The Debate

So I watched most of the debate at the hotel bar – with about 100 other people (it was a full house and I was sitting on the floor with a few dozen others).

Overall, meh. My comment to TG was that neither of the candidates melted into green goo on camera, meaning that each of them managed not to screw up badly enough to cost them the election.

And I realized that that’s kind of a metaphor for how this election is running – each candidate desperate not to screw the pooch, playing defensively and probing for weaknesses rather than making full-throated claims about what they are, believe in, and where they want to take the country. That’s massively depressing to me, because it seems like we’ve lost what each of them brought to the table that made them good candidates in the first place.My support for Obama is still strongly there, if eroded (more by his issues with free speech and my disdain for many of his supporters than anything else). I’ll do a post this week explaining why, and explaining why the audience of a hawkish blog like this ought to reconsider their kneejerk support for McCain.

But searching deep in my reactions to Obama’s performance last night, I didn’t remotely see anything in his performance that could make me – or anyone who’s not already drunk his Kool-Aid – an enthusiast.

McCain’s opportunity here was to knock Obama out of the game, to make him “um” and “uh” and show that his smooth, intelligent, oratory isn’t matched by an ability to think in real time. Didn’t happen. McCain also need to come across as more appealing – to be the warm, funny, self-depricating retired fighter jock that is the core of his attractive self. Instead we got the moralizing, self-righteous scold who is much less likely to connect with voters in a personal way.

I have other problems with this election right now; we’re descending into a real 19th century kind of blind partisanship, and the odds that we’ll be able to unite the country behind either candidate seem lower every day. Whoever wins, the partisans on the other side will be enraged and uncooperative – with the right blaming (justifiably, I think) the Obama-swooning press, and the left blaming vague Rovian conspiracies (a lawyer at dinner last night explained to me – in all seriousness – that Rove has ‘anointed’ Palin, and that the whole point of this election is to get her in position to take over from McCain next year. I’m afraid that I giggled a bit in response, but he liked sailing so we managed to have a civil conversation anyway).

We deserve better. To be honest, these two candidates are better men than they are showing us in this campaign. What’s wrong with them, with us, with our politics?

141 thoughts on “The Debate”

  1. Obama’s performance should put to rest the frequent assertion from the Right that he can’t think on his feet or speak extemporaneously without a teleprompter.

    I agree about McCain coming across poorly. He was frequently condescending and disdainful and his overall demeanor seems one of contempt rather than respect. Obama OTOH was courteous, civil, respectful but forceful in his criticism of McCain…a true Statesmanlike performance.

    bq. My support for Obama is still strongly there, if eroded (… by…my disdain for many of his supporters).

    I really want to understand this comment. I suppose the two immediate questions that arise are 1) By what mechanism/s have you come to know “his supporters” well enough and in a broad enough sample to be comfortable that you are not simply suffering from a sampling bias? 2) Do you not also have disdain for many of McCain’s supporters?

  2. bq. [E]ach candidate…playing defensively…rather than making full-throated claims about what they are, believe in, and where they want to take the country.

    I only listened for a few minutes, but I heard Obama end utterances with “when I am President” at least twice. Did you mean something else?

  3. My support for Obama is still strongly there, if eroded (more by his issues with free speech

    You can say that again. Or gingerly allude to that again, whatever. Sotto voce.

    On the debate, I thought both did better than Bush and Kerry. Obama in particular did way better than Kerry, because he didn’t suggest giving nuclear material to Iran.

    I thought McCain missed a big punch when Obama lectured about deregulation and the financial crisis. That was the moment to point out that regulations proposed first by the the administration and then by McCain himself were shot down by congressional Democrats. One particular Democrat was a big recipient of Fannie Mae donations, and standing not six feet away from Senator McCain.

    McCain has no killer instinct. Or, McCain was overly focused on attacking Obama’s foreign policy weakness. Or, the McCain campaign is letting Obama dig himself deeper on Fannie before they strike.

  4. bq. But searching deep in my reactions to Obama’s performance last night, I didn’t remotely see anything in his performance that could make me – or anyone who’s not already drunk his Kool-Aid – an enthusiast.

    “Well, you’re instincts on this one appear to be off:”:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/27/opinion/polls/main4482119.shtml

    bq. 39% of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. 24% thought John McCain won. 37% saw it as a draw.

    bq. 66% of these voters think Obama would make the right decision about the economy. 42% think McCain would.

    bq. 49% of these voters think Obama would make the right decisions about Iraq. 55% think McCain would.

    bq. Two focus groups, one by GOP pollster Frank Luntz and another by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, both declare Obama the winner. Independents in the MediaCurves focus group “gave the debate to Obama 61-39. They also think he won every individual segment.

    bq. Nearly half of those uncommitted voters who watched the debate said that their image of Obama changed for the better as a result. Just eight percent say their opinion of Obama got worse, and 46 percent reported no change in their opinions.

    bq. McCain saw less improvement in his image. Thirty-two percent have improved their image of McCain as a result of the debate, but 21 percent said their views of him are now worse than before.

  5. I agree with all the above observations. McCain’s fundamental problem is that he is essentially a moderate Democrat, so that makes it hard for him to diffentiate himself in debates about domestic policy. Sure, he is less statist than Obama — opposing government health care and further government-sponsored transfers of wealth that Obama falsely calls a “tax cut” — but he doesn’t appear to be against anything the gov’t does except “waste” (by which he means just plain corruption rather than the real definition, which would cut 2/3 of the gov’t spending) and ethanol subsidies, so his theme of cutting spending rang hollow. He essentially said, vote for me, b/c I’ll waste marginally less. There were a couple of high points, like cutting corporate taxes, but I simply didn’t find much positive reason to vote for him. Moreover, he needed to say something to assure retirees and those close to it that their stock portfolios will survive this crisis — “All we have to fear, is fear itself” kind of a thing. That would have given him a bit more of a Reagan-like reassuring father posture.

    On foreign policy McCain was stronger, and his experience came out, so I’m glad that came last, but I wished he would have hit Obama harder on the risky idea of retreating from Iraq regardless of conditions and with a stamp of defeat, with which a withdrawal under Obama would unavoidably be impressed. Sen. Obama did well at modifying some of his more unsettling past positions. I think McCain was unwise to spend so much time on these. He should have predicted that Obama would have slick recharacterizations ready and should not have given him the opportunity to clean himself up.

    Over all, McCain was not as prepared as he should have been. I tentatively conclude that spending too much of the week in Washington — for whatever good he might have done there — hurt his chances in the election.

  6. Sen. McCain came off badly in the focus groups because undecideds favored Sen. Obama’s economic answers by about a 2-1 margin. The problem for Sen. McCain is to explain that Sen. Obama’s answers sound good only because he promised tons of new spending programs, no cuts, and no sacrifices — and such new spending will simply not be possible in the environment the next President will inherit.

    Asked again where he would make sacrifices to his agenda in light of economic reality, Sen. Obama refused to identify anything. Then, he promised still more spending.

  7. McCain did fine, Obama did fine.

    Truth is, I always liked McCain, voted for him in the 2000 primary and sent him some money that year. I still like him when the classy “old” McCain emerges, as when he expressed concern about Ted Kennedy last night.

    What eliminates McCain from serious consideration is his pick of the unknown/cipher Palin. It appears that she is either ignorant or an extremist in some strange religious (belief in witchcraft, the Rapture, Apocalypse) or political (Bircher, Constitution Party) ways. She is being kept well hidden, could not even appear for the post-debate spin last night.

    And McCain is old and has health issues.

    Obama/Biden means mediocre but sensible centrist government at the worst.

    McCain/Palin means Armageddon at the worst.

  8. bq. Obama’s answers sound good only because he promised tons of new spending programs, no cuts, and no sacrifices — and such new spending will simply not be possible in the environment the next President will inherit.

    You’re forgetting the new revenue from increasing tax rates for wealthy Americans.

    Or that the government can borrow money to pay for programs.

    He also specifically mentioned the savings to taxpayers that will come from bringing most of the troops home from Iraq…did you catch that part in the debate?

    So of course the resources to account for new spending proposals can be there if congress and the president want them to be.

    Anyway, this tired old argument means nothing after 8 years of going from a surplus to a huge deficit and massive spending increases which the public now clearly associates with Republicans.

  9. See, you can argue that we need to return to a surplus like under President Clinton, OR you can argue that we can borrow endless amounts of more money for new programs. You don’t get to do both.

    As for savings from the end of the war in Iraq, that depends on how it ends. Move too quickly, and you’ve got a worse problem that will either require new resources (that is, more $$$) or re-destabilize the region, rasing the price of oil ($$$). Yes, the pricetag on Iraq will drop as we win the war, if we do it right and end things responsibly. As long as we don’t throw away the stability we have bought with blood and treasure, and stand down in a practical way, we’ll be in far better shape on that front.

