I’m Not So Ronery

In the comment thread below, commenter Chris & I play ping-pong with the question of whether my views hold any relevance to the Democratic Party. My initial response to him was:

Chris, I don’t know that I feel so lonely – I’ve got a leading D candidate (Obama) who is at least philosophically in touch with my beliefs about the nature of domestic politics, and whose domestic policies I find largely appealing; I’ve got a leading R candidate (McCain) whose foreign policies are largely appealing to me and whose domestic policies don’t make me sick. Compared to the Netroots crowd’s wishes, I’d say US politics is orbiting pretty close to where I want it to be.

Now Ed Kilgore weighs in over at TNR (is Foer still the editor there or what?):

- His message was a remarkably faithful and wholesale adoption of the Crashing the Gates-style netroots analysis of the parties, of Washington, of the Clintonian Democratic tradition, and of galvanizing value of “fighting populist” rhetoric. It was crafted with the help of the maestro of this approach, Joe Trippi. Yet it did not rouse much in the way of support from its intended audiences. In the end, most of the Deanian excitement in the campaign flowed to Obama, who consistently deployed a rhetoric of post-partisanship that is anathema to the point of view advanced by Edwards, as Edwards himself suggested on many occasions. It’s telling that Edwards lost his critical contest, Iowa, where he had every advantage at the beginning, after hoping for a low turnout dominated by older voters and previous caucus participants.

…as I was saying…

22 thoughts on “I’m Not So Ronery”

  1. AL yes you are lonely. The Democratic Party is an electoral coalition of wealthy whites, wannabe elites, government unions, entertainment and financial barons, plus blacks and Latinos and women and gays. It is openly hostile to straight white men. Republicans are everyone else.

    If politics is largely the task of building a coalition to distribute goodies, and IMHO it is, the point of the “new landless gentry” of the Democratic Party is to keep their near-hereditary positions going at NPR, Wall Street, government, etc. That is why none of the mainstream political platforms in the Democratic Party will satisfy you.

    Obama and Hillary both want to surrender in Iraq. They have lip service that is mere lip service about Afghanistan (which is a “Special Forces Hunting Lodge” as Yon put it due to shaky ability to supply much else through Pakistan). They want to penalize suburban voters (no surprise).

    Strong national defense means NPR commentators or such meaningless. So their coalition will block it.

  2. AL,
    Don’t understand where the thinking is going?
    If Obama’s parental sperm donor had been Scottish, who would ever have even heard of him?
    Philosophicaly in touch? I didn’t know he had a philosophy.
    You’ll let us know what it is, right?\
    Mike

  3. … at least philosophically in touch with my beliefs …

    You want to know something even more amazing? I believe Obama generates energy through chemical reactions involving organic carbon compounds, just like me. I’m starting to get really excited about this guy.

  4. Ok, a few points:

    – Interested parties should read my comments in the above-linked thread, which address the question of whether Obama and McCain really are the kind of candidates Armed Liberal is interested in, based on his own prior actions and statements. (This comment from a thread earlier this year where AL said he was following Edwards’ campaign with “great interest” and implied that Edwards was on the right side of at least one of AL’s big social issues is also instructive.)

    – AL’s logic in the above post seems to be: “Obama and McCain are candidates who represent my interests, and the netroots’ candidate, John Edwards, has recently folded. Therefore I am right and am on the winning side of history and they are not. Yay me.”

    Problem is, AL seems to have real problems quoting things that don’t really support what he’s saying. The gist of the TNR paragraph that AL quotes above basically states that, although Edwards’ message was arguably targeted towards the netroots, the netroots itself wasn’t interested in Edwards. Just to reemphasize the relevant passage: “Yet it did not rouse much in the way of support from its intended audiences. In the end, most of the Deanian excitement in the campaign flowed to Obama…”

    Also relevant here is another line from the New Republic piece: “…his campaign ultimately appealed to the same kind of voters he won in 2004 with a very different message: moderate-to-conservative white men.” Hardly a group associated with the netroots.

    – Lastly, let’s cut through the lie that Obama is somehow a rejection of the netroots. Last I heard, Kos himself was voting for Obama – not with a great deal of enthusiasm, true, but AL himself has said he’s not sure he can vote for Obama based on foreign policy issues.

