Fightin’ Moderates

The inter-Democratic chattering class wars are heating up, as the somewhat checkered backgrounds of netroots heroes Joe Trippi and Jerome Armstrong float to the surface. But hey, I’ve got a checkered background as well (nothing in their league, but there was this one time I was trapped overnight in a sorority…).

There are real issues there, which I’m chewing over – at a basic level, it’s the cooptation of ‘trusted recommenders’ by advertising – the political equivalent of BuzzAgents. And, to me, it exposes the hollowness of the positions of the netroots leadership – it’s not that they want to break the iron ricebowl that’s been feeding the political elites; they just want their own chopsticks.

I’ve been casting about for a post explaining where I stand on this, and after a number of false starts, discovered just what I wanted to say on someone else’s site.

Bull Moose is another liberal who the TAPPED folks probably look at askance.Monday, he put up a great post:

The Moose calls for moderates with attitudes.

These days if you want to be taken seriously in politics you have to have an attitude. Just look who the MSM pays attention to – blowhard bloggers and pugilistic pundits. In fact, Coulter and Kos are kissing cousins.

They deserve each other. The primary difference between the two is that the Republican Party leadership does not grovel at the feet of Coulter nor do their Senate candidates give her a staring role in their commercials.

It is time that changed. The Moose suggests that our nation desperately needs moderates with attitudes. No, they should not be course, crude and crass. But they should be unafraid and unapologetic about their centrism.

First and foremost, the immoderate center should not temper their views when they come under assault from the fever swamp of the left and the right. There is no accommodating these folks.

America needs national unity as never before. We are faced with a Jihadist enemy that poses a potential existential threat to our nation. The stakes are high. That is why the McCain-Lieberman Party in American politics must be bold and daring. While the two parties slavishly appease their respective bases, the broad swath of the electorate remains unrepresented.

He goes on to quote David Broder interviewing Joe Lieberman:

My opponent says it [the controversial Wall Street Journal op-ed] broke Democratic unity,” Lieberman said. “Well, dammit, I wasn’t thinking about Democratic unity. It was a moment to put the national interest above partisan interest…

“I know I’m taking a position that is not popular within the party,” Lieberman said, “but that is a challenge for the party — whether it will accept diversity of opinion or is on a kind of crusade or jihad of its own to have everybody toe the line. No successful political party has ever done that.”

Where do I sign up?

67 thoughts on “Fightin’ Moderates”

  1. We are faced with a Jihadist enemy that poses a potential existential threat to our nation.

    Already you have a problem; lots of moderates don’t accept this as fact.

  2. Mike,

    I beg to differ. If there’s one thing moderates can agree on, it’s the terrorist threat. Something abut flying airplanes into skyscrapers and trying to get hold of nukes.

    Leftists and other anti-war-on-terror Democrats may think they’re moderate, but they’re not. As usual, they overestimate their (more fringe) position as being in a large majority, and are thus constantly surprised when that is proven wrong (often by elections).

    I can’t think of any political position that better defines what a moderate is, than someone with other more progressive thinking, who nevertheless recognizes Al Qaeda and its ilk as a grave threat to the civilized world.

  3. As I wrote in the Slate Fray, what has Lieberman so hot and bothered is he’s in danger of losing to a liberal. Holy Joe likes losing to Republicans; they tell him what a great guy he is, pose for a photo op, tell him “Nice try”. Hell, he passed up his best chance of being Vice President for the honor of being the Democrat that Republicans would support—if they weren’t, of course, supporting the Republican. Remember how he literally couldn’t wait to rat out Gore on the military votes in Florida—including ones that looked suspiciously like they had been cast after the election? Joe couldn’t find it in himself to be ungracious and filibuster any of the Bush court nominees either.

    The truth is, there is a political party in America that has discipline and a record of electoral success. Sadly, it is the Republican Party. Don’t believe me? Look at how Arlen Specter caved completely on domestic spying. The GOP gives Specter a pass on abortion rights, but when it comes to consolidating power within the Party and for the Unitary Executive, there are no exceptions. By the way, did you notice that the Republicans aren’t having any of the oversight committee hearings (e.g., into contracting corruption) that the Democrats held during FDR’s Administration? How is covering up corruption and incompetence in the national interest, except for people who believe that the national interest involves maintaining the pretense that Dear Leader is always right?

    I’ll say it again: unilateral disarmament as a political strategy is no more sensible than as a defense strategy. As far as I’m concerned, Joe Lieberman is the type of Democrat that Benedict Arnold was a patriot.

  4. > I’ll say it again: unilateral disarmament as a political strategy is no more sensible than as a defense strategy.

    Except that unilateral disarmament is the Dem defense strategy. Yes, they put lipstick on it, but….

  5. No one who describes himself or his views as “progressive” should ever be confused with a “moderate.” “Progressive” is code for socialism, often with an extra helping of opposition to economic liberty — views that have never led to “progress” of a kind that anyone should want. It doesn’t mean “Liberal,” either, at least not in any sense of the word that’s not completely severed from its traditional meaning.

  6. Sorry but I’m still clearing out the barf in my mouth from the phrase “McCain-Lieberman”.

    And FYI: Moderate is codeword for “won’t take a stand”.

    McCain’s stance on border security and his willingness to remove political speech should disqualify him from serious 2008 contention, though the media and pundits love to talk the guy up, he’s about as electable as Howard Dean.

    Lieberman only gets props because he hasn’t jumped into the anti-war feverswamp, his warts on other issues still disqualify him from being at the head of the helm.

    Lets face it, for the most part, no one currently in office is really all the deserving of the Presidency. And if anyone thinks that a Senator is going to be elected to POTUS, they should do a quick history check. JFK was the last, and will be the last Senator to win the Presidency.