    It is possible, though, to screw it up. As Sen. McCain pointed out, Sen. Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy; and his foreign policy views were consistently less detailed, less well-considered, and based on a detatched and limited grasp of theory rather than on practical experience.

    If Iraq is the thing that is going to save our economy, Sen. McCain is the man for the job. He is the only one of the two who knows what he is doing.

  10. _Simpler metrico: I’ve always liked McCain, but I’ve memorized every Obama talking point and will now repeat them._

    Talking points are often true and therefore unavoidable to state when talking about an issue. There is an easy way to refute the “Obama talking points” about Palin.

    If Palin appears on the talk shows tomorrow morning and dazzles with her mastery of foreign and domestic policy and historical context, I’ll eat my words. She has a chance at the debate, too. But after the Gibson and Couric interviews she appears to be an airhead, which is why she’s being hidden.

    It was a tragedy that McCain wasn’t the GOP nominee in 2000, done in by Rove. But McCain sold his soul in the interim, and the Palin pick is a part of that. If McCain had chosen Ridge, Lieberman, Romney, Hutchinson or Huckabee nobody could say that he has potentially endangered the USA by placing an ignorant person in the line of succession.

    At least I’m honestly supporting Obama, instead of saying I support him and then repeating every McCain/right-wing talking point not so _sotto voce_.

  11. Certainly there is something to be said for honest loyalty. I’m not sure what you see in Sen. Obama that inspires it — he offers no such loyalty of his own, neither to family nor friend nor mentor nor supporter — but it is an admirable trait in you yourself.

  12. why the audience of a hawkish blog like this ought to reconsider their kneejerk support for McCain.

    Marc, you’re welcome to try, but I think you mischaracterized the question here. I certainly am not a knee-jerk supporter of McCain per se, but you could fairly call me a knee-jerk preferrer of McCain over Obama. This election is not about McCain in isolation, it’s about McCain compared to Obama. Substitute Zell Miller or even Lieberman on the D side, and the question becomes very different.

    Metrico, I’m probably violating some rule here in responding, but . . . where on earth do you get the idea that Obama is a centrist? Certainly his voting record doesn’t support that notion.

  13. If McCain had chosen Ridge, Lieberman, Romney, Hutchinson or Huckabee nobody could say that he has potentially endangered the USA by placing an ignorant person in the line of succession.

    If he picked Huckabee? Ignorant–maybe not, but unsuitable? Heck yeah!

  14. bq. If McCain had chosen Ridge, Lieberman, Romney, Hutchinson or Huckabee nobody could say that he has potentially endangered the USA by placing an ignorant person in the line of succession.

    And he probably wouldn’t be running neck and neck with The One, which is of course what’s really got your and the Left’s knickers in a twist about Palin. Equal opportunity is fine until it bites you in the ass, eh? Such tolerance, such an open mind, such liberalism. Feh.

  15. _Equal opportunity is fine until it bites you in the ass, eh? Such tolerance, such an open mind, such liberalism. Feh._

    I have no tolerance for fools running the country. The only way that your “equal opportunity” smear would be valid would be if the Democrats nominated “Gary Coleman”:http://llamabutchers.mu.nu/archives/gary%20coleman%20differnt%20strokes%20movie%20porn%20star%20mary%20carey.jpg who is probably as knowledgeable as Palin is on national issues.

    Palin did give McCain a bump up, but now she appears to be as buoyant for the ticket as an anvil. She is not wearing well.

    As far as “centrism” goes, I’ll quote “James Howard Kunstler:”:http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/

    _The Republicans have wrecked the country._

    Economic ruin through massive borrowing and unregulated greed orgies? Check.

    Subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law? Check.

    Reckless military adventurism and dissipation of military strength? Check.

    Alienation of the rest of the world? Check.

    As Obama said last night, his votes as a “liberal” were mostly votes against Bush policies. By temperament and expressed policies, Obama is a moderate. Congress is (or should be) a check on any wild initiatives. In any event, Obama’s wild initiatives would be in national health care, energy research spending and diplomacy. McCain’s wild initiatives would be in war, war, war with Iran, Syria, and possibly Russia, Venezuela, and God knows, Spain.

    And Palin? Apocalypse Now!

  16. Er, who was going to invade Pakistan again?

    Also, a refusal to consider military options on Iran (say) doesn’t mean that there will be no war. That depends entirely on Iran’s intentions. Adopting a position of weakness or submissiveness can invite attack as much as adopting an overly aggressive position.

    The question is which approach is more likely to restrain Iran v. Israel, v. undermining Iraq, and so forth. Do we adopt a position of no-precondition talks with their leaders, or one of containment? Which one of those positions will actually avoid war?

    The answer depends on whether Iranian leaders are misunderstood people who only want peace, given the chance; or whether they are hostile to American influence in Iraq or to the state of Israel. There is some evidence on that question available that suggests to me that provocative weakness is the more dangerous course, the one more likely to lead to war, and to a worse war.

  17. Again, my predictions have been consistent :

    1) Obama will win by a hair, possibly with less than 50% of the vote. This is because all the swing states are states Bush won in 2004 (CO, VA, NM, NV), so McCain’s ceilig is 279 EVs. He has very little buffer.

    2) However, to McCain’s credit and Obama’s discredit, an election that the Dems could have won by 10 percent will be won only by 1% or so. This is a problem for the new President Obama.

    3) After 3 months, his incompetence and limited skills will show, and his approval rating will drop. While Bush took 5 years for his approval to drop below 50%, Obama will manage this in 3 months.

    4) The far left supporters will go too far, alienating pro-US Democrats like Armed Lieberman to the breaking point.

    5) Thus, the civil war will still happen, but it will be the 10% fifth column left against the 70% pro-US majority (centrist Dems, Repubs, Libertarians), with 20% being uninterested. The fight will just be a short one, and leftists will have a stigma of extremism, anti-Americanism, and abnormality that will take them a generation to live down. Minorities will be free from the enslavement of white leftists.

    6) The GOP regains both houses in 2012. Obama may or may not win re-election, but it will be exceedingly hard given the re-appropriation that will move another 7 EVs to red states. If against Jindal and/or Palin in 2012 (both now having 6 years of Governor experience), Obama will lose.

    7) If Obama manages to hang on in 2012, the 2012-16 period will be good for the Right, as a GOP congress will have its way with a weak Obama.

  18. Well, the US appears to be operating in Pakistan now, and who isn’t in favor of well-planned special operations or a smart bomb to get Bin Laden?

    Iran? First, Bush helped get Ahmedinajad elected. To the extent that the Iranian president has power and influence, Bush undermined the reformist Khatami by refusing to engage with him, despite:

    the Iranians’ help to us in Afghanistan in 2001-02 (see James Dobbins), and

    the Iranians’ request for a deal normalizing relations in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq (see Flint Leverett).

    The rhetoric of the “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002 also helped spur the Iranian nuclear program.

    The Axis of Evil – Iraq, Iran and N. Korea.

    Iraq had no nukes – it got invaded.

    North Korea had nukes – it got aid programs.

    What should Iran do in these circumstances? The nuke program appears to be a rational response to American bellicose rhetoric and real military presence on their borders. Remember “Everybody wants to go to Baghdad, real men want to go to Tehran?”

    Not “engaging” the Iranians seems completely counterproductive. As Obama pointed out last night, Ahmedinejad may not be the person we want to talk to – maybe there is someone in the Council of Guardians like Rafsanjani who can carry the ball.

    The fact is there aren’t many choices other than trying to make a deal. The US military could not take the problems that the Iranians could create in Iraq and Afghanistan if they really put their minds and resources to it. They make enough problems already with minimum effort, just to keep us tied down and prevent what they see as further operations against them.

    The tired old bellicose cant has reached the limits of US military power.

  19. “….nobody could say that he has potentially endangered the USA by placing an ignorant person in the line of succession.”

    Palin is no more ignorant than Obama, and, guess what? PALIN IS RUNNING FOR VP. VP is, in fact, the level of position that someone of Palin/Obama’s experience level should be at. Also, Palin’s ideology is American, while Obama’s is un-American.

    Endangered the USA? But that is what the fifth-column left WANTS, no? So Palin should be your darling, correct?

    If Palin was bad for America, the left would love her. They hate her because she is good for America.

  20. Tell me something, GK. If this is true:

    _1) Obama will win by a hair, possibly with less than 50% of the vote._

    How can this be true:

    _Obama’s [ideology] is un-American_?