    The two great desires of the netroots are to fight the Republicans in glorious battle and to beat the Republicans come election day. One of the (many) legitimate critiques of the netroots is that these are sometimes conflicting desires, and that the netroots fevor for the former often gets in the way of the latter. And, since Obama is very much into part B but not part A, he’s not necessarily their favorite guy… but he’s traditionally been a strong second choice, as that Kos poll shows, and he’s sure as hell their guy now that the Clintons (who really are anathema to the netroots) is the only other choice.

    For what it’s worth, the more time goes on the more convinced I am that Armed Liberal isn’t being intentionally dishonest when he calls himself a champion of progressive causes and then goes on to argue for the Bush administration – he’s simply so much of an intellectual gadfly that he honestly can’t see the logical inconsistencies between these positions. Or perhaps he views himself as being able to transcend the limitations of mere liberal/conservative division… but while I won’t say that’s impossible, I will say only a truly rare talent (maybe Obama, definitely not you, AL) can pull it off. That being the case, I think it’s best to close with part of my response to AL’s response above:

    You can call yourself and others whatever you want – you’re still a liberal, McCain’s a centrist, Clinton’s a liberal hawk (bet that last one goes over well here at WoC) – but none of those labels hold up when you examine actual policies and actions. Until you do, you’re basically playing a kind of fantasy baseball, where political losses and victories can mean almost anything, depending on what arbitrary team you’ve assigned the players to at any given moment.

  5. Actually, in the interests of precision and accuracy, I should qualify one thing in the above post: rather than saying “the netroots wasn’t interested in Edwards” it’s better to say that “the netroots wasn’t solely or even overwhelmingly interested in Edwards.” It’s not that Edwards didn’t resonate at all with the NR, but he never took more than a plurality of their attention.

    In other words, it’s hardly a deathblow to the NR interests that Obama is riding tall, and the netroots certainly have at least as much to be satisfied with in the current Dem field as AL does – and probably much more so.

  6. Chris –

    Your point about Edwards might almost hit the mark, but it’s clear that from the start the Netroots wanted Edwards, and for a time were naive enough to think they might get him.

    However, unlike the libertarians, the Netroots are not interested in pathetically lost causes. Their drift to Obama is purely tactical.

    I think Obama has hit on the perfect winning formula for a Democratic candidate: The laurels tend to go to the candidate who succeeds in making himself the biggest cipher. (Not that I think he’ll win; the Clinton Panzerkampfwagen is battered but still rolling on his position.)

    Both liberal and not-so-liberal Democrats can look on Obama with optimism, because he’s such a question mark that he’s liable to do anything. Both can hope that it will be their thing and not the other guy’s thing.

    Both liberal and not-so-liberal Democrats want to believe that, somehow, politics will reward the righteous.


    [Itals tweaked, I hope as author intended. –NM]

  7. Actually, Chris, I’m enjoying the “we have always loved Obama and Hillary” that I’m seeing on the netroots sites; it’s positively Orwellian, and you know how much I love Orwell.

    Simply put, your original claim is that my politics are irrelevant – well, that’s true of each of us – and my response is that I’m standing closer to the schwerpunkt of the voting public than Jerome Armstrong or Matt Yglesias – or you.

    The defining characteristic of the netroots has been the struggle both to see the Democrats win, and to purify the Democratic party of anyone who might – vapors – cooperate with The Enemy. That’s a stupid position, fed by the fantasy that there are a bazillion little netrootians out there who only need a true progressive to come out and vote. This is, of course, bullshit. There have been three candidates that won by pulling in new voters; Wellstone, Ventura, and Schwarzenegger. Wellstone was a progressive, to be sure – but he was a populist one, and a far more complex man and politician than he is typically given credit for. Jesse and Ahnold speak for themselves.

    Yes, my positions are kind of complicated. But, simply as an example, I can’t get exercised about even issues that matter a lot to me – like gay marriage – in the face of a growing international movement that is happy to murder gays. Air quality matters to me a whole lot, but the air quality that would exist after we nuke the Middle East into glass kind of makes me worry less about Big Coal.

    As I’ve said, I’d love to see a candidate who reflects my exact and complex mix of views. But until that candidate shows up, I’ll have to pick and choose my fights.

    So, yeah, I’m happy to keep being irrelevant as long as candidates I can stand win. And right now, I’d guess that on that basis I’m happier than Armstrong, Kos, or Yglesias. Yay me.