  7. Can we finally stop pretending that opposition to the US liberation and support of Iraq is somehow a “liberal” position? The US liberation of Iraq is itself a liberal project (note the common root of “liberation” and “liberal”). Those who oppose that liberal project may have well-reasoned (sort of) grounds for doing so, but invariably, those grounds are founded in conservatism: the risks are too great (risks of direct losses of US Military personnel, losses of money, loss of US prestige, or whatever), or that we should retain the old (read: pre 9/11) “rules” for deciding when a military action is appropriate, or that traditional principles don’t and shouldn’t allow any nation to violate the “sovereignty” of another for humanitarian reasons within the second nation. But none of the critics of the war who have anything worth listening to presents a liberal criticism (no war for oil, no war to enrich Halliburton, etc. are examples of, well, they’re not properly called “criticism”, but they’re not arguments that anyone should bother listening to). The critics like to call themselves “liberal,” but they’re not, really, and the more their “liberal” self-identification depends on their “anti-war” position, the bigger lie it is. “Liberalism” doesn’t defend a despotic status quo, but “progressivism” does, particularly when the proponent of the act to change the despotic status quo is a Liberal in the classic sense of the word (or as close to it as you’ll find among the leaders of either party). Such classical Liberalism isn’t a synonym for what is passed off as “progressivism”, rather, it’s the antidote for progressivism, and the progressives know it.

  8. Can we finally stop pretending that opposition to the US liberation and support of Iraq is somehow a “liberal” position?

    yeah, cause liberals are maybe 20 percent of America and “Wow, did we screw up in Iraq!” was somewhere north of 50 last I looked.

  9. unilateral disarmament as a political strategy is no more sensible than as a defense strategy.

    AJL, Can you break it down for me as to why you think a centrist platform is disarmament? Why can’t a third direction exist without endangering the left (or right in the case of Perot)? National lack of runoff elections, perhaps?

  10. Removing a dictator and enabling a nation of 20 million or so to establish an elected government — yeah, some screw-up. Final verdict isn’t in yet, of course, but it seems likely that it will turn out to be a highly successful liberal endeavor, at least as long as no one puts the war critics in charge or tries to get the job done from Okinawa.

  11. And if anyone thinks that a Senator is going to be elected to POTUS, they should do a quick history check. JFK was the last, and will be the last Senator to win the Presidency.

    I think the families of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon might disagree with you on that point.

  12. FormerDem, it’s stock in trade of good salesmen (especially con men like the Nigerian Yahoo boys—and George Bush) that they keep you thinking about the promise, not about the reality. So, to be blunt, it’s kinda cheating for you to be defending the Iraq mess, three years in, on the basis of the pony that must be in there somewhere, and not the even-worse-than-Saddam hellhole we actually managed to create. When last seen, for example, one of the pro-war commenters here was unusually forthright in acknowledging what we needed to bring to Iraq was violent ethnic cleansing of the Sunnis! Yeah, we’ll pick up a lot of self-congratulatory moral brownie points that way.

    jdwill: I don’t think a centrist platfrom implies unilateral disarmament. Indeed, in many ways Howard Dean on budgets and Brian Schweitzer on guns are Democratic policy centrists. I think that Joe Lieberman, who has never criticized the Republicans with anything resembling the fervor he brings to attacking Clinton’s wandering penis, or Democrats who wanted close examination of absentee ballots, or Democrats who were extremely dubious George Bush’s war plans, is under some pathological compulsion to establish his bona fides with the Master Party so that they will pat him on the back and kiss him on the cheek. I hear that once upon a time Dems and Reps would criticize each other’s policies and then go out for a beer. These days have apparently ended. Whether it is the fault of the elves or the dwarves is not so important, as realizing the stupidity of Lieberman’s efforts to reverse the situation not by asking Republicans out for a beer, but by caving on one substantive issue after another—including that OMG look who kissed me praise of the worst president in American history.

  13. It is interesting to see people get all upset over the fact that America has moved past the fear and loathing of Iraq that was ginned up by the right wing crowd in Washington.

    Listen guys. We don’t care any more. The whole thing was a mistake. We believed Bush’s lies and he led us into an illegal, immoral and unjust war.

    Now we want to put an end to the cost of this stupid war on our nations pocketbook, our military and our credibility.

    Three years after we are gone even you guys will start to feel foolish if you bring up how you supported the war on Iraq to your friends and family.

  14. _Look at how Arlen Specter caved completely on domestic spying._

    Apples and oranges. Specter has a committee chairmanship with which he is expected to represent his caucus. He can be stripped of it for almost any reason. He can vote and say whatever he wants, but his colleagues gave him that chair.

    The Left takes the wrong lessons from their recent defeats. They, including Andrew, think that the Republicans win by playing solely to the base and saying “screw you” to the middle. Republicans have played both to the middle and to their base.

    _Lieberman [is]so hot and bothered is he’s in danger of losing to a liberal._

    Lieberman is liberal an almost every issue except the war:

    bq. _The nonpartisan magazine Congressional Quarterly recently rated senators on party unity, assessing roll call votes in 2005 in which a majority of Democrats opposed a majority of Republicans. Congressional Quarterly rated Lieberman a 90 out of 100, only a bit less than Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s 92._

    Whose next in the purge? Harry Reid?

  15. Where do I sign up?

    You already did long ago Marc.

    And I’d have to say Whittmann never unsigned.

    I loved this.

    To their credit, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman are two additional high-profile Democrats who have put country before partisanship when it comes to foreign policy…And, of course, Joe Lieberman refuses to waver. While many politicians claim not to be guided by polls, Joe truly puts principle first. He is a profile in courage. The scorn of puerile bloggers and assorted lefties should be worn as a badge of honor.

    Joe Lieberman refuses to waver? Here’s a hint Marshall, as Joe if he plans to support the winner of the CT dem primary?

    He’ll do more than waver, he’ll turn to liquid.

  16. But to be a bit more serious, how the hell can anyone call Whittmann a liberal?

    Is it his work for socialist John McCain or is it his previous employment by those leftwing moonbats at the Christian Coalition?

    Just because he managed to forsee the breakdown of the Republican Party a bit earlier than most other Republicans I don’t see how anyone, with the possible obvious exception of AL could call him a moderate, much less a liberal.

  17. PD Shaw

    You keep on using that word “purge”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Unless of course you believe Zell Miller was “purged” as well.

  18. in many ways Howard Dean on budgets and Brian Schweitzer on guns are Democratic policy centrists.


