p0wned! …or not…

Commenters Metrico, Davebo and Dreuk challenge me on my support for Obama in the comment thread below.

I’ll make a comment and then a suggestion.

I’d like Obama to win; I’m anxious about his foreign policy, but not as anxious as I am about McCain’s because I’m confident that it won’t survive contact with reality (I said so here) – and Powers was probably fired as much for saying that was true as she was for calling Hillary a monster. I’m working on a post on McCain’s, and hope to get it out next week, work permitting.Of course, I have until I put the card into the slot on the Inkavote to make the decision, and lots could happen between now and November. Lots already has in this race.

But when I criticize Obama in my posts on Wright, I’m making a concrete suggestion on what he could do to win over voters like me who might be more anxious than I about him. I’m telling him how he could improve his game, and how – I think – he could make his election more certain.

Now I’ve had running battles on the blog for years with liberal voters who state, simply, that I’m a party of one, and that there’s no ‘voter cohort’ that thinks like me, and so on. I’ll suggest that if that were the case, both Hillary and Obama would be 10 – 15 points up on McCain at this point in the game. Hint: they aren’t.

So when I toss out the idea that Obama should make a more solid explanation of how he combines his ‘radical roots’ and his moderate expressions, it’s intended to help him win.

MDD, below, aren’t so interested in that. Because if they were, and they had a wobbly Obama voter in front of them, they’d be propping him up – offering responses to his concerns, pointing out facts that have been missed and doing everything they can to say, “Hey, Marc I get it that you’re concerned about this, and here’s why you shouldn’t be and should support Obama more solidly.” They’d reassure me, publicly lock me into a position, and maybe create the seeds of some arguments that might persuade others as well.

In fact they aren’t interested in that: they are interested in feeling smug and high-fiving each other over how wondeful and righteous they are. If they do it at my expense, I’m pretty much indifferent (although if bored, I might swipe back). But when they do that, they are carrying on a long trend in US left politics, which has resulted in – among other things, an effective electoral tie with a geriatric standard-bearer for a party that ought to be on it’s last legs for the next eight years.

I don’t know how often I have to post this quote, but I’m prepared to keep doing it until somebody starts to get it. From John Schaar:

“Finally, if political education is to effective it must grow from a spirit of humility on the part of the teachers, and they must overcome the tendencies toward self-righteousness and self-pity which set the tone of youth and student politics in the 1960’s. The teachers must acknowledge common origins and common burdens with the taught, stressing connection and membership, rather than distance and superiority. Only from these roots can trust and hopeful common action grow.”

And if you want to understand ‘the arc of my beliefs’, an earlier post that cited this offers a pretty good explanation: ‘Why does Brian Leiter Want to Kill Poor People?‘ It’s also all over www.armedliberal.com (look for ‘Skyboxes’) and this site.

Why do you want to kill poor people, Davebo?

146 thoughts on “p0wned! …or not…”

  1. I predict we’ll be seeing a post like this from AL, come the middle of October 2008:

    “I’m voting for Bush”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/im_voting_for_bush.php

    He can probably recycle most of that, just find & replace “Bush” with “McCain,” “Kerry with “Obama,” and a little editing.

    This will follow many postings claiming to support Obama, but propagating whatever right-wing attack is du jour.

  2. metrico, why in the world would I bother? I mean, seriously? See my response to Kevin below. And great pickup on the point of the post – you made it for me about as well as I could have asked. The $5 is in the mail…

    A.L.

  3. Do a search of “Obama” on this site, and you can find a few posts authored by AL which can fairly be described as saying I support Obama, but he really sucks. E.g. the one on the speech this week.

    Start judging Obama on what he says and does and honestly engage his positions, rather than speculating based on 1975 science fiction stories or nitpicking on minor omissions in his speeches and your credibility will rise, AL.

    AL will end up endorsing McCain.

  4. “metrico, why in the world would I bother? I mean, seriously? See my response to Kevin below.”

    Why does any concern troll bother? (In essence, that’s what metrico is suggesting – that you pose as a wavering Obama supporter but in fact your only interest is in highlighting his weaknesses.) Concern trolls bother simply because they are trolls and trolls want attention.

    Now I recognise that accusing you of flying false colours is unfair because there is no way you or anyone else can mount a satisfactory defence. At every turn you will be met with the Mandy Rice-Davies counter: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?” But you see, that’s exactly what you are doing to Obama. You don’t actually explore his account of his own beliefs. Instead you suggest that every account he gives is self-serving, as he tailors his message to the audience and the needs of the moment.

    At the risk of being rude I may as well be frank and say that I think metrico has hit the nail on the head. But for the sake of arguments let’s suppose that metrico is wrong and consider the following demand as a good-faith request:

    “So when I toss out the idea that Obama should make a more solid explanation of how he combines his ‘radical roots’ and his moderate expressions, it’s intended to help him win.”

    I don’t see the problem. Why shouldn’t a moderate have radical roots? John Maynard Keynes had some very radical friends, who considered that he had sold out when he joined HM Treasury. The Ireland I grew up in was ruled by people who were gunmen in their youth. Edmund Burke’s family were mostly Roman Catholics at a time when that was grounds for suspecting a man of treasonable inclinations.

    But perhaps Keynes, DeValera and Burke are all leftist nutters in your book. If so then I suspect Obama is a little too exotic for you.

  5. Ah but Camberlain’s foreign policy didn’t stand up to reality either. There are severe consequences for delusions and fantasies. And the bill will be paid by the armed services rather than those who foist such delusions on the rest of the nation. Perhaps you remember being told that Latin America would love us if only we gave up the Panama Canal?

    I wonder if Obama and his pals at state believe the Middle East will also love us if only we establish a caliphate.

  6. Kevin, you hit it on the head with the “concern troll” idea.

    AL’s Obama last post basically read like “I like Obama, but I am concerned that he might be like these occulted left-wing radicals conspiring to take over the country in this 1975 sci-fi story.”

    Now that is not only not supporting Obama, but attempts to grow an altogether new right-wing theme – Obama is the leader of a secret cabal of radicals. Based on what?

    A suspicious mind would link it to a theme circulated on some right-wing talk shows and websites – Obama is a “radical” because of his admiration for Saul Alinsky. This is from people who know nothing about Alinsky other than that his book was titled “Rules for Radicals.”

    “Example of the genre here.”:http://roadsassy.com/index.php/2008/03/18/obama-and-his-pastor-jeremiah-wright/

  7. Guys, I think that “concern troll” is one of the most ludicrous concepts that has been floated in the last decade; it reminds me of nothing more than the old Stalinist “anti-Soviet elements” which mean exactly what the Politburo decides it means.

    I embrace the concept.

    A.L.

  8. bq. Now I’ve had running battles on the blog for years with liberal voters who state, simply, that I’m a party of one, and that there’s no ‘voter cohort’ that thinks like me, and so on. I’ll suggest that if that were the case, both Hillary and Obama would be 10 – 15 points up on McCain at this point in the game. Hint: they aren’t.

    Except you said the same thing “(link)”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007629.php#c20 about the 2006 elections… about how the Democrats were gonna blow it for sure, and how they needed to work on getting guys like you to vote for them if they wanted to win.

    Obviously, it wasn’t an issue then, and I doubt guys like you are the issue now.

    As for why people aren’t trying to woo you over, it’s because you’ve repeatedly demonstrated that you’re _not_ just some “wobbly Obama voter” – you’ve got a consistent record of trashing Democrats on this site for about half a decade now, bending over backwards to misread them or paint their statements in the worst light possible, while largely “turning a blind eye”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/008006.php#c12 to whatever crap the Republicans are pulling.

    bq. In fact they aren’t interested in that: they are interested in feeling smug and high-fiving each other over how wondeful and righteous they are. If they do it at my expense, I’m pretty much indifferent (although if bored, I might swipe back). But when they do that, they are carrying on a long trend in US left politics, which has resulted in – among other things, an effective electoral tie with a geriatric standard-bearer for a party that ought to be on it’s last legs for the next eight years.

    I think they’re mostly just pissed off that a so-called “liberal” is out here, day-in, day-out, trashing their party and their candidates, and effectively promoting the same GOP crap we’ve been saddled with for most of the past decade. It’s a legitimate concern.

    But that said, let’s cut to the chase: you were wrong about 2006, and you never really publicly came to terms with how much that election undercut almost everything you were saying after Kerry’s defeat. Now you’re shoveling more of the same in 2008. My simple question to you, AL, is this: if Obama does wipe the floor with McCain in November, as I suspect he will, are you gonna cut this crap out and admit that, gosh, maybe those darned Democrats were right all along?

    Or will you keep pursuing the crank’s errand of insisting – no matter what they do, no matter how big their victories – that they _really_ need to listen to you to win, and that anything else is pure foolishness?

    [Links formatting corrected to conform to WoC guidelines. –NM]

  9. “Troll” is vague and way overused, but “concern troll,” as I understand it, has a more specific meaning.

    It refers to writers whose real opinion is opposed to their ostensible opinion. The ostensible opinion is endlessly qualified by “concerns,” so as to sow doubts about the validity of the ostensible opinion.

    “For example,”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll in 2006 a top staffer for then-Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH) was caught posing as a “concerned” supporter of Bass’s opponent, Democrat, Paul Hodes on several liberal New Hampshire blogs, using the pseudonyms “IndieNH” or “IndyNH.” “IndyNH” expressed concern that Democrats might just be wasting their time or money on Hodes, because Bass was unbeatable.[11] Bass ended up losing the election.

  10. And, AL, the essence of concern trolling is disingenuousness, not being honest with your arguments.

    I think after years of it, people are calling you on your BS. As Chris notes, there are many examples.

    When you have a record of promoting right-wing themes, attacks on Democrats, the “MSM,” academia, etc., that come from the Limbaugh/ Malkin/ Reynolds, etc. maw, people notice.

  11. AL your assumptions are that DEMS are like you. They are not. Dems wanted a “true believer” mentality. “Typical White person” is racist, Black racism conspiracy idiocy OK, warmed over marxism as policy, etc. Face reality, Dem politics is Moveon, Code Pink, ANSWER. That’s who is the party mainstream and deciders. It’s where the money and the votes in the party reside.

    Dems won in 2006 on Bush incompetence and fatigue, “Blue Dog” Dems who posed as gun friendly, culturally conservative, American patriots. Democratic politics as a whole is opposed to all of that. Obama in particular wants to take all your guns away. Leaving you just a liberal.

    Obama in a recent speech said “the proletariat must control the means of production.” He is a warmed over Marxist. Which would describe the entire Dem Party.

    If anything McCain is a Democrat circa 1964. Which is why Republicans don’t like him but find him preferable to Hillary or Obamamessiah, who resemble a watered down Fidel Castro.

    Very likely we will find out that the country as a whole is far more culturally conservative, patriotic (not ashamed of being American), and desirous of victory not defeat by AQ, at least compared to Dems.

  12. Gosh, metrico – I called one election right and one wrong and suddenly it’s BS? And the issues I talk about should be suppressed within the liberal side so that we have unanimity? I love what you’re hoping to do with the party the drapes almost cover the bars on the windows.

    And I love the idea that you can’t and don;t engage any of the issues; the simple fact that Malkin or one of the right blogs discusses it must mean it isn’t true. Of course.

    I stated a long time ago that my primary interest in blogging is figuring out a new kind of liberalism and trying to chivvy the Democratic Party into taking positions that were more likely to lead to success. I’m not interested in reciting MyDD’s talking points; there’s a large left-wing echo chamber that does that quite well. You’re obviously home there; sorry you don;t enjoy it here so much.

    So for grins, how about deconstructing some of those horrible positions I take instead of trying to handwave them away?

    Let’s have a real discussion of the issues; it’d be a refreshing change in dealing with you guys…

    A.L.

  13. AL,

    I did deconstruct one of your positions – the ludicrousness of your cancellation of your subscription to The Atlantic. “(link)”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/um.php

    My analysis of your post in that case was that it was entirely derivative of a Michael Goldfarb rant via Instapundit. You had a knee-jerk reaction from a right-wing stimulus, ultimately unsupportable, which is why you ended up not explaining it at all.

    Just as above, I deconstructed your SciFi/ Spinrad-derived post about Obama by stating that it may have been related to recent attacks on Obama as being inspired by the “radical” Alinsky and therefore dangerous. A variation on a theme.

    You didn’t engage on that argument, either.

    Both The Atlantic post and the Norman Spinrad post appear to be derived from ideas broadcast from the right-wing universe, but ultimately false.

    [Link format corrected. –NM]

  14. metrico, I think your claim that I inherited this from Goldfarb was also hammered – and I’m happy to make it clear that I read the Atlantic post directly on the Atlantic site – a place where I’ve spent a lot of time…as my history of pasts shows.

    My point re Obama was a little more subtle than you give me credit for; it was that things like those cited make him look like a he’s bluntly lying; it ought to be easy for him to make it clear that he’s not – but he hasn’t. He should, because people less attached to his policies than I am will fall away if he can’t close the sale on what he’s offered – a way past the stupid divisions of the past.

    So – deconstructed? Not so much. Want to try again?

    A.L.

  15. Really, AL?

    “You never explained”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/um.php how you interpreted the overwhelming majority of U.S. military personnel aren’t sociopaths, as meaning the opposite, or whatever else you found so objectionable about the Atlantic article. Just looks like another right-wing attack to me.

    As far as the Spinrad post goes, both statements attributed to Obama are of questionable veracity. You accept them without question. I question whether they were said at all, or said in the way the self-interested interlocutors quoted them.

    If you cherry-pick hearsay from obscure sources to make it look like Obama’s dishonest, rather than sticking to the huge mass of his recorded statements, do I have to accept your factual foundations?

  16. metrico, you’re killing me…that notoriously obscure source, the NY Times…dude, if you’re going to be an old-fashioned troll, be an interesting and attentive one, OK?

    A.L.

  17. metrico,

    There is a vast thing called the “middle” in this country. Some in the middle lean left, others lean right. These people — and AL is one of them — are influenced to some extent by the left and the right. That’s why they’re “the middle.”

    Everything you’re saying to and about AL appears to be based on the assumption that the middle does not exist.

    Get a grip.

  18. ..I’m anxious about his foreign policy, but not as anxious as I am about McCain’s because I’m confident that it won’t survive contact with reality..

    I also have anxieties about his foreign policy. My fear is that his execution of foreign policy as he has stated he will do, will put our country in danger of not surviving Obama’s execution of his foreign policy.I consider it rather reality oriented to take Obama at his word.

  19. bq. Gosh, metrico – I called one election right and one wrong and suddenly it’s BS? And the issues I talk about should be suppressed within the liberal side so that we have unanimity?

    AL, it’s not merely the case that you “called one election wrong” – you staked your credibility on the idea that the Democrats could not win without following your advice. That’s not “lost a friendly bet who but who cares in the long run” territory, that’s “our broker told us to stick everything in tech stocks in mid-2000″ territory.

    As for the issues you talk about, mostly I think they’re getting dismissed by real liberals as generally bogus to begin with. And in the remaining cases what you’re saying can’t easily be divorced from the fact that it’s _you_ saying it. If Kevin Drum made some of the points you have, a lot of liberals would probably give some serious thought to those posts… but nobody doubts Kevin’s liberal bona fides. He’s made clear that he cares about the issues that most liberals do, and he talks primarily to other liberals. You, on the other hand, do almost nothing _but_ trash liberals on a largely conservative-leaning blog. Most liberals would have to be naive as hell not to be a little suspicious of that setup… and years of the same, repeated behaviors haven’t done much to help matters.