    Either you believe half of American voters adhere to an unamerican ideology, in which case, it would be hard to justify the label; or you believe half of American voters are too stupid to recognize an unamerican ideology, which would give the adjective “American” quite a different meaning than the one you intend.

  21. mark,

    The two are not contradictory. There is a sizable block of the population that will just vote ‘Democrat’ whether it is a hawk like Zell Miller, or a weirdo like Dennis Kucinnich.

    This block is not politically mature. They just vote ‘Democrat’ no matter where on the ideological spectrum the Democrat is. The reasons for this are too lengthy to get into here.

    The Republican voter block, being more economically successful and politically mature, does not have this issue. There is certainly an Evangelical Christian voter block, but it is not a ‘Republican’ voter block, as 30-40% of them vote Democrat. Evangelical white Christians, multi-millionaires, rural gun-owners, etc. are far less welded to the GOP than African Americans or Urban Leftists are to the Democrats.

    In other words, a big chunk of the Democratic vote tally is comprised of a few small groups that vote 90% Democrat (blacks, San Franciscans, Manhattanites, college students, etc.), while the GOP vote total is comprised of much larger groups that vote 65% GOP. No major group votes more than 70% for the GOP, but there are groups that vote 90% Democrat.

    Thus, it is very hard for the GOP to get less than 48% of the popular vote in a two-party contest, while it is very hard for the Democrats to get more than 50% of the popular vote (which Democrats have not done since 1976, and even then, it was just 50.1%).

  22. _Well, the US appears to be operating in Pakistan now, and who isn’t in favor of well-planned special operations or a smart bomb to get Bin Laden?_

    Bin Laden, I expect.

    That said, Pakistan is in a very delicate place just at the moment. We have to tred most lightly there to keep it from spinning apart. I’d love to see us fetch Bin Laden out of his hole, but not at the price of destabilizing a nuclear power.

    _The fact is there aren’t many choices other than trying to make a deal. The US military could not take the problems that the Iranians could create in Iraq and Afghanistan if they really put their minds and resources to it. They make enough problems already with minimum effort, just to keep us tied down and prevent what they see as further operations against them._

    Well, no, there are military options with Iran. Iran is actually quite vulnerable in several areas, both to military and economic pressures. Perhaps one of the most obvious is its gasoline refinery situation.

    As for what kind of trouble they could create in Iraq if they put their minds to it, I was on the receiving end of a few 300 pound Iranian-made rockets earlier this year, and _quite a few_ of their lighter 107mm rockets last year. Their smuggling efforts were intense enough to arrange huge numbers of explosively formed projectile IEDs, massive rockets, lots of smaller rockets, mortars, and a flow of people to be trained in the use of these weapons. They did everything they could do, pushing right up against the threshhold at which it would be impossible to deny that they were waging war against America in Iraq.

    I don’t get the concept that Iran has somehow been patient and gentle. What they’ve been doing is trying to kill as many American soldiers as possible. “As many as possible” means _avoiding_ a war with America, as we could very quickly reduce their state to a nonfunctional status; therefore, this war-by-proxy is in fact their maximal strategy. Escalating their efforts to a conventional war would be a losing proposition for them: here, they’ve managed to kill quite a few of our fellow Americans without suffering retaliation.

    They get away with that because we don’t want a war with Iran, so we take the punches and turn the other cheek. But it’s not us that’s being ‘bellicose,’ and it’s not them that’s being patient.

  23. Armed Lieberman :

    “My support for Obama is still strongly there, if eroded (more by his issues with free speech and my disdain for many of his supporters than anything else). ”

    Same here. I didn’t become a ‘Republican’ and am still registered as an Independent, rather I was hugely turned off by the fifth-column left, a left I didn’t even know existed until late 2001.

    So what are you going to do about those supporters? You can either move away from them, or fight. You said you want to fight (against metrico and his ilk), but how will you do it? And how do you expect to make headway in that fight?

    I want you to win that fight. I want Democrats to become sane far more than I want the GOP to win, as a better Dem party would improve the GOP as well, by forcing the GOP to compete on ideas rather than simply win by waiting for the far left to alienate the middle.

    But I don’t see how you have any more chance than a pea-shooter against iron. How will you fight?

  24. #19 GK:

    _3) After 3 months, his incompetence and limited skills will show, and his approval rating will drop. While Bush took 5 years for his approval to drop below 50%, Obama will manage this in 3 months._

    Your predictions 1 and 2 are plausible, 4 and onward are a nice fantasy but little more, but this one I’d like to counter.

    Bush’s approval ratings were already approaching the 50% mark in his first 6 months. The only thing that makes your statement technically true is that 9/11 happened when it did. Bush was at 53% the day before.

    “Approval Ratings”:http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm

    A 90% approval rating is not real, it is a collective decision to back the recognized leader in a time of crisis. And look at where it was the day before the Iraq war? Below 55% again. After that, the entire course of the Bush presidency has been a series of military events staving off the inevitable collapse of his national support.

  25. “4 and onward are a nice fantasy but little more, but this one I’d like to counter.”

    Why is something that is unpleasant for you a ‘fantasy’?

    At any rate, Bush did not dip below 50% until 2005. He came close, but didn’t dip below it for the first 5 years. Both Reagan and Clinton dropped to the mid-30s early in their Presidencies, but Bush didn’t until much later.

    Obama will struggle to stay above 50%. This, I guarantee.

    “After that, the entire course of the Bush presidency has been a series of military events staving off the inevitable collapse of his national support.”

    By that logic, he should have shot missiles at supposed Al-Qaeda targets in Sudan and Afghanistan, and then proceed to bomb Iraq in 1998 on account of Saddam’s WMD programs, to distract people from his impeachment hearings. Oh, wait, wrong President…….

    None of Bush’s military actions were without full justification, Senate approval, and UN Resolutions. If bombing to get his approval ratings high were his priority, he could do that even now. In fact, he disallowed Israel from attacking Iran.

  26. GK,

    I have two items for you.

    1. I’m in a similar mind as you, at least on the big-picture level (cf. your predictions.) Indeed I’m being mocked over at Crooked Timber right now for making the general point that demonizing our opponents could lead in that direction.

    But your #5 is a bit too abrupt for me–at least if I understand you to be saying an actual hot, shooting civil war or attempt at the same. It’s plausible to posit some urban rioting after an Obama loss, perhaps, though that wouldn’t qualify as Civil War™ unless it spread a lot farther than that. But in the middle of an Obama term? I just can’t see the mechanism or occasioning incident for that. So could you please elaborate on that aspect a bit?

    2. Certainly the Dem’s regaining sanity would be better than what we have now. But even better would be for the Dems to come apart, so the R’s could do the same, and we could have a large-scale realignment of voters. (I just want it w/o a shooting war, please!) It’s not that I have any personal animus toward the D’s as individuals, but rather that’s where the real leftists, to they extent that they are engaged in practical politics rather than wasting their time with Nader, the Greens, etc, hang out. Getting them out of the D coalition, and into museum-piece status, would do wonderful thing for our national politics.

  27. “To be honest, these two candidates are better men than they are showing us in this campaign.”

    When it comes to Obama, what is that based on exactly? Is it a feeling? Some sort of “inside” information?

    Whatever the source of your confidence is, it cannot be empirical in nature.

  28. GK,

    I see. So, in your view black people are neither successful nor politically mature…at least not the 90% of them that vote for Democrats (I gather the other 10% are those _good_ blacks I often hear about). I guess that in your view to vote for a Democrat is an act of political immaturity almost by definition. I’m not entirely convinced of the maturity of this view.

    I think, too, that the belief that most of the people who are going to vote for Obama, despite and perhaps unaware of his un-American ideology, are politically immature is really much the same as a belief that they are stupid, which is what I suggested in the first place.

    There remains, of course, the staggeringly unrealistic possibility that Obama’s ideology is _not_, after all, un-American. But since he’s a Democratic-voting black man, maybe, in his political immaturity, he is simply unaware of his own un-Americanism.

    I also have a small problem (and had a good laugh) with your view of Manhattanites being neither successful nor politically mature inasmuch as I live in Manhattan and, looking around, see an awful lot of economically successful people. In fact, GK (& you may not realize this), it’s awfully hard to live in Manhattan without being economically successful. I think the same is somewhat true with SF. You may want to reconsider your “block” theory.

  29. _At any rate, Bush did not dip below 50% until 2005. He came close, but didn’t dip below it for the first 5 years. Both Reagan and Clinton dropped to the mid-30s early in their Presidencies, but Bush didn’t until much later._

    Actually, he dipped below it for quite a while, starting at the end of 2003/beginning of 2004 — 3 years, not 5. But that’s beside the point: The only thing that kept him there that long was the process of frittering away the free goodwill that comes with being president during a crisis — including the later crises he created himself. Your joke about Clinton is just ironic: Bush learned that exact lesson (and the lesson from his father’s choice to end the Gulf War when he did) in spades, and applied it well.