    I don’t see a Democratic centrist platform getting past the base in primaries anytime soon. Any policy Frankenstein you conjure up out of body parts will be seen as just that. Howard Dean, indeed.

  19. School Vouchers, the boon doggle that is SDI, Faith Based initiative, thinks Bill Bennett is a swell dude, member of The Empowerment Network, where should I stop?

    Co-ounded the National Alumni Forum in 1995 with Lynn Cheney. This is the same group that announced to the world in 2001 charging that “colleges and university faculty have been the weak link in America’s response to the attack” on September 11″.

    Last fallk he actually said “In matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril” as if anyone could do more to undermine Bush’s credibility in matters of war than Bush has himself.

    Long time supporter of taxing capital gains at a lower rate than earned income, he supported the disgraceful energy bill and federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case (look! she’s watching balloons!).

    Hell even the John Birch Society gives him a 40% rating!

  20. PD Shaw: you should read up on how Holy Joe games those unity numbers. For instance, he voted No on Alito to rack up unity numbers—but he also broke with the party when it counted, on cloture. Since nobody is talking about purging Harry Reid, it seems to me that it is more likely that the scores are GIGO-rubbish than that Lieberman has been singled out unfairly.

    But the part of your replies that drives me nuts is that you actually agree with me about Arlen Specter and you say it’s OK for the GOP caucus to nail him to the wall if he shows a hint of independence because they’re the majority party with the committee chairs. Well, we’d like to be the majority party and a good way (IMHO) to start would be to stop Joe Lieberman from going off message with his George Bush Hero Worship. And that is a good question from Davebo: what sort of Democrat hints he won’t support the nominee if he loses in the primary?

    Let me be blunt: Lieberman isn’t your hero because his positions are deep, or his advocacy impassioned, or his daughters cute. He’s the hero because he’s your fellow participant in the self-induced illusion that the War in Iraq is being won. The problem with presidential credibility in Iraq is that the president is a blowhard and a liar, and your problem in acknowledging the same is the natural embarrassment of looking down and seeing you are naked.

  21. Davebo, some of things you mention were true when Joe was the party’s Vice-Presidential standard bearer. Are you made at Joe or Al? Cause Al’s pointing the finger at Joe or at least not returning his calls or something.

    But this amuses me:

    _Long time supporter of taxing capital gains at a lower rate than earned income_

    The first significant tax cut after JFK was when Carter lowered capital gains. After that, Reagan raised them and then Clinton lowered them again.

    We could go back and forth on how liberal/conservative Lieberman is, but part of the question has to be how liberal/conservative is he for Connecticut. For instance, I think vouchers are relatively popular there and the Republican governor uses them as a wedge issue against Democrats. Which leads me to the earlier question:

    _You keep on using that word “purge”. I do not think it means what you think it means._

    Purge means “to cause evacuation from (as the bowels).” National liberal groups are fueling this, its not a primary challenge against an unpopular incumbent or someone believed to have lost touch with his constituents. He fails a national ideological test and therefore he must be shot out of the bowels and discarded.

    (Zell Miller wandered into the Senate caucus from the year 1963, was confused, treated shabbily when he asked for directions and then stormed out after taking a crap on the front lawn)

  22. Andrew, if the Democrats win back the Senate, and they don’t want Lieberman to chair the intelligence committee or the armed forces committee because he doesn’t represent the views of the Caucus, then that makes sense to me. That would not be silencing him, he didn’t pay for that seat with anything other than promises to the other members of his caucus.

    What doesn’t make sense to me is the whole “addition by subtraction” The way to win back the Senate is to risk a seat in Connecticut? How about keeping the party ideologically flexible enough to win Tennessee?

    Is Joe a hero to me? I don’t know, is he a fighter?

  23. Actually, AJL, I’m impervious to sales pitches, even yours, which is selling something to the effect that invading Iraq was a Republican mistake (although it had bipartisan support), and we can’t win (although we are winning), so kick the Repubs out of office, put the Dems in, so the Dems can prove, by withdrawing from Iraq and thereby losing the war, that it was indeed a lost cause all along.

    I didn’t come of age in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, so I don’t expect a project such as the establishment of the first democracy in the Arab middle east to be fully accomplished within a year or two, or even within a single US president’s administration. The removal of the former regime, the defeat and dismantling of its military, the writing and ratification of the Iraqi constitution, the election of an Iraqi government, the selection of the Iraqi cabinet and the development of a capable Iraqi army have taken a little more than 3 years. So it’s not the promise, but the present reality that demonstrates that the project is successful so far. One of the few things that could bring about a reversal would be the election of enough Democrats to give them the power to thwart present policies. Dem leadership has promised to do just that — Harry Reid said today that he and his party would, if given control of Congress, change the course, presumably from one moving toward success to one moving toward more familiar territory for the Dems lately, defeat and failure. Good job, Harry.

  24. I like Joe Lieberman in the 90s, I liked him in 2000, and I like him still.

    He was a leading Dem in the Senate when no one had heard of Kos.

    I like him cause of his stands on a range of issues, and cause of his integrity.

    The notion that Dean was a centrist cause he balanced the budget in Vermont is just silly. Lots of governors do that – you cant be a Keynsian at the state level. Ergo budget balancing at the state level, good though it may be, has no ideological content.

    If Lieberman loses the primary, and DSCC does NOT back him, I will be in the market for a new party, for one.

    and yes, the 2000 fight over florida was tearing our country apart. To attack military votes would have made the dems look terrible – any Dem admin elected that way would have been crippled. It was a wise decision, one ultimately made by Al Gore.

  25. There is so much in this short post that is mind-numbingly wrong.

    “it’s not that they want to break the iron ricebowl that’s been feeding the political elites; they just want their own chopsticks.”

    Without any facts this is simply propaganda smear. And A.L. knows it. Who is the “they?” What is the preponderance of evidence that, after millions of words written, that the “they” simply want the rice? (And yes, I mean the PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE. Not one or two examples, in the thousands of bloggers, with infinite words written.)