    (And, for the record, spare me the “I’m part of the Euston Manifesto group.” The EM blog hasn’t even updated in a month, the group has had minimal influence on liberalism aside from the initial publicity splash the Manifesto itself generated, and I don’t see that you’ve done much more than sign the Manifesto.)

    Thanks for catching that missing tag, NM.

  20. One NYT story and electronicintifada? Yeah, obscure. All of your Obama quotes were hearsay. Your reliance on questionable sources to raise “concerns” about Obama through the lens of some 1975 sci/fi story about conspiring radicals signals your biases, AL. If your really support someone, you don’t repeat quotes of questionable veracity from self-interested declarants to attack them. It’s not even credible.

    Totten, who’s going to be the “middle” candidate between McCain and Obama?

    AL’s whole schtick is playing the “liberal” or “moderate” who just always happens to come down on the right-wing side of things after months of concern trolling.

    Still waiting for that longer piece on The Atlantic explaining why you canceled your subscription. . .


  21. metrico –

    Your reliance on questionable sources to raise “concerns” about Obama through the lens of some 1975 sci/fi story …

    I know I should just stay out of this, but this is the third time you’ve complained about the Norman Spinrad analogy. Do you understand that it is merely for purposes of illustration, and that A.L. was not claiming that there is some literal connection between Obama and the story? If you do understand that, could you stop pretending like you don’t?

    Furthermore, I suspect you of speaking disrespectfully of Norman Spinrad’s work. I myself would hesitate to elect Spinrad president of the United States, but I assure you that Spinrad will be remembered when your Mr. Obama is as forgotten as the fourth Earl of Leicester – whoever the hell that was.

    Try to avoid hitting innocent parties while you’re hip-shooting your blunderbuss, please.

  22. The good thing about having the poster’s name at the top of the post is you can move right on by the true believers.

  23. “Start judging Obama on what he says and does”

    A most appropriate statement from an Obamist.

    That’s why he is in trouble.

  24. I don’t think Barack Obama needs to reassure anyone of anything. He’s likely to be the nominee, and then he’ll have the mainstream media back in the tank for him as well as a crushing money advantage in a country that’s ready to go all-Democrat anyway.

    If anything, leaving open the hope that he’ll be a truly radical president might smooth his path to the Oval Office by energizing the billionaire revolutionaries, thus maximizing his money advantage.

  25. metrico – if words like ‘obscure’ mean what you say they do, I have Alice’s chance in any discussion with you. Why should I play?

    And what you call concern trolling, I call thoughtful debate; I know we’re not supposed to do that, and that we’re only supposed to debate The Enemy. But I’ve done that that style of politics for twenty years, and all it has given us is a steady string of conservative Republican victories.

    So forgive me if I think it’s time to change the plan.

    A.L.

  26. Chris, you make a valid point about 06; I’ve got a hypothesis I’ve been working out that proved to be correct in 04, was arguably wrong in 06 (the only argument on my side is that most of the D pickups were Blue Dogs – a thin reed, I’ll admit), has been largely correct since then (the D’s inability to stand up to Bush until v. recently), and seems to be holding up today (McCain’s competitiveness w/both Obama and Hillary – in the face of much of the conservative vote sitting on their hands right now, which I’ll suggest they won;t do in the general).

    The hypothesis is based on both an instrumental case – we’d do better in elections – and on a moral one – we’d govern better (better in this case is defined as more in the interests of the working people of the country, as opposed to the administrative classes, media classes, and dpenedent classes). I don’t see a lot to argue about on the moral side, so the issue is really about what will win elections better.

    And yes, I’m a one-note kinda blogger, but I have a finite timeslice to spend on this (work, kids, life – you know the drill) and I made a choice a long time ago that this would be the crux of what I blog about. No regrets on my part about that decision.

    A.L.

  27. Based on the comments I see in this thread and those in the original “Paging Norman Spinrad” post, I realize there was a major omission in my attempt [Spinrad comment #5] to characterize a problem with polarized philosophical/political views. The blind faith of the polarized Right, which attempts to ‘deify’ their candidate/saviour, is easily matched by the polarized Left. In both cases, this often takes the form of straw man arguments highlighting the imperfect nature of their opponents. By reducing the presidential role to the mere mortal status of CEO, I think a more useful discussion of candidates’ talents or lack of them would ensue.

  28. metrico: Totten, who’s going to be the “middle” candidate between McCain and Obama?

    Hillary Clinton?

    Anyway, McCain is obviously closer to the middle of the electorate than Obama. The wilderness-wing of the GOP hates him. My right-wing father in law says he refuses to vote for McCain because “he’s a Democrat,” and my liberal wife (who has never once voted Republican) has decided to vote for McCain for basically the same reason. If he’s not really a conservative, he’s a “safe” alternative to Obama. The likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are actually boosint the appeal of McCain with non-conservative voters.

    I am surprised AL hasn’t thrown his support to McCain. But I’m not going to hector him about it like you are, for two reasons. One, AL is my friend and I don’t badger my friends about politics. Two, all I need to do is sit back and watch fools like you alienate people like AL even further.

    Because I know AL in the real world, and because we have discussed politics privately, I know he is sincere about generally preferring Democrats to Republicans. You can bang on about about his supposed insincerity all you want, but you are not going to win this argument.

  29. The blind faith of the polarized Right, which attempts to ‘deify’ their candidate/saviour, is easily matched by the polarized Left.

    Ian, if you are speaking of the American political scene, I suspect you are viewing it from across a vast expanse of ocean, and getting it all mixed up with the nesting habits of petrels.

    Currently, the “polarized right” – as we would understand the term – do not have a candidate, let alone a savior. And despite some ecstatic swooning on the left over Obama, it is not a universal characteristic of American leftists to practice Cult of Personality.

    It is in the nature of some people, who find nothing of value in heaven or earth, to expect some charismatic person to come along and supply them with a reason to live. Could be a politician, could be a cult leader, or it could be Michael Jackson.

    If anything, I think America has fewer such people than most other nations do – I noticed that when Michael Jackson needed an adoring mob, he had to make do with a lot of New Zealanders, and Princess Diana’s left-overs. He finally went overseas, to shorten the supply lines.

  30. I believe the source of the schism is that some liberals understand the strategy goals that the Bush administration chose in reaction to 9/11 have constituted a definitively *liberal* strategy. As I believe Armed Liberal does, I fall in that group of so-called liberal hawks. I further believe that our nation’s liberal leaders, rather than the post-9/11 liberal-converts among conservatives, are the proper champions of the strategic goals chosen by the Bush administration. My disappointment has been that, under the burning political spotlight of actual war, so many of our liberal leaders have adopted a hybrid anti-war position derived from the anti-(American)war radical Left camp and the anti-(this)war right-wing realist camp. Speaking of the 2006 senate elections, my minor contribution to the liberal-hawk cause was traveling up from NYC to spend a cold, wet day standing outside an election site in Connecticut to be a “Senator Lieberman volunteer”:http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2006/11/joe-lieberman-on-center-stage.html. (The Lamont-Lieberman senate race was the clearest case of liberal hawk versus anti-war liberal in the 2006 election.)

    Since 9/11, there’s been a real debate in what constitutes a liberal. Is a liberal defined by the liberal hawk views of FDR, Truman and JFK? For example, the excellent military-professional blog Small Wars Journal recently linked to a “1962 JFK speech”:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/03/this-is-another-type-of-warfar/ that, with some tweaks, would be a marvelous explanation of George W Bush’s strategy goals in the Long War. On the other hand, I’ve had discussions with anti-war liberals since 9/11 where they dismiss the principled liberalism of JFK as obsolete and “tolerance” as the core concept of modern liberalism. Is the truth that liberal hawks are just too obtuse to recognize that our ‘old-fashioned’ liberalism has been reduced to rhetorical lip service only and is considered irrelevant for real-world application by the majority of today’s liberals? Could be.

    Finally, the best article summing up the liberal debate over the Bush administration’s strategy goals that I’ve read since 9/11 has been Tom Junod’s “The Case for George W. Bush, i.e., what if he’s right?”:http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2008/02/revisiting-tom-junods-case-for-george-w.html in the August 2004 Esquire.

  31. Me: “… I’ve had discussions with anti-war liberals since 9/11 where they dismiss the principled liberalism of JFK as obsolete *and “tolerance” as the core concept of modern liberalism.*”

    That should read ‘… and claim “tolerance” is the core concept of modern liberalism.’

  32. bq. Chris, you make a valid point about 06; I’ve got a hypothesis I’ve been working out that proved to be correct in 04, was arguably wrong in 06 (the only argument on my side is that most of the D pickups were Blue Dogs – a thin reed, I’ll admit), has been largely correct since then (the D’s inability to stand up to Bush until v. recently), and seems to be holding up today (McCain’s competitiveness w/both Obama and Hillary – in the face of much of the conservative vote sitting on their hands right now, which I’ll suggest they won;t do in the general).

    AL, the problem is that what you’re saying in this paragraph pretty much undermines your post above – liberals aren’t dismissing you because they want to feel smug and righteous, they’re dismissing you because you’ve been proven _wrong_ by the results of the ’06 election. And insofar as you’ve _chosen_ to make your desired reforms pretty much the only thing you blog about, then being wrong on your one big issue pretty much negates _everything_ you choose to say.

    Now, whether you’ll be redeemed by ’08 is a separate argument than the one you started making above, but I’ll point out that McCain’s current popularity is both relatively recent and occurs in the context of a fairly intense nomination process for the Ds – there’s no reason to believe his current polling advantage will last straight through November. Also, as David Blue pointed out above, the Ds have a very large money advantage this time around (first time in a long while that’s been the case, I believe) and the Republicans are having real trouble even recruiting Congressional candidates, much less winning elections. So in many ways, things are looking even bleaker for you to be proved right in ’08 than they were back in ’06.

    But bringing this back full circle to what you’re saying at the top of this post, let me suggest that, rather than liberals trying to reach out to wobbly Obama voters, you yourself would have far better traction in changing the Democratic party if you’d actually, y’know, _engage with liberals_. Posting attacks on The Atlantic here does little but give the local conservatives a chance to vent. On the other hand, were you to go over _to_ The Atlantic website and engage Matt Yglesias when he points out, that, say, successful Iraqi counterinsurgency may not be possible, not because our soldiers are _bad people_ but because no group of actual, real-world humans could _ever_ be as unfailingly good, competent, and infallible as counterinsurgency doctrine requires us to be.

    That would be a _huge_ improvement over what you’re doing now, because not only would you be arguing with liberals about liberal behavior, but you’d (presumably) be providing a solid counterpoint to the concrete arguments liberals are currently making about _why_ Iraq is a lost cause… a counterpoint that, from what I can tell, this site has long since given up on making.

    Until you do something like that, though, you’re not getting anywhere with Democrats, and no amount of whining about how smug and superior they’re acting is gonna change that.

  33. Glen #31
    I often try to speak in general terms when commenting regardless of the specific instance before us, so the current status of either the American Left or Right candidates is relevant but not central to my point. From Wikipedia: _”A cult of personality or personality cult arises when a country’s leader uses mass media to create a heroic public image through unquestioning flattery and praise.”_ From the fully scripted and costumed “Mission Accomplished” playlet, to the flag bedraped candidates pitches, I suggest there are subtle and not so subtle attempts to elevate US leaders or prospective leaders to heroic status. Perhaps I also misunderstand the magnitude of the expressed concern over how the MSM might have failed their primary mission in favor of obsequious fawning over sitting presidents, and/or their proposed replacements. If so I apologize.

  34. bq. Since 9/11, there’s been a real debate in what constitutes a liberal. Is a liberal defined by the liberal hawk views of FDR, Truman and JFK? For example, the excellent military-professional blog Small Wars Journal recently linked to a 1962 JFK speech that, with some tweaks, would be a marvelous explanation of George W Bush’s strategy goals in the Long War. On the other hand, I’ve had discussions with anti-war liberals since 9/11 where they dismiss the principled liberalism of JFK as obsolete and “tolerance” as the core concept of modern liberalism. Is the truth that liberal hawks are just too obtuse to recognize that our ‘old-fashioned’ liberalism has been reduced to rhetorical lip service only and is considered irrelevant for real-world application by the majority of today’s liberals? Could be.

    Eric, I think insofar as there was that kind of debate, it’s come and gone. “Liberal hawks” such as yourself and AL would have us believe that the incompetence, the lies, the torture, the American lives lost and billions spent are all worth it in the name of freedom and democracy for Iraq – that these things are par for the course in war, and we just need to stop whining about it. I think the 2006 elections pretty much proved that, not only are mainstream liberals rejecting that notion, but mainstream Americans have as well. (The real battle between Lieberman and Lamont wasn’t the general election, where the Republicans pretty much adopted Lieberman as their own and let his incumbent inertia carry the day. It was the nomination fight, where liberals demonstrated that there were some levels of crap that they just wouldn’t tolerate any further.)

    The two links you’ve got in your post are thus entirely appropriate – the first, from JFK, a few years before Vietnam really got off the ground, reminds us that turning a blind eye to all other concerns in the name of liberty and democracy in other countries leads us to some terrible places, no matter how noble our intensions. And the date of the article in the second link is far more important than the content: people could legitimately ask what if GWB is right in 2004. The vast majority of the country doesn’t need to ask that now.

  35. Ian: It’s a commonplace of UK observers that having the head of state be the chief executive leads to a sort of overloading of import for the President of the USA. There might be something to it, humans being what they are.

  36. Chris says:

    bq. The vast majority of the country doesn’t need to ask that now.

    Why? Because he’s a lame duck? Or just due to fatigue and disenchantment? Or because, y’know, it’s just… impossible, because, y’know, I mean, just look, right?

    The vapidity of that last attitude being rather the whole point of the second article.

  37. bq. Why? Because he’s a lame duck? Or just due to fatigue and disenchantment? Or because, y’know, it’s just… impossible, because, y’know, I mean, just look, right?

    bq. The vapidity of that last attitude being rather the whole point of the second article.

    No, NM, because regardless of how _you personally_ feel about the war, it _is_ the case that most people have turned against it, and, more specifically, GWB’s conduct of it. The fact that you most likely don’t agree with the majority of the country on this doesn’t make the fact that they _do_ feel that way any less true.

  38. Yes. Well. Not that you asked, but:

    Try reading the second article, rather than skimming the title, checking the date, and dismissing it.

    How I personally feel about “the” war is that the world-historical aspects, whatever they turn out to be, will take at least a couple more generations to play out. That’s forty years or more.

    I do expect the majority of people in the US don’t think that way, and that tendency also is a major component of the second article to which you gave short shrift.

    I think the number of actual missteps and outright failures is impossible to determine up this close to the events. Especially because the preponderance of those events literally can’t be known by any individual.

    You keep telling me about current public sentiment, though — I don’t expect that to stop. My view is so alien as to be utterly irrelevant, both to you, and the people you claim to speak for.

    This is why I don’t post more.

  39. bq. Try reading the second article, rather than skimming the title, checking the date, and dismissing it.

    I did read the article, NM – every word of it, before Eric ever linked to it. I stand by my assertion that the questions it raises, for most people, have been fairly definitively answered by what’s happened over the past three years. The country second-guessing itself over how bad Bush _really_ was lasted just long enough to get him to reelection, but it’s long since gone.

    bq. How I personally feel about “the” war is that the world-historical aspects, whatever they turn out to be, will take at least a couple more generations to play out. That’s forty years or more.

    And how convenient for you pro-war folks that you’re defining “real” accountability decades in the future!

    bq. I do expect the majority of people in the US don’t think that way, and that tendency also is a major component of the second article to which you gave short shrift.

