No, Politics Ain’t Beanbag

Sitting in an East Coast hotel watching TV (I actually may have to get TV at home for this election…) I’m thinking a bit about the election (note: I haven’t given up on my point that long-war hawks may want to consider voting Democratic – I’ll go back to this soon).

And I wanted to highlight the point Jonathan Chait made in the LA Times today – ‘Is the right right on the Clintons?‘. As I note in the title, politics ain’t beanbag, and to me the fact that the Clintons can play as rough as anyone isn’t – necessarily – a bad thing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a shrinking violet as President.

But – I’m more concerned about our toxic domestic politics, and I need to see some kind of uplifting vision balancing the ruthlessness. And I’m watching Hillary talk, and what I don’t see – is enough vision to counter the sharp elbows.

Oh my God – CN just cut away from Hillary’s speech…I wonder what that means? Interesting inside baseball…they didn’t cut away from Obama’s… I guess he is the media’s darling.

But you know what – I was kind of done with her generic stump speech anyway. Maybe they are just good at judging audience reaction.

So here’s the problem. I want to support a Democrat, if I possibly can. But you know, I don’t think I can support Hillary. Now she may be able to leverage the racial divide in the vote in South Carolina (Obama didn’t break 35% of the white vote – again) into white backlash against Obama, as some commentators have suggested.

But I really, truly wonder if she can win the general election. This isn’t a new question. She’s hated, and you have to wonder why it is that she is so polarizing. Well, the gracelessness of the speech I just watched – where she had a chance to say more than a passing congratulation to Obama – is a good start. People in the public eye, at some point reveal their real character. We’re seeing Hillary’s.

So I wonder if she can win the race, and to be honest – I now wonder if she should.

How in the world are the Democrats in this situation today? How is it not going to be a coronation for the Democratic candidate?

Interesting…for me, I’m waiting to see where my opinions will lead me in the general – if Obama’s weak (sadly very weak) national security policies will tip me to the GOP, or if my belief in the long-term benefit of giving the Democrats ownership of the problem outweighs those concerns. See K-Lo at the Corner for a counter.

40 thoughts on “No, Politics Ain’t Beanbag”

  1. the fact that the Clintons can play as rough as anyone isn’t – necessarily – a bad thing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a shrinking violet as President.

    The Clintons are not tough. The Clintons are petulant, self-pitying bullies, which is more nearly the opposite. Without their army to carry water for them, they’re nothing.

  2. bq. She’s hated, and you have to wonder why it is that she is so polarizing.

    Oh really…so that explains why she’s vying with Obama for the nomination I suppose?

    Of course some people hate her (see #1), but so friggin’ what? I certainly do not think it is wise to base support for someone on whether the angry radical right wingers who have been unduly influential in our politics over the past few years like someone or not, do you???

    If anything, this hatred makes me want to support her even more….and I don’t think you should discount this particular “backlash” sentiment, because my take on things is that many, many people feel the same way about this nasty kind of politics that is now very clearly and specifically associated with Republicans and Corporate America. Which would be ironic, because of all the Dem candidates, Hillary is the most likely to govern status quo wrt the money interests.

  3. Long-time reader, first time commenter.

    “Obama didn’t break 35% of the white vote – again”

    Granted, there is a racial divide in S. Carolina that is much less present in most of the rest of the country. Still, I wouldn’t read too much into the particular statistic you cited. It was still a three-person race (Hillary, Edwards, and Obama split the non-Black vote, according to exit polls).

    Once the primary becomes a two-way race, I think you will see him get his share of non-Black votes, as he did in Iowa.

    Also, another reason Obama didn’t do well with the non-Black vote is the African-American/Hispanic divide, which Clinton has done her bit to exploit.

    I share your concern about Obama’s foreign policy inexperience, but his domestic inexperience is also a huge problem. As attractive as the symbolism would be, it seems impossible that we would elect a President whose entire experience in the Federal Government consists of a single, incomplete term as a junior Senator serving on some of the less important committees and sub-committees.

    I think the real Obama campaign will be 4 or 8 years from now.

    I’ll be very interested to read your theory about “long-war hawks” and Dems. As I see it, the “Scoop Jackson” wing votes for McCain.

  4. bq. But – I’m more concerned about our toxic domestic politics…

    Al- Who made them that way? Be truly honest. I left the Democrat party because under the Clinton regime they had become so vitriolic. Well, and for many other reasons. I blame the Democrats for the present sad state of political discussion in the US. Not that the GoP does not share some of the sins.