    _If Palin was bad for America, the left would love her. They hate her because she is good for America._

    And that’s the kind of attitude that’s been toxifying our country for the past decade. May it go out of style soon.

    As for your entire theory (#24) about massive blocks of americans blindly voting for democrats out of ignorance — how is that any less offensive than liberals saying the same about ‘politically immature’ Kansans? Except that it’s politically correct to mock ‘coastal’ states while the midwest is sacrosanct.

  30. This is why AL is right:Former GOP presidential candidate John McCain called for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina Statehouse on Wednesday, acknowledging that his refusal to take such a stance during his primary battle for the Palmetto State was a “sacrifice of principle for personal ambition.”
    “link”:http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/04/19/mccain.sc/

    We will see it on abortion, honor, taking care of the veterans needs support for Phil Gramm’s deregulation of financial derivitives, his own support for deregulation and lastly Gov Palin. A total admission he sacrificed principle for personal ambition. Then at last people like this, will wonder what took everyone so long.
    “Mike Scruggs”:http://offthegridgirls.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/the-confederate-flag-is-offensive-sen-john-mccain/

  31. “But your #5 is a bit too abrupt for me–at least if I understand you to be saying an actual hot, shooting civil war or attempt at the same.”

    No, this will be a mostly nonviolent cultural ‘civil war’. There will be occasional vandalism by leftists, but that is it.

    The main reason it will be nonviolent is that the hate-filled genocidal side is not armed, and the armed/trained/ex-military vet side is not hate-filled to the extend of wanting to kill the other side.

    However, there will be a couple of isolated instances of a school/college shooting of a Columbine/VTech vein, where the shooter claims the atrocity is justifiable to reduce the ‘footprint’ of humans on the planet, and it is better to kill young people who are not yet of reproductive age. There will even be some ACLU/ELF people who defend the action. This will be what sets the cold civil war off. Everyday families with kids, even if they are Democrats, will reach the breaking point.

    It will be very analogous to when Al-Qaeda in Iraq started killing Iraqis, so the Iraqis turned on them. Our cold civil war will be less violent, but nearly identical in sentiment.

  32. mark,

    I should have qualified the NY and SF statement with the adjective pre-fix “unwealthy”.

    The wealthy of NY and the SFBA still vote GOP. “Hedge Fund managers in NY prefer the GOP by a 61-29 margin, as per the New Yorker.”:http://nymag.com/news/features/2007/hedgefunds/30341/index2.html

    In the tech industry, Bush beat Kerry by a 52/48 margin in 2004, and this includes those at the bottom of the corporate ladder. If you sample only middle and upper management, Bush did much better.

    “Billionaires across America voted for Bush over Kerry by a 72 to 28 margin, as per Forbes. “:http://www.forbes.com/free_forbes/2004/1011/068a.html?rl04You hear about George Soros or Ted Turner’s leftism, but not about Michael Dell or Bill Gates’ donations to Bush in 2004.

    “As we know, Democrats only have a majority of those who earn less than $30K a year. The GOP has a majority of those who earn over $50K a year (and thus includes most of the middle class). “:http://www.singularity2050.com/2006/06/a_take_on_the_l.html

    So I gave you solid links to prove the position.

  33. GK, It may come as a surprise to you that not all wealthy people in Manhattan are (or should we say “were”) hedge fund managers and not all wealthy San Franciscans work in the tech industry. Both cities vote overwhelmingly democratic on a regular basis, not just the few un-wealthy. So, again, your “block” theory needs some adjustments.

    Billionaires constitute such a tiny percentage of Americans (there are less than 500 of them, after all) its kind of silly to bring them up, don’t you think?

    According to the chart you are using to justify your position, 42% of Americans earning between 100k and 200k voted for Bush over Kerry (the category only represents 15% of Americans). This hardly proves the position that economically wealthy people vote Republican. Over 4 in 10 apparently don’t.

    I think what your chart proves is that on the whole people _tend_ to perceive the Republican party as serving the interests of the wealthy, although this tendency is not very strong except at the extremes (the bottom 8% and the top 5%). This may actually suggest a great deal of political maturity on the majority’s part and rather contradicts your theory.

    The basis of your theory still remains iffy. That most people who vote Democratic do so in an unthinking, reflexive manner, while most of those who vote Republican do so thoughtfully, which is why Americans will elect a president with an un-American ideology. I’d say it’s back to the drawingboard for you.

  34. #33:

    We’ve spoken enough that I have come to know that you have a deep-seated negative feeling about the Confederacy and the battle flag. That’s something you’ve voiced consistently for years.

    Here I see you siding with a Southern writer who is pro-Confederate flag, and chiefly angry at Sen. McCain for not being anti-immigration. However, at the moment he’s saying something you’d like people to believe, so he’s an ally.

    How does this differ from what you’re accusing Sen. McCain of doing — that is, putting the advancement of your preferred politician over your personal principles? If Sen. McCain is wrong to set aside his personal dislike of the Confederat flag and side with pro-Confederate flag Southerners to gain a momentary political advantage, why are you right to do so?

  35. “Both cities vote overwhelmingly democratic on a regular basis, not just the few un-wealthy. ”

    “On what proof do you base this? Nationwide, people who earn over $200K voted 63% for Bush (see table)”:http://www.singularity2050.com/2006/06/a_take_on_the_l.html

    You have yet to provide proof that NY and SF people who earn over $200K a year are significantly different.

    “not all wealthy people in Manhattan are (or should we say “were”) hedge fund managers ”

    Indeed, Giuliani, Trump, Bloomberg, etc. are Manhattan-based non-Wall Street McCain supporters.

    Nationwide, Billionaires voted 72% for Bush, and only 28% for Kerry. This includes NY/SF billionaires.

    “Billionaires constitute such a tiny percentage of Americans ”

    Which is why I bring up the much larger group of people who earn above $200K or even $100K – a point you are avoiding.

    I challenge you to prove that those earning over $200K in NY or SFBA vote Democratic as a majority. I think they don’t.

    “Over 4 in 10 apparently don’t.”

    And 6 in 10 do. Elections are about majorities, you know. This proves my point.

    A MAJORITY of those earning over $200K a year, even in NY and SF, support the GOP. Prove otherwise, if you can.

  36. McCain was best when he was McCain. He will lose the election because he has been seduced by a campaign staff that has put him in a straight jacket. All the charm that McCain had 8 years ago is being purposely squelched by the campaign.

    There were flashes last night when McCain seemed to be enjoying himself which is when he is at his best. But you could almost see him pulling physically against the restraints the campaign has put on him.

    I don’t know how McCain can win, now. After the county sees Palin for 2 hours non stop, it will be impossible to win.

    Obama didn’t do anything special that I could see. He is an incredibly graceful and elegant man and well spoken, but that is about it.

    McCain’s antics leading up to the debate infuriated me since I think he probably blew any chance he had running around the country like a chicken without a head. His palace coup against Bush was ill conceived and not ultimately good for the party. I think these actions were thought up by the Bullet. they didn’t work.

    McCain should throw out that play book from here on in, relax and have some fun. The frustrated guy we saw for part of the debate should be shelved. He is much more appealing when he smiles.

  37. What I don’t understand is how anyone who considers himself a Liberal can support a campaign that resorts to this:

    The Barack Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign.

    I honestly don’t know which is worse, Obama using these tactics, or that so many local officials in Missouri are willing to become thought police.

    Governor Blont understands what’s wrong with this picture:

    “St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

    “What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

    For me this is a very bright line. I really wanted to like Obama, because I liked the sound of what he was selling last year. But this sort of thing is most definitely not change I can believe in.

  38. It’s pretty easy, really, GK. Manhattan is the wealthiest county in the US. Every single city council member (including those representing the wealthy districts) and every single US congressman (including those representing the wealthy districts) is a democrat. Manhattan, the wealthiest county in the US, voted for 81.7% for Kerry and only 16% for Bush. Either the wealthy people in Manhattan don’t vote or they vote mostly Democratic.

    It is true that people in Manhattan vote nearly 90% democrat, as you initially suggested. Unfortunately for your argument, Manhattan has the highest concentration of financially successful people in the country. Nice try, though.

  39. #21 from GK at 11:06 pm on Sep 27, 2008

    Palin is no more ignorant than Obama,

    You can’t possibly believe that.
    I feel sorry for the woman. She is being used and I believe that fact is now dawning on her. I would not be surprised if she broke down in the debate with Biden. I also think Biden will go very easy on her.

  40. “Vista (#1) when you ask what bothers me, just watch this video.”