    Funny, I seem to remember the article suggesting that most people, at least in 2004, _would_ line up behind Bush because of what’s “really” important:

    bq. The reason he will be difficult to unseat in November—no matter what his approval ratings are in the summer—is that his opponents operate out of the moral certainty that he is the bad guy and needs to be replaced, while he operates out of the moral certainty that terrorists are the bad guys and need to be defeated. The first will always sound merely convenient when compared with the second.

    Back to NM:

    bq. You keep telling me about current public sentiment, though — I don’t expect that to stop. My view is so alien as to be utterly irrelevant, both to you, and the people you claim to speak for.

    Of course. You’ve already convinced yourself that most people can’t take the long view that _you_ have the wisdom to, and from there it’s trivial to assume that I couldn’t possibly understand the rationale for the pro-war side, much less articulate it. Because we liberals just don’t understand _anything_ but our own whining, right?

    bq. This is why I don’t post more.

    And for that I am thankful – if you’d kept up that condescending tone much longer, you probably would have sprained something.

  40. bq. [I]f you’d kept up that condescending tone much longer, you probably would have sprained something.

    Pot. Kettle.

  41. Chris – huh?

    The basics of my point are that liberals need to play to the middle – which I think they can do without burning down the ideas that make liberalism effective and important. You think that the answer is to play to the base and carve off people like me.

    That’s the struggle I see in the Democratic Party right now.

    And when you talk about 06, the think you haven’t answered is why it is that the progblog favorites lost, and why the Blue Dogs won.

    And as attractive as it would be to swim in the sewer – as Kevin Drum himself has called his comments – or to play with the Gimp (as I think of Yglesias) – it seems like kind of a waste of time to be a commenter on someone else’s blog. Yes, Winds has trended more conservative than me. Know any other liberal bloggers I could bring over to post here? And as much as I’ve tried to engage sensible folks like Kevin Drum in cross-blog dialog, that hasn’t panned out.

    A.L.

  42. Chis, if the overwhelming majority really felt that way, we’d have withdrawn by now.

    Why do you think is it that Congress with it’s vaunted D majority has been unable to force that?

    A.L.

  43. bq. Pot. Kettle.

    Pffft. When I use a line like “My view is so alien as to be utterly irrelevant” then you can ding me for condescension – until then, you take the prize, NM.

  44. bq. The basics of my point are that liberals need to play to the middle – which I think they can do without burning down the ideas that make liberalism effective and important. You think that the answer is to play to the base and carve off people like me.

    Bullshit. I’ve never said that the way to win is to “play to the base”, and I’ve never said Dems should “carve off people like you ” – I’ve consistently made the points that the middle is coming back to the Ds because of the long-term failure of Bush’s policies, and that _you’ve_ carved _yourself_ from the Democrats, not vice versa.

    Which brings us back to you consistently misreading Democrats…

    bq, And when you talk about 06, the think you haven’t answered is why it is that the progblog favorites lost, and why the Blue Dogs won.

    Quite simply because I don’t give a rat’s ass about your war against the “progblogs”… and, as a native New Orleanian, I have an excellent idea of what “Blue Dog” Democrats actually are, and most of these guys don’t look (or vote!) like John Breaux as far as I can tell.

    But, again, that’s a side show. Look at the link I posted above in comment #21 – at the time you were quite positive that the Dems _weren’t_ playing to the middle, and that they’d lose unless they followed _your_ advice to do so. Trying to pretend like the Dems won because they somehow became more friendly to the middle (and thus, to guys like you) is completely ignoring what you’ve been saying on this site for years.

    bq. And as attractive as it would be to swim in the sewer – as Kevin Drum himself has called his comments – or to play with the Gimp (as I think of Yglesias) – it seems like kind of a waste of time to be a commenter on someone else’s blog. Yes, Winds has trended more conservative than me. Know any other liberal bloggers I could bring over to post here? And as much as I’ve tried to engage sensible folks like Kevin Drum in cross-blog dialog, that hasn’t panned out.

    AL, whether it’s a “waste of time” to be a commenter on somebody else’s blog depends entirely on your goals. If your goal, for example, is to change the minds of _actual liberals_ then you’ll do a far better job of it over at Kevin Drum’s place, even if all you’re doing is wrestling with the trolls. Or just change your tone to something less reflexively anti-Democratic, and you might build up enough respect get invited somewhere like Obsidian Wings. Worked for Andrew Olmsted, RIP.

    If, on the other hand, your main intent is to play the misunderstood, little-appreciated martyr over here, then rock on, man. Just understand that doing so is _exactly_ what’s strangling your attempts at creating cross-blog dialog.

    bq. Chis, if the overwhelming majority really felt that way, we’d have withdrawn by now. Why do you think is it that Congress with it’s vaunted D majority has been unable to force that?

    The majority thinks that Bush’s policies in Iraq have been a mistake – that doesn’t mean that they’re unaware that withdrawing could be a huge disaster. Mostly I think people are in agreement that Bush (and his supporters like y’all here, of course) have stuck us in a no-win situation, but there’s no consensus on what to do next.

    That said, let’s not pretend like Congress has much power in this matter – not only can the Republicans block action in the Senate, but the only realistic option Congress has is to cut off funding, something Bush (and, again, you guys here) would demagogue to high heaven.

  45. Michael Totten (#19 and #30) is right on, and is very close to my position. Pre-9/11 you could have counted me as a centrist by averages. I was registered R (my wife and I always register one-each so we get both side’s propaganda), but the D’s probably got a third of my votes, when there was a race where civil liberties issues seemed to trump economic issues (my being at heart a small-l libertarian mugged by reality).

    Going on seven years later, I am now an active R. McCain was not my first choice – I favored Rudi or Fred!? – but I will back McCain and likely contribute in this election cycle, as I did in 2004. It’s not so much that the Republicans attracted me, heaven knows, as the Democrats drove me there.

    It’s the attitudes represented by people like Chris and metrico above, and the actual power holders like Pelosi and Reid that make this necessary. There is no way I will stand neutral or idle and see my country in the hands of the like. That are a lot of problems with the R’s, but I’ll fight those out within the GOP. The D’s will see another vote from me when they lose the defeatism, the identity politics and nannyism, and the co-dependency with tax-eaters.

    It would be trite to say I expect that about the time I spot porcine aviators, but I actually expect it to take 40 years to so. That’s only coincidentally identical to NM’s period for the Long War. It’s actually the time it took the D’s to degenerate from the party of Harry Truman and Scoop Jackson to the sniveling thing of today. I expect it will take the same to recover from its capture by the Left.

    Being as that’s likely the remainder of my lifetime, I’m not holding my breath. If A.L. were to take my advice, he’d also chuck the D’s as a waste of time and commitment, but he hasn’t and that’s his choice. Since he is a friend, I can assure the drive-by trolls that he has and continues to struggle with the issue. As it happens, your little Inquisition is doing my work by driving good people like him and Michael away from your party, so carry on.

  46. Chris,

    You’re a realist, not a liberal, right?

    Not speaking for A.L., but one reason I’ve supported OIF is that we were already in a “no-win” situation in Iraq since 1998 and Operation Desert Fox, probably before. Perhaps one reason there was less debate among military people at the outset of OIF is the unofficial consensus – at least among the soldiers I served with, including many Desert Storm veterans – that we would be going back to Iraq as a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’. The inevitability was clear to us in the 90s, while the short-term disarmament mission – meant to de-fang Saddam’s regime as a regional threat, not eliminate the regime – morphed into an increasingly murky and harmful, and worse, *indefinite* sanctions and ‘containment’ mission.

    President Clinton claimed when announcing Op Desert Fox – setting the precedent for unilateral American military enforcement/punishment against Iraq which President Bush failed to follow by going to the UN – that “Iraq has abused its final chance”. Okay, after bombing Iraq at the end of 1998 – effectively a unilateral act of war – then what? We all knew there was only one more level to go with a continuing non-compliant Iraq. Our politicians, from the outgoing Clinton admin to the incoming Bush admin, continued to talk tough about Iraq but as a practical matter, looked the other way as the status quo in Iraq continued without solution.

    After Op Desert Fox, the choices over Iraq were the same faced by Clinton and Bush:

    *A.* Continue indefinitely – and head-lining – the corrupted, provocative, harmful and failing sanctions and ‘containment’ mission. (See “Iraq Sanctions: Were They Worth It?”:http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0401b.asp by Sheldon Richman and “World Islamic Front Statement – Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders”:http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm by Osama bin Laden et al)

    *B.* End the US/UN mission and release the Saddam-led Iraq from constraint, in power and victorious (… possibly let by-gones be by-gones and try to work a post-9/11 Musharraf-type deal with Saddam?).

    *C.* Give Saddam a final chance to comply (See “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html), and if he triggered the final enforcement step, move ahead with regime change and help reform the failed state.

    After Operation Desert Fox until Operation Iraqi Freedom, the choice by Clinton and then Bush was *A*. After 9/11, President Bush changed course and chose *C*. Chris, in the debate over Iraq which you believe has been settled, what has been your preferred choice for US policy re Iraq – *A* or *B*?

    Over a longer historical view, Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr all have a share of responsibility for where we are today in Iraq. For the current situation, President Bush Sr carries the most blame, for intervening in 1991 on behalf of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, allowing Saddam to stay in power then setting the (ultimately disastrous) post-war policy for Iraq, allowing the Gulf War coalition to fall apart almost immediately upon Iraq’s expulsion from Kuwait, then finally not intervening as Saddam massacred the Shia who revolted because they *trusted* the United States (good-bye trust) – cost-conscious realist decision-making at its finest.

    President Clinton can also be blamed for ineffective (though no less ineffective than Bush Sr) enforcement, adding conditions on Iraq until it became impossible for Saddam to comply with the resolutions without committing regime-suicide, then finally setting US policy for Iraq at the inflexible “Iraq Liberation”.

    Of course, Operation Iraqi Freedom did open the possibility of a 4th option, choice *D*: end *A*, avoid *B*, but then slip away from the costly commitments and long-term responsibilities of *C* by blaming the [fiasco, catastrophe, disaster] on outgoing President Bush, whose political career is over after his 2nd term, anyway. Blaming one sacrificial President would be a cheap price for abandoning 17 years of dysfunctional relationship with Iraq, no? Heck, Americans are world-famous for our divorces, anyway, right? *D* would be a heck of a sleight-of-hand trick to play on the world by the nation formally known as ‘Leader of the Free World’.

  47. If any Republican or conservative ever hectored me in this manner – to the point of accusing me of being a Democrat, to the eternal shame of my ancestors who fought for Lincoln and Union – I wouldn’t be as pleasant in my reply as A.L. has been. To the extent that I acknowledged their ankle-biting at all, no matter how indignantly they demanded a response to every item on their laundry list.

    Yet A.L. complains of a local liberal shortage – this is a problem? Seriously, though, I see his point. How about some of the people who’ve been hounded off Kos by the Red Guards?

    Kevin Drum is a waste of time – he’s got his own megachurch and Amen Chorus, and he’s already preoccupied with ensuring the safety of the crazed bigots who rule Iran.

    How about issuing an appeal to liberal bloggers all over the ‘sphere, who are currently playing the part of a Nuremberg Jew at other sites, who are yearning to be liberal and speak freely at the same time?

  48. Chris:

    bq. And how convenient for you pro-war folks that you’re defining “real” accountability decades in the future!

    You’re misunderstanding me here. Further, evidently my attitude seems condescending to you, but you don’t seem to see anything condescending in your #41. Oh, well.

  49. think you haven’t answered is why it is that the progblog favorites lost, and why the Blue Dogs won.

    Hunh? Carol Shea-Porter? McNerney? Yarmuth in Kentucky? We had a very, very good Election Night over at Daily Kos, better than most of us dreamed. Sure, some “Blue Dog” Democrats have been a disappointment, but the biggest progblog pushes in this year’s Dem primaries were against Lipinski in IL (failed badly) and Al Wynn in MD (successful), who are not so much “Blue Dogs” as unimaginative and borderline corrupt.

    I’ve seen some math that says in general 2006 Democratic winners are further from the center than the Republicans they replaced.

    It also seems to be lost on the non-liberal audience that most progressive Democrats (definitely including Great Orange Satan himself) are not bothered by deviation on particular issues (e.g., abortion) as on lack of dedication to the Democratic brand. So Debbie Wasserman Schultz of FL is getting raked over the coals, despite a reliably liberal voting record, because she is recusing herself from campaigning against the South Florida Republicans running for re-election, three of whom are especially targeted as possible turnovers. I know this bipartisanship warms the hearts of certain quasi-Democrats who approve of unilateral disarmament, but only for liberals—but I can’t think of a single case of Republicans declaring a similar truce, and I can’t imagine Karl Rove would have permitted it for one minute. (Putting a clown GOP candidate on the ballot to help Independent Democrat Benedict Lieberman doesn’t count.)

    Eric Chen’s laundry list left out one excellent possibility: E. Use the return of UN inspections as a way to guarantee that Saddam had abandoned his WMD program, after which his regime might collapse internally from within. But even if it hadn’t, there are more Iraqis dead today (not to mention dispossessed and refugees) than would have been true if we had not invaded. We did not invade for the benefit of Iraqis. If we thought that way, we would be planning invasions of Zimbabwe, Burma, and Darfur. We invaded Iraq from some weird combination of geopolitical ideas that can already be adjudicated as failed. We are not seen as liberators, and progress towards a stable, democratic Iraq is inadequate even by the reckoning of General Petraeus. As far as using Iraq as a base against Iran, did you notice the friendly reception Ahmadinejad got in Iraq? Do our leaders get that treatment? I hear they still have to sneak in unannounced.

    If you are waiting for the Democratic Party to come around to the idea that Iraq was a brilliant idea well-worth another 100 years of surge, at the time most of its liberal champions are writing mea culpas of one form or another, you have a long wait coming. And a damned good thing too.

  50. Eric-

    bq. You’re a realist, not a liberal, right?

    I am a liberal. As I tried to make clear in my previous comments, I reject the idea that adherence to liberal values means signing up for any and all wars that are carried out in the name of freedom and democracy.

    And that’s the debate I was referring to as settled. While I definitely think public opinion has shifted against the Iraq war, and is unlikely to shift back (even if we wait 40 years), I really and truly believe that the idea that the Iraq war was fundamentally about liberal, progressive values, as they’ve been broadly defined for the past three or four decades, is dead. Support the war if you want, but don’t claim that you’re acting in the spirit of FDR and Harry Truman while you’re doing it.

    I’ll skip quoting your lecture, as I’m already familiar with our history in Iraq. Rather, let me focus on a few issues in particular:

    bq. The inevitability [of more combat in Iraq] was clear to us in the 90s, while the short-term disarmament mission – meant to de-fang Saddam’s regime as a regional threat, not eliminate the regime – morphed into an increasingly murky and harmful, and worse, *indefinite* sanctions and ‘containment’ mission.

    Since you emphasized the term “indefinite” above, I’d like to ask you: if you were so bothered by the idea of indefinite containment – utilizing a small portion of our armed forces and a relatively small financial cost – why don’t you have similar concerns about the *indefinite* occupation of Iraq we currently find ourselves in, utilizing almost our _whole_ army and _billions_ of dollars a year?

    Your categorization of plans A, B, and C is misleading – while the containment regime was far from perfect, it can’t be called “failing” given our current knowledge of where Saddam’s weapon programs were at the time of invasion. Furthermore, your idea of C is flawed: Saddam, according to many accounts at the time, and almost all post-mortem examinations, _was_ complying with weapons inspectors at the time of invasion.