    BDS has become so prevalent that it threatens to overshadow real discourse. GWB is apparently both evil incarnate, so smart he has hoodwinked all of us stupid conservatives AND the dumbest Bubba of all time. C’mon – pick one meme and stick with it. Otherwise guess who really looks stupid.

    from Glen Wishard:

    bq. The Clintons are not tough. The Clintons are petulant, self-pitying bullies, which is more nearly the opposite. Without their army to carry water for them, they’re nothing.

    That is pure GOLD truth. We call ‘em punks where I came from.

    I fear that if we get 4 to 8 years of the new Social agenda of either Clinton (who really believes it is going to not be a shared Presidency?) or Obama there may not be much left of the US. The tax burden alone of either one of their social agendas will bankrupt us much less the restrictive busimess clmate they espouse.

    As for me, if you see a Donkey in the WH, you can count that I WILL be buying that 10-20 acres abutting a National Forest I have been eying.

  5. _”BDS has become so prevalent that it threatens to overshadow real discourse._
    I love seeing BDS discussed when the Clinton’s come up. It’s just so wonderful to see such a disconnect happening in the course of mere words.

    Let alone neglecting to remember the current administration’s $30T+ “Medicare Givewaway”:http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg1672.cfm that will cripple real reform, moreso than any other programs that will come about in the next few years. Really, the largest single expansion in history worries you less than anything the Clinton’s may be able to get through? And please, name the “restrictive business climate” that she’s spoken of or you can see in her docs. And go for the real ones, not the obviously pandering never-gonna-pass ones.

    I know, it’s BDS that makes me worry about future obligations that he’s put through, along with $1T in current and future war costs that have not been offset by anything(sacrifice? pshaw – that’s so WW2), or that his weak currency policies make it more likely that the world could start to move from the dollar as a near standard, or that his years have added thousands of dollars of debt to what I will owe over the next 40 years, or that we’re about to hit the second recession for a single president in a while. Nothing else.

    I say we just stick to insults. I see your ‘The Clintons are punks’ and I raise with a ‘Mitt Romney eats puppies’.

  6. _How in the world are the Democrats in this situation today? How is it not going to be a coronation for the Democratic candidate?_

    You should start thinking about the State of the Union. Now that the surge – along with a dozen other non-surgey things have been working in Iraq, it’s about time to schedule a mass drawdown starting about the time of the Republican convention.
    If it works – not the actual political solutions that this was for, but relatively stability – the Republican candidate gets to ride it out.
    If it fails, the Republican candidate gets to talk about how continued havoc will be seen if the Democrats are followed.
    My guess anyhow – open up a guessing thread =)

    If the economy really does continue to slide and becomes the dominant issue 9 months from now (yay! campaigning almost over!), then it’s a tossup between “maybe a change is best, since this is awful” or “hmmm, what can the Dems really do”.

    I think it’s a matter of the nominees as well. Hillary vs. McCain or Huckabee are the only non-toxic campaigns I can see her in. Well, least is more like it.

  7. robo – #4 – did you miss the “Hillary killed Vince Foster” talk back in the day? BDS was certainly matched by CDS. I’d say that lessons were well-learned…

    And Alan, Hillary is the leading contender because she, her husband, and their investors (all politicians have them, the Clintons just have richer ones) built an array of institutions (media matters, etc.) over the last 8 years aimed specifically at putting her in the White House. From gaming futures markets to managing the media, we’re seeing the fruits of an eight-year careful, well-planned campaign.

    Does she deserve to be the nominee? Well, she ought to get to try, shouldn’t she?

    A.L.

  8. Let alone neglecting to remember the current administration’s $30T+ Medicare Givewaway that will cripple real reform, moreso than any other programs that will come about in the next few years.

    Well considering that both of the Republican frontrunners Senator McCain and Governor Romney were both on the record as being against Medicare Part D because it spends too much and that both of the Democrat frontrunners Senators Clinton and Obama were on record as saying it doesn’t spend enough, I’d say that’s an argument for electing either Romney or McCain and keeping Obama and Clinton as far from the White House (and the Senate) as possible.