    A.L.

  8. bq. Your point about Edwards might almost hit the mark, but it’s clear that from the start the Netroots wanted Edwards, and for a time were naive enough to think they might get him.

    Glen, care to back that up with any, y’know, evidence? I’ve got a link showing that the Kossacks were never overwhelmingly in favor of Edwards, and Kos himself was favoring Obama, even before Edwards’ relative weakness in the primaries was fully apparent. It looks to me that there were certainly netroots folks in favor of Edwards, but he was never their candidate the way, say, Dean was.

    Or are you just gonna assert that the netroots is this monolithic entity and that you just know what it wants without having to show how you know?

  9. “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.”

    “Bill Clinton”:http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/01/bill-we-just-ha.html

    It just occurs to me that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has found the philosophical loophole that has been elluding them since the early 90s. Conventional wisdom since Reagan holds that the tax and spend, nannystatist policies will upend the economy (which is true). Economic growth, being the true 3rd rail of American politics (especially since the 401k revolution) has doomed Democrats to either languish as the minority party, or somehow pretend they arent saying and intending what they are clearly saying and intending. I think this has been the reason Democrats havent had the kind of message revolution the Republicans have had in that time period.

    That problem may have just been solved by the Clintons. If saving the planet means stifling our economy, what better way to do it than a host of liberal reforms and tax hikes the left has been starving for for years? HRC can argue her universal healthcare reform will be a boon for stifling the economy.

  10. Actually Mark, one of the reasons I’m knee-jerk suspect of the AGW folks is that to many of them, stopping industrial society is a core value in and of itself. When they present weak science that will – as Clinton has now said – support their ideology, well, that’s just a little too convenient.

    A.L.

  11. bq. For crying out loud, Chris. Your own link shows a Daily Kos reader’s poll with Edwards at the top. And Hillary neck and neck with Dennis God-Forsaken Kucinich.

    Yes, Glen. It shows a poll in which Edwards was the top choice, but never with more than ~40% of the vote. Hence my earlier statement that “the netroots wasn’t solely or even overwhelmingly interested in Edwards.” I fail to see how that poll supports your assertion that “it’s clear that from the start the Netroots wanted Edwards” when a clear majority of the netroots did not want Edwards… and a substantial fraction was always in Obama’s camp.

  12. Chris, here you’re just being flat-out dishonest.

    The average of the year’s polls at Kos for Hillary Clinton – 6.7%. For Edwards – 36.0%. For Obama – 25.0%. Do you really want to sit there and contend that those preferences look anything like the typical Democratic voter’s? Much less the typical American voter’s? If you think so, you’re flatly delusional. Or, as above, dishonest.

    A.L.

  13. AL- I agree completely. The green solutions are far too cozy with their political agendas. My personal litmus test for seriousness is support of nuclear power.

    I honestly do think there will be a new storyline from the left where economic growth is, if not the enemy, at least a red headed stepchild. That has always been the case in their policies but obviousy never spoken aloud.

    That may change, there seems to be a convergence of issues spurring this. Environmentalists, nannystaters, class warriors, populists, and classic big governmenters all coming together with the combined interest in monkey wrenching the economy. Now they have a concrete rationale for doing it instead of just an innate dislike of business (read capitalism).

  14. bq. Actually, Chris, I’m enjoying the “we have always loved Obama and Hillary” that I’m seeing on the netroots sites; it’s positively Orwellian, and you know how much I love Orwell.

    AL, I really don’t get why you keep saying stuff that you have absolutely no evidence for. Where, pray tell, are netroots people saying that they’ve “always loved” Hillary? I don’t spend a great deal of time on the netroots sites, but everything I have seen suggests the following things:

    – They had a moderate amount of support for Obama before the primaries, and are overwhelmingly supporting him now, without any need for rewriting of history.

    – They don’t have any great love for Hillary, then or now. But insofar as she has a real chance at the Democratic nomination, they’ll begrudgingly support her – and be quite up front about the “begrugingly” part – because they hate the Republicans far more than they hate Hilary.

    Those positions and tactics aren’t Orwellian in the least – they’re not rewriting history, they’re just picking least-bad options. And I know that you find the netroots profoundly distasteful, but for you to outright lie – without a shred of corroborating evidence – about what they’re doing and what they’re saying is simply pathetic.

    bq. Simply put, your original claim is that my politics are irrelevant – well, that’s true of each of us – and my response is that I’m standing closer to the schwerpunkt of the voting public than Jerome Armstrong or Matt Yglesias – or you.

