Stras off the freakin' blog. Yes, he's a big boy and all that, but get a grip on yourselves.

Sorry, had to say it. Meanwhile, this thread's long enough now that it's crashing my browser, so I gotta go.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:47 PM
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871

867: Well, you say clique, I say community. I don't think there's much excluding outsiders for it's own sake going on, but I could be missing it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:48 PM
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872

Parsimon's so banned.

871: oh sure a "community"; that's why me and apo have been treated like pariahs from day one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:52 PM
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873

871: fair enough. I hadn't thought of "clique" as connoting purposeful exclusion.


Posted by: Pliggett Darcy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:53 PM
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874

-


Posted by: - | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:53 PM
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875

872: A gated community, Sifu. Keeps the riff-raff out. Same with all the looping comment threads. We do that to stop outsiders from just logically running right through.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:54 PM
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876

I hear it takes a cabal to raise a blogchild.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:57 PM
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877

Is there someone, perhaps parsimon herself, who can explain 870. I'm trying to figure out whether I should feel guilty (the voice of my grandmother suggests that the answer is always "yes").


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 3:59 PM
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878

Yes, my darling boy, you should feel guilty. If not for this, then for something else.


Posted by: Ari's mother | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:00 PM
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879

I hadn't thought of "clique" as connoting purposeful exclusion.

Yeah, I was struggling with this implication, which I don't think is true.

There is definitely some stratification, if you will, but AFAICS it is 95% based on a combination of longevity and prolific-ness. It's actually striking to read really old threads and see how tight-knit it was, because there were a couple dozen regulars, most of whom had never met. Now a lot more people have met, but there are also tons more regular commenters, many of whom are newer. It's an interesting and complex dynamic, but not "cliquish" in any substantive sense.

The biggest difference among regulars and semi-regulars is between people who can remember shit about each other and those of us who can't. I always feel a bit left out when someone makes reference to an obscure, once-alluded-to fact about someone, but that's just my brain's shortcomings, not an attempt to exclude me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:01 PM
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880

877: The only one who should feel guilty is LB, who promised to apologize to Withheldfield only if he turned out not to be Stras. (Though maybe I inferred the "only.")


Posted by: lurky lou | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:02 PM
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881

877: Surely not you, ari.

BTW, 857 was really not intended to be dickish or kicking a person who's left. I just wanted to lay some things out frankly and, after the sock puppetry, felt no need to be (falsely) polite/civil. I'm a small fish around here, so I figure I'm not driving anyone away who isn't already on his/her way out.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:04 PM
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882

You drove Stras off the freakin' blog.

New mouseover?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:05 PM
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883

Would it be possible for the quewle kids to put together a chart of who is and who is not part of the club? Because if I'm in, I want out. And vice versa.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:09 PM
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884

883: As Groucho Marx said, I wouldn't want to be a part of any blog club that would have ari as a member.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:14 PM
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885

today must be an atmospherical pressure hard day
funny ears


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:16 PM
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886

Y'know, I've heard other people mention being in the club or out of the club here and I have to confess I don't have any idea what that means. Is there some privilege that accrues to the in-crowd members? Because either I haven't been getting my dividends or I got expelled from the in-crowd and nobody told me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:22 PM
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887

are you sure you were ever in, apo?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:29 PM
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888

Well, if apo's not in the club that changes things. I want in after all. To whom shall I forward my letters of introduction?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:33 PM
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889

I'm actually Tom Hilde and the English Courtesan.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:33 PM
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890

If Apo's not in the club, can I join him and the rest of the bad kids out behind the football field to smoke up? You Student Council kids can fuck right off.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:37 PM
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891

890: I imagine it depends. Are you carrying?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:38 PM
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892

Is the clique a claque?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:39 PM
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893

can I join him and the rest of the bad kids out behind the football field to smoke up

NEW CLUB!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:39 PM
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894

Of course there are cool kids and not cool kids here and in every other group of more than about 5 people. I can understand feeling bad about not being part of the "in group" but I can't understand resenting its existence.

To me, in-ness at Unfogged is measured by how often your comments are responded to, or how well established your profile or personality is. Some people have more time to comment here, or are more sparkly of wit or intelligence, and so they're going to be popular. That's life.