    Oh and as bad as Medicare Part D might be (but not nearly as bad as the alternative bills supported by the Senate and House Democrats) the $30+ Trillion figure isn’t support by the link you provided. The main crux of the Mitchell piece is actually that the problem with Medicare Part D is that it will only grow more expensive as more people are enrolled in Medicare and expect taxpayers to pay for the prescription drugs. Considering also that both Senators Clinton and Obama have as the centerpiece of their health care “reform” proposals pushing for (a) making private coverage even more expensive and less available (while of course insisting that they aren’t so long as they don’t throw you in jail for buying it) and (b) offering to subsidize people who want to enroll in a “Medicare lite” program at taxpayer expense, Medicare Part D will look fiscally conservative by comparison.

  9. “robo – #4 – did you miss the “Hillary killed Vince Foster” talk back in the day? BDS was certainly matched by CDS. I’d say that lessons were well-learned…”

    In my estimation, the people who proclaimed that Hillary had Vince Foster assassinated represent a marginalized fringe of conservative politics. There may have been a lot of CDS syndrome, but the Vince Foster was murdered meme was the far-out cranks.

    As to Hillary Clinton and Vince Foster, however, I am a firm believer in the “Few Good Men” analogy.

    Movie Spoiler Warning

    There is a supporting character in A Few Good Men takes his life in much the same manner in the movie that Vince Foster is reputed to have done in reality and perhaps for similar motivation. That character is an officer colleague of the brash Jack Nicholson (you can’t handle the truth!) character, who takes his own life for what he perceives to be the dishonor in his silent complicity in the misdeeds of the Jack Nicholson character.

    While it is generally believed that a person such as Vince Foster who takes his own life is suffering from depressive illness, an all-too prevalent mental illness that perhaps has organic causes and results in the deaths of many people, and while Foster’s note as much as blamed the Wall Street Journal for his troubles as anyone else, there is a sense that what pushed him over the edge was the “Travelgate” firings, with Hillary in the role of “You can’t handle the truth!” and Vince Foster in the role of the aide in conflict with his conscience over something (the travel office firings followed by the attacks on the fired employees) that Hillary Clinton had no problem with.

  10. AL:

    BDS was certainly matched by CDS.

    That’s highly debatable, but instead of getting into a war of anecdotes and particulars, let’s compare the way Clinton and Bush have stood up under criticism. (This will be a discussion about character, so you old Clintonites should get your gag reflexes warmed up.)

    Bush has two redeeming virtues, as I see it: He sticks to his guns, and he weathers criticism well. (His faults include his inability to constructively counter criticism, but he takes it well.) This is a relatively rare ability among politicians.

    Previous presidents in modern times have gone utterly flaky under the kind of storm Bush has faced, and those previous presidents specifically are Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton. The good thing about Bush is that he’s not a Nixon or a Clinton; the bad news is that he’s no Reagan or Truman, either.

    The Clintons, on the other hand, are a double disaster when opposed. The Clintons do not recognize the right of anyone, Democrat or Republican, to disagree with them. Such disagreement is considered not merely wrong, but malicious and conspiratorial. And there is no slight so small that a Clinton can rise above it – they make a list of everything and they don’t forgive or forget.

    Again, the Clintons are not strong people. Strong people don’t flinch and overreact to every challenge, and they don’t whine. I’ve said before that the Clintons are not liberals, or conservatives, or moderates. They’re all about the Clintons, and everything with them is personal. Every petty little thing.

  11. AL — either Hillary or Obama will be so weak and appeasement minded that we will get a nuked US city for your “ownership” of the struggle against Jihad. Which is really the struggle against Muslims.

    Nuclear proliferation is a fact we have to deal with, since GWB lacked the courage to take on the bureaucracy and DC elite along with the Media and Dems and organize US policy to prevent it. Iran will get nukes if it does not already have them. Russia has pledged to nuke anyone who interferes with Iran’s nuclear program. China has helped NK proliferate with zero consequences. Pakistan is slowly falling into AQ control.

    Against this Dems offer: appeasement, talking, surrender to the Muslim aggression. They’re sure to follow UK’s Labor Party in banning the Three Little Pigs, Piglet, etc. to appease the ever-growing demands of Muslims for pure Sharia.

    America and other western nations have two choices: surrender to Sharia and become Muslims, or fight for freedoms.

    Choosing a Dem is sure to get a US city nuked because a Dem would abandon: surveillance of terrorists, GITMO, any US military action, alliances with local tribespeople in Iraq, Africa, and Afghanistan (human intel on AQ) and substitute that with appeasement driven surrenders piece-meal sure to invite more aggression.