    All that said, you’re basically just asking me what I would have done differently. The short answer is that I would have kept containment going until, ideally, we could have built our military up significantly, post-9/11, and Saddam presented us with a far clearer cause for war. I actually think our domestic and foreign image would have been boosted substantially had we demanded Saddam let weapons inspectors in _without_ moving troops to his border, which would have been a win/win situation for us – either we’d have gotten inspectors in (which we claimed was the most important thing at the time) or we wouldn’t have. And in that case, I suspect, given the world’s post-9/11 sympathy towards us, we could have then made a pretty convincing argument that Saddam wasn’t trustworthy and he needed to be taken out _regardless_ of if whether he let weapons inspectors in. Even if it didn’t convince the UN, it would have played far better domestically than what actually happened: “Hey, we’ll invade unless you let weapons inspectors in! Well, hell, we’ll invade anyway!”

    As to what to do now, I recognize there aren’t really any good solutions. That said, I do tend to agree that, with our current military presence in Iraq, we don’t seem to really be able to _stop_ any of the major trends (ethnic cleansing, increasing Iranian influence, etc.)… just slow them down. And if that’s all we’re doing, I’d rather bring the as many of the troops home as possible, on the principle that there are better things we could be doing with our blood and money than slowing the inevitable.

    In the meantime, you’re doing a fine job of talking about responsibility and trying to shame those of us who do want to leave Iraq… but at the end of the day, that “indefinite” thing still comes back to bite you in the ass. Saddam was a bad guy, but getting rid of him wasn’t worth the cost we’ve paid, and are paying, and look to be paying pretty much forever, compared to continuing containment. And as I said earlier, while that might have been hard for Tom Junod to admit three years ago, most of America has no problems saying it today.

  51. bq. It also seems to be lost on the non-liberal audience that most progressive Democrats (definitely including Great Orange Satan himself) are not bothered by deviation on particular issues (e.g., abortion) as on lack of dedication to the Democratic brand. So Debbie Wasserman Schultz of FL is getting raked over the coals, despite a reliably liberal voting record, because she is recusing herself from campaigning against the South Florida Republicans running for re-election, three of whom are especially targeted as possible turnovers. I know this bipartisanship warms the hearts of certain quasi-Democrats who approve of unilateral disarmament, but only for liberals—but I can’t think of a single case of Republicans declaring a similar truce, and I can’t imagine Karl Rove would have permitted it for one minute. (Putting a clown GOP candidate on the ballot to help Independent Democrat Benedict Lieberman doesn’t count.)

    Based on your inclusion of yourself as part of the “we” at DailyKos, I’ll take it you approve of this behavior. Despite watching this sort of attitude increase around here in DC for the past number of years, it never ceases to baffle me that none of you get how repellent this is to people outside of your in-bred partisan circles.

  52. Despite watching this sort of attitude increase around here in DC for the past number of years, it never ceases to baffle me that none of you get how repellent this is to people outside of your in-bred partisan circles.

    Just let me know the districts where the Republicans pull their punches in the Wasserman Schultz mode. I doubt if you know even one and I don’t know of any. On my planet, the GOP even held unprecedented mid-decade reapportionment to try to screw the Dems out of a few more seats. I don’t mind if Wasserman Schultz goes out and splits pizza with Republicans. In fact, that’s great: maybe we can persuade them on a few issues. What I mind is letting that get in the way of electing more Democrats.

  53. Chris, containment could have been sustained indefinitely? Oh, please.

    Gathering Storm detailed the impending collapse of the sanctions regime pretty clearly. I’d love to see contemporaneous suggestions that he was wrong.

    A.L.

  54. NM –

    I hear you. re:

    bq. You keep telling me about current public sentiment, though — I don’t expect that to stop. My view is so alien as to be utterly irrelevant, both to you, and the people you claim to speak for.

    bq. This is why I don’t post more.

    Yup, that is why I cannot really join in here much. It seems to be just shouting down a well most of the time.

    Michael Totten said:

    bq. There is a vast thing called the “middle” in this country. Some in the middle lean left, others lean right. These people — and AL is one of them — are influenced to some extent by the left and the right. That’s why they’re “the middle.”

    Most of the rabid libs here wouldn’t know a reasonable liberal should said liberal bite them on the nether regions. MJT is one of the MOST reasonable liberals I have had the pleasure to read. I suggest metrico and the others go over to MJT’s blog and get a real dose of what is really going on in Iraq. MJT has been there and done it. I will ALWAYS listen to his viewpoints. The rest of you, not so much.

    Jim Rockford hit it on the head re: Obama with:

    bq. “Typical White person” is racist, Black racism conspiracy idiocy OK, warmed over marxism as policy, etc. Face reality, Dem politics is Moveon, Code Pink, ANSWER. That’s who is the party mainstream and deciders. It’s where the money and the votes in the party reside.

    From where I sit, Jim is right on target here. As ‘typical white person’ I cannot say ANYTHING and not be branded as said racist. Like “Obama is over the top and just as racist as his pastor.” AND said pastor should be immediately investigated for sedition. Some other commenter only had to say something like “the irony” to me when I complained about the unlevel playing field.

    AND

    bq. Obama in a recent speech said “the proletariat must control the means of production.” He is a warmed over Marxist. Which would describe the entire Dem Party.

    I do not know if that is true but whoever starts bandying about terms like that is a Marxist. I know, I was begat by one of the true believers. Dad was a life long member of the Party. Yeah, that one. Edumacated at Berkeley, no less. IWW organizer way back then AND a teacher at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan in later years.

    No way is Obama even good for Illinois much less the US at large. And I doubt that middle America will buy his schtick for much longer.

    I am going to look forward to watching the Dems eat their own from now to November. Denver should be a bloodbath.

    How’s it feel to be a snack, Marc?

    /snark off

  55. AL, I think Chris had a pretty good challenge there. How exactly is maintaining an occupation going to be easier than maintaining sanctions? We’d have had amazing containment for $3 trillion and 150,000 troops. Amazing how the sacrifices you’ll make for your plan, but not for ours!

    Of course, the window of opportunity to have any sort of successful occupation closed long ago (if it ever exited), probably when we allowed rampant looting and lawlessness in Baghdad (except for the Oil Ministry, of course), and certainly by the time we double-crossed the Iraqi Army troops we had encouraged to desert.

  56. “Chris, containment could have been sustained indefinitely? Oh, please.”

    And of course I seem to recall that the sanctions against Iraq were called crimes against humanity by most of the usual suspects.

    The great thing about having no moral compass is you can call any direction “North”…

  57. Andrew, I expect better from you. Sanctions required international cooperation, which was fast breaking down; it required international supervision, which was being bribed off. There is simply no way that sanctions as they existed could have been maintained.

    So then what?

    A.L.

  58. A.L., the occupation is also breaking down, and at much greater expense.

    As I posted above, the first step was for the UN inspections to finish verifying the end of Saddam’s WMD program. Where to go from there is hard to say. If the idea was to prevent such programs, then relaxing the sanctions plus continuing inspections would have been a start. Yeah, Saddam would probably still be in power, but compared to the alternative… maybe not so bad.

  59. Andrew:

    It also seems to be lost on the non-liberal audience that most progressive Democrats (definitely including Great Orange Satan himself) are not bothered by deviation on particular issues (e.g., abortion) as on lack of dedication to the Democratic brand.

    Yes, so says Kos. If his wisdom is lost on some of us, it might be because we watched him lead a lynch mob that threw away a perfectly safe Democratic senate seat in Connecticut.

    If it were all about pushing the brand, Clinton would be as good as Obama – better in fact, in that she does marginally better against McCain than Obama does. If current poll trends continue, we should therefore expect good Kossacks to forget Obama as fast as they forgot Edwards.

    Even you figure otherwise, and are confident that Obama’s setbacks are temporary, it certainly makes no sense to alienate Clintonites, who are somewhat essential to the goal of winning and pushing the brand, etc. Yet this is what Kos is doing, apace.

    So the “Democratic brand” is complete nonsense, and lucky for you, because if it were true it would be a completely repellent political doctrine. It’s mindless jingoism transferred to a political party, and anybody who believes in such a thing deserves the beating they will take for it.

    If you really wanted to sell your party as a brand, you should turn to marketing experts who would tell you what issues you need to sell the brand. In other words, they would tell you what to pretend to believe. They would certainly advise you to disassociate yourself from any idea or person that alienates more voters than it attracts, so a sizable number of “progressives” would have to be let go.

    Kos would have to go, too. He should have been fired after that “screw ‘em” business, because it’s not good for business.

  60. Andrew at 54:

    I was reluctant about even posting that comment because it’s a bit off-topic from AL’s issues. Since you took the time to respond, though, I will clarify my point a bit and then beg off as it’s getting late.

    There is no “Democratic brand” to me outside of the issues. A Democrat for the sake of being a Democrat holds no appeal to me, as I am not a party apparatchik who gets a staff job from that Democrat, nor is “Democrat” the core of my identity. All I want out of politicians is to pass laws I like. I don’t care if they’re an (R) or a (D). Party loyalty is not a substitute for your real brand which is issues, issues, issues. You (Democrats, not you Andrew personally) just sound like you want office for the sake of having power and don’t care about which constituency you’ll sell out to get it. I’d spend a couple of paragraphs ripping on Republicans, too, but for the purposes of this comment I’m just pointing out the problems with the purity tests for AL.

  61. This was posted by mistake in your spinrad post.

    AL

    You are on the right track. As you ponder your decision, ask yourself these questions.

    One, if Obama’s mother was Jewish he would be considered Jewish under rabbinacal law. His mother is a Casucasian American. Why isn’t Obama then considered a white candidate? The reason is in America whenever someone can be diminished because he has African blood.

    Two, ask all the people whom dislike Obama because of Rev Wright why do they support McCain and some many other Republicans whom tolerate Rev John Hagee’s church? He despises Catholics and the Catholic Church. How large is the Catholic population in America?; 35%?
    How racist and AntiAmerican is that? Or how about Jerry Falwell whom said America had it coming on 9/11 because we tolerate gays, feminists and liberals? (see http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/13556 for more) You can’t have a double standard because of race

    Three, as to being comfortable with a pastor and not all of his beliefs ask any Catholic family that has had an abortion whether or not they have rejected their priest when they sought comfort from the emotional trauma an abortion brings. It is the same issue Obama raises when he gave his speech. We have to recognize our contradictions and come to grips with them.

    Four, as to Obama’s foreign policy. What you are looking at is where Bush’s has been most successful, i.e. he will talk and negotiate with people? Think North Korea. He will end this go it alone policy of reducing everything to soundbites,”the Axis of Evil.”
    He isn’t going to meet willynilly with anyone. For those people whom you object to he will find a military man like Admiral Fallon. This man will walk into countries, meet w/ whom ever the leadership gives him to talk and will be wearing the white gloves of a diplomat. These gloves will cover the mailed fist of the US military. The conversation will be realistic. The rhetoric coming from the White House will reflect the same quiet strength, which attracts you without knowing all of Obama’s thoughts, telling them this man speaks for US and how can we ratchet down hostility and talk.

  62. Of course, if we had started
    shooting looters, the media would not have labeled it a massacre, specially if they had not been armed. The Iraqi Army wasn’t
    “officer-friendly,” it was a Baathist clique dominated by an extended Tikriti ruling clan; they were shooting us, even before the de-Baathification decrees hit the ground. They lost all their secular scruples, joining with and empowering their supposed Baathist
    foes. They also showed their stripes murdering Shia and Kurds in thosr classic military targets,
    schools, mosques, hospitals. It was
    only after three years of that butchery, that the Shia were finally let loose in 2006; and then it was called a civil war; not
    before. The Surge, specially with
    the “Awakening” counsels, gives them a chance to reconsider their
    previous mistake.

    To answer a second point, the inspection regime in 2002, was vastly more restricted than that in 1998; and that was not an accident. Russia’s representative, guided in part by old SVR hand Primakov, who was Iraq’s man in the Russian foreign ministry, and
    the French establishment, represented in part by Charles Pasqua had re-written the policies
    that had enabled, Kay, Duelfer, Butler & Ritter, to unearth the weapons stockpiles, post 1991. Securing the Finance Ministry, and
    the Oil Ministry, which was at the core of the Oil for Food bribery
    scheme, was key. At the time, we
    didn’t know, and we still wouldn’t know except for Col. Bogdanos’ unit, that apparatchkiks like Donny George, had secured the lion’s share of the Baghdad museum’s holdings in bank vaults through out the city.

    The fact that Marcos ‘Moulitsas’ Kos, could get traction after posting that comment, celebrating
    the butchery of his former fellow
    ex soldiers (Helvenstone, Zobka, et al)is an enigma to me. The fact
    that the daily Kos, continues to promulgate the kind of screeds that
    Al Jazeera throws out; is one reason why their faction won’t prevail in the end. The same nihilism is present in Jeremiah Wright, Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, and other associates of Mr. Barry Dunham Esq.

  63. There is no “Democratic brand” to me outside of the issues.

    I’m not recommending mindless selection of one party pver another, the way we might pick a football team. What I’m recommending is that there is value, if you are identified as a Democrat, in electing Democrats, whether it is to South FL congressional seats or state legislatures in red states. Howard Dean and Barack Obama understand this, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton (“Red states I lose don’t count”) do not.

    I suggest that too much time in DC has given you a case of “Broderitis”. Outside the Beltway, there is no demand for continual Democratic surrender under the name bipartisanship.

  64. A.L.: “Know any other liberal bloggers I could bring over to post here?”

    Whatever became of AMac? I don’t know whether he would appreciate being labelled as a liberal, but even when I disagreed strongly with him I found he debated issues in a liberal spirit. That’s the main thing, not how you vote.

  65. AL, I supported Lamont over Lieberman. Do the Democrats really need a senator who endorses the Republican candidate for president? Lieberman long, long ago forsook any sort of Democratic agenda for the warm feeling he got as Fox News’s officially-approved Democrat.

    Let me point out one more thing: in our legislatures, there’s a big difference between the majority and minority party. That’s another reason it’s important to support Democrats in legislative races across the board (I can make an exception for corruption and turpitude), unless, like no small number of Beltway Dems, you don’t really mind life in the minority. Wasserman Schultz missed this.

  66. bq. Andrew, I expect better from you. Sanctions required international cooperation, which was fast breaking down; it required international supervision, which was being bribed off. There is simply no way that sanctions as they existed could have been maintained.

    In addition to Andrew’s generally sterling arguments on this subject above, let me also point out that the vast majority of evidence I’ve seen on the flaws in the containment program predate 9/11. I’m not at all convinced that we couldn’t have used the diplomatic leverage we got from the attacks to significantly shore up the program… especially if such shoring up was presented to other countries as the only alternative to outright war.

    That said, I’ll note we’re stuck right where we usually are when the nominal subject of this post comes up: with me making the unanswered point that liberals simply aren’t gonna pay much attention to a nominal “liberal” who mostly just trashes other liberals. Many of the conser… excuse me, “moderates”, on this site assure us that AL’s their friend, and really, in his heart AL’s as liberal as they come.

    But one of the great truths of life is that actions generally count far more than intentions. It simply doesn’t matter _why_ AL does what he does, or what his supposed reasons are for not talking to other liberals directly – the fact of the matter is that what he’s doing isn’t and will never impact the mainstream Democratic party, and whining about it isn’t gonna change anything. Maybe, after the Democrats kick some major ass in November, this stuff’ll finally get through to AL… but I doubt it.

  67. NM-

    bq. You’re misunderstanding me here. Further, evidently my attitude seems condescending to you, but you don’t seem to see anything condescending in your #41. Oh, well.