For what it's worth, I always thought Stras *was* one of the in crowd, because he never failed to dominate a conversation.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:39 PM
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895

sure, the bongs' already warmed up.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:40 PM
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896

895->890


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:41 PM
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897

The club, I've learned in my deep thoughts on how I could get in, is just the people who communicate to each other by email in addition to the blog. But that's weird: email is for real friends and blog comments are for internet friends, I don't want in with a lot that can't get that straight.

Seriously though—telling a fellow internet addict to check her email in a blog comment is the dumbest shit ever. Other than that, the club's alright.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:41 PM
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Oh, don't be silly. Of course there's an in-crowd. I think most of the regulars think of themselves as more on the outside than they are: JRoth calling himself a small fish seems off base to me. But it's a fairly nice, welcoming in-crowd to people who don't piss it off too actively.

Still, I'm sure it looks all monolithic and unwelcoming to new people, what with all the injokes and history and such.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:42 PM
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899

what with all the injokes and history and such.

This is the real problem. Unless you are an accomplished procrastinator, the time investment is daunting.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:45 PM
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900

And yes, I was Name Withheld, and no, I didn't want to admit it, for the obvious reason that the whole point was to evade the baggage of my old handle.

Well, that obviously worked out.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:46 PM
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901

Oh, stras wanted to be driven off, once his experiment proved once and for all that it was actually his confrontational style that people objected to and not his pseudonym. The style is nearly identical to dsquared's; the difference is the dsquared enjoys being yelled at. No one should feel guilty about driving off stras, at least not if they don't feel more guilty about driving off Clownaesthologist, who was a lot nicer to talk to.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:47 PM
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902

Sorry, "talk to" should be "comment on the same thread as"


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:48 PM
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903

The Clownae thing was weird. I've never really known why he just up and left. And yes, I am fully aware of the thread in which it happened, but still.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:50 PM
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904

People are welcome to e-mail me any time they want. Though I'm only so-so at replying.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:51 PM
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905

901: I thought stras was fine outside of the political threads; but couldn't always keep perspective there


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:53 PM
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906

895 to pretty much anything at all, really.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:55 PM
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907

The club ... is just the people who communicate to each other by email in addition to the blog.

Dangerous territory. Honestly I find the social dynamics of unfogged fascinating but it's also a tough subject.

There is clearly a core crowd that, for example, organizes meetups. Beyond that, however, I think LB is correct, there is a club, but it's amorphous.

The best example I can think of is that it automatically makes anyone look like an insider if they become sufficiently associated with a position that it will be attributed to them even in their absence (e.g., "X would hate that." "so-and-so has been arguing the Y position" in a thread in which X or Y has not yet commented) but having that sort of attribution made to you doesn't necessarily make the person feel like anymore of an insider. By that standard stras was an insider.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 4:58 PM
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908

Oh, don't be silly. Of course there's an in-crowd.

I'm not being silly. I wasn't denying its existence; I was saying I don't know what people think being in it gets you. mrh says it's getting responses, which I guess makes sense on a certain level, but from my observation you just get more responses the more (and longer) you comment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:01 PM
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909

I've always been a little shaky on whether the US deserves responsibility for excess deaths attributable to the sanctions.

Some, probably, but I'm not sure that responsibility is best thought of as a quantity demanding allocation: if not here, then there.

The objection I have to the way Iraq was handled is not that a particular moral calculation was in error, but that there was no honest attempt at a moral calculation. For example, the utter lack of interest in assessing the consequences of the invasion in terms of mortality.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:01 PM
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910

871

"Well, you say clique, I say community. I don't think there's much excluding outsiders for it's own sake going on, but I could be missing it."

Depends on what you mean by outsider. The community is pretty hostile to people with views outside a quite narrow range.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:02 PM
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911

898

"Oh, don't be silly. Of course there's an in-crowd. I think most of the regulars think of themselves as more on the outside than they are: JRoth calling himself a small fish seems off base to me. But it's a fairly nice, welcoming in-crowd to people who don't piss it off too actively."

In other words it is nice and welcoming except when it isn't. Which is a lot. Didn't read get a hostile reception just because of imperfect English?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:06 PM
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The community is pretty hostile to people with views outside a quite narrow range.