    Democrats will NEVER fight for America because fundamentally the Party has become that of wealthy, post-American transnational elites who want a surrender of US sovereignty to nebulous standards of “international law” and the UN, EU, etc. Of course Democrats (most of them) hate America because America allows social mobility to threaten the new “landless gentry” of NPR, NYT, various NGOs and foundations, Corporate elites, and the Richard Florida “creative class.”

    The last thing Democrats want is for tragically hip downtown gay art directors to be overshadowed by nerdy uncool engineers in the suburbs helping to rebuild and expand the US military-industrial complex. Obama’s worse on that score (and basically “the Black candidate” of identity politics — due to block voting and his own nasty history of anti-White sentiment, actions, and words in his Autobiography) but Hillary is nearly as bad.

  12. Glen (#11),

    Indeed. While I didn’t vote for Bill, I certainly don’t consider him a bad president: after a brief abortive attempt to fulfill some parts of the left’s agenda (e.g. gays in the miltary, nationalized health care) he quickly Got Religion™ about where the political center was, and ended up signing things like welfare reform and NAFTA. Even the criticism he gets about having been soft on terrorism is mostly people unhappy that Bush gets criticized for not stopping in his first 8 months in office what Clinton didn’t stop in 8 years.

    However, if we want to talk about character (and I agree it’s an important part of deciding on who’s going to lead in uncertain times) then it’s a completely different matter. In that aspect I think Mr. Clinton is the worst person to have held office since Wilson. Yes, worse than Nixon; yes, as long as we’re allowed to judge each as a creature of their times, even worse than LBJ.

    YMMV, of course, but I think a lot of the CDS comes from not being able to think of these two aspects separately.

  13. bq. This is a relatively rare ability among politicians.

    But a very common one among dictators. LMAO.

    Honestly, after reading some of the comments here, I cannot for the life of me figure out what Glen and Kirk think are important qualities for being President of the UNITED STATES….

    bq. Strong people don’t flinch and overreact to every challenge.

    Nor do strong nations….this echoes my core criticism of how the Bush admin chose to respond to 9/11 and Saddams WMD, in a nutshell.

  14. _Oh and as bad as Medicare Part D might be (but not nearly as bad as the alternative bills supported by the Senate and House Democrats) the $30+ Trillion figure isn’t support by the link you provided._
    You’re right, my apologies – that is from prior to the benefits package, I think. Here’s one that references the “$30 Trillion”:http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm880.cfm in new tax revenues being necessary. They don’t do the math themselves, but hit on the trustees’ report. The “GAO Comptroller(PDF)”:http://www.gao.gov/cghome/d08446cg.pdf isn’t as gloomy, but knows what is out there, since it doesn’t track future trends as much as current known and projected.

    McCain has been consistently against it – but “Romney”:http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/01/mitt_romney_on_hannity_colmes_1.html ? Eh – he’s left enough room by saying he doesn’t think much of how it came about, or the liability it’s left us with. Not straight out calling for changes like McCain, or any indication if he’d try to change things.

    _Considering also that both Senators Clinton and Obama have as the centerpiece of their health care “reform” proposals_
    Even if you double “Clinton’s”:http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070921/NATION/109210074/1002 $110B/yr or “Obama’s”:http://www.againsthillary.com/2007/08/15/the-price-of-hillary-clintons-healthcare-plan-invisible/ $65B/yr (I have yet to see a non-biased pricetag), we’re still looking at costs that parallel Part D’s in the 75 year window, and is actually lower in the 10 year one.

    I don’t really want either to happen right now, but I also don’t think the costs are insurmountable – based on what already exists.

  15. Alan –

    Judas Jumping Priest on a pogo stick. Do you seriously think that reacting to 9/11 is the same thing as reacting to a negative newspaper editorial? Or a comment by Joe Lieberman?

    BTW, your comment “this hatred makes me want to support her even more” perfectly sums up the entire existential significance of the Clintons. As a flagship for malcontents who have no enemies except their fellow Americans, the Clintons have few peers.

    Kirk Parker:

    I certainly don’t consider him a bad president …

    Neither do I, in all respects, and for the reasons you cited. Nevertheless he was temperamentally unsuited to even be a member of the Little Rock school board, let alone president of anything. I would compare him to Nixon on that score, with apologies to Nixon.

    That goes for the other one, too.

  16. _However, if we want to talk about character (and I agree it’s an important part of deciding on who’s going to lead in uncertain times_

    I think I’ve given up on the issue of character. I can’t see either party putting up a candidate who can be elected without being bought and paid for first. Maybe Obama, Maybe McCain, but the nomination system seems like death by a thousand cuts, slowly wittling down candidates until they’re willing to do anything for the cash to stay in the race.