    Not to mention – one important American Dream is to do something that NEEDS to be done, you are PASSIONATE about, and that earns you a good salary?

    And, who are you to be throwing stones? Is WOC part of any advertising market? Don’t YOU make recommendations? Did you get paid for your work – and good work – in Iraq? Didn’t this gig help in that?

    And Bull Moose is NOT a liberal, has never been a liberal, has a fetish for McCain.

    Lastly – any pragmatic moderate position has to start with the truth. In that the Bush administration ginned up the intelligence, and mislead the nation into a preemptive conflict, with the supposed reason being empty, and the results(“greeted with flowers”, estimates of 10 billion cost, estimates of troops leaving in “six months”, etc) overpromised and underdelivered.

    You aren’t there yet. The Bush administration isn’t there yet. Clear-eyed moderates recognized lies for what they are.

    Now PROPAGANDIC FANTASISTS, on the other hand – we have a winner!

  26. AJL,

    If Lieberman looses to an anti-war Dem there is a good chance he could win the election as an independent.

    Which would put the Dems one Senator more down in their quest to win control of the Senate.

    In addition there is a chance that once elected he might move into the R coulmn.

    Brilliant move by the Dems.

  27. Bilbo: Hunh? A link might be helpful. Luckily, I guessed to check Fox News. Wow. We found more useless, rusted

    degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War [One] chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist. [snip]

    Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

    “This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991,” the official said, adding the munitions “are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world [sic] believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war.“(My emphasis.)

    This wasn’t the first such find. Saddam just doesn’t seem to have had the inventory control to track down every last shell. The report treats this stuff as a safety hazard and disposal nuisance, not evidence of a WMD program that we finally managed to turn up. Sen. Santorum had to fudge this issue because he’s about 20 points behind in his re-election race.

    No WMD Program, Bilbo. The Republican guy we sent to find it says so. The Defense Department just said so. So, a-hole, just STFU. (I’ll relpy to the other comments in the thread separately, because nothing in them is nearly as outrageous as this dumbass ignorant didn’t-bother-to-read-the-article gloating from Dildo.)

  28. #17 from Davebo,

    Breakdown of the Republican Party?

    Who writes your material?

    The Dems are in danger of losing seats in a mid-term election against a relatively unpopular President. And this of course is proof that the Rs are breaking down? I dunno.

    You have about 1/4 of the House Dems siding with the Rs on the war and this is a sign of R breakdown?

    What ever happened to the reality based wing of the Dem Party? Reality get to be too much for them?

  29. Part of the problem with “fightin’ moderates” is the nature of “moderacy”. One fights for beliefs and principles, so anyone who fights will be regarded as an ideologue by definition.

  30. AJL, I’ve got to agree with you that the recent “WMD” find shouldn’t be considered evidence that there really were the stockpiles of WMD that everyone from Bill Clinton to Israeli intelligence to the CIA had expected Saddam to have. So, the WH is correct to downplay it. But I’m going to assume that you were overstating the case for effect only in your reply to Bilbo — the Duelfer report, which, oddly enough is now being used by some to suggest that “there’s no WMD program here, move along,” actually says (and I’m oversimplifying) that the WMD programs were suspended, not finally terminated, as Saddam had the means and the intent to resume them once sanctions were lifted.

    Santorum is saying that there’s something to this but I’m inclined to go with the WH version. If further declassification supports the Senator, well, good for him, but it’s not going to change policy one bit even if it helps save Santorum’s seat. But even if the Dems pick up that one, their cut and run rhetoric is again proving that the only target they can hit is one of their own two left feet, at least where national security and national defense issues are concerned, and those are still important enough to voters to keep the Dems from picking up a majority in either house. So they’re probably not going to be given the opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq, even if they manage to send Santorum home.

  31. #25 PD Shaw says:

    Andrew, if the Democrats win back the Senate,…

    One less thing you have to worry about.

    As JFKennedy figured out in his 1960 run for the Pres., if you want to neutralize the R national security advantage you come at them from the right on that issue.

    The Dems are moving left.


    The Real JFK was a tax cutter. Current Dems – not so much.

    The Dems have a winning template. Too bad they chucked it in the trash bin in ’68. They have yet to recover.

  32. M. Simon, that’s a good point for CT voters to consider. On the other hand, the picture of the Senate GOP pulling the plug on their own hapless candidate to push Lieberman would make me, at least, wonder just what they like about him so much.

    Liberalhawk, that’s just accepting the republican framing of the ballot issue. Can you explain how it brought our country together to give possibly-fraudulent votes a free ride? All this bipartisanship runs only one way. When the shoe was on the other foot, it was one investigation after another, remember?

    FormerDem, I guess every coach has always had to give that speech about “We didn’t lose, we just ran out of time”, but this has to be the first I’ve seen of it as a policy. Let’s just assume you were so much wiser than the clowns who talked about flowers, about mission accomplished, about bring it on, and about the troops being down to 50K by Xmas 2003, even though those clowns were the Bush Administration. How can I take seriously your evaluation metric, where there is either “success” or “not yet”? Let’s try that as an excuse for the failure of socialism—it just hasn’t been tried long enough yet! LOL. I think I’ve heard that before. There hasn’t been any progress towards a more stable Iraq in months. Yeah, some weeks there’s more electricity and some less (even the good weeks far short our declared goals, back before the Bushies stopped announcing any metrizable goals). And some of the bad things are probably irreversible. Christian Iraqis are fleeing. It’s amazing to have to say something like this, but their religious freedoms were better protected under Saddam. The situation of women appears to be going medieval nationwide. It’s amazing to have tot say something like this, but the rights of women to education, labor, and not having to wrap themselves up to go outside were better protected under Saddam. What exactly does this “democratic’ iraq look like?—the men get to vote for their favorite mullah? Iran is formally a democratic state; are we spending a trillion dollars, thousands of American lives, and scores of thousands of Iraqi lives to replace Saddam with Ahmadinejad? You feel all proud about that?

    jdwill: It’s a simple fact that a lot of law enforcement energy was wasted on totally spurious tips. The idea that they were acquired by torture, that old reliable way of getting garbage ‘info’, seems likely to me. As to Bush’s insistence on being backed up overe Abu Zubaydah, well, to me it seems right in character.