I don't know about hostile, James. The majority are certainly left of center, with a few that are desperately pulling (pushing) even farther left. But this blog is much less of an echo chamber than most, and points are awarded for proper presentation. Like at a Japanese restaurant. It may be a fishhead, but if it looks pretty people will appreciate it.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:08 PM
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913

Nonsense, Shearer. Everyone knows that liberals have a problem with maintaining ingroup-outgroup feelings. That's why Democrats can't win elections.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:08 PM
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914

Hostile in terms of calling someone's views stupid or ill-considered, if they have no reputation here and show up making claims widely regarded as absurd (and frequently insulting in themselves), sure. Maybe quick on the trigger in calling someone a troll, but there are always benefit of the doubters on that as well. In what other ways?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:11 PM
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915

Didn't read get a hostile reception just because of imperfect English?

Yes, because people, like me, mistakenly believed read was a native English speaker purposefully making odd, thread-derailing, comments.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:13 PM
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916

I'm sorry, I can't get all meta, because I have too much trouble remembering who I am today to keep all you invisible pretend internet people straight. But I want to go pick up a tangent from the topic that went by a few hours ago.

388: Politics operates on volunteerism, grass root politics is the most effective kind of politics, etc. ...

378: ... 90% of the non-superdelegates are totally normal, workaday people

That's not what I've seen here in NM. The delegates, by and large, are people who are owed something by the people who run the party, or they are the people who run the party. Being a delegate is a perq, like being appointed to a judgship or supported for an elective office, or getting an exempt job. The people in control of the party are (mostly) in it not for ideological reasons but mostly for personal pecuniary advantage.

Volunteerism seems to be honored mostly by word and not by deed. All the people in decision making positions in the Obama campaign, as far as I've been able to meet them, have been recruited and brought in from out of state. All the paid positions have gone to people with no connection to, or loyalty to, anyone in the state. I can only think that this is a deliberate strategy.

What they really seem to want from us locals is bodies to fill up crowd scenes, to make an audience. We're being recruited to go to house parties to watch the acceptance speech. Yes, if you show up they'll give you a call list, or a walk list, but there's apparently no effort to build an actual organization of people working together in the same location over time.

The other thing they want is, obviously, money. For each invitation to an event or an activity, I've received perhaps a dozen requests for money. That's after doing everything I could think of to become a volunteer - visiting the office twice to sign up as a volunteer, signing up for all the email lists, attending an 8 hour long training, applying to be an intern, etc. Of course, I wouldn't join a campaign that'd have me for a volunteer, either.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:16 PM
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917

907: a core crowd that, for example, organizes meetups.

That's a lot more geographically than blogstatus controlled; like, there's an NY crowd I expect to see at meetups, AWB and BaveD and Jackm and Tia and MikeD and Chris (list not intended to be exhaustive), but that's not an inner circle of high-status commenters, that's the people who live near each other and like to drink.

910: The community is pretty hostile to people with views outside a quite narrow range.

Eh, you may have a skewed perception on that, because you have a tendency to come in and vehemently defend some very red-flag to a bull positions, and you also don't show any interest in non-argumentative socializing.

But someone like baa or Idealist is probably as far from the political center of gravity around here as you are, and while they take some heat (baa, largely from me. Not a bad guy, but when I get into an argument with him he reliably says things in a manner that makes me lose my shit), people are also generally friendly to them.

If you changed up your commenting style to interweave requests for advice on how to train your standard poodle to fetch, or bragging about your flower garden, or something else non-inflammatory, with the arguments, people would probably get nicer to you too. Not that I'm suggesting you should, just pointing out that you get uniform hostility largely because your online persona has nothing to it beyond unpopular political positions. (Well, I remember some recommendations of hardboiled detective fiction, but that's about it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:16 PM
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918

The community is pretty hostile to people with views outside a quite narrow range.

If by "hostile to", you mean "willing to argue vehemently with", then yes. Although in that sense they're mostly just as hostile to people with views within that narrow range, I think.

But I've been all alone in my views on more than one occasion here, without ever feeling hostility. Many more than one, actually.

Okay, once alameida was hostile. But that's it, that I can recall.

Oh, and LB was hostile when I met her for lunch. But she's always been nice enough on the blog.

But that's it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:17 PM
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919

LB was hostile when I met her for lunch.