    I agree that I’m not particularly fond of the Clintons, but I don’t suffer from any belief that Bush had any more “character”. His administration was just as resistant to questioning, just as willing to blackball the competition (remember when he blamed the Clintons for “wrecking the oval office”… now THAT was a classy move) or to blame subordinates when it becomes increasingly clear that the white house was involved. (Another fine moment: Al Gonzales’ saying 79 times “I do not recall”.)

    This vitriolic system, set up by both parties, is destroying our national unity. I don’t see that changing until candidates have something to lose by it. It’s becoming more and more clear that vitriol wins primaries. I don’t see a candidate surviving the process that is willing to negotiate with “THEM” (see the democrats arguing over Reagan, as if it mattered). And while I don’t want a “shrinking violet”, I don’t particularly like the idea of Karl Rove-wannabees seeking out to destroy honest debate, or deflect honest criticism.

    I don’t think D’s & R’s will be willing to play muck-free ball until they both have something to lose from it… say when a third party gains some substantial infleunce. (Which may never happen).

  17. bq. Do you seriously think that reacting to 9/11 is the same thing as reacting to a negative newspaper editorial? Or a comment by Joe Lieberman?

    Glen, you’re being sooo narrow in your thinking, aren’t you? I don’t think there will be any point to trying to explain this to you, so I think I’ll pass and go do something more interesting. Although I will at least point out that you certainly did not deem to constrain the idea of “every challenge” in your original post to “editorials” and “comments by Joe Lieberman”…

    bq. As a flagship for malcontents who have no enemies except their fellow Americans, the Clintons have few peers.

    Not quite, but it certainly makes a nice slogan, doesn’t it? Geez, I think I’ve heard this one before…..

  18. bq. Nor do strong nations…

    Alan – Well then what do they do, mein guru? Please tell us.

    Personally, if someone comes into my house and kills part of my family they shall reap the whirlwind. THAT is what the freaks from 9/11 did. What should we do? Sign them up for talk therapy? They’ll show up for the first session, kill you and make your wife a slave. (Honest, the Quran does say that.)

    Hey, remember the VRWC? (Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) When our current Democrat front runner came up with THAT one I knew that they were both functionally insane. Pure paranoia on their parts. Neither one of them could take any responsibility for their own actions or the actions of their minions. And you want that leading this country? FAH!

    Glen Wishard said:

    bq. Again, the Clintons are not strong people. Strong people don’t flinch and overreact to every challenge, and they don’t whine. I’ve said before that the Clintons are not liberals, or conservatives, or moderates. They’re all about the Clintons, and everything with them is personal. Every petty little thing.

    Let me add an “Amen!”

    Dave said:

    bq. I say we just stick to insults. I see your ‘The Clintons are punks’ and I raise with a ‘Mitt Romney eats puppies’.

    Only Liberals puppies. And where do you refute what has been said about the Klintoon brigade? You cannot. The Clintons are shallow, venal people. They have proven it every day of this all too lengthy campaign and I trust will continue to do so.

    Fred! tried to run a campaign based upon ideas and principles. It failed because the political process has been stolen by those I dare not name for fear of being relegated to the dungeons of this fine blog as a nut case. The body politic thinks that public discourse is insults without substance re the mid-term elections of ’06, the garbage floated from the TV screens everynight, etc.

  19. I left here and found this the first place I stopped! Talk about prescient.

    bq. “A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.” – H.L.Mencken

  20. And this:

    bq. Happy Birthday To…US! Posted by: xxxxxxxxxxx in Good News, Humor 9:10 PM

    bq. Good old xxxxxxx sent us a reminder that today is someone specials birthday.

    bq. Who could it be you ask? Is it the xxxxxxx? Is it xxxxxx’s, or another member of Managements? No. It’s…

    bq. YOURS!

    bq. That’s right, 10 years ago The Cankled One let the cat out of the bag (let that imagery sink in for a moment), and announced to the world the existence of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. So it’s our birthday today my fellow right wing death beasts.

    bq. So eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow the conquest of the world continues.

    bq. Just don’t tell anyone. We are supposed to be a conspiracy and all.

    BWAAHH-HA-HAH!