  33. #28 from PD Shaw,

    Obviously there is some one in the Dem Party who knows how to add.

    Maybe if Joe wins as an independent he will revert to Dem instead of going R.

    Which is sensible if Dems want to regain control of the Senate.

  34. #39 AJL,

    I’ll tell you what I like about Joe.

    He thinks Islamic Imperialism is a threat and wants to defeat it. In Iraq even.

    He is definitely a capitalist. He likes the tax cuts.

    Joe could be a RINO. As a RINO in a RINO/DINO state (Illinois) Joe is my kind of guy.

    And how about that Obama? Wants a win in Iraq.

  35. Can you explain how it brought our country together to give possibly-fraudulent votes a free ride? All this bipartisanship runs only one way. When the shoe was on the other foot, it was one investigation after another, remember?

    Are you referring to Nixon and Chicago or Rossi in WA, or what?

    I hesitate to make a sweeping statement on fraud other than I don’t think the Democrats have been squeaky clean there.

    It’s fair to have doubts about Iraq–I have them, too, especially with some of the crazy religious groups running around–but then, only 3 years into the Soviet Union’s existence might have been too soon to decide if socialism was better than the Czar. And given the number of people who haven’t given up on Marx, I think we Iraq war supporters have at least 70 years before we’re as delusional as the leadership of the MLA or ALA.

  36. “If Lieberman loses the primary, and DSCC does NOT back him, I will be in the market for a new party, for one.”

    Good luck finding another party that decides the will of the parties loyal voters means nothing when one of their good old boys is on the line.

    Wait, there is one come to think of it.

    “The Dems are in danger of losing seats in a mid-term election against a relatively unpopular President. And this of course is proof that the Rs are breaking down? I dunno.”

    Who on earth says they are in danger of losing seats besides Limbaugh and Hannity?

    Certainly not Gallup or Zogby in state by state breakdowns.

  37. “The Real JFK was a tax cutter. Current Dems – not so much.”

    Duh! Any idea what the marginal tax rate was when JFK entered office? And what he cut it too?

    (From 91% he cut it to 70%)

    Tax cuts aren’t necessarily bad all the time. Tax cuts in the middle of a war with record setting deficits however, not so good.

  38. “The notion that Dean was a centrist cause he balanced the budget in Vermont is just silly”

    And supported the death penalty.

    And was endorsed by the NRA several times.

    Just what is it again that qualifies him as a moonbat?

  39. AJL, That’s just the problem, there are no simple facts, especially from such as Ron Suskind. There is just too much politics involved. For example, you read the CNN interview reporting of David Kay (not as carefully as I think you might have) and come up with one direction, I read his official report, and the Duelfer report and come up 180 out.

    To wit:

    Kay report (also on CNN)

    We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002.

    Duelfer report .

    Two of the most important key findings (IMHO) of the Duelfer report:

    > The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development.

    > By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.
    Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability which was essentially destroyed in 1991 after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.

    These findings are based on extensive interviews with Saddam’s generals and scientists.

    This last is such a dramatic point, yet Durbin, Boxer, etal. have ignored the report and paraded endlessly the trope that ‘no weapons were found’ and that ‘we were mislead into war’. I saw B Boxer parrot the line on C-Span immediately after Santorum had just spoken about the find on the Senate floor.

    When you take these reports, the WMD labs and binary chemicals found, the latest find of weaponized shells, and the slowly accumulating evidence of Saddam/Al Quada connections, you have proof of the nexus of WMD and terrorism that had 70% of America supporting taking Saddam down.

    AJL, were you in that 70%? I was, and still think the war was needed, and have additionally moved on towards thinking we need to act politically, economically, and as needed, militarily, on Barnett’s non-integrating gap theory.

    But, in any case, I don’t think we should have allowed SH’s Iraq to stand. Partially, it comes down to face, and that will be important in the years to come as we struggle with Islamofascism and the gap problem.

  40. #44 from Davebo,

    Taxes down revenues up. How do you figure that happened?

    Some in the economics community believe tax rates above 20% do’t raise more money, they just raise evasion.

    Possibly (given the evidence of the recent tax cuts) they are correct.

    BTW the defict is much lower than static projections predicted.

    It is well know that you get less of what you tax. So is it in our interest to tax economic activity above the rates of other taxes? Might it not be actually good to tax economic activity less than we tax other things?

  41. JDWill, the Kay link I provided for convenience was to his interim report, before we’d totally finished giving up on our mushroom cloud nightmares. (Did all those right wingers ever apologize to those of us who called Saddam’s “mobile weapons labs” weather apparatus, based on evidence like the invoices? Where is Bilbo when I need him?) Three months later Kay put it more explicitly: he said “his group found no evidence Iraq had stockpiled unconventional weapons before the U.S.-led invasion in March.” And we seem to be in agreement that finding another long-overlooked dump of long-forgotten, abandoned, unusable, leaking pre-1991 CW containers really doesn’t change that.

    Now, did Saddam dream of re-acquiring WMD? Well, I suppose he did. I dream of seducing Anne Hathaway (yeah, weird taste in starlets), but is that cause for whoever her boyfriend is to come beat me up? The inspections that we interrupted so that Bush could get his war on were in all likelihood going to squelch whatever Saddam had going on. Mostly he seemed interested in maintaining the human capital to develop weaponry, and I can’t imagine you would think more highly of Saddam if all of his WMD-capable scientists mysteriously disappeared. It takes a little more expertise than I have to understand whose definition of dual-use is in play in these reports. In our early, confident announcements, it was obvious that equipment in my son’s junior High science lab would have been considered dual use—perhaps rightfully so, it doesn’t take much to come up with tactical-level chemical munitions.

    I’m also completely unimpressed with the alleged accumulation of Saddam-Al Qaeda connections, which are a pathetic anticlimax after the fictitious Prague Airport Meeting and the utterly cynical campaign to link 9/11 to Saddam through semantic juxtaposition. What, pre-9/11 someone from Saddam’s secret service met someone from Al Qaeda? How many such meetings do you think have occurred with the Egyptian secret service? The Pakistani? Even our own? No, I was not among the 70 percent who wanted a war to take Saddam down. And it seems many of that 70 percent have found new wisdom.