I was worried you were going to pass out from malnutrition and do a face-plant into one of the many bowls of tomato soup you ordered. It put a damper on the conversation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:20 PM
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920

Heh. On CNN.com, there's the headline, "Obama expected to address change in speech." O RILLY?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:22 PM
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921

apo and LB, with all due respect, but you're fucking high if you think that you're in any position to tell whether or not the site is clique-y.

That said, I don't think the site is tremendously clique-y. Plus the fact that it has so many in-jokes is one of the reasons why it's more troll-resistant than every other blog I read (all of whose comments sections suck).



Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:24 PM
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922

Dude, I copped to it having an ingroup, I just claimed that it wasn't particularly mean. Which I think I can speak to. The read thing was lousy, but it was based on a misapprehension and people stopped being mean once they figured out the facts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:26 PM
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923

People who don't feel a part of the clique should keep in mind that people inside are never happier for it. Think Heathers.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:26 PM
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924

923 is not contradictory to 922. I'm just saying that the "in-group" is a lot nicer to people outside it than those inside it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:28 PM
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925

I don't know how you can say that, LB. You hurt my feelings every single time I comment here. I would be crying like a baby right now if I weren't struggling on manfully. Laydeez.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:28 PM
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926

You know the middle argument on this thread has actually changed my mind. I now think the Greens were right, and Al Gore would of invaded Iraq regardless of if 9/11 happened or not. Also, Clinton would of done so in 1998, if he had been a republican.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:29 PM
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927

Well, usually clique-y-ness on blogs manifests itself by a core group of commenters sucking up shamelessly to the landlord(s) and the landlord(s) lapping it up like stray kitten(s). That's not the case here, I think.
LB, Apo, you're both so clever, what do you think?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:29 PM
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928

whether or not the site is clique-y

I know it is Walt. As mentioned earlier, any group larger than a few people is. My question was what was different about being inside or outside this or that clique.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:30 PM
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929

923: Martha Dumptruck did try to hurl herself in front of a bus.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:30 PM
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930

"Would of". Ben?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:31 PM
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931

929: Bitch just wanted to be popular.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:32 PM
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932

927: Well, of course I do expect a certain amount of adulation and fawning. But that's simply my due.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:32 PM
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933

Should this get moved to its own thread or would that just make everybody roll their eyes? I am interested in how the social dynamics here look to others, but this thread is getting awfully long.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:33 PM
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934

I'm pretty sure the "in-group" just means you have access to the seekrit flickr photo pool.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:34 PM
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935

Consider the fact that if you move this to its own thread, that will allow parsimon to participate. Keeping parsimon from participating is Job One around here.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:35 PM
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936

Eh, it's been fifteen minutes or so since we had a meta-thread, so we're due. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who feels socially excluded in a bad way, as opposed to "I simply don't have the time to invest in being a regular, don't you people have jobs" kind of way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:35 PM
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937

934: There's a secret flickr photo pool?


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:37 PM
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938

Yeah, you email Smasher to be joined.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:38 PM
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939

See? Charlie is an Outsider.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:38 PM
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940

I'm mean, but I'm pretty sure I don't count as a clique all on my own.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:43 PM
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941

Should this get moved to its own thread or would that just make everybody roll their eyes?

One vote for eye-rolling here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:43 PM
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942

Also, love the meta. It's about time. You never know what might have shown up in our navels!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:44 PM
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943

It would be cool if aliens showed up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:47 PM
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944

Maybe the lint will be cool this time?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:48 PM
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945

Can't we just link to the previous meta-thread from the New Pseud Day?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:49 PM
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946

941: I call Cala's eye-rolling and raise her a gag.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:49 PM
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947

One vote for eye-rolling here.

TOO LATE!

Anyhow, it's really just a thinly-veiled open thread, so as to keep the politics thread political.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:50 PM
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948

You never know what might have shown up in our navels!

In Soviet Georgia, naval shows up in you!
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/08/10/news/Russia-Georgia-South-Ossetia.php


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:50 PM
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949

945 is a very good idea. The new thread was not.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:50 PM
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950

That is to say, this thread is making the server creak.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:51 PM
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951

946: d00d i'll barf on the keyboard.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:51 PM
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952

I'm unclear how we've had this long conversation about the invasion of Iraq without mentioning two strategic elements.