    #41 was mostly sarcasm, not condescension. But, I never said that I wasn’t being condescending – just that you were being far more condescending. Say what you will about my comments, but I’ve never dodged explaining my ideas, or implied that they were somehow beyond my opponents’ understanding.

  68. Andrew, listen to yourself:

    there is value, if you are identified as a Democrat, in electing Democrats, whether it is to South FL congressional seats or state legislatures in red states. Howard Dean and Barack Obama understand this, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Hillary Clinton (“Red states I lose don’t count”) do not.

    When are you going to admit that Kos doesn’t believe his own transcendental theory of politics? The only truth in it is trivial (“Winning is good”) and the rest of it is a nasty little Bolshevik committee that claims to know the difference between Good Democrats and Bad Democrats (aka “Republicans”) based on vague rules that they break themselves any time they want to.

    All of which made perfect sense to Lenin, who would hound his enemies out of a socialist congress and say “Better a few good Marxists than a lot of bad Marxists” but that’s not how you win in any process that involves democracy.

  69. Glen, you may recall that in The Great Bipartisan Era the Dems made no progress towards regaining Congress and continued to lose ground at the state and local level. Is it so strange for a political party to prefer winning to losing? Good Democrats understand that. We aren’t suggesting “winning” by some sort of coup, but by finding good candidates, supporting them financially, and getting behind them, even when they run against your personal friends. You may recall that Jim Webb was a Daily Kos darling, so it’s not that Prius-driving and latte-drinking is the criterion.

    It’s very telling that no one has come up with a Republican example of generosity towards Democrats in the spirit of bipartisanship. What the moderates and conservatives call bipartisanship here is what they would call unilateral disarmament, if not surrender, in other contexts.

  70. I am sufficiently tired of the stereotypical use of the adjective ‘liberal’ that I propose a self administered survey: How many of you who consider yourselves as Republicans/conservatives “..consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal.”? If you answered yes to this question you are by definition [see wikipedia] a dreaded LIBERAL! [The nitrate pills are probably in the medicine cabinet]. Liberal/conservative labels imply a false dichotomy when in fact ‘liberalism’ and ‘conservatism’ are merely different points on the continuum of cultural/political _change_. At the logical extremes of _change_ we have stasis and entropy; with neither extreme particularly amenable to human survival. In the former case we have ultra-conservatism, the strict adherence to which would see us still fomenting against such radical new ideas as the use of fire, and in the case of unconstrained liberalism we would approximate anarchy, and would fail to thrive due to the constant throwing out of babies with the bathwater. Liberal and conservative are relative terms with little use out of context, and are certainly not mutually exclusive concepts. Unlike pregnancy you can be a little bit of either or both. This of course is heresy to those self righteous ‘ideologically pure’ liberals/Democrats and/or conservative/Republicans who will eat their own young to prove they are NOT, have NOT, and will NEVER embrace a word or deed attributed to the OTHER side. And so political discourse (yes, even here) often rapidly devolves into a mutual exchange of standard sound bite putdowns of the other guy’s standard sound bite assertions. Its boring, and it aint useful… Shields Up

  71. Why does HRC want to bankrupt mortgage lenders?

    _”Clinton also has called for a five-year freeze on interest rates for all subprime mortgages, which often go to borrowers with poor credit ratings.”_

    “source”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080324/ap_on_el_pr/clinton_housing

    Anyone who thinks Clinton has a chance to win this election, nows the time to lock in that 2 year arm, which HRC will make a 7 year arm for you. That can’t possible backfire horribly, now can it?

  72. Ian- this is a case where a perfectly good word has taken on a specific connotation because of the actions of the people who espouse it. The irony is that the word has been beaten so far into the ground that even the people that 20 years ago wore it proudly now run from it while maintaining the idealogy that created the stigma (see my above link to Hillary Clintons command economics).

    When self described liberals start taking the word back by espousing freedom and liberty instead of big government and nannyism, im sure the word will regain its positive aura.

  73. Andrew #72,

    _It’s very telling that no one has come up with a Republican example of generosity towards Democrats in the spirit of bipartisanship._

    McCain/Fiengold, McCain/Kennedy, McCain/Kennedy/Edwards. All of which cost him political capital and almost sunk his nomination. So I’d say not only generosity, but courage. And I say that as someone who is not particularly crazy about those particular pieces of legislation. Whereas, by the way, Obama–from what I’ve read–has pretty strictly voted the Democrat party-line. If he wants to argue about who is the “unity” candidate, McCain has the much better argument. And while that argument may not appeal to a fanatical Democrat partisan, it probably will to independents and moderate Democrats in November.

  74. Sorry I wasn’t more clear, Fred. I didn’t mean about legislative acts, although those are few and far between. I meant the electoral generosity exhibited by Wasserman Schultz.

  75. Interesting thread,

    Metrico – It’s a given here, that Armed Liberal is a neo-con wolf in liberal’s clothing. Take it as done.

    Every three, four months or so, someone makes the points you do – I’ve done it myself – replete with links on how he jumps on liberals with various right-wing b.s., masked as “concerns”, or “if the democrats want my vote”, etc.

    But, “commenting is free”, as they say, and since both left wingers, liberals, neo-cons, and right wingers post here, it’s one of the few places where there is still interaction, like the old “Swords Crossed”.

    Because this is a small enough place, liberals don’t swamp the conservatices here, because not enough liberals notice this place. Other places, such as Swords Crossed, Obsidian Wings, Balloon Juice, etc, the multitude of smart lefties simply drive the conservatives away.

    That might not be the case if there wasn’t a guy like Bush in office, but since there is, it doesn’t give a smart conservative much to work with…

  76. That’s mighty bold of you, hypocrisyrules, to not only make the claim that Armed Liberal is completely dishonest about who he is and that every piece he’s written is a lie, but that also It’s a given here…Take it as done.

    I think the prevalence of this sort of ad hominem attack as a substitute for honest discussion from so many “smart lefties” is a pretty big factor in why most people no longer waste their time or energy trying to discuss anything rationally with you.

  77. HR… well, at Balloon Juice, we brainwashed the proprietor! (Not sure lightning will strike twice though.)

  78. Andrew – well if being brainwashed means morphing into something acceptable to hypo, metrico et alia, I guess I’ll have to keep my old Dirty Brain (tm Prince)…I’d grin but somehow just don’t _feel_ it if you know what I mean.

    Honestly, it’s frustrating to me that I’ve got short-sighted, immoral, corrupt fools on the right and short-sighted, corrupt, sanctimonious assholes on the left. But then I’d just get to join a team, get drunk, put on facepaint and hang out in the stands with the rest of the drunken fans.

    And I love the idea, hypo, that the “smart lefties” drive out the poor beleaguered conservatives on sites; the reality is – as folks like Skippy are noticing – that the blogfolk commentariat on the left are largely a mob.

    But, hey, whatever elevates your self-esteem. I was just looking at “Rasmussen”:http://race42008.com/2008/03/24/poll-alert-rasmussen-daily-trackers-324/ and realizing that you dumbasses are about to elect another Republican.

    Which is bad domestically, and bad for foreign policy. But it will give you another object for your spittle-flecked rage (see self-esteem, above), and since that’s what it’s all about…

    A.L.

  79. Ah, AL, we didn’t literally brainwash John Cole. He just drew different inferences from Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and the shortfall in our Iraq objectives than you did. As Democrats go, he’s conservative. He’s also voting for Obama.

    Before you get so huffy about ‘smart lefties’, checked the banning policy at RedState lately?

  80. AL: “Andrew – how’d you stand on Lieberman?”

    What was the point of this question? (Andrew answered it.) If we knew why AL asked we might be a bit closer to understanding what’s bothering him.

    At the moment my impression is that it’s all about the war in Iraq. The Democratic concensus is that (1) the invasion was a blunder, (2) withdrawal is the best of the bad options available and (3) the flawed decision-making process which led to the blunder needs to be examined with a view to preventing such blunders in future. AL cannot stomach any of this.

    Is that the main issue?

  81. Kevin Donoghue:

    If we knew why AL asked we might be a bit closer to understanding what’s bothering him.

    I brought up Lieberman in #61, posing the same question rhetorically. It’s relevant to Andrew’s claim about “the Democratic brand”.

    You imply that there’s some other reason why A.L. asked about Lieberman. Is there something bothering you?

  82. Andrew – serious question: did you read different history books than I did? because sometimes I feel like I’m in a very small minority when I assume that in any war – in any large human enterprise – we’ll see evil acts, wrong acts, foolish acts. Abu Ghreib as a ‘brand’ primarily (AFAIK) a drunken weekend with some brutal and out-of-control jailers. There was also some brutal treatment of prisoners – something that happens daily in jails across the USA. Should we ban them?

    To a large extent, we prosecute and punish the perpetrators of those crimes – which we acknowledge as crimes. That’s a useful differentiator, don;t you think?

    And I’m the guy who said that counterinsurgency takes a decade, and that we ought to check in about Year 6, so forgive me for arguing for patience.

    Any war – by it’s nature – invites the kind of brutal acts that shade into criminality – it’s one reason why wars should be carefully chosen.

    Where we disagree is in the choice of the war; there’s a legitimate debate to have about that, and as I’ve noted the war has been a strategic failure – not militarily within Iraq, but largely because we haven’t learned the lesson that the military action needed to me matched by political actions led from here; and GWB has shown himself incapable of doing the basic things needed to make that happen.

    So I’m not as repulsed by events in Iraq and Afghanistan as you suggest Cole was or you are because I see them as pretty typical of the things that have always happened in war, and because knowledgeable people who I trust tell me we’re doing far more to prevent them than we have ever done, and possibly that any army has done.

    Re: Lieberman – had he supported a Republican for President before the Lamont election?

    A.L.

  83. I just wish AL would be honest about what he really thinks, not appear to operate under a false flag of “liberal,” not trash Obama periodically under the guise of supporting him, and finally offer some explanation of why that Gibney article in The Atlantic was so offensive, rather than just appearing to have jumped to the sound of Instapundit’s and Michael Goldfarb’s right-wing bell.

    It’s impossible to tell what another person is really thinking, but when all you do is propagate right-wing ideas, people draw the inference you are a stooge of the right-wing.

    If you wanted to discuss Obama, for example, here’s something of substance, not some conspiracy theory derived from an old sci-fi story:
    “The Conservative Case for Obama”:http://www.amconmag.com/2008/2008_03_24/article.html

  84. metrico: there is _no_ substance to that “case”. The entire article boils down to “Let’s second-guess the OIF decision and elect Obama to publicly apologize for it”. The author clearly does not like McCain and feels alienated by the not-so-conservative GOP, but that is hardly a case built for a positive vote for the other side’s candidate; the author never makes the case _for_ Obama, just a tirade _against_ the war.

    Seems we recently had an election that mirrored this exact logic… John Kerry, call your office and report for duty!

  85. Interesting contrast:
    Democrats are kicking their mavericks out of the party while the Republicans nominate their’s for president.

  86. metrico, I’ll say it again in small words so you can get it. I wrote my post on the Atlantic after reading the post on the Atlantic website – which I read fairly often. (It’s on the non-published part of my newsfeed, available at my “Bloglines”:http://www.bloglines.com/public/ArmedLiberal feed).

    I get it that you think I dance to Goldberg’s or Reynold’s bell; you’re wrong – but since there is no way to prove the negative (well, I’ll note that Glenn links to things I post here, not the other way around), keep on believing.

    I’ll keep on believing you’re a fool. And while you haven’t risen to the level of a suspension or a ban, you’ve sunk to a level below my interest in responding to you any more.

    Rock on…

    A.L.

  87. AL, you don’t respond to arguments and threaten to ban people, what’s new about that?

    You say you read Gibney’s article, but you refused repeated requests by commenters Mark, myself and others to explain what was so offensive about it.

    Instead of attacking the article on its own premise, you deliberately misquoted it, distorted its meaning and quacked along with the duckspeak of Goldfarb and Instapundit, basically:

    – The MSM (Gibney, The Atlantic) is smearing the troops again

    If you could explain how you construed Gibney’s words “the overwhelming majority of U.S. military personnel aren’t sociopaths” as meaning the opposite, or just admit you made a mistake, you might dispel the thought you are a crypto-rightist propagandist.

  88. Sigh. OK, you’re at least asking coherent questions. You make two points: a) you don’t see how I arrive at my opinion of the article from the words in the article; and b) that when I wrote my post I “jumped to the sound of Instapundit’s and Michael Goldfarb’s right-wing bell”.

    OK, b) simply isn’t true, and is highly offensive because it assumes that instead of arriving at my own opinions and publishing what I choose about them, I’m somehow someone’s agent.

    If you’ll acknowledge why that’s offensive, and either provide some evidence for your claim or withdraw it, I’ll jump to your bell and explain – in small words – why it was offensive.

    And I’ll note that I explicitly said I wasn’t going to ban you. Was that hard to understand as well?

    A.L.

  89. There’s a parallel here that is deliciously ironic.

    AL tells metrico “[Y]ou haven’t risen to the level of a suspension or a ban”, and metrico says “AL, you don’t respond to arguments and threaten to ban people, what’s new about that?” — in direct contradiction to the plain meaning of the literal text.

    Here, metrico takes bit in mouth and behaves as if some implication is threatening. But metrico can’t construe

    bq. Gibney’s words “the overwhelming majority of U.S. military personnel aren’t sociopaths”

    …as anything other than a non-gratuitous, harmless statement of fact.

    As they say in Minnesota: Funny.

    PS: Big props to metrico for jumping thread on the whole Gibney matter. You must think you taste blood in the water. Go for it!

  90. Here’s how I think about A.L’s modus operandi.

    I have no doubt, actually, socially at least, A.L. is pretty liberal. And I, along with A.L., also get annoyed by the fact that on EVERY SUBJECT one is supposed to be either all in liberal, or all in conservative. Clearly, on most topics, someone is liberal or conservative, but on other topics the same person is often of the other bent.

    Of course, neo-con as such, isn’t really conservative or liberal (just ask The American Conservative, or any historian of the liberal internationalism of the late 20th century), but some mutated stream of both, that happens to coincide with allegiance to empire.

    And, on foreign policy, A.L. is pretty neo-con. As such, he does believe and jump on the various neo-con strands and false flags, as offered up by Instapundit, and others. One of which is hair-trigger accusations of ‘you don’t respect the troops’, re: the Atlantic article.

    So occasionally, you’ll get the “good” (from the liberal standpoint) posts, that don’t matter in regards to foreign policy, such as the promoting of Deborah Bowen.

    But, since this site (used to at least) tends to be focused more on foreign policy, and by definition in the neo-con lexicon, anyone who isn’t as pro-aggressive use of the military in the Middle East as Lieberman, is pretty automatically a subject of suspicion.

    So A.L.’s “soulmates”, such as you would have them, are based on his overriding concern – neocon aggression using military might – and so these “right wing nutcases”, who are in sympathy with that overriding concern, appeal to A.L. as his soul brothers. They can then agree to disagree, civilly, about the rest of the liberal agenda.

    If the above has any correctness – and it might just be B.S. generated in my mind – then there is NO DOUBT, as Metrico has said, that Armed Liberal spare us the Hamlet act of the “concerns about Obama”, and just declare he is voting for McCain now.

  91. Sure, I’ll acknowledge that my assertion that you jumped to the bell of Goldfarb and Instapundit could be offensive. Nobody wants to be seen as a parrot.

    But to me, it’s the most reasonable explanation of why you blurted out that you were cancelling your subscription to The Atlantic.