    Well, no, I claimed that your political faction – hawkish “Democrats” who voted for Bush in ’04 and still want to see a vigorous prosecution of the war in Iraq – is irrelevant in the greater scheme of things: you have no traction within the Democratic party, and changing the Democrats was, for at least a few years, your stated goal. And you’re certainly not pushing the Republicans and conservatives that you hang out with here towards more liberal positions – quite the opposite, actually.

    As for other people’s politics, I can’t speak for Jerome Armstrong because I don’t read his stuff, but my politics are not light-years away from Yglesias or Kevin Drum, and I think we mainstream Democrats have every reason to be satisfied, both with our position in the party, and with the general public’s disposition towards Democratic policies and politicians, both in ’06 and in ’08.

    bq. So, yeah, I’m happy to keep being irrelevant as long as candidates I can stand win. And right now, I’d guess that on that basis I’m happier than Armstrong, Kos, or Yglesias. Yay me.

    Again, this makes no sense: Kos and Yglesias, at least, are quite pleased with what happened in ’06, and Yglesias has said, repeatedly, that policy-wise, Hillary’s not substantially different from Obama, and he’d be happy with her in office. Kos doesn’t love Hillary, but, again, I’ll bet anything that he’d be vastly happier with her in office than any Republican. And just about all those guys will be quite happy if Obama wins.

    You, on the other hand, have repeated – yet again – that there is no candidate who really matches up with your views, and one way or another, you’re gonna hold your nose and swallow social policies that “don’t make you throw up” (high praise!) or foreign policies that… well, who are we kidding, you won’t be swallowing those. But either way, that “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choice is not nearly so bad for most Democrats. I don’t see how that adds up to you being happier with your choices than the Democrats are with theirs.

  15. bq. Chris, here you’re just being flat-out dishonest.

    bq. The average of the year’s polls at Kos for Hillary Clinton – 6.7%. For Edwards – 36.0%. For Obama – 25.0%. Do you really want to sit there and contend that those preferences look anything like the typical Democratic voter’s? Much less the typical American voter’s? If you think so, you’re flatly delusional. Or, as above, dishonest.

    No, AL I don’t want to sit here and content that those preferences look anything like the typical Democratic voter’s, because I never said that. Really. Truly. Go through all my comments that I’ve ever written here and you will not once come close to me saying anything like that.

    What I said – repeatedly – was that Edwards was never the overwhelming or sole favorite of the netroots, and that Obama was never disliked by the netroots. And those polls back me up quite handily.

    So… what was that about being dishonest? Or is putting words in my mouth wholesale considered fair game around here?

  16. And Chris what I’ve been repeatedly saying is that my preferences look a whole lot more like the average voter’s than those of the audience at Kos’. You disagree; that’s fine. I think the evidence supporting my view (the poll numbers, among other things) is stronger; you parse the claims you make as narrowly as possible to keep them alive.

    Yes, you’re right – Edwards led the pack among Kos voters but didn’t have a plurality. And yes, I’m right, their preferences bear little if any relation to those of mainstream Democratic or other American voters.

    How’s that?

    A.L.

  17. Chris, I think Markos “has some advice for you”:http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/1/1/133841/9311/412/428780 (this was written after the so-called endorsement you cited):

    You know, I was going to vote for Obama and even announced that a week or so ago. But this is a great example of why it’s best to wait and see how things shake out. Not being blinded by candidate worship, it’s easier to sniff out the bullshit. And you have to have your head stuck deep in the sand to deny that Obama is trying to close the deal by running to the Right of his opponents. And call me crazy, but that’s not a trait I generally appreciate in Democrats, no matter how much it might set the punditocracy’s hearts a flutter.

    There’s your “overwhelming support” for you.

    You’ve obviously missed the progressive beef against Barack Obama, but it runs something like this:

    1. Obama is second in line at the Corporate Slop Trough behind Hillary Clinton.

    2. Obama is running as a “centrist” and borrowing from Repubicans to do so.

    3. Unlike Edwards, Obama maintains a calculated distance from the “progressives”, and they don’t like that.

    4. Obama has the most conservative economic program of any candidate. Albeit, that’s according to Paul Krugman, but many progressives seem to be unaware of the fact that Paul Krugman is an ignoramus.