[1] Iraq sits on a pool of $30 trillion in oil in a world which is past Peak and the Saudi fields are likely in decline. Absent regime change and the imposition of something like a pseudo-democracy with "open" markets, Iraq (Saddam Hussein and any subsequent head-of-state) had a significant weapon in control of the spigot on a nationalized (essentially family-owned) resource. The reality is that when something becomes scare, we maximize profit by careful management of production -- and Iraq was positioned to start charging whatever it wanted for nationalized oil. Forgetting Saddam, China and India are emerging competitors for that oil. Even if the US war in Iraq should eventually cost the USA $2-3 trillion, to those who imagine they think "seriously," this is a reasonable investment to achieve strategic local control with sufficient power to back up that control.

[2] We wanted and needed to move (I've seen numbers as high as $1 trillion) in military infrastructure from Saudi Arabia while keeping it in the region to "protect" (i.e., ensure American access to) the last large oil fields in the world. Iraq was -- since we needed it to become a "free" market for oil -- and remains the place to put those military resources.

Saddam knew the above as well as we did, and knew the clock was ticking in his favor. At peak oil, he would have a significant weapon and an absolutely humongous cash cow. He underestimated our willingness to move preemptively, and I'm still amazed at how effectively alternative narratives for that war have been cut into our national mythology. By the way, Saddam had invited the inspectors back and they had been in country for some time. We had to ask them to leave so we could begin bombing.


Posted by: ehj2 | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:53 PM
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953

Iraq was positioned to start charging whatever it wanted for nationalized oil.

Charging whatever they wanted for their oil? Jeez, I can see why we wouldn't want to allow that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:56 PM
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954

I dont' think ehj2 was endorsing that logic, LB, just explicating it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:59 PM
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955

952: Is that supposed to be a justification of invasion or a description of motives for invasion? I think the latter, but can't tell.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 5:59 PM
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956

922

"Dude, I copped to it having an ingroup, I just claimed that it wasn't particularly mean. Which I think I can speak to. ..."

You could speak to it better if you weren't part of it. People with privilege tend to downplay its advantages.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:05 PM
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957

LB - 936

Since you asked . . .

This place lacks some of the positive strokes that used to be around here. I think there are a couple reasons.

First, times are worse, and the news is worse, and the outlook is worse, so people are more stressed and less carefree. Second many people know each other in real life now and that distorts the online experience, which is kinda weird because online is already distorted but I mean affectionate sarcastic things between friends look mean to outsiders. Third I think the old 'play rough' thing we had going on still respected boundaries and some people don't seem to get who owns what feelings and where the boundaries are.

And I must admit calling anyone who disagrees a 'troll' really threw me because while 'troll' is internet jargon it is so well established that it carries a harsh tone. Oh, and calling someone crazy is pretty harsh too.

And as long as I am monologuing it is easy to essentially say "nuh uh" to everything but it really grinds down the gears. Building on what someone says and topping it is a better way to disagree.

But hey, I very much respect your house, your rules so whatever I say carries no weight and that is fine with me. I go where I like.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:07 PM
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958

912

"... But this blog is much less of an echo chamber than most, ..."

I don't think this is true. Lots of blogs have more diversity among the commenters. This blog does seem to have fewer idiots.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:09 PM
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959


I am very far to the left.

The right is deft at managing national policy restricting left-wing movement. They purposely bankrupt the country so we can't afford public programs, they purposely cripple instruments of governance so people will dislike and want less of government, and since entering office, Bush has ensured tax incentives for consumption (such as tax breaks for Humvees) that have taken us from a 60% reliance on foreign oil to 65%.

A very narrow group of people benefit from this, and they aren't vested in America or the world.



Posted by: ehj2 | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:11 PM
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960

945 is a very good idea. The new thread was not.

The new thread is because I'm about to close this one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:13 PM
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961

People with privilege tend to downplay its advantages.

Look at Shearer, speaking truth to power.

Hey James, privilege is a natural part of life and is not going to be eradicated anytime soon. I'm getting tired of your relentless Marxism.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:14 PM
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962

But, but... where will we go to discuss the Iraq war?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 08-28-08 6:14 PM
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