  21. Robohobo: I hate to break it to you: there is both a vast right-wing and a vast left wing conspiracy. Blogs, publishers, 527-groups, think tanks all working together loosely. While many of them are still active in “finding solutions” to a complex world, many others make it their objective to bludgeon their competition with colorfull soundbytes, reports, cleverly misquoted mission statements… Maybe conspiracy is too strong of a word, but there is definately a loose-knit system (political cells?) for spreading dirt, using campaign tactics and echoing talking points on both sides of the aisle. you really didn’t think Hannity & Colmes come up with all their lines by themselves did you?

  22. Edit: In a nutshell: Humans tend to be biased and intellectually dishonest. Use of the word “conspiracy” to describe these factors has limited utility, and undesirable side-effects.

    If you include groupthink and popular topics in your definition of “conspiracy”, you’ve just done the thing Eric Blair (aka George Orwell) described in 1944 re the word “fascism”. The below has appeared at WoC before, I think, but I’ll risk posting it again — with a bit more context than is usual:

    bq. It will be seen that, as used, the word “Fascism” is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

    bq. Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning….Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept “bully” as a synonym for “Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.

    bq. ….All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.

    Ditto, in my view, the word “conspiracy”. But please yourself.

  23. bq. Alan – Well then what do they do, mein guru? Please tell us.

    They concentrate their efforts where they’re needed and productive, not where they aren’t and wasteful.

  24. “if Obama’s weak (sadly very weak) national security policies will tip me to the GOP”

    Just so you know, my perception is that your national security policies, as stated here on this blog, are profoundly weak, based on the narrowness and tunnel-vision on which you are seeing the world.

    Spending over 100 Billion a year in Iraq, is a profound opportunity cost, given what we COULD and SHOULD be doing with that type of money.

    Have you seen “this NY Times Magazine article?”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/magazine/27world-t.html?ref=magazine

    While the articles generalizations might be in places wrong (three focii of power, Europe, U.S., China, isn’t that controversial however), WHERE the article is coming from is such as deeper place of strategy, clarity, attention to what is actually HAPPENING in the world, than this obsessive Iraq and Arab focus that we see from this site.

    It’s like 9-11 happened, and nothing in your vision (despite the prevailing changes, the many other groups of countries) has responded to events in the world, except through the filter of your reaction to 9-11.

    At any rate, as the “Winds of Change” site, I would urge you to turn your analytic gaze, on articles such as this NY Times one.

    Until your view comes from such a detailed, clear-eyed place, your foreign policy views simply seem to exist as a reaction formation to 9-11.

    [Fixed badly-formatted link. Thanks for trying. –NM]

  25. The last page of the article has some suggestions

    “Here is the link”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/magazine/27world-t.html?pagewanted=8&_r=1&ref=magazine

    Some of those suggestions:

    _Third, deploy the marchmen. Europe is boosting its common diplomatic corps, while China is deploying retired civil servants, prison laborers and Chinese teachers — all are what the historian Arnold Toynbee called marchmen, the foot-soldiers of empire spreading values and winning loyalty. There are currently more musicians in U.S. military marching bands than there are Foreign Service officers, a fact not helped by Congress’s decision to effectively freeze growth in diplomatic postings. In this context, Condoleezza Rice’s “transformational diplomacy” is a myth: we don’t have enough diplomats for core assignments, let alone solo hardship missions. We need a Peace Corps 10 times its present size, plus student exchanges, English-teaching programs and hands-on job training overseas — with corporate sponsorship._

    _or now, however, as the dollar falls, our manufacturing base declines and Americans lose control of assets to wealthier foreign funds, our scientific education, broadband access, health-care, safety and a host of other standards are all slipping down the global rankings._

    So invest to pump up our competitiveness.

    Not to mention, if we were to stay selfish – use the money for healthcare, or, as has been said, with the money that has been poured into Iraq, EVERY ROAD in the US could have been rebuilt to an excellent modern standard.

    Use 200 billion to build the new power grid, as suggested in that Wired article I linked to a few months back.

    Opportunity cost, actually DO cost.

  26. hypo said:

    bq. Until your view comes from such a detailed, clear-eyed place, your foreign policy views simply seem to exist as a reaction formation to 9-11.

    Such as this?

    bq. America’s unipolar moment has inspired diplomatic and financial countermovements to block American bullying and construct an alternate world order.

    Which is Khanna’s view of America.

    Or?

    bq. America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.

    Which details what your guy, Parag Khanna uses as his dream sequence of your “…detailed, clear-eyed place…” What he sees for the future.

    OTOH, I have never seen a more dishonest article is a LONG, LONG time. But, I don’t read that fishwrap the NYT.