    The Samefacts site has an interesting post on how the vainglorious war on Islamicism as practiced by the Bush Administration plays into Osama’s hands.

    HR 861 claims the adversary “is driven by hatred of American values”. Where are these left in the day-to-day routine of the GWT: in the lives of its prisoners, in the lies and insults of its spokespersons? Cronyism and incompetence turned the Iraq “reconstruction” into something very close to looting, and the reflexive, disengaged rubber-stamping of Israel’s hapless policies credits the widely-held legend of a Zionist grip on the American state. US support for human rights and democracy in other parts of the world – China, Russia, Africa – has become mere tokenism. (The values of the American people have changed only a little for the worse; but for world perceptions, what counts is the actions of the government.)

    And as a fine summary of how ass-backwards the Iraq War is, the author adds,

    PS: HR 861 says that
    The terrorists have declared Iraq to be the central front in their war against all who oppose their ideology.

    The Bush administration has used the “central front” trope ad nauseam. Which terrorist leader said this and when?

    To my mind, the war on Iraq is best understood as a continuation not of the war on anti-American terrorists, but something for domestic political consumption: to divide the Democratic Party and to justify the National Security state’s Unitary Executive. Even the war’s dwindling number of supporters have given up explaining how it makes America safer by degrading terrorist capabilities. Now, like the CSA, Wehrmacht, and Imperial Japanese Armies in their last throes, they babble on about the tremendous display of National Will (wouldn’t that sound better in German?) that immuring our Armed Forces in Iraq provides.

  42. Lazarus position is the consensus of the Dem Party: “we love anti-American dictators who shelter terrorists who kill Americans, and cozy up to bin Laden.”

    OF COURSE Saddam was a threat, a constant thorn in our side, and played footsie with bin Laden to the point of providing significant operational assistance to 9/11 as shown by the 9/11 Commission (his Intelligence service aided a 9/11 planning meeting by some of the hijackers in Kuala Lumpur). For that and harboring 1993 WTC bomber Yassin (given a state pension and apartment) he deserved to be made an example of.

    Saddam was not of course the biggest threat (which are Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi respectively). An alternative criticism would be, eliminate both Iran and Iraq as threats by arming Saddam and encouraging him to attack Iran again. Iran lost a million people to Saddam, which helped keep them in check and not attacking us in the 80’s. Ruthless but at least focused on protecting America from another 9/11.

    Iraq was always a mess; under Saddam mass killings of Shias and Kurds kept Democrat’s blessed order (the LOVE dictators as long as they are anti-American, See Fidel, Hugo, Stalin, Mao, lil Kim, Saddam etc). By allowing the 20% of the population to rule in Apartheid like near slavery over the rest. Now it’s payback time and surprise surprise, it’s violent.

    That Lazarus would believe Howard Dean stands for anything but unilateral disarmament is a joke. WHAT has Dean advocated but surrender and appeasement and apologies to bin Laden? Dean won’t even endorse killing bin Laden wherever we can find him, or even accede that bin Laden planned and ordered 9/11 (he thinks the “JEWSSSSSS!” aka evil Neo-cons engaged in a conspiracy and has turned over the DNC to anti-Semitic loons engaged in tinfoil hat conspiracy theories).

    Pathetic. That’s what the Dems have become. Forget Iraq. Quick name ONE national Democrat who believes the US can and should act alone if need be with military force to KILL ENEMIES OF THE US who threaten us with mass terror in the US or elsewhere. The best they can do is increase VA spending (nice but beside the point in National Security). Clinton’s fantasies of “black ninjas” jumping out of helicopters and “taking out” bin Laden without killing anyone or causing the least little PC fuss is telling.

    Dems chose PC weakness over America. Bottom line if we run away in Iraq Al Qaeda will follow us home; already Muslims in Miami were arrested by the FBI for plotting to blow up the Sears Tower and the FBI HQ (doubtless Andrew will lecture us on how we all deserve it).

    [Zell Miller? Popular Democrat Governor, started a program to get B or better students a free ride at Georgia Colleges and Universities, increased educational spending, etc. But his pro-military stance and patriotism made him persona-non grata among Dems.]

  43. AJL,

    Not much time, had to go look up immuring. Looked at samefacts site, a quick note:

    + Accept civilian casualties stoically. This is the only area where the metaphor of war is useful.

    + Accept failure in Iraq and get out.

    This won’t play in Kansas. We are advised to stoically accept civilian casualties while we are agonizing over military ones now? WTF?

    I think you and others are too quick to declare failure, we will see where ‘national will’ goes. I think it will stiffen if we really feel an existential threat, which of course is hard to do in such a slow motion clash as I believe we are in now. I am not sure, but I think the slowness is because the caretakers of the global economy are afraid to upset things too much.

    I don’t think WWII is a good parallel to what we are in know, but consider the national media, and the propaganda movies Hollywood turned out then. What would the polls look like if we had that kind of show being put on now? How many movies about Iraq or war against Islamic Terrorists has Hollywood put out recently, anyway?

  44. Support for the no-fly zones had been shaky since their inception and was crumbling. Remember…they were unsanctioned and illegal. Support for sanctions were crumbling and if Lazarus’s unadulterated joy over their success is any indication their legal basis was nearing an end. Lazarus would have us believe inspections were the panacea for the Saddam problem. Yet at the same time he readily grants that Saddam still would have sought WMD. So it’s 2006 and there was no Iraq war. Where is Saddam? Next to Ahmaninejad? Where is Lazarus? Howling in a different wilderness no doubt.

  45. Now, did Saddam dream of re-acquiring WMD? Well, I suppose he did. I dream of seducing Anne Hathaway (yeah, weird taste in starlets), but is that cause for whoever her boyfriend is to come beat me up?