    Indeed. Until late 2001, I had no idea such a fifth column could even exist in America.

    But wait, at some point, the leftists in that Manhatten video (most of whom earn less than $100K a year, as the high income people were more likely to be pro-US), will go too far…..

    They will go further than just yelling and making vulgar gestures. They will consider using violence against pro-US people…..

    As Clint Eastwood would say, “Go Ahead, Make My Day”.

    Leftists will start getting violent. It will be minor at first.

    But someday, a deranged ‘environmental’ leftist will even shoot up a school and justify it as reducing the environmental footprint of humans in general and normal Americans in particular. Some ACLU/PETA/ELF advocate will defend it as a necessary environmental action.

    When leftists start justifying the culling of other people’s children for ‘environmental’ reasons, then normal, everyday Dem/GOP/Ind Americans will react. Powerfully and decisively (but not violently). The quick backlash will result in leftists earning a stigma of derangement/hatred/weirdness that they will not live down for decades.

    It won’t be pretty. But this is exactly what will happen (whether Obama wins or loses).

  41. _The Barack Obama campaign is asking Missouri law enforcement to target anyone who lies or runs a misleading TV ad during the presidential campaign._

    Okay, I watched the video, and I’m not real clear on what is being described here. That lede implies that the campaign is threatening legal action against political speech. The rest of the video seems to be describing an Obama ‘rapid response’ operation that just happens to employ several people who are in law enforcement in Missouri.

    Maybe you can clarify this, can you point to an actual legal threat by the Obama campaign? Or is the problem that you think the involvement of people who work in law enforcement in a political campaign is improper? Having political teams that try to respond to your opponent’s ads is certainly normal operating procedure…

    I don’t even see an implied threat here from the Obama campaign. The way the first lines of the news segment WORDS it does seem to be implying that, but they don’t back it up with anything. Is there more to this? Right now I just see it as a misleading news report.

  42. _Their smuggling efforts were intense enough to arrange huge numbers of explosively formed projectile IEDs, massive rockets, lots of smaller rockets, mortars, and a flow of people to be trained in the use of these weapons. They did everything they could do, pushing right up against the threshhold at which it would be impossible to deny that they were waging war against America in Iraq._

    _I don’t get the concept that Iran has somehow been patient and gentle._

    I dispute the “massive rockets” and “huge numbers” hyperbole, but what about this:

    I suspect that you flew on helicopters during your time in Iraq. It’s the main mode of transportation for US personnel between FOBs, BIAP, the IZ, etc., right?

    How many helicopters were shot down in Iraq during your tour?

    If you can smuggle 107s and 240s and IEDs, you can smuggle MANPADs in too, right?

    There have been very few helicopters shot down in Iraq relative to the number of scheduled and unscheduled missions every day.

    That is one indication that the Iranians have been restrained.

  43. AL: Here’s something that may amuse you as you remember your lawyer acquaintance’s diatribe about the McCain campaign being no more than a Rovian plot to place Palin the Presidency a few months after McCain takes office. He was repeating, almost verbatim the paranoid fantasies of a certain Naomi Wolf as they appeared on September 22, in the “Huffington Post”.
    “Text to display”:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/the-battle-plan-ii-sarah_b_128393.html

    bq. I believe the Rove-Cheney cabal is using Sarah Palin as a stalking horse, an Evita figure, to put a popular, populist face on the coming police state and be the talk show hostess for the end of elections as we know them. If McCain-Palin get in, this will be the last true American election. She will be working for Halliburton, KBR, Rove and Cheney into the foreseeable future — for a decade perhaps — a puppet “president” for the same people who have plundered our treasure, are now holding the US economy hostage and who murdered four thousand brave young men and women in a way of choice and lies.

    One symptom of having drunk the Kool-Aid is the loss of ability to think for oneself.

  44. I will note that there is one condition that would occasion an honest-to-goodness civil war with shooting and all the rest that we are currently disturbingly close to. (There are a number of others, that we are much further from.)

    If one side begins to criminalize disagreement on policy, and put the other party’s members on trial for their beliefs, or otherwise use the criminal justice system against them, then the side that the government is persecuting will be justified in rising up, and would almost certainly do so. Given that many of Obama’s supporters have already been attempting to do this by getting broadcast licenses canceled and the like, and that there have been suggestions (serious suggestions) floated of trying Bush administration officials for “war crimes,” this is not as far fetched as it needs to be.

  45. mark,

    You have failed miserably in your attempt to rebut my points.

    Once again, the MAJORITY of people who earn over $200K in Manhattan and SF vote for the GOP. You have yet to provide any data proving otherwise (because deep down, you know it is true). The majority may be only 51%, but that is still an majority.

    The 82% who vote Democrat have generally lower incomes. The 18% who vote for the GOP have much higher incomes.

    I have provided many links to support this, and you have provided none to counter this. Period.

  46. _When leftists start justifying the culling of other people’s children for ‘environmental’ reasons, then normal, everyday Dem/GOP/Ind Americans will react. Powerfully and decisively (but not violently). The quick backlash will result in leftists earning a stigma of derangement/hatred/weirdness that they will not live down for decades._

    The people you’re describing have as much relevance to the Democratic Party as Fred Phelps and his family do. Which is to say, none. It feels good to denounce them, but if you think they have anything to do with Obama or the choice in front of us in November, you’re simply delusional. I guess it’s an easy way to avoid having to think about the real issues at stake.

  47. “The people you’re describing have as much relevance to the Democratic Party as Fred Phelps and his family do.”

    Not really. Look at the video in AL’s #38 comment.

    The hostilities may be just verbal now, but pretty soon, it will become worse.

    These are not the people who will shoot up a school. But some of them will defend it for ‘environmental’ reasons. The people in that video are to the real leftist nuts what the average Saudi is to Al-Qaeda, or what Eichmann was to Himmler and Hitler. Not an active participant, but a tacit approver.

    You will never, even see an Obama rally treated this way anywhere in America. Even outside a GOP fundraiser or NRA convention. Never.

    This is why I am not a Democrat. I cannot be in the same party as such abhorrent people. Armed Lieberman has a somewhat higher tolerance than me (for now).

  48. Jeff Medcalf :

    “I will note that there is one condition that would occasion an honest-to-goodness civil war with shooting and all the rest that we are currently disturbingly close to. ”

    I’m not sure that would cause violence. It would cause kangaroo court battles like we see in Canada, but I don’t think it would cause a violent civil war.

    But the culling of other people’s children in schools, as decided by enviro-leftists, WILL do it. And we are disturbingly close to that as well. Just one or two such incidents will trigger it, in a manner analogous to how Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination lit the wick of the bomb to start WWI.

  49. I don’t understand the big thing about the video.

    People are justifiably angry at the Republican Party. They have destroyed the dollar, to start with. These are just citizens expressing their opinion. In the part that I watched, there was no violence. The video attempts, as so much right-wing propaganda does, to excite hatred against pointy-headed “intellectuals,” ignoring the fact that even on the Upper West Side, you will find much more ordinary people on the street.

    Of course, to AL this is some evil thing, expressing displeasure with the party that wrecked America. Never pass up an opportunity to propagate a right-wing talking point against Obama, while claiming to support Obama.

  50. _I dispute the “massive rockets” and “huge numbers” hyperbole…_

    Well, duly noted, but I was there. You are not going to convince me that a 300 pound rocket is not “massive.” If you ever get the opportunity to be nearby when one strikes, though, let me know how your experience measures up.

    On the other hand, the 107s are pretty small. (Makes them easy to smuggle).

    As for the numbers, there are “nearly two thousand”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft%3A*%3AIE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7DKUS&q=iranian+cache+site%3A.mil press releases from the military citing “iranian” in conjunction with “cache,” the usual term of art. Some of them refer to groups that have received Iranian training, some of them for Iranian weapons.

    _How many helicopters were shot down in Iraq during your tour? If you can smuggle 107s and 240s and IEDs, you can smuggle MANPADs in too, right?_

    Just because they don’t do it very well doesn’t mean they don’t try it. We encountered regular attempts to shoot down our helicopters — including some fairly clever ones I won’t describe in detail. However, these rarely (though occasionally) involved rockets, as Saddam had laid in huge numbers of Soviet-type portable antiaircraft machine guns of the ZPU type.

    MANPADs aren’t ideal for shooting down helicopters, according to a USMC LAAD gunner I know; apparently they’re fairly difficult to target with them compared to fixed-wing aircraft. I remember him talking about training in doing it, but it was a low-probability option. And that’s with US-made MANPADs, which are better than the Iranian ones; and with US military training in a safe environment where you can take enough time to get it right, not training irregulars in a hurry in secret.