    Now, no one doubts that Netroots is going to back Obama now that Edwards is a dead Soviet cosmonaut. They will even help the hated Hillary when that grim day comes, because they are not the type to go chasing after third party pipe dreams – they are the avowed enemies of such Naderite weenies. They are also not the type to sit things out – and avowed enemies of those types, too.

    Go-to-Canada despair will set in only after the last Democrat goes down to defeat, so the question is what are they going to do to help Obama?

    My guess is that they will stop attacking Obama as a “progressive cannibal.”:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/12/9/03321/4411/366/419673 They might even stop claiming that Edwards has pushed Obama into progressivism. For the time being, they will focus on attacking Clinton.

  18. bq, And Chris what I’ve been repeatedly saying is that my preferences look a whole lot more like the average voter’s than those of the audience at Kos’. You disagree; that’s fine. I think the evidence supporting my view (the poll numbers, among other things) is stronger; you parse the claims you make as narrowly as possible to keep them alive.

    Well, no, I’m not parsing the evidence as narrowly as possible to keep my claims alive; I’ve consistently made the same basic counter to your argument, and brought up evidence to support my point. (To recap: you say Edwards being out is a blow to the netroots and a victory for you; I say Edwards wasn’t nearly the avatar of the netroots that you’re suggesting he was, and the netroots is perfectly happy to continue to support Obama.)

    On the other hand, you’ve consistently been all over the map as to what you’ve “really” been saying; I’m dead serious when I wonder whether you’re capable of making precise distinctions and arguments, or whether, in your mind, it’s good enough to paint everything with big, sloppy brushstrokes as long as you perceive yourself as being on the side of the angels.

    Case in point, you’re now claiming that you’re more representative of the average voter, but it’s not really the point I’m trying to argue against, mostly because that’s not really how you’ve presented yourself over the years here at WoC. Specifically, you’ve never claimed to be just an average voter just going from candidate to candidate based on their views: you’ve claimed to be this passionate progressive who’s deeply and profoundly concerned with the future of the Democratic party.

    You’re “Armed Liberal“, and you’ve endlessly insisted that you and those like you -not the netroots, or Matt Yglesias, or Joel Stein – could fix the party. I could link endlessly to the condescending and insulting posts you’ve made about the Democrats over the years (all while claiming to have the party’s best interests at heart, of course) but since the comments had filters to prevent multiple hyperlinks, last I checked, I’ll go ahead and just link to this comment where you said you weren’t really interested in discussing how the problems of the Bush administration because:

    bq. I’m not slamming DeLay, Norquist, and Dobson because they aren’t shitting in my living room. They aren’t sullying – and weakening – something that I hold dear.

    bq. Supporting the other side? I’ve supported Bush in the election, and supported the war, but my criticism of the Democrats has had a simple goal – getting them to a place where I think they can win.

    And so this is my point: that you’ve decisively lost that fight, and that, within the Democratic party, you don’t really have a horse in the race. You can embrace Obama as your candidate if you like – many moderates and even a few conservatives seem likely to – but he’s not the kind of guy you’ve really been arguing for, as even you’ve noted when critiquing his foreign policy.

    It seems a lot more likely that you’ll go for McCain this cycle – Lieberman has, and he’s the closest thing I can see to your political ideal – but you’re just reemphasizing that despite your supposed passion for progressive values, you’re prepared to toss them away in favor of getting a more bellicose foreign policy. (Which, considering how disastrous that policy has been for the past seven years, and how bad more of the same is likely to be, says a good deal about where your true priorities lie… but that’s really a separate argument.)

    In short, you’re not gonna get what you want out of the political process, no matter who wins. You’re like a kid presented with a choice between two ice cream cones, each of which has been dropped on the ground and has been partially covered with mud. And there doesn’t seem to be much hope for you to change that, now or in the future. In contrast, Matt Yglesias, Kevin Drum, and even me, are getting an ice cream cone – be it Obama or Clinton flavored – that’s just about perfect for us. And, the way the numbers look, the whole country’s gonna get the exact same thing come November. That being the case, it’s ludicrous to suggest that somehow you’re in a better position than we are.

    How’s that?

  19. bq. Chris, I think Markos has some advice for you (this was written after the so-called endorsement you cited):

    (cut)

    bq. There’s your “overwhelming support” for you.