    If the only thing keeping you from Anne was her bodyguard detail, and that detail was about to be dismissed, and you had a history of repeatedly violating legal “warnings” such as restraining orders and visits from the police… then yeah, I’d say her boyfriend would be quite justified in taking action. The analogy is more apt than you might think when talking about OIF.

    (Stalking Anne Hathaway as an analogy for Sadaam subverting the UN… now there’s an argument you’ll never see under White House letterhead!)

  46. Nicely thought out position on being a “fightin’ moderate’. It is also about a decade too late to put into effect. This is not a good time to be a moderate, or have moderate views on certain national issues.

    Most of the “moderates” are Republicans or Independents now. The Democrats have become dominated by their Leftist membership, and are weeding out the moderates and conservatives with great fervor. (See the impending fate of Joe Lieberman.) As far as the Left here is concerned, “moderate” is shorthand for “selling out to evil Bushitler”, and they will have none of it.

    The situation among the Republicans is not very optimistic for moderates, either. Moderate Republicans are being targeted now by a Conservative movement that is tired of debates, and wants to see some substantial action taken on national & regional issues. If McCain thinks he can get the Republican nomination in 2008, he is mistaken, since to the conservatives, he and his moderate colleagues are phonies who care more about their political “face” than keeping election promises to their constituents.

    In short, prepare to see the ranks of moderate or “moderate” politicians to shrink in November, and to see them shrink more in 2008. The time for easy compromise has come and gone, while Osama bin Laden escaped an easy collar in Sudan, and we twiddled our collective thumbs while the UN took a year to decide that they weren’t going to help us in order to preserve their payola deal with Saddam.

    In a post-9/11 world, there is not much room for a moderate stance on certain things. National Security is a “must” issue, and making our nation safe from jihadi-men and third-world tinhorns brandishing nukes demands solutions that are not moderate, but are still effective. The Left has been discounted, everybody knows they wish no security for us. The Conservatives have policies that stick in the craw to those of us brought up in the P.C. age, but they are policies with goals that will work to the favor of American citizens. In the face of those two ends, Moderation looks like, and sounds like Prevarication.

    Given the choice, I would rather put aside liesurely debate on finding the “middle road” to national security. The jihadi-men and dictators with nukes and our sieve-like borders are out there now. They have to be addressed now, not when there is a nice photogenic compromise. I am afraid that all you would-be Moderates may have to stop trying to find the middle ground, because the enemies out there are determined to leave us with none. The choices are rapidly boiling down to submission to the will of over-armed relics of the Medieval Age and Communist age, or devotion to perpetual vigilance and vigorous measures to protect ourselves and our way of life. In that respect I am not willing to be moderate, or have much patience for calls to moderation.

  47. “Liberalhawk, that’s just accepting the republican framing of the ballot issue. Can you explain how it brought our country together to give possibly-fraudulent votes a free ride? All this bipartisanship runs only one way. When the shoe was on the other foot, it was one investigation after another, remember?”

    any votes COULD be fraudulent. Do we challenge all votes, whenever there is a close election? Gore challenged the votes in South Flor, cause there were obvious problems. He didnt go challenging anything he could find. which is why i supported Gore in his efforts at the time. Nonetheless it was divisive, and to challenge the military ballots would have been much more so. As for the other foot, what are you referring to? the 1960 election?

  48. “Good luck finding another party that decides the will of the parties loyal voters means nothing when one of their good old boys is on the line.

    Wait, there is one come to think of it.”

    I will be looking for a party that doesnt purge a distinguished senator of longstanding on one issue, an issue on which I am in agreement with him.

    And this is about the loyal voters. Its about a national campaign by non-Conn folks to puch Joe out. Taking advantage of turn out limiting summer primary (such sticklers for mass democracy they are).

    I could have said that id look for another party if Joe lost the primary. My qualifier was merely to acknowledge that the DSCC may well support him anyway, not to say I wanted a party that has a particular approach to dealing with primaries.

    In any case, I probably wouldnt join a party, Id become an independent.

  49. I sympathize with you, Liberalhawk, and thanks for making my point for me. Neither big party has a real interest in moderate POV right now, and continuing to insist on “moderate” stances on National Security is going to anger a lot of people on both sides.

    I chose a side, I am convinced of its righteousness, and I will stick with it for the time being. I would like to see Mr. Liberman returned to office, as I always respected him. But if not, I wish you well on your journey towards a new political identity.

  50. Jim R., it’s time for you to turn off your Caps Lock key and go breathe into a paper bag for a while. Even the rest of the Bush dead-enders here must be a little embarrassed by your claim Howard Dean (doubtless with the approval of his wife, Judith Steinberg), has turned the DNC over to anti-Semites.

    Unbeliever: in mid-2002, I was pretty impressed with how Goerge Bush was using the threat of war to force Saddam to re-admit inspectors. I thought that way we could rationalize the sanctions program, improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis, and probably weaken Saddam domestically, too. I really didn’t believe that all Bush’s tough talk really was so he could get his war on. I guess I misunderstimated how much he wanted to check out the “full jaunty” flightsuit look.

    jdwill: Dunno about your movie theatre, but mine had United 93 last month. I’ll have to see if the video place has any S&M porn from Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, or Cheney has it all checked out. I didn’t agree with everything in the samefacts article I linked to last time (I don’t think it got the relationship between Bush and Israel right), but it got me thinking again on how silly it is to try to quash long-range terrorists like OBL by a war on short-range terrorist whom we ourselves pretty much created in Iraq. London and Madrid show that as a general plan, this leaves something to be desired. The translation from smart interdiction of terrorism to stupid neocolonialist “anti-terrorism” as a manifestation of National Will (beginning with the sacrifice of civil liberties and continuing with human sacrifice in abundance) is a disaster in terms of both effectiveness and morality.

  51. AJL, you miss the point a bit:

    in mid-2002, I was pretty impressed with how Goerge Bush was using the threat of war to force Saddam to re-admit inspectors. I thought that way we could rationalize the sanctions program, improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis, and probably weaken Saddam domestically, too.

    “Improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis”, hmm, good idea, we should’ve started a program for that… Oh wait, now I remember, it was called Oil For Food. How’d that work out, I wonder?