    So, it’s most likely that Iran hasn’t been sending them because (a) they don’t work that well, and (b) there was plenty of anti-aircraft machinegun capacity available that didn’t require smuggling, that require less skill to operate, and that offer a dual use in providing support fire, and (c) that machinegun capacity could be used without leaving telltale trails. That they haven’t shot down any more helicopters than they have isn’t for lack of trying — it’s because we take that risk extremely seriously, and take numerous precautions where it is concerned.

    All of this is going rather far off topic (I guess: the debate was on foreign policy, so maybe it’s on topic?). Still, just for the record, there’s a lot going on that doesn’t make the papers.

    Or there was, several months ago. I hear it’s gotten fairly quiet these days. That’s why I agree that — so long as the stand-down is handled responsibly, in a patient fashion, by people who know what they are doing — we can see that ‘peace dividend’ we’d all very much like to see.

  51. “People are justifiably angry at the Republican Party….”

    Ah…the slippery slope of ‘justifying’ indecent behavior towards fellow citizens starts……

    Right now, it is just namecalling, middle fingers, and keying cars with McCain stickers. Soon, bottles will be thrown (which metrico also will justify). After that, beating up the kids of a GOP politician at school…..

    This is already like Germany around 1933. We know what gets ‘justified’ once a few more years of this slippery slope continues. Fortunately, it won’t come to that, as the victims are armed this time.

    You will never, ever see an Obama rally treated this way anywhere in America. Even outside a GOP fundraiser or NRA convention. Never.

  52. “They have destroyed the dollar, to start with. ”

    Another reason I am not a metrico-style leftists. I don’t avoid knowledge to the necessary degree.

    “How has the dollar been ‘destroyed’ when it is the same price vs. the Yen as in 2000?”:http://tinyurl.com/5yrosk

    Japan is our largest trading partner, and the second largest economy in the world.

    [GK, the URL you posted had embedded characters that Movable Type didn’t know how to deal with. I substituted a tinyurl. –NM]

  53. Whatever. Yeah we’ve earned so much more, huh?

    I rode to work today with a profound sense that nothing I do makes a damn bit of difference to anyone… and that comports fairly well with the feedback I’ve been getting. But there was this fortyish woman on the metro with a huge wart on the end of her nose, and she had a small satchel with a miniature albino hedgehog named “Priscilla” in it. All the kids on the train car were transfixed. Priscilla, who looked like a miniature white porcupine snowball, was pulled out for camera shots, and she blinked each time the flashes went off… in a way that’s just so damn cute it’s impossible to relate. The little pink face was almost human. The entire train car full of 5 to 10 year olds was in the grip of a spiritual transformation… and even geezers like me sort of forgot about the whole “Fannie/Freddie Thang”. I’d rather be that woman with the nose wart than anyone else I know. Relate, much?

    There won’t be any “bailout,” by the way.

    Those candidates just knock my socks off. Really. Like a pair of cloned slugs.

  54. GK (#34): ah, ok, if you don’t mean literal war, then certainly–it’s going to get worse for the foreseeable future. By “worse” I don’t necessarily mean the wrong side winning, but that the divisions will increase.

    FWIW, I tend to reserve the term “Civil War” for actual war–you know, war war, with lots of shooting and stuff. If your #5 had just talked about an intensification of the Culture Wars, including the left side justifying random criminal violence, it would have been clearer to all (or perhaps just clearer to me.)

    AL (#38): does that really work? I’ll have to try it sometime! :-)

  55. _Japan is our largest trading partner, and the second largest economy in the world._

    Funny you picked the long-stagnant Yen to compare with the dollar, and then backed up the choice with inaccuracies.

    What about the Brazilian Real? That is a significant example of a currency that has apppreciated a lot against the dollar during the Bush years.

    What about the Euro? First, the Eurozone has a much bigger economy than Japan, and as an entity with its own Central Bank qualifies as an economy under unified governance. Second, it has appreciated a lot against the dollar and is on the verge of becoming the world’s reserve currency. Third, the price of oil and other commodities has risen because of the weak dollar. Those prices will continue to rise until debt is under control.

  56. GK (#54): I thought the Stinger was the scourge of the Hind in Afghanistan. All else (e.g. exhaust deflection and other heat-signature-reducing measures) being equal, a slow-moving target shouldn’t be harder to hit than a faster-moving one, so why should helicopters be inherently less susceptible to MANPADs in general?

  57. The rest of the video seems to be describing an Obama ‘rapid response’ operation that just happens to employ several people who are in law enforcement in Missouri.

    Oh, please. “I just happen to employ lots of people with guns, and have access to as many lawyers as I need to make your life miserable, and I’m here to tell you that I think the ad that says Obama thinks those who cling to guns and religion are beneath his contempt is factually incorrect, and also employs racist imagery in violation of the Voting Rights Act. I’m going to have to ask you politely to pull it, and please tell me everything you know about the parties that produced it.”

    Yep, I’m totally buying this post-partisan thing.

  58. Grim, I’m not buying it. With the regular routes of helicopters around the FOBs of Iraq, it would be pretty easy to wait near a FBO LZ and shoot a MANPAD at a helicopter.

    Even if an Iranian MANPAD will not have a 100% kill percentage, it is still a huge threat.

    MANPADs are more expensive than 107 and 240mm dumb rockets, which is one reason the Iranians have not deployed them, but they are smaller and therefore easier to smuggle than 240s and could be much more effective.

    If the Iranians wanted to shoot down 2 or more helicopters a day by firing 10 or more MANPADs along our helicopter routes, they could.

    If they shot down two helicopters a day, a lot of operations in Iraq would cease.

    And what about guided anti-armor missiles? They could be a lot more effective than active or passive IEDs of any type, but there has been little or no use of advanced laser or wire-guided missiles in Iraq, and the Iranians have them, too.

    Are you now going to tell me about how guided anti-tank missiles are not that accurate?

    If Iran is bombed by the US or Israel, there will be a lot more dangerous stuff happening in Iraq. The Iranians have free reign in the south of Iraq, and could probably use not only some of the Shia militias, but also units of the Iraqi Army and National Police as proxies against us.

  59. The problem your analysis is facing is that it assumes Iran is willing to pass the threshhold beyond which it would face full conventional attacks by the US government on its homeland. As I said above, that is not their best strategy: they gain little and lose very much.

    If they shot down ‘two helicopters a day,’ which I seriously doubt they could do — as I noted, we take a number of precautions on this score which you may not be aware of, including our unmanned ISR overwatch of major routes — they would quickly find themselves at war. In the first few days of the war, they would lose their air force and armor assets, which would require a tremendous capital investment to replace. They would be under economic embargo w.r.t. gasoline shipments, on which their economy relies. Probably we would not destroy their own minimal native capacity to refine gasoline, but we certainly could do so, a fact that they would have to consider in making these decisions.

    In addition, their proxies in the police and Army in Iraq have been degraded considerably over the last little while. The Army is not loyal to _us_, but it is loyal to the central government in a way it was not even nine months ago. The short war with al Sadr’s faction purged the Army of units not willing to support commands unpleasant to Iran — indeed, it also purged Sadr’s faction of units like that. Both the Mehdi Army and the Iraqi military are cleaner than before the conflict, because both sides to that conflict found out who was resisting orders and cleared the decks.

    Iran has been doing what it can to resist our efforts in Iraq. It is not in a position to take the open-war road, and knows it; but that could change once Iran becomes a nuclear power. That is why Sen. Obama’s apparent blase sensibility about that issue is a critical weakness. Iran _could_ be a big problem, if it were freed from any concern that it might face military retribution on its homeland. Until that happens, they are restrained in a way they will no longer be when they can credibly threaten major cities.

    Of course, all that assumes (as I tend to) that Iran is a reasonable power, not a suicide state bent on destroying Israel and bringing about the end of the world. There are some open-source reasons to doubt that analysis — the expensive refurbishment of the mosque at which the 12th Imam is supposed to appear ‘soon,’ for example — but I still believe that the Iranian government is rational and simply attempting to resist American influence and further its own in the region.

  60. _The rest of the video seems to be describing an Obama ‘rapid response’ operation that just happens to employ several people who are in law enforcement in Missouri._

    What I frankly found more disturbing was the PR firm Dr. Shackleford identified running astroturf ads against McCain-Palin, which “just happens” “to be tied to the highest levels of a foreign government.”:http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/palin-smears-and-the-strange-case-of-winner-associates/

  61. Grim

    Your argument is without merit. Please reread the article. The author accuses McCain of across the board hypocriscy in everything he does. He accuses him of talking down to Southerners and flipflopping on every issue. I agree.
    John McCain is without honor and liar. His actions long ago no longer can be used to justify his current actions.
    As to the flag you love so much and the culture it represents is without redemption or honor. The men whom fought under it did for one reason only to keep a way of life that could only be sustained by holding other men as chattel. They chose only one kind of men. And you find positivity in that.