    Let’s examine the recent political meme, CHANGE! Why change? What needs changing? It presupposes that there is something broken. I say there is not. We have an enemy that has said they wish to destroy us. Actually two, BTW. The International Socialists. I rememeber Krushchev banging his shoe on the desk at the UN. I remember him saying that they would bury us. And the new guys on the block, Islam. Both the Transnational Progressives and the Islamists now have common cause. So after 9/11 we rallied and chose to fight our enemies. I contend that your “New America Foundation” and the fellow travelers like Khanna are either dupes or complicit. We are not broken unless we listen to your type of person, hypo. Then we are dead because they WILL kill us, they have said so.

    When will you wake up? I fear never.

  27. Robohobo,

    Even if you were correct, a comment such as what you’ve made, doesn’t advance your cause.

    For what it’s worth, the economic alliances that are detailed in the NY article, ARE being made. US Banks ARE going, with hat in hand, to ARAB financiers, to bail banks out of the mortgage mess.

    You got that, right? Bedrock of american finance, are going, Hat in hand, to China, and to Arab financiers.

    For myself, despite wild charges of international socialism, I’d simply like to get back to “the democratic average growth rate”:http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=01&year=2008&base_name=your_world_in_charts_how_good , which is much better than any Republican economic growth rate.

    So no, no socialism, just smart and clear thinking.

  28. hypo, your youth is showing. American banks have gone hat in hand to overseas financiers at least four times in my adult life; to the Eurodollar market the first time, to the Middle East in the early 70’s, to Japan in the early 80’s, and to China in the late 90’s.

    Financing the debt issue isn’t the core problem. The problem is what I discussed “here”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/004311.php and “here”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/kotkin_on_kerry.php and “here”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/webb_on_wages.php to start with.

    A.L.

  29. Hypocrisy — the charge you make is more rationally directed to both parties and to Presidents Nixon onwards who replicated the deeply embedded American habit of whack-a-terrorist/pirate and buy him off. Unfortunately that does not address America’s primary concern:

    PREVENTING US CITIES FROM BEING NUKED.

    From Washington to Jefferson to Madison to Jackson to Van Buren to Grant to TR and onwards, America responds to piracy/hostage-taking/terrorism by building a navy, whacking various pirate/terrorists in places like Tunis, then finding the Navy too expensive. Paying off the pirates till THAT gets too expensive (Jefferson’s budget had 20% for payoffs to North African Muslim pirates) and it’s the Navy’s job again.

    From Nixon onwards (doing nothing in response to Arafat’s murders of US diplomats in the Sudan), including Carter, Ford, Reagan (Beirut), Bush (leaving Saddam), Clinton (Mogadishu retreat, doing nothing in response to Khobar Towers, 1993 WTC attack, 98 Embassy bombings, the Cole) and on into Bush’s pre-9/11 regime the policy was the same:

    PAY THEM OFF.

    It never works. There is not enough money to pay off 1 billion Muslims. Who will always want more. This wouldn’t matter as much if the stakes were not the survival of 6-7 million people in NYC.

    “Diplomacy” is useless outside Western nations. There is no central authority able to use force to make a deal stick. Tribal people are disorganized and someone is always going to go against a weak tribal leader. The only way to make things stick is through military force. China is putting it’s money where it’s mouth is by increasing it’s Navy. And Europe is talking about …

    NUKING Proliferators pre-emptively.

    Keeping Pakistan from turning over nukes to bin Laden, or Iran to Hezbollah, is never going to be done diplomatically. It’s a fantasy. Only credible threat of unbearable military force will get the job done — and only directed at tribes not individual leaders.

    This is ugly. It is also reality.

  30. AL,

    Could be. I think this one’s a bit different. But hey, regarding this small point, some links would be helpful, regarding the other three.

    (Still doesn’t respond to the point about a wider foreign policy view though).

    Regarding your three links, yeah, I feel ya.

    It’s always been a strange democratic mix, the “creative class” liberal, the working class regular guy, and of course, black and hispanic voters.

    I think one of the biggest wins for all three groups – and a big win in general for citizens – would be to have universal health care. It truly would relieve some of that deep insecurity, for the groups you reference, such as single mothers. I’m one of those statistics, by the way, raised by a single mom, and I had huge carry-on debt from college that I finished paying off just a few years ago.

    My lovely fiance (also a “creative class” person), will be finishing up with her animation degree in just a bit, and will owe around 50K to pay back on.