    The plain, rather innocuous and truthful words of Gibney’s article do not support such a reaction. It makes more sense that you were led astray by Instapundit and Goldfarb (that is a left-handed compliment, in a way – it wasn’t all your fault).

    Or do you feel that to even raise the issue of the several rape accusations against servicemembers in Okinawa having a bearing on the image of the USA in Japan is so outside the pale of acceptable expression?

  92. I’ve read that post.

    You are entertaining a “what if?”. “What if” we need to get everyone on board here? Hey, fellow hawks, do you agree?

    And when the answer comes back “NO!”, you get to then say, “I’ve entertained the thought process for Obama – it doesn’t make sense, in this time of war (and thanks hawks, for the pro McCain arguments), to pick someone like Obama who writes “messes” on foreign affairs, and thinks even more messily”.

    And then pick McCain.

    As far as I can tell, that article is simply one more confirmation – an argument in your pretend Hamlet indecision.

    Whether that is true or not, it definitely fits into that narrative.

    by the way, as has been mentioned above – I do realize that there isn’t any way for you to disprove this particular accusation. It’s impossible to answer questions yes or no of the type “have you stopped beating your wife?”

    Nevertheless, I have to make my decisions and assumptions, based on a clear history of recorded posts.

    going back into your archives, and reading some Iraq posts, the same type of back and forth was there regarding Iraq, when at the same time, it was clear you favored invasion.

    Same thing, when going back and reading some of your posts regarding the 2004 election. You entertain these notions of “what if”, then to dismiss and come to your pre-held positions. (We all do this, of course.)

    So I’m going to assume a forward trajectory of your thinking, that will mirror the past history of your posting.

    Yes, that could be wrong – prior history doesn’t insure future success – but it makes more sense for me to base your future actions, (or at least your future posting) on what I’ve seen here.

  93. AL, I doubt if Lieberman came out in support of previous Republican candidates’ for President. It’s a pretty good indicator, though, of his true political allegiance. While nominally a Democrat, he concentrated on earning the approval of Republicans and Fox News (examples below), not passing the Democratic agenda or electing Democrats to office, even his own VP run.

    That’s rather different from McCain the Maverick. However heterodox his views were for a Republican (outside campaign finance, not so much, either), he never gives the impression that a warm welcome from Al Franken and Air America is important to him. Just how many times, though, did Lieberman appear with Sean Hannity?

    Lieberman as internal saboteur.

    • His limp debate performance against Cheney, where he didn’t even bother to point out how artificial Cheney’s claim to business experience was. “Bipartisanship” was more important.
    • Contravening specific instructions on what to say during the Florida election dispute, in order to appear generous to Republicans. (They sure returned the favor, not!
    • Who was the last Democratic Senator looking for a bipartisan subprimization of Social Security? You have to ask!?
    • Which Democrat took the lead in suggesting opposition to the Iraq War was downright unpatriotic: “It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.” Amazingly enough, even among some of the remnant war supporters, Bush’s credibility isn’t that high.
    • Which Democrat to be counted on to cave to the Republican side on cloture, just to vote in the minority later on principle? (Is there a record of Maverick McCain voting for cloture in this Congress on Democrat-favored bills that he opposes on principle, or is this highmindedness a unique blessing of Democratic mavericks?)

    Lieberman (and Armed Liberal) are reminiscent of what Harry Reid said about Arlen Specter: “You can count on him until you need him.”

    This post is long enough. I’ll try to write about the long, hard slog to success (ha, ha) in Iraq later. The summary: 10 years times zero is still zero.

  94. …and metrico, I’ll acknowledge that being a trool could be what you’re all about; no one likes to be disregarded. But I set out a specific if-then proposition in my comment. Like my statement that I wasn’t going to ban you, it appears not to have been well understood. When it is, let me know, and if I see your post, I’ll be happy to engage.

    A.L.

  95. Well, Andrew, that’s quite an impressive indictment against Goldstein – I mean, Lieberman.

    I didn’t know that “contravening specific instructions on what to say” was considered sabotage in the Democratic party, but now that you’ve told me it sure does explain a lot.

    Are you going to make that treacherous Levantine confess to all of this at his show trial, or are you good Democrats not allowed to talk about that?

  96. I’m sorry, hypo – I looked and looked and couldn’t find the place where I said:

    “I’ve entertained the thought process for Obama – it doesn’t make sense, in this time of war (and thanks hawks, for the pro McCain arguments), to pick someone like Obama who writes “messes” on foreign affairs, and thinks even more messily”.

    Can you help me out?

    It’s interesting having this discussion with people who seem to be so divorced from what I’ve actually said…

    And did you miss the part in the post (you know, the middle 20%) where I said:

    “If you’re a hawk, ask yourself – what if we’re wrong?”

    But hey, why should I let my own actual opinions and words stand in the way of your ever-present bluster?

    A.L.

  97. Andrew, you’re scaring me. Lieberman is a bad guy because he somehow deliberately rolled over for Bush-Cheney in 2000?

    That’s kinda nuts when you read it, you know…

    A.L.

  98. …and guys, I’ve got to say that at the end of this thread if I didn’t come out as a Republican just to get away from people like you I must be some kind of liberal saint.

    I’ll tell a not-so-funny story. I became social friends with an interesting author/professor some years ago; he’s an avowed Marxist, who like many of my left friends loves to eat well.

    Our friendship and relationship ended when he came to my house in Venice for a dinner party; we lived in a neighborhood of minuscule streets, and in working his way down ours, he managed to scrape my neighbor’s car.

    He refused to leave a note. When I made it clear that I would on his behalf, things went rapidly south; we never spoke again.

    The interesting thing is this. In my personal experience, folks I know on the Right are just flatly more decent people than the folks I know on the Left. I’d say the difference between a metrico and a Jim Rockford – who embody the two poles of thought on this site – express it pretty well.

    And it depresses me, because I think that the right-wing folks, while decent, are wrong. And that the left wing folks, while often assholes, are closer to correct.

    Oh well, what the hell, Yossarian said…

    A.L.

  99. I did not say Lieberman tanked his VP performance in order to lose. I did say, and repeat, that his performance (widely viewed as lame at the time across the spectrum) was tempered by his need to feel he was the beloved-by-Fox bipartisan Democrat, even if it meant an ineffective performance against Cheney.

    As far as ignoring specific instructions from Gore about the Florida recount, yeah, I think sabotage is just the right word.

    I’m sorry a Marxist scraped a car and refused to own up to it, but I have a hard time understanding its significance in this thread.

  100. SO, Lieberman is dressed out of the democratic party because he couldn’t save Gore’s candidacy?

    Note: I voted for Gore/Lieberman!

  101. bq. …and guys, I’ve got to say that at the end of this thread if I didn’t come out as a Republican just to get away from people like you I must be some kind of liberal saint.

    Actually, I’d agree with this… with the implicit understanding that many saints are martyrs, and your cause isn’t mainstream liberalism so much as your own private-label version of “liberalism”.

    bq. The interesting thing is this. In my personal experience, folks I know on the Right are just flatly more decent people than the folks I know on the Left. I’d say the difference between a metrico and a Jim Rockford – who embody the two poles of thought on this site – express it pretty well.

    Actually, this says volumes about you, AL. As usual, you lead in in an anonymous anecdote about current or former leftist “friends”, and then use that anecdote to condemn just about all liberals, everywhere. Look, even if you disagree with what metrico’s saying – and I think he’s makes a great deal of sense with most of his posts – he’s mostly just addressing (what he perceives as) your own personal faults and failings, and he generally does so without any real venom on his part.

    (And before some smartass asks what “real venom” is, if metrico doesn’t have it, I suggest y’all take a look at LGF or Free Republic sometime and get back to me.)

    Jim Rockford, on the other hand… trying to stay on the good side of WoC’s banning rules, I’ll simply say that I have _never_ seen the man miss an opportunity to paint virtually everyone he disagrees with (i.e. the Democrats) as being the worst kind of human beings, guys who work tirelessly, day and night, to destroy this country. He’s never attacked _you_ that I’m aware of, but if you can co-exist with that kind of bottomless hatred on the grounds that he’s a “more decent” person, especially when that hatred’s directed towards people that are supposed to be on your side… well, setting aside whatever personal moral conclusions people choose to draw or not draw from your behavior, I’ll just point out that it’s *completely bloody obvious* why you have no traction with the vast majority of liberals and Democrats. Addressing some of the comments upthread, this is not a case of a party kicking out a “maverick”, this is a case of people being personally dismissive and disgusted by a supposed ally spitting on their side at almost every opportunity.

    But then, you apparently don’t see much of a problem with Joe Lieberman hanging out with Ann Coulter either, so maybe this is simply one of those “if you have to ask, you’ll never get it” moments…

  102. Actually, I think about the only place A.L. has drifted off the Democratic plantation is WRT the GWOT. And this seems to be Lieberman’s big sin as well.

  103. Lieberman refused to help Gore steal Florida, and thereby helped Bush steal it? Fascinating. I love the smell of liberal fratricide in the morning.

  104. AL, the evidence is the chronology, the fact that first Goldfarb and then Instapundit were gearing up the attack hours before you weighed in with your cancellation, and that Instapundit then linked to your post about the cancellation.

    Looked like more than a coincidence to me, all that attention to one Atlantic blog post within 24 hours.

    Of course, I can’t prove that you were motivated by the earlier posts, it was just that all four posts were a little too conveniently linked. This is called “circumstantial evidence.”

    If it makes you feel good, I’ll accept for the purposes of argument that you came to the conclusion that the Gibney article was an offensive, utterly unacceptable troop-bashing anti-military slur commie yelp all by your lonesome.

    And how did you come to that conclusion, given the plain words of the Gibney article? That seems to be the question you can’t answer.

  105. Chris, have you ever looked at my responses to Rockford? Have you ever read what I’ve written about Coulter?

    Then again, why should what I actually said matter?

    A.L.

  106. and metrico, if it makes you feel good, I’ll keep ignoring you and you can declare victory. Because I can’t imagine why I’d engage you; as I said before it’s Alice’s game.

    A.L.

  107. A.L.:

    …and guys, I’ve got to say that at the end of this thread if I didn’t come out as a Republican just to get away from people like you I must be some kind of liberal saint.

    Chris:

    Actually, I’d agree with this… with the implicit understanding that many saints are martyrs, and your cause isn’t mainstream liberalism so much as your own private-label version of “liberalism”.

    Chris, continued later:

    well, setting aside whatever personal moral conclusions people choose to draw or not draw from your behavior, I’ll just point out that it’s completely bloody obvious why you have no traction with the vast majority of liberals and Democrats. Addressing some of the comments upthread, this is not a case of a party kicking out a “maverick”, this is a case of people being personally dismissive and disgusted by a supposed ally spitting on their side at almost every opportunity.

    I’m not going to do a complete fisking on Chris’ arguments, just point out that he treats the defeat of Lieberman in the Democratic primary as some kind of validation that his ideals are the “mainstream” of Liberal/Democratic thought.

    Well.

    Registered Voters: 671,656 D (34.2%); 449,727 R (22.9%); 844,433 unaffiliated and minor parties (43.0%)
    State Senate: 24 D 12 R
    State House: 99 D 52 R

    Source: 2006 Campaign Tip Sheets.

    So, in terms of explicit party affiliation, Connecticut Dems outnumbered Reps by a 3:2 margin, with a plurality being Independent/Other. In terms of implicit affiliation (derived from the distribution of Representatives in the statehouse) the Democrats have an advantage of 2:1 in the way actual voters vote.

    Lieberman won Connecticut by 50% versus Lamont’s 40% and Schlesinger’s (The Other White Meat) 10%.

    So, either Lieberman and his positions aren’t anathema to the majority of Democrats in Connecticut, or there are a hell of a lot of crypto-Rethuglicans in the Armed Liberal mold up there.

    None of this is what you call hard to dig up. And yet, Chris upthread could write:

    (The real battle between Lieberman and Lamont wasn’t the general election, where the Republicans pretty much adopted Lieberman as their own and let his incumbent inertia carry the day. It was the nomination fight, where liberals demonstrated that there were some levels of crap that they just wouldn’t tolerate any further.)

    Well, the primary showed something, but it didn’t show that “liberals” represent the will of yer typical Democrat. Rather, I believe it shows that the Kossite version of Vangaurdism that Lamont’s campaign represented in Connecticut is a total non-starter when it comes to winning a general election.

    I don’t know if Chris, met, hypo, and AJL actually believe that their views are in concordance with those of mainstream rank-and-file Democratic voters, or if they just think acting that way will make it so. In the meantime, antagonizing people like Marc Danzinger, Ann Althouse, and Glenn Reynolds (all Democrats, all smart, all wielding some influence here on this intertuby thing) — let alone guys like Lieberman and Zell Miller, who actually have influence in meatspace — is probably bad tactics if these so-called realists actually want to get any of their agenda implemented in the next twenty years.

  108. I think it’s likely that if Lieberman had to stand for re-election again this year, now that his endorsement of McCain makes it a little clearer where he stands between the parties, he wouldn’t win. In any event, it’s interesting that you bring up Zell Miller. Last I heard of Zell, he was saying the wimpy Democrats were a “National Party No More”. Would you like to compare the status of the Democrats in the South with the Republicans in New England? Chris Shays is the last GOP member of the House from New England. Lincoln Chafee lost. Susan Collins? In re-election trouble. Let’s contrast that to Virginia, alone: one Dem Senate pick-up already, Mark Warner a heavy favorite this year, etc. It is now the Republicans who are no longer a national party. (It’s very interesting that there is no “Armed Conservative” web site begging the GOP to be more like Lincoln Chafee, isn’t it?)

    I’d say that Miller, like Lieberman, brings to the table an electoral analysis that is simply wrong.

    Do you recall that there has been only one election in the history of the American two-party system where one party kept all of its incumbent and open seat House, Senate, and Governor positions? It would have been better to have been 2004 and not 2006, but the mills of the gods are finally grinding.

  109. mark poling –

    bq. I don’t know if Chris, met, hypo, and AJL actually believe that their views are in concordance with those of mainstream rank-and-file Democratic voters, or if they just think acting that way will make it so.

    I would say they act this way much the same way that drug abusers and drunks all believe that simply EVERYONE uses/drinks the way they do. Just because the only folks that they hang out with are this generally deluded they believe everyone is. /snark off

    Heck, guys, I am the conservative product of a card carrying Commie and a Progressive Liberal. I know first hand what I believe are the fallacies of the Left BUT I come here to see what the sane branch of the party believes.

    Armed/Marc is one of the voices of reason in this mess.

  110. bq. Chris, have you ever looked at my responses to Rockford? Have you ever read what I’ve written about Coulter?

    I have indeed. For example, there’s this response, where you try to politely – and I’m not being sarcastic here, you really do treat the guy with kid gloves – suggest to Jim that genocide might not be the best idea.

    Of course, that’s one of the relatively few times that you have rebuked Rockford – 9 times out of 10 you let his remarks stand without comment. Obviously that doesn’t imply you condone what he’s saying… although the fact that you turn your guns on guys like Matt Yglesias way more than Mr. Rockford does suggest some skewed priorities.

    As for what you’ve written about Coulter, yes, you seem well aware of what a nutcase she is. That being the case, doesn’t it matter – or set off some alarm bells – that _she_ likes and endorses Lieberman?

    bq. Then again, why should what I actually said matter?

    Here’s the weird thing, AL – of the two of us, I’m the guy who’s constantly pointing back to what you’ve said as proof for my argument. And there’s plenty of proof of that on this very thread. You’re often broadly claiming that you’re a true-blue liberal while ignoring the dozens of attacks you’ve actually made on liberals.