    And I seem to remember this one time, back in 1991, Sadaam was at a weak point and there were noises about maybe getting the Iraqi population to overthrow him from the inside. Anyone have a status update on that little plan?

    I really didn’t believe that all Bush’s tough talk really was so he could get his war on. I guess I misunderstimated how much he wanted to check out the “full jaunty” flightsuit look.

    The issue was that if Bush did not “get his war on”, then once the sanctions/barriers dropped you would have tried to seduce Anne Hathaway; therefore her boyfriend was justified in beating up Sadaam Hussein.

    Er, something like that…

  52. I didn’t agree with everything in the samefacts article I linked to …, but it got me thinking again on how silly it is to try to quash long-range terrorists like OBL by a war on short-range terrorist whom we ourselves pretty much created in Iraq.


    1. Currently in the blogo-flurry is the discussion that Zman was in fact in Iraq in 2002 and part of the AQ team in attacking us.

    But Zarqawi was a figure the U.S. government stumbled upon, rather than raised up. A lone State Department official noticed an NSA intercept of a phone call from Zarqawi, who was in Iraq, to one of the assassins of USAID diplomat Lawrence Foley. (Foley was murdered in his driveway in Amman, Jordan in

    2. I am very intrigued by the Same Facts link you brought up. It at least tries to put forward an analysis and a plan. Not all of it may be wrong, but…

    Recognise and name your enemy. It is Al-Qaeda, a small jihadi faction, and its emulators. It isn’t even all jihadis. Near-enemy jihadis have a lot of different enemies, Russia, Israel, Mubarak’s Egypt, Musharraf’s Pakistan, etc. America’s first problem is the few jihadis that kill Americans as such.

    I really disagree with this. Islamofacism is more like a pick up game. Players can prep in one theatre and show up in another later. Also, this is a clash with an idea. We will be seeing more jihadis that are local kids turned by the ideology. The stated goal of the Jihad is a world Caliphate. Just because we think this is ludicrous doesn’t stop them from trying. I notice that you and this article bring up the the idea of near and far jihad. I recommend Mary Habeck’s analysis

    Two 2004 C-Span videos of her ideas (first is best if you have time)

    Video Link on C-SPAN

    Now she has a book out

    Check out the ex military-intelligence reviewer’s statements. I highly recommend her analysis of the near and far jihad concept. I think your article has it wrong. I think it is merely a strategy of convenience.

    Keeping this brief because this thread should be dead by now.

  53. also to keep things brief and return them to the original, TPM Cafe has an extremely interesting piece on Lieberman. The highlight, to my taste

    So I ought to be a Lieberman “dead-ender.” I’ve respected him for 30-some years, I don’t mind his idiosyncratic positions, I don’t demand party loyalty, and I don’t insist on any particular position on how to end the war. But I’m not. Because something happened to Lieberman, and it’s more than his position on the war. It is not, as John Dickerson wrote on Slate this week that he “symbolizes” all the other Democrats who voted for the war or won’t take a firm stand. Above all else, it’s simply his self-righteous anger, his hostility to those who differ. He alone among Democrats seem to think that opponents of the war are not just mistaken, but will cause us to lose. (Just as he alone can continue to describe the choice in the war as “winning” or “losing,” as if “winning” were somehow still possible, as opposed to salvaging a bad situation.) He alone would say something like, “”We criticize the commander-in-chief at our own peril.” And he alone would suggest, as he did to David Broder, that Democrats who criticized Bush on the war were acting from “partisan interest” while he was thinking of “the national interest.” He alone seems more focused on what he sees as the errors of the war’s opponents than those who launched the war. As Michael Tomasky said of Peter Beinart’s New Republic position on the Iraq War, it was not so much that they supported the war as that they “opposed the opposers.”

    and outstanding in the comments, for those who so conspicuously fail to hold the party they now choose to vote for to any similar standard,

    There is no Lieberman equivalent in the republican party. Republican party would never tolerate a Joe Lieberman in their ranks. Yes, there is Chafee but Chafee is from the bluest of blue states. Republicans know a good thing when they see it. They know that Chafee is the best they can hope for from Rhode Island and they tolerate him. A Lieberman equivalent in the GOP would be a liberal republican senator from a conservative state like Oklahoma or South Carolina who gleefully spits in the face of conservatives in his party and goes on the Randi Rhodes show to trash his republican colleagues. Republicans would never tolerate this. He would be challenged and defeated in the primary.

  54. Recognise and name your enemy. It is Al-Qaeda, a small jihadi faction, and its emulators.

    Al-Q – small faction
    emulators – large faction

    Hamas has declared war on the US. Let me list a few other orgs:

    Islamic Jihad
    Muslim Brotherhood
    Palestinian Islamic Jihad
    Egyptian Islamic Jihad
    Gama’at Islamiya
    Abu Sayef

    There are many many more. Plus freelanceers.

  55. #62,

    I get Joe. He thinks if Dems don’t come out for winning their stance will do for them what the R stance in WW2 did. Leave them in the wilderness for 50 years.

    In other words, like Zell Miller, he sees the work of a lifetime (party building) go down the tubes.

    It is not a collegial stance.

    It may be the truth.

    Four unanswered posts (I love posting in the early AM) – have I killed the thread?

  56. “Two months ago I was ready to give up any support for the Rs.

    “Then I got in a discussion with some “progressives” about how to end drug prohibition.


    “The upshot is that working with them is impossible.

    “So I’m supporting Rs. Even drug warriior Santorum.

    This doesn’t quite parse for me, M. Simon.

    If I had a party that was so bad I didn’t want to give them any support, I wouldn’t.

    And then if it turned out the opposition was also nobody I’d want to support, I wouldn’t support them either.

    I might support a third party to show I didn’t like either one of them, or I might sit out a round. A pox on both your houses.

    Unless I didn’t care about the government, but I wanted to get some sort of political patronage. If I was looking to get paid for supporting a side, then I’d guess who the winners would be and support them.

    Is that what you’re doing? The republicans didn’t look like they were worth supporting, but the democrats wouldn’t pay for your support so you’re back to the republicans again?

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