    Glen, two things: I never called that an endorsement, because it wasn’t, and I don’t think anybody else did either. (Mostly because Kos made it clear that it wasn’t.) Interestingly enough, you skipped the rather more relevant part of the post:

    bq. I don’t get to vote for another month, so we’ll see how the next four weeks go. Certainly none of these guys have earned my vote yet. Amazingly enough, none of them walk on water, no matter what their frenzied supporters might think.

    So, at that point, he hadn’t made up his mind… and he certainly hadn’t made up his mind for Edwards, which presumably would be the case if “it’s clear that from the start the Netroots wanted Edwards,” as you (and AL) were saying.

    As for “overwhelming support”, I think this speaks for itself. The fact that a relatively small minority of Democrats (Paul Krugman among them!) doesn’t much care for Obama doesn’t change those numbers.

  20. All that said to AL, as much as I like running around in circles (good exercise!) I think I’m just about finished. So let me try to end on something of a graceful note and say that, in a very real way, AL is where he is in no small part because of George W Bush. Had Bush not been the complete incompetent that he turned out to be (and that, to be fair, most Democrats perceived him to be all the way back in ’99) AL and other Lieberman Democrats would be in a much better position.

    I think we can all agree that, largely as a result of 9/11, the country was primed to undertake a big, transformative campaign to wipe out not only Bin Laden and Al Qeada, but to remake the Middle East as well and hopefully set up liberal, democratic institutions that would curtail the future creation of AQ-esque organizations.

    I think we can also agree that, although Bush’s supporters even included several Democrats prior to Iraq, he lost many of them by the time the war started. (Many here would doubtless argue that occurred because the Democrats were too blinded by their hatred of Bush, or of “Western imperialism” to support a just war; I’d argue that it has far more to do with the ham-handed and badly run WMD shell game Bush played in the runup to the war, but it honestly doesn’t matter – the point is, he lost them.) And, as the war ground on, and things did not go well – maybe because of Bush’s own mistakes, maybe just because Iraq is a “wicked problem”, as AL has argued in the past – Bush lost even more moderates and even a few Republicans.

    Which brings us to where we are now. (And note that none of this should be all that controversial – I can’t find it in the archives at the moment, but I remember a Joe Katzman post that said as much a few years back.)

    And, in large part because Iraq has cratered, the Republicans are on the ropes, and more importantly for AL, the Democrats who once supported the war have either changed their minds or are a vanishingly small minority.

    But I’m pretty sure it didn’t have to be this bad.

    We can argue all day about what Bush should have done (and we often have!) And there are those, like Matt Yglesias, who make reasonably good arguments that the war was doomed from the start. But I personally believe that, had a more competent man been in office, he could have done at least some few things to ameliorate the problem – maybe built a stronger army just after 9/11, maybe stepped up recruiting in summer of ’05, before things really got bad. Maybe done a better job of managing the PR damage that the torture issue did; maybe done a better job of leaning on the Iraqi ethnic factions to reconcile.

    The point is that I don’t think it’s inconceivable that Iraq could have stayed at least at ’05 levels of violence with somebody like McCain in charge, way back when, and (though I think this is unlikely) it might even have turned into the shining beacon of hope that folks on this site were looking for four years ago.

    And in that scenario, AL’s criticism and arguments for a more forceful Democratic foreign policy might have been far more welcomed than they were – they certainly would have looked prescient. In the super-happy-fun alternate universe where Iraq is a vibrant, peaceful democracy, I have little doubt that, although the Republicans would probably keep the White House in ’08, Leiberman would be candidate numero uno for the Democrats. And AL could justly claim vindication for just about everything he’s written in the past four years.

    But the problem is, we’re not in that universe. GWB did screw up Iraq spectacularly, in part because guys like AL gave him their votes in ’04. And even if Iraq somehow limps back to something approaching peace and stability (which, sadly, seems pretty unlikely) it won’t vindicate AL because of what we’ve gone through in the meantime – his judgement will always be questionable to most Democrats because of his past support for Bush.

    Simply put, he bet on the wrong guy. And I’m not unsympathetic towards him for that – people make mistakes – but I won’t stand by while he pretends a long-lost bet could still come in a winner, or that his bet on the Rs was really in the long term interests of the Ds.

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