  111. “Do you recall that there has been only one election in the history of the American two-party system where one party kept all of its incumbent and open seat House, Senate, and Governor positions? It would have been better to have been 2004 and not 2006, but the mills of the gods are finally grinding.”

    And just exactly how effective has that sweep in achieving any of the changes you advocate, Andrew? Face it, the Democratic Caucus grew in number, and grew more conservative at the same time.

    Or have those noises from Kos et. al. regarding the wonders of the current Congress been shouts of joy?

    And forgetting the Vanguardists, while Bush’s approval rating is awful () Congress’ is worse (24%).

    I’m happy to concede that the Republican Party (as embodied by its elected members in 2006) has become (on the whole) sclerotic, complacent, and dismissive of its constituency. But just because the Democrats got to shoot fish in barrels last time doesn’t mean they’ve gotten any sharper.

    (FWIW, my choices in the Presidential race would have been Rudy Giuliani, Bill Richardson, or Fred Thompson, in that order. As is, I’ll probably end up voting for the best remaining Democrat, John McCain.)

  112. Edit:

    “And forgetting the Vanguardists, while Bush’s approval rating is awful (32%) Congress’ is worse (24%).”

  113. lurker:

    Actually, I think about the only place A.L. has drifted off the Democratic plantation is WRT the GWOT. And this seems to be Lieberman’s big sin as well.

    Exactly. EXACTLY. And so much for Kos’s issue-free “winnerism”.

    9/11 produced a popular front of conservatives, neoconservatives, liberals, and leftists who agreed on little else except that radical Islamism must be checked. This alliance, small but seminal, drives political fanatics like Kos utter bugshit. He’s determined to smash it all to itsie-bitsies, and he has plenty of allies on the right, not excluding the farthest fringes.

    For what it’s worth, I nominate you the “winner” of this thread. I’m not sure what your prize should be – either a subscription to The Atlantic, or maybe metrico can get you a subscription to The American Conservative, which he approvingly cited (#86).

    The Atlantic, whatever anyone says about it, is printed on very high quality paper and has many color pictures. It makes a nice inoffensive coffee table magazine. You just can’t cancel it, ever, or you’ll never hear the end of it.

    I can’t say the same for the quality of The American Conservative. Imagine a cheap ceremonial urn containing the ashes of the John Birch Society, which Gore Vidal has been using as an indoor convenience. It doesn’t lack interest, though. Apparently they’re endorsing Obama – it’s taken them this long to make sure that he isn’t a Jew.

  114. Donno, Chris, a little Google-fu showed me 6 cases of my telling Jim he was kinda crazy before I stopped looking. He’s a little crazy – but he’s civil and he makes a real effort to do the one thing I continually ask people to do here – which is engage in constructive debate. Do his ideas hold up? Well, the audience has to make the call.

    But he’s playing the game by the rules I’ve set out here, and not Calvinball or abuse-the-ump.

    Who do I suspend or ban? Simple: people who get personally abusive to me or to other contributors, and particularly those who are both abusive and fail to make any kind of constructive effort to debate.

    Do I slam mark? AMac? Not so much. Ever wonder why?

    Why don’t I spend all my time on the blog railing about the eeeevillll and stupid right wingers? Because lots of other blogs are doing it, and because my main issue has always been the GWOT and the reform of the Democratic Party away from the current Skybox liberalism. That’s the place where my small quantum of effort is best spent…

    A.L.

  115. As if I needed more incentive to avoid party politics, we have this thread. In the name of political expediency my business partner made a point of contributing to both parties, and for the sake of his sanity, had nothing more to do with either. He had some crazy notion of just voting for the best candidate.

  116. Er, Mark? I know it’s always painful when an attempted fisking falls flat on its face, but I should still bring this to your attention:

    VOTE BY PARTY ID
    TOTAL Lieberman Lamont Schlesinger
    Democrat (38%) 33% 65% 2%
    Republican (26%) 70% 8% 21%
    Independent (36%) 54% 35% 10%

    bq. So, either Lieberman and his positions aren’t anathema to the majority of Democrats in Connecticut, or there are a hell of a lot of crypto-Rethuglicans in the Armed Liberal mold up there.

    Well, no: Lieberman _lost_ Democrats to Lamont by an almost 2 to 1 margin. And there’s nothing “crypto” about the Republicans who did vote for the guy – they went for him over their own nominal candidate by a ratio of 7 to 2. And yes, when I wrote that the primary showed that liberals – and Democrats – wouldn’t tolerate Lieberman’s crap anymore, I was pretty much vindicated.

    In fact, the real key to the general Connecticut Senate race is the fact that the Republicans pretty much adopted Lieberman as their own. Without that support Joe would have been toast, and I humbly suggest that hoping that huge numbers of the other party will vote for you isn’t the world’s best – or most repeatable – election strategy.

    bq. I don’t know if Chris, met, hypo, and AJL actually believe that their views are in concordance with those of mainstream rank-and-file Democratic voters, or if they just think acting that way will make it so. In the meantime, antagonizing people like Marc Danzinger, Ann Althouse, and Glenn Reynolds (all Democrats, all smart, all wielding some influence here on this intertuby thing) — let alone guys like Lieberman and Zell Miller, who actually have influence in meatspace — is probably bad tactics if these so-called realists actually want to get any of their agenda implemented in the next twenty years.

    Er, Mark? Glenn Reynolds may have voted for Gore in 2000, but I don’t think he’s ever described himself as anything other than a libertarian-leaning independent.

    As for Althouse and AL, it should be clear that, for good or ill, 9/11 and Bush’s response to it caused a fairly serious realignment in politics. People who had IDd (and more importantly, voted, and acted) as Democrats effectively started supporting Bush, and vice versa. Y’all got Althouse and AL, much good may it do you, and we got guys like Andrew Sullivan and John Cole. Now, Althouse and AL may never identify as conservative Republicans, any more than Sullivan and Cole are whole-hearted Democrats, but it’s not really a stretch to say that all of those folks are no longer the members-in-good-standing that they once were on their respective sides.

    It’s also worth pointing out that just because they’ve effectively moved away from their old party, they’re _not_ the same thing as moderates. Moderates, by and large, tend to be _undecided_ – they’re uncertain of the best choice between two options, and they’re not terribly vocal in praise or condemnation of either side. Cole, Sullivan, Althouse, and AL are all very vocal about the mistakes and failings of their former allies, and in that sense they are very much like neocons – not as a slur, or a description of their foreign policy, but in that they’ve become disillusioned with one set of ideals or actors and have effectively aligned themselves with the other side.

    And, that being the case, it’s bogus to claim that just because the Democrats aren’t taking AL’s abuse without complaint (or Zell Miller’s) that they’re somehow abandoning actual middle-ground, moderate voters. Bush’s war swayed those guys to the Republicans in ’04, but drove them away in huge numbers in ’06, and I’ll wager the Dems will get most of them again in ’08.

    PS – I haven’t – and never will – use terms like “Rethuglican” in my comments. I don’t really expect any better of most of you guys than to put words in my mouth, but I feel like I should point it out for the record.

  117. bq. Donno, Chris, a little Google-fu showed me 6 cases of my telling Jim he was kinda crazy before I stopped looking. He’s a little crazy – but he’s civil and he makes a real effort to do the one thing I continually ask people to do here – which is engage in constructive debate. Do his ideas hold up? Well, the audience has to make the call.

    Ok, a couple of things here:

    1. 6+ cases is peanuts, considering that Rockford, on average, comments at least once on all your posts about how evil Democrats are, and you’ve made dozens of posts in the past five years here. If I thought getting you to recognize the point was possible, or that it would have any effect on your behavior, I’d gladly go back and count the ratio of times you condemned JR to the times you did nothing – as it is, I feel pretty comfortable with my 1 to 10 ratio.

    2. “Telling Jim he was kinda crazy”? I’d be stunned if you ever came anywhere close to using the term “crazy” with Jim. (Although it is certainly appropriate from my POV.) Got any actual links to such forceful words?

    bq. Who do I suspend or ban?

    I never said, mentioned, or implied anything about suspending or banning, just pointed out your tolerance for people talking up stuff like genocide as long as it’s in “civil” terms.

    (But woe be to Matt Yglesias if he dares to quote Weber, because that’s _BAD_…)

    bq. Why don’t I spend all my time on the blog railing about the eeeevillll and stupid right wingers? Because lots of other blogs are doing it, and because my main issue has always been the GWOT and the reform of the Democratic Party away from the current Skybox liberalism. That’s the place where my small quantum of effort is best spent…

    And, as I’ve pointed out ad infinitum, your efforts are meaningless because _no liberals are listening to you_. Really. Truly. You admitted it yourself two years ago – “I fully admit that this is something I’d like to have an answer for and don’t” – and you’ve only gotten more isolated from the mainstream Democrats after the ’06 election.

    Really, at the end of the day, it’s an almost stunning misunderstanding of basic human nature on your part. NOBODY – no matter who pure and good the intentions behind it – reacts positively to a pure stream of criticism. It doesn’t matter how much or little time you have to say what you want to say – if all you do is trash somebody, giving no real indication that you understand where they’re coming from or that they’re generally doing OK, then they’ll reject your critiques as poisonous regardless of how accurate they may (or may not) be.

    I mean, good lord – if you were an absentee parent who only saw their kids over the holidays, would you spend the whole time pointing out that they’re overweight, or that they need to do better in school, or you don’t like the way they dress, on the basis “that’s the place where your small quantum of effort is best spent?”

  118. bq. NOBODY – no matter who pure and good the intentions behind it – reacts positively to a pure stream of criticism.

    So, is AL included in that NOBODY? Can I recall anything you’ve written here that doesn’t eval as criticism?

    bq. …your efforts are meaningless because no liberals are listening to you. Really. Truly.

    No, no Leftists are listening to him. Instead they just come past here to piss in the punch. And have forgotten the meaning of liberal.

    There are some solid minds willing to meet in the middle and discuss serious policy here, but you and your little coterie of Inquisitors are not among them. Rockford may be off the wall, but he doesn’t spend his whole time badgering the host.

    As part of the peanut gallery, consider it my opinion that it’s time for this little claque to be dismissed back to DKos, permanently. It would be a more pleasant and valuable place for the loss.

  119. chris,
    It’s interesting that you’ve casted A.L. in the role of parent in your analogy. Maybe there’s some truth leaking out of your subconscious?

    After you’ve considered that thought, how about this one?

    Can you please explain when the concept of “liberal” encompassed the idea of blind adherence to some top down ideology? As a fellow Democrat, I’m kinda stumped on this one. Could this be that “Liberal Fascism” I’ve been hearing about?

  120. Chris:

    Well, no: Lieberman lost Democrats to Lamont by an almost 2 to 1 margin. And there’s nothing “crypto” about the Republicans who did vote for the guy – they went for him over their own nominal candidate by a ratio of 7 to 2. And yes, when I wrote that the primary showed that liberals – and Democrats – wouldn’t tolerate Lieberman’s crap anymore, I was pretty much vindicated.

    My point in bringing statistics into this was twofold: to try to introduce some rigor (as opposed to simple argument by assertion) into the debate, and to point out that Connecticut Independents trend pretty heavily Democratic (as indicated by the 2:1 ratio in D:R elected officials at the state level.) A.L. has the stated goal of seeing more Democrats elected, because he thinks on-the-whole Democrats have better policies.

    Well the problem Chis, is that if you’re proud that you lost the Independents by a 54:35 margin, you’ve just proven that you’re more interested in purity than you are in actually winning a frickin’ election. And if (huge if here, but it’s in play I think) McCain asks Lieberman to join him on the ticket, and Lieberman accepts, suddenly a whole lot of Independents (who seem to really dig both McCain and Lieberman) see a tailor-made ticket for them. And Lieberman of course has zero incentive now to not accept the offer.

    Question for the peanut gallery: How many self-identifying Republicans (say 30% of the population) don’t vote for that ticket? To go along with the, say, 40% of the population who self-identifies as Independent.

    So you win the Republicans AND you win the Independents and surprise! surprise! you’ve won an election. By a lot.

    Doofus.

  121. What you guys forget is that Democrats are busy searching for heretics, not converts. As this thread nicely demonstrates.

    I’d like to think that sooner or later the liberal Martin Luther will have his list successfully nailed to the doors of Berkeley, but i’m not holding my breath.

  122. Chris, you’re making one more core mistake. You’re assuming my activism and role end at the edges of your computer screen, and that this blog contains them all.

    I’ve often said – if you’ll recall – that the purpose of the blog is to exercise my own thinking in public, and to contribute – in some small way – to the wider discussion that is germinating about the nature, defects, and future of liberalism in the 21st Century.

    So if you judge this a failure because the Obama campaign isn’t reading or citing me regularly, or that I haven’t sought a gig at a think tank or magazine, you’re measuring by the wrong standards.

    Like I keep saying – why is McCain ahead if you all are so right about the state of the American electorate? Why is he even a contender?

    A.L.

  123. I think Chris explained pretty carefully: we get converts, too. Sullivan, Cole, Doug Kmiec(?!). Seventy percent of the country has soured on the Iraq Noble Crusade; they deserve a party and candidates. You want the Bush Party (pro-war and anti-abortion) and the Lieberman Party (pro-war and pro-abortion). Sorry, no dice.

    Your comments on our poor electoral prospects are a little strange after an election in which your best result was Joe Lieberman. I repeat, 2006 was the only USA election ever where one party couldn’t pick up a single House, Senate, or Governorship. Even the Congressional Democrats are only slowly growing into an understanding of what this means.

  124. McCain is ahead because candidates usually get a bump from when they clinch, because Obama and Clinton are concentrating on each other, and because Clinton’s best remaining path to the nomination is besmirching Obama enough that he seems like a sure November loser. I don’t expect the Clinton campaign to recover from the Tuzla blunder, which should let Obama catch up and pass McCain within weeks. McCain’s recent Iran/Al Qaeda problems were pushed off the front page by Tuzla and Rev. Wright. Next time he won’t be so lucky.

    Obama has run a masterful campaign so far. He was actually my third choice (Dodd, Edwards), but I appreciate that he’s making more out of what he has than anyone else in the race.

  125. Ah the dogpile once more…

    Tim Oren-

    bq. So, is AL included in that NOBODY? Can I recall anything you’ve written here that doesn’t eval as criticism?

    You’re right. And if I was actually trying to get AL to change his mind, I’d likely be speaking in a more measured tone… as I mostly did for my first several months here, back in late ’05 to early ’06. But I’m pretty convinced that no change is possible in this case, and as such I’m mostly content with undermining AL’s BS as it pops up, partly for the heck of it and partially on the off chance somebody wanders in and mistakes him for an actual Democrat.

    bq. No, no Leftists are listening to him. Instead they just come past here to piss in the punch. And have forgotten the meaning of liberal.

    If the definition of “liberal” you’re thinking of is “vaguely committed to progressive taxes, but totally ok with the war in Iraq, willing to say nice things about Karl Rove and not make too big a fuss about the administration’s torture policies” then, no, we didn’t forget it. We rejected it.

    bq. There are some solid minds willing to meet in the middle and discuss serious policy here, but you and your little coterie of Inquisitors are not among them. Rockford may be off the wall, but he doesn’t spend his whole time badgering the host.

    Hey, if Armed Liberal wants to discuss serious policy – to talk about the current state of the war in Iraq, the drawing down of the surge, or the ongoing failure of serious political reform in Iraq – more power to him. I just haven’t seen him make any of those posts recently. And given that the point of this post was basically “liberals are mean to me, but I’m better than them”, then yes, I feel discussing AL’s failures as a political commentator is entirely legitimate.

    bq. As part of the peanut gallery, consider it my opinion that it’s time for this little claque to be dismissed back to DKos, permanently. It would be a more pleasant and valuable place for the loss.