    As to a civil war I have no idea where that comes from. We are always going to have a loony left and rumpot right. They will always be right where they belong, on the fringes. It will always be upsetting to hear from them but the consititution allows them to talk.
    As to violent action that unfortunately currently belongs to therumpot right. Timothy McVeigh is still responsible for the deaths of more Americans than any other domestic terrorist. Anyone here want to make argument he is a loony leftist?

  62. _Oh, please. “I just happen to employ lots of people with guns, and have access to as many lawyers as I need to make your life miserable, and I’m here to tell you that I think the ad that says Obama thinks those who cling to guns and religion are beneath his contempt is factually incorrect, and also employs racist imagery in violation of the Voting Rights Act. I’m going to have to ask you politely to pull it, and please tell me everything you know about the parties that produced it.”_

    Two things. One, are you really saying it’s the ‘anti-gun’ left that folks on the right are always implying is going to regret its opposition to widespread gun ownership when ‘the revolution’ comes and they realize they’re the only ones unarmed, who are now making some kind of ‘we’ll shoot the republicans’ threat? Please.

    Two, I just went back and listened to the entire segment again, and I suggest you do the same. The ‘We’ve got all these law enforcement officers and we’re going to punish speech’ implication is entirely being pushed by the reporter. The actual quotes from the two people they interview are:

    “…we’re here to respond to any character attacks, to set the record straight.”
    “…if they’re not going to tell the truth, then somebody’s got to step up and say ‘that’s not true, this is the truth.'”

    Both of which are entirely unobjectionable. Not a hint of ‘We’re gonna throw Republicans in jail.’ All the statements about ‘law enforcement across missouri’ are being injected by the news station. The reporter noticed that there were a couple of sheriffs and DAs that were involved with the campaign, and decided to make a big deal about it. Note that he doesn’t push that angle to the people being interviewed. They don’t know what the angle of the piece is going to be. They’re giving standard talking points.

    Find me an actual campaign source that talks about lining up law enforcement to prosecute their opponents and I’ll give this a little more credit. As it is, I see no evidence being offered here other than a local reporter’s bias.

    I mean, listen to what the reporter is claiming. ‘Law enforcement from across Missouri are joining the Barack Obama Truth Squad’. Obama is from Illinois. If the claims were about Chicago law enforcement it would at least be plausible, albeit still paranoid and ridiculous, but at least Chicago is where you could make a claim that Obama’s ‘power base’ is. But Missouri? It’s polling for McCain. It’s MISSOURI. What reason would ‘law enforcement across Missouri’ have to back some kind of chilling anti-free-speech bid on the part of the Obama campaign.

    It’s silly.

  63. We “had this discussion already,”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/palin_vs_the_editors_bay.php Robert, and recently enough that I see no reason to repeat it. When you demonstrate that you understand what honor might be, I’ll debate it with you again; otherwise, I think we’re finished on that point.

    You didn’t, however, answer the question in the slightest. How is it wrong for Sen. McCain to embrace Confederate-flag loving Southerners for political gain, but right for you to do so? I’m not really defending McCain here, I just want to know why it’s right for you to stand up with these guys when you find them on your side, but it’s bad for him to do it.

    I’m guessing it’s because you feel you’re adequately rude to them, so that no one will mistake you for a friend as well as a supporter of their current argument. Something like that?

  64. _If they shot down ‘two helicopters a day,’ which I seriously doubt they could do — as I noted, we take a number of precautions on this score which you may not be aware of, including our unmanned ISR overwatch of major routes — they would quickly find themselves at war. In the first few days of the war, they would lose their air force and armor assets, which would require a tremendous capital investment to replace._

    My argument is that if the US or Israel bombs Iran, we will “quickly find [our]selves at war” and that the Iranians have all those ways of retaliating against us I described and more, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

    Faith in American omnipotence and omniscience is not realism. Realism is recognizing where we are and how only threatening the Iranians instead of talking to them have got us here. Their nuke program is a rational response to Bush’s rhetoric and failure to engage.

    Conceding that the Iranians would have no air force or armor after our bombing, I could easily see a debacle as the Iranians asymmetrically respond with the weapons I mentioned. They could cut off our LOCs in Iraq, fire really “massive rockets” like Scuds into our FOBs from Iran, use antiship missiles in the Gulf and come up with mischief I haven’t thought of. Maybe the Russians and Chinese will help them under the table.

    The US military is pretty much maxed out now, starting a war with Iran is not a good option. Why not talk with them more, since we have ambassadorial level talks now?

  65. _What I frankly found more disturbing was the PR firm Dr. Shackleford identified running astroturf ads against McCain-Palin, which “just happens” to be tied to the highest levels of a foreign government._

    They’re not just foreign! They’re FRENCH! This means war!

    It’s a pretty terrible ad, in all senses. It’s factually wrong on one point (only Todd Palin, not Sarah Palin, was a member of the AIP) but aside from that it’s just off-putting to anyone not already predisposed to believe it, which means it’s a waste of money for everyone involved, imo.

  66. The antiship missiles are a threat that I take seriously: we do have some countermeasures, but the potential of the threat is quite real. I don’t think the rest of your scenarios are particularly dangerous. We know how to deal with SCUDs, and have effective countermeasures; you saw how effective they were in the Gulf War. I don’t think Iran has any capacity to cut our LOCs in a lasting way, while bearing up under the counterattack. Furthermore, their asymmetrical warfare capacity — which they have used so effectively so far — would be diminished by a shift to conventional warfighting. Right now, they are able to smuggle weapons effectively because the border is open and traffic is flowing. If you seal the border at the crossing points and start targeting unlicensed traffic crosisng elsewhere with air power assets, the ‘flow of accelerants’ would nearly stop.

    The problem is, so would the trade we would like to see flowing into and out of Iraq: our goal is not the defeat of Iran, but the success of Iraq and her people. We don’t want a war with Iran, and haven’t been pursuing one.

    In any event, if all you’re asking is that we should do some talking with Iran, I have no problem with the concept. I think there are a number of good ways to go about this. Some of them we do already.

    However, “Henry Kissinger”:http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/09/tws_exclusive_kissinger_unhapp.asp is right:

    bq. Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: “Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”

    I think that’s precisely right. Presidential level talks with Iran will be appropriate when Iran and we can establish enough at the lower levels to show that the talks would be productive instead of explosive.

  67. “Both of which are entirely unobjectionable. Not a hint of ‘We’re gonna throw Republicans in jail.’ All the statements about ‘law enforcement across missouri’ are being injected by the news station.”

    Actually, the Governor of Missouri is taking the situation pretty seriously.

    Anachronym, what is the point of focusing on Law Enforcement participation unless it is to highlight the power these people posses? How did KMOV get wind of the pattern here? Somebody wanted the message going out that the law is interested in exactly what people are saying about Obama. And their interviewees weren’t at all camera-shy, and their responses were extremely well tuned.

    Your interpretation might be correct, but my interpretation fits more closely with past thuggish behavior by the Obama campaign.

    Final word: these people aren’t just private citizens, but members of a system of government that first and foremost protects citizens from the threat of an abusive state. Even if your most charitable interpretation is correct, they’ve really screwed the pooch in trying to game their positions for partisan effect. If Obama respects this system of government, he needs to thrash these folks for participating in this “nice life you got here, be a shame if you said something that made nasty things happen” charade.

  68. However, it really does bother me. I don’t object to the policemen’s participation in the rapid-response squad, any more than anyone else’s — I don’t really like the concept of fielding mobs to shout down opposing views, as twice at WGN. Still, as long as they are not using their authority as peace officers to arrest or intimidate, they are also American citizens and fully entitled to participate in the process.

    The same is not true for foreign attempts to manipulate the election. I realize that the election of an American president has consequences worldwide, so I can understand their interest.

    Nevertheless, this is American business.

  69. Anachronym (#69)

    “…we’re here to respond to any character attacks, to set the record straight.”

    “…if they’re not going to tell the truth, then somebody’s got to step up and say ‘that’s not true, this is the truth.'”

    Yes, and the proper involvement of law enforcement in this effort is…?

    (Hint: the correct answer is a number indistinguishable, for all practical purposes, from zero.)

  70. GK, my understanding is that the rich and successful people in Haiti support one political party while the poor, unsuccessful, stupid masses support another. When the poor people’s candidate wins on the rare occasions that Haitians get free elections, is the victor un-Haitian? Where did you get the idea that votes of rich people are better grounded than votes of poor people?