    I don’t think you can “blame” the creative class (programmers, designers, etc), for seeking for the best for themselves, both financially and otherwise.

    Regarding union representation, maybe the Nevada union representations, are a way forward? Regular people in regular jobs, that really can’t be outsourced, coming together.

    the key is to find common goals that unite all three constituencies.

    Which, in the creative class case, means dropping some of the “feel good” narcissistic, social and environmental obsessions that some creative class members are infected with. (Take San Francisco – now illegal for big grocery stores to have plastic bags here – talk about missing the forest for the trees. Or having local bums camped right across from some of the largest nicest hotels in the city. It’s an effing eyesore, that detracts from the beauty of this city, and Guiliani is right in how it completely has a depressive effect on the economy of an area.)

    Funny enough, Hillary is the candidate of regular guy democrat, as it shows up in voting so far.

  31. _”Not to mention, if we were to stay selfish – use the money for healthcare, or, as has been said, with the money that has been poured into Iraq, EVERY ROAD in the US could have been rebuilt to an excellent modern standard.”_

    Except that we wouldnt. We certainly didnt during the halcyon 90s. We can talk all we want about effectively spending the Iraq money on other things, but the reality is we would have pissed it away on bridges in Alaska and parking garages with Senators names on them. Oh, and subsidies to agriculture- like the tobacco farmers we pay to grow tobacco so the government can sue the distributors.

    Money has never been the problem. Spending decisions has always been the problem. We could have rebuilt every road in America just by cutting all the pork barrel defense contracts _the Pentagon didnt ask for._

    So, unfortunately, the magical wallet theory doesnt get very far. Even with Iraq this nation hasnt denied itself anything. Nor would we have done something truly useful like overhauling our entitlements. We spend like drunken sailors. 20 years from now Iraq may seem like the ONLY worthwhile investment this nation made during this period of time.

  32. Yes we can!

    Feel the hope.

    Sigh. Hard to believe it’s been four years already.

    Once again it is time to explain to our Democratic friends: We just want a good chief executive. NOT A MESSIAH.

    BTW, “hope” and “change” make good transitive verbs. As floating-in-the-air nouns, they don’t mean anything and they make you sound like the valedictorian at a Middle School graduation.

  33. The point is that about half of us _dont want_ the mega-big government programs you are suggesting, they’re a democratic pipe dream.

    Personally i’d rather see the billions shoveled into a furnace before allowing the government to force me into a nationalized healthcare plan with John Edwards sending cops to drag me to check-ups.

    Divided government has its benefits. The sad part is neither side can break free of its pork addiction- not even for a golden opportunity to deliver a political haymaker to the other side. Its really depressing that basically the ONLY thing Washington can still be even cordial about across the aisle is colluding to keep the pork flowing. Ick.

    But again- i prefer that to being subjected to yet another big government entitlement nightmare. At least with the former we get a nice parking garage in rural West Virginia out of the deal.

  34. Glen,

    LOL!

    Clearly, I’m being a bit tongue in cheek.

    Not that Obama’s rhetoric isn’t inspiring, it really is. But I’m also having fun with it.

  35. _You mean you don’t want government rationing your healthcare based on your age or bad habits? Shame on you, you waster…(irony alert)._

    You mean what all managed care providers and HMO’s already do?

    You mean those same providers who DENY coverage, as a matter of course, to lock in more profits?

    You mean the 50 million americans who go without coverage, at all?

    Mark,

    For a “democratic pipe dream”, universal health care has been proven to work better, and less expensively for:

    Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal,[4] Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

    Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba and Uruguay all have public health care provided.

    Mexico is planning to launch its own universal health care network.

    Brunei, India, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel[34] Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Seychelles, Sri Lanka,[35] Taiwan[36] and Thailand have universal health care.

    India

    India has partial universal health care system run by the local governments. The “government hospitals”, some of which are among the best hospitals in India,[40] provide treatment at taxpayer cost. Selected drugs are offered free of charge in some hospitals. In 1946 a Health Survey and Development Committee in India put forward a plan for a universal health care system. According to India today, the country has not lived up to their outlined plan. As of 2007, the hospitals contain only a tenth of the recommended ratio of hospital beds; there are only 70 beds for every 100,000 people.

    Australia

    New Zealand

    Heck, “here is the map”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:WORLDHEALTH2.png

    So, don’t talk to me about how universal health care is some “democratic pipe dream”. Every other country that CAN afford it DOES afford it. You are simply WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

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