    Works for me – if AL wants to preach Democratic reform to a site that’s banished everyone who’s actually, y’know, voted Democratic in the past four years, then he’s pretty much made my point for me.

    lurker-

    bq. It’s interesting that you’ve casted A.L. in the role of parent in your analogy. Maybe there’s some truth leaking out of your subconscious?

    Actually, I think it’s more the overbearing, paternalistic tone he usually takes that brought to mind the analogy. And of course the analogy wasn’t simply a parent, but a _failed_ parent, so you can take that as you wish.

    bq. Can you please explain when the concept of “liberal” encompassed the idea of blind adherence to some top down ideology? As a fellow Democrat, I’m kinda stumped on this one. Could this be that “Liberal Fascism” I’ve been hearing about?

    Interesting how you’ve managed to completely miss the multiple references I’ve made – and AL’s multiple instances of implicit agreement – to the fact that virtually all AL does these days is trash Democrats. Or perhaps you disagree that there’s a substantive difference between lockstep ideology and suggesting that members of a faction shouldn’t tear that faction down at every opportunity?

    As for you being a Democrat, lurker, last I heard, you were thinking of dropping that designation. Did you change your mind about the party going to hell in a handbasket, or what?

    Mark Poling-

    bq. A.L. has the stated goal of seeing more Democrats elected, because he thinks on-the-whole Democrats have better policies.

    This is true. It is also true that AL’s mechanism to have more Democrats elected is for Democrats to embrace many of the policies that the Republicans are currently getting hammered on. No thanks.

    bq. Well the problem Chis, is that if you’re proud that you lost the Independents by a 54:35 margin, you’ve just proven that you’re more interested in purity than you are in actually winning a frickin’ election.

    No, Mark, we’re not proud of it – we just didn’t think we’d get outspent 2 to 1, with a lot of the money coming from Republicans. (Although we probably should have seen it coming.)

    But as far as winning elections, I think the rest of the ’06 slate speaks for itself. Likewise, I think the relatively ideologically diverse freshman class we Democrats elected in ’06 speaks to your repeated accusations of demanding lockstep ideology. After all, so many of those guys were Blue Dogs, according to AL himself!

    bq. And if (huge if here, but it’s in play I think) McCain asks Lieberman to join him on the ticket, and Lieberman accepts, suddenly a whole lot of Independents (who seem to really dig both McCain and Lieberman) see a tailor-made ticket for them. And Lieberman of course has zero incentive now to not accept the offer. So you win the Republicans AND you win the Independents and surprise! surprise! you’ve won an election. By a lot.

    Man, if you think the “war war war” ticket of McCain and Lieberman’s a winner in 2008, go nuts. As it is, I think you’re rather profoundly out of touch with how non-Republicans feel about the war.

    bq. Doofus.

    Tell you what – when you manage to stop confidently asserting things like “Most Connecticut Democrats love Joe Lieberman! Really!” without checking on the actual facts first, then I’ll pay attention to your childish insults. Until then, run along.

  126. bq. Chris, you’re making one more core mistake. You’re assuming my activism and role end at the edges of your computer screen, and that this blog contains them all.

    Well, no, I’m not assuming that – but I am calling you out on your online behavior because that’s by far your most prominent aspect, as far as I can perceive. If you step away from the keyboard and instantly become Marc Danzinger, Super-Democrat, quietly toiling in the background of California Democratic politics to ensure the party’s success, more power to you.

    It doesn’t, however, negate – or excuse – the way you tear the party down here online.

    bq. I’ve often said – if you’ll recall – that the purpose of the blog is to exercise my own thinking in public, and to contribute – in some small way – to the wider discussion that is germinating about the nature, defects, and future of liberalism in the 21st Century.

    Ok. But unless you’re somehow saying one thing online and doing something completely different in the real world, which seems unlikely, I can only assume you’re most likely exercising the same crappy thinking out there that you do in here.

    bq. So if you judge this a failure because the Obama campaign isn’t reading or citing me regularly, or that I haven’t sought a gig at a think tank or magazine, you’re measuring by the wrong standards.

    No, I’m judging this as a failure because your online rants seem to have no traction with actual voting Democrats. Not having a gig at The Atlantic or the Washington Monthly has nothing to do with it (although obviously if you did have one, you’d clearly be able to claim that what you’d been doing all these years has been working.)

    But you pretty clearly choose to put a substantial amount of time and effort into this effort, and as such, I think it’s more than fair to judge you on what’s presented here. And if your final argument is “well, I do more than just post here, you know”, but you don’t actually give any examples of what else it is that you actually do, politics-wise, then that’s not much of an argument.

    And props to AJL on his retort about McCain.

  127. Chris, I think there’s plenty of childishness in evidence here from multiple sources (/sides). I forebear to accuse, but I do ask that everyone try to dial down the snark a notch or two. That’s “ask”, as in “pretty please with sugar on it”.

    I mostly do volunteer janitorial duty around here, and contra certain people’s seeming impressions, I don’t think I’m f***ing Good Will Hunting, but I do think the tone is slipping out of line.

    Edit: Please, everybody — play a bit nicer or I’ll recommend the thread be closed.

  128. Barack Obama’s plan for “Bringing Our Troops Home (sic),”:http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/ for informational and entertainment purposes only:

    Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

    That’s a cute little paragraph, in which the last sentence weasels out of everything promised in the first three, and leads me to imagine military adventures that might make a face-painting anti-war mandrill out of me yet. There’s nothing more dangerous than a Democrat who suddenly decides he has to prove how tough he is.

    As if this didn’t contain enough escape clauses, “Obama’s campaign has been talking down even this shaky promise.”:http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0308/Power_on_Obamas_Iraq_plan_best_case_scenario.html

    Obama is a peace candidate, maybe. More likely he’s the candidate of Vietnamization, in which our people will sit around in a political straitjacket getting shot at. Casualties suffered in Obama-style warfare will be totally ignored by the left, as will the dismal fate of Iraq – unless they feel confident enough to crow over it.

    [Pesky link tag repaired –NM]

  129. Nope. Still a dem. AJL even mentioned my representative, John Yarmuth.

    I’d like to note that the Democrats had an unassailable majority in Congress for many, many years, by having room in the party for Blue Dog and middle of the road Democrats. Kentucky is a fine example, of a Conservative but still traditionally Democrat state. I’ve always been more Liberal, being from Louisville, but still probably look prtty conservative to you. So, you might consider me a A.L. Democrat.

    Kentucky, and even Louisville, is automatically Democrat anymore, due to the Democrats continued slide to the left. Though Yarmuth’s district, which includes some Liberal and Conservative areas of Louisville, turned over to the Dems due to issues with the Iraq War.

    Unfortunately for the Dems, the Iraq War is retreating as an issue and Bush isn’t running anymore. So, the only permanent change that I see, is that Bush has managed with Iraq to give the Democrats more rope to hang themselves, as their leftward slide will surely accelerate. You, and the other true believers who visit here make that perfectly clear.

    Now, it’s not clear to me that there’s a bunch of Dems out there like me, so maybe the Dems are right to throw me off the bus. But it is interesting, if the Connecticut figures noted above are indicative, that party registrations are falling. If this is generally true, and my feeling is that it is, then the Dems strategy of idealogical purity looks more than a little suspect.

    It turns out that I’ve never really been that partisan. Knock yourselves out though.

  130. Two nits to pick in a thread full of bugs:

    bq. I think Chris explained pretty carefully: we get converts, too. Sullivan, Cole, Doug Kmiec(?!)

    Please, please, PLEASE stop citing the left’s favorite faux-conservative, Andrew Sullivan, as indicative of ANYTHING of import. Sullivan left the reservation over gay marriage, not Iraq, and has since taken a Krugman-esque tunnel view of just about everything Bush does. And Kmiec is hardly a convert; as noted in its dissection by The Corner, his Obama endorsement is bizarre to the point of complete logical breakdown, and seems to have no relation to his core values.

    Which lends further credence to the point raised AL _et_ _al_: maybe by convert you mean “votes for the Democrat by whatever rationale necessary”, instead of “shares Democratic/liberal values”.

    bq. Oh well, what the hell, Yossarian said…

    Actually I believe _McWatt_ said that, shortly before forcing his passengers to eject and flying his plane into the side of a mountain in desperation. Methinks this represents a good roadmap for how this thread will end…

  131. There’s nothing more dangerous than a Democrat who suddenly decides he has to prove how tough he is.

    Glen, I think you inadvertently described Armed Liberal there.

  132. And Kmiec is hardly a convert; as noted in its dissection by The Corner, his Obama endorsement is bizarre to the point of complete logical breakdown, and seems to have no relation to his core values.

    I sense a double standard here. Our converts have lost their minds. Your converts are making sense.

  133. lurker-

    bq. So, the only permanent change that I see, is that Bush has managed with Iraq to give the Democrats more rope to hang themselves, as their leftward slide will surely accelerate. You, and the other true believers who visit here make that perfectly clear.

    I’ll just note that you’re skipping a _hell_ of a lot of political history in the past 50 years in your description of Kentucky’s changing politics. But beyond that, you don’t know a damn thing about how leftward my politics are or aren’t, except that I self-identify as a liberal Democrat and really dislike AL trashing the party. And you continue to have this odd blind spot where, no matter how many times I bring it up, you insist that AL’s being trashed by radicals rather than concede that AL’s being pointed out for constantly dumping on his own supposed allies.

    Seriously, man, what’s so hard to understand there?

    Unbeliever-

    bq. Please, please, PLEASE stop citing the left’s favorite faux-conservative, Andrew Sullivan, as indicative of ANYTHING of import. Sullivan left the reservation over gay marriage, not Iraq, and has since taken a Krugman-esque tunnel view of just about everything Bush does. And Kmiec is hardly a convert; as noted in its dissection by The Corner, his Obama endorsement is bizarre to the point of complete logical breakdown, and seems to have no relation to his core values.

    bq. Which lends further credence to the point raised AL et al: maybe by convert you mean “votes for the Democrat by whatever rationale necessary”, instead of “shares Democratic/liberal values”.

    Since this thread seems likely to close any minute, I might as well go out on a high not and end with a (believe it or not) non-partisan observation: Unbeliever, the *whole point* is that none of the “converts” we’re talking about _are_ complete and utter believers in the ideals of their new allies. Sullivan’s issues _are_ different from AL’s, and Cole’s issues are different from what made Dan Drezner vote for Kerry in 2004. Likewise, guys like Christopher Hitchens continue to loudly insist that they’re still as liberal as ever, despite their support for the Iraq war.

    So I think it’s important to make two precise but ultimately uncontroversial points here: disaffected crossovers are _not_ the same thing as undecided moderates. _Whatever_ the reasons for the switch, it doesn’t seem a stretch to suggest that this was a permanent, not temporary, realignment, for most of these folks.

    Second, I believe it’s really and truly the case that there’s relatively little net gain for either side, when all the high profile converts are taken into account. So unless somebody’s actually done some kind of systemic study of the issue, we should keep in mind that anecdotal evidence – whether we’re talking AL or Andrew Sullivan – isn’t indicative of anything in isolation, and trying to play the “look how many converts we got, but yours don’t count because they’re not really converts” doesn’t solve anything.

  134. Chris, I understand what you are doing. I just don’t understand why you seem to have a singular problem with A.L. speaking out.

    Honest people disagree everyday. A.L. has as much right to disagree in public with fellow Democrats, just as much as Kos, Clinton, Obama, and every other Democrat does.

    What is your vision of the Democratic Party? Democrat=Borg? The just vote for us and shut the hell up party? What?

  135. Whoa, whoa–I’m not pulling a carte blanche “all your converts are crazy” here, or trying to start a tally; I was taking specific issue with two cases of claiming conversion where _it didn’t really happen_:

    – Sullivan, who I view as never being really conservative in the first place, and as such is the most annoyingly cited “convert” on any given matter.

    – Kmiec, who doesn’t seem to have welched on his core (Catholic) values during his article explaining his forthcoming vote for Obama.

    These two errors don’t refute AJL’s “we get converts too” claim (though anyone could refute his more egregious 70% anti-OIF claim if they took the time to Google the numbers). They _do_ illustrate that the criteria for throwing people off the liberal boat–or for letting them join the cruise–has become reduced almost entirely to opposition to OIF (or, if the die-hards have their way, to war in general).

    Pardon a poor conservative for echoing AL’s words, but this seems to be particularly crappy and short-sighted criteria for defining an entire movement.

  136. Lurker, I’m sure you think you “understand what I am doing”, but you’re completely not getting what I’m _saying_.

    There is a _substantive difference_ between someone saying “well, I generally like the Democrats, but I disagree with their policy on Iraq,” or “well, a lot of what Obama says makes sense to me, but I can’t see ever voting for him because of his stance on abortion,” and what AL is doing, which is saying “I’m a Democrat, but I hate this and this and that and that about my party, and these media guys who aren’t part of the party are horrible because of this out-of-context snippet of their writing, and My God McCain’s ahead in APRIL the Democrats are DOOMED, only I know how to fix the party but those snooty skybox liberals never listen to me according to John Schaar, hey actually Karl Rove’s a pretty nice guy, maybe we should try out some of his ideas… did I mention that I’m a Democrat?”

    It’s not a problem for someone to disagree with most of the party. It’s not a problem for someone not to vote Democratic. It’s not a problem for someone to repeatedly denounce what the Democrats are doing, and what they stand for. It’s a free country. Knock yourself out.

    It *IS* a problem for a person to do all that and claim that they’re still a loyal Democrat. In a band, it’d be the difference between somebody occasionally playing their own riff, and someone who’s playing an entirely different song than everybody else.

    Why is it not possible for me to point this out, lurker, without being accused of being the Borg?

  137. chris,
    You come here to get A.L. to shut up or, I guess, publicly leave the Democratic party.

    Do you direct any of your ire toward the Kos crowd? Or the MoveOn people? They like to call out other Dems too. Why is this personal attention reserved for A.L.?

    You are not really opposed to Democrats calling out other Democrats. You are just opposed to A.L.

  138. And now I’ll play the bad guy and challenge a previously designated “uncontroversial point”:

    bq. disaffected crossovers are not the same thing as undecided moderates. Whatever the reasons for the switch, it doesn’t seem a stretch to suggest that this was a permanent, not temporary, realignment, for most of these folks.

    Uh, no. When you define opposition along a single issue, what you are building is a temporary *coalition*, not a stable of new converts to the party faithful. As soon as another issue arises, more important than the first cause, on which you and your new allies are diametrically opposed, the coalition dissolves and you get another round of convert/traitor flames.

    The classic example of this in US politics are bipartisan action in opposition to Communism during the Cold War. Or to use one of AJL’s claimed converts as an example, Kmiec–assuming he hasn’t suddenly rethought all his previously stated positions–is probably NOT going to keep voting for the socially liberal party once he finds another GOP candidate whose views on OIF are closer to his own.

    I mean, if the Dems want to build an electoral strategy that assumes anti-OIF sentiment will translate into support for the broad Democratic agenda, go right ahead. It’ll give me and Karl Rove a huge laugh over the next decade. Just don’t expect the rest of us to agree that one political party scored some kind of moral victory by piecing together a single-issue coalition, on the wrong side of the issue (from our own POV).

  139. bq. Yeah, I think we’re closing this thread, My patience is pretty much done.

    “So let it be written. So let it be done.”

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