    Would you please move to Haiti? First, in the long periods when the rich candidate is in power through rigged elections or force of arms, you would be much happier, and second, as I doubt there is Internet access there, the rest of us would be spared your inaccurate racist screeds.

    Let me be specific. You wrote

    A MAJORITY of those earning over $200K a year, even in NY and SF, support the GOP. Prove otherwise, if you can.

    Now, I would think that it would be up to you to provide some evidence for your claim, which would seem to be contraindicated by the overwhelming Democratic advantage in NY (i.e., Manhattan) and SF. Nationwide Bush ran about 15 points ahead of his national average in the $200K+ range. If he did that well in San Francisco he would still be at 30 percent. And Bush did this poorly even though their are more than the expected share of rich people in SF.

    Warning: special GK snark ahead.

    A MAJORITY of pedophiliac retards support the GOP. Prove otherwise if you can!

  71. _Actually, the Governor of Missouri is taking the situation pretty seriously._

    The governor of Missouri is a Republican, that press release is his reaction to the news segment we just discussed, and it provides zero evidence or statements from the Obama campaign or the people interviewed. Matt Blunt saw the news segment and got angry. OK.

    _Anachronym, what is the point of focusing on Law Enforcement participation unless it is to highlight the power these people posses? How did KMOV get wind of the pattern here? Somebody wanted the message going out that the law is interested in exactly what people are saying about Obama. And their interviewees weren’t at all camera-shy, and their responses were extremely well tuned._

    What IS the point of focusing on Law Enforcement participation? I don’t see the Obama campaign focusing on it. I see a news station focusing on it. I see the Obama campaign focusing on responding, in media, to the accusations of of their opponents. Somewhere out there might be an Obama press release in which they mention the support of members of law enforcement, which would be no different from every other campaign which touts the support of law enforcement, firefighter unions, etc in order to gain credibility. What there is not, is an Obama press release or anything else talking about ‘lining up law enforcement to prosecute’ their opponents.

    If you can find one, please, present it.

    _Your interpretation might be correct, but my interpretation fits more closely with past thuggish behavior by the Obama campaign._

    OK, you’re biased. That’s fine, so am I. The content of that news segment still doesn’t support what you’re contending.

    _Final word: these people aren’t just private citizens, but members of a system of government that first and foremost protects citizens from the threat of an abusive state. Even if your most charitable interpretation is correct, they’ve really screwed the pooch in trying to game their positions for partisan effect. If Obama respects this system of government, he needs to thrash these folks for participating in this “nice life you got here, be a shame if you said something that made nasty things happen” charade._

    If you can find a ‘nice X, be a shame if Y’ statement from any of the people involved in the campaign, fine. There’s not one here presently.

    In response, collectively, to #75 and #77, I point to Grim in #76: These are still private citizens entitled to involvement in the process. Should members of government and law enforcement not endorse a candidate in elections? That seems a bit excessive to me. Should they use their positions to illegitimately influence free speech? Of course not.

  72. _The same is not true for foreign attempts to manipulate the election. I realize that the election of an American president has consequences worldwide, so I can understand their interest.

    Nevertheless, this is American business._

    I guess. The first I’d heard of that ad was a link from either here or the Corner pointing at the Jawa Report, and I read the great orange satan all the time, so I think the impact of this ad is pretty limited.

    I went back and read that PJM article you linked a little more closely. ‘foreign attempts to manipulate the election’ is stretching it a bit. It’s a US PR firm that’s a wholly owned subsidiary of a ginormous French company. Welcome to globalization. Blizzard Entertainment is wholly owned by Vivendi, but that doesn’t make World of Warcraft a French game. (can you tell where my other interests lie?)

    All the people so far identified as being involved with that ad work for the US subsidiary, so any implication that this was directed by big socialist muckety-mucks in France is just a speculative conspiracy theory.

  73. Lazarus,

    See the links further up about hedge fund managers and billionaires. We have proven again and again that higher income corelates to voting for the GOP. While at the national level, $50,000 is the income threshold above which the GOP gets the majority, in SF and NY, the threshold may be higher, like $200,000.

    This is firmly established, just like it has been firmly established from earlier threads that Democrats have a much worse race record than the GOP.

    Your weird introduction of Haiti into this topic show how empty your rebuttal is.

    And yes, Obama is un-American. The same does not apply to Gore, Kerry, or Hillary, as none of them have had such an impressive array of anti-American mentors (Wright, Ayers) as Obama has had. This is indeed why you support Obama more fervently.

    “A MAJORITY of pedophiliac retards support the GOP. Prove otherwise if you can!”

    Yawn…. this type of tactic signals that you have no proper points or sources, and have lost the debate before it even began. It appears that the time it takes for me to get you to implode continues to shorten.

    See AL’s #38, and then consider some self-examination.

  74. “What there is not, is an Obama press release or anything else talking about ‘lining up law enforcement to prosecute’ their opponents.

    “If you can find one, please, present it.”

    Oh, I would love to. But I’m guessing this is an Axelrod thing, and plausible deniability is his stock-in-trade.

    Considering there are legal ramifications to voter intimidation, I’m hoping the Governor of Missouri gets the ball rolling in terms of subpoenas and such. Ta ta.

  75. Grim

    All you have ever done in all your post regarding McCain is defend him because he matches a code of honor you will only discuss as his service for our country in Vietnam. Part of that code is keeping your word. When ever I say your standards are a farce by your own standards you attempt to change the subject.
    I will keep pointing out to you that by your standards John McCain like yourself is a man without honor by YOUR standards. By YOUR standard you should vote for the man you say has no standards which is your position. By whatever tortured logic you use I am sure Sen Obama appreciates your vote for him.
    But lets keep on track about honor/lack of honor as defined by Grim. Is john McCain suppressing information about Viet Nam POW’s honor: “link”:http://www.nationinstitute.org/p/schanberg09182008pt1

    I find it so amusing that everyone is upset that Sen Obama is asking the state of Missouri to uphold the law but no thought or acknowledgement is given to voter suppression efforts that I have documented here. A law here a law there and pretty soon we will have anarchy

  76. You can keep your empty words, Robert. I won’t go around on it again. Gentlemen duel only with equals, and you are not mine. You and I seem to agree about that, even if we disagree as to our relative positions. As before, I forgive you your impotent rage and rudeness, and pity you that you can’t seem to think or talk about these things without them.

    Sen. McCain is a man of honor. An ethic of honor does not require perfection, any more than any other ethic: otherwise, it would not be fit for men, but only for gods. Men cannot be perfect, but they are required to take responsibility for their errors. When you use McCain’s apology as evidence that he has no honor, you show that you don’t understand the concept. A man with _no_ honor would shamelessly pretend he had never done anything wrong at all. Indeed, he might not be able to understand that he had.

    For example, if he were to disown his Reverend like two weeks after saying he never possibly could, any more than his own grandmother? That would be honorless. Yet we have seen it done shamelessly without apology or reflection.

    Or if he pretended that his terrorist buddy who got him his first serious job, worked closely with him in that regard to spend millions of dollars, cut him a check for his first political campaign and arranged a party where all his friends were encouraged to do so, etc., etc. — if after all that, when asked about this terrorist friend, he merely said, ‘Oh he’s just some guy in my neighborhood’? That would be honorless. Yet we’ve seen that done too, and followed up with lawyers pointed at people who dared to mention it, intimidating citizens exercising their free speech under color of law.

    If Sen. Obama had stood up and apologized for putting his political career ahead of doing what was right, I’d at least know he could recognize where “right” was. McCain is far from perfect, but at least he has a moral compass, and we can all know where it points.

    As far as I can tell, you’ve chosen to prefer the man who never tries over the man who sometimes fails.

  77. “Or if he pretended that his terrorist buddy who got him his first serious job, worked closely with him in that regard to spend millions of dollars, cut him a check for his first political campaign and arranged a party where all his friends were encouraged to do so, etc., etc.”

    The scary thing is, this monster will actually win.

    Oh, things will right themselves soon enough, but the process will be unpleasant (see #19).

  78. _Oh, I would love to. But I’m guessing this is an Axelrod thing, and plausible deniability is his stock-in-trade._

    _Considering there are legal ramifications to voter intimidation, I’m hoping the Governor of Missouri gets the ball rolling in terms of subpoenas and such. Ta ta._

    Except that all you’ve got right now is innuendo from a local reporter, ie, nothing. Not even a quote from one of these ‘many law enforcement officials from across missouri’ which actually backs up the accusation. Just a willingness to believe the worst on no evidence.

  79. Kirk, I found the graph myself while looking unsuccessfully for a breakdown of SF votes by income.

    Let me repeat the obvious. Bush got (rounding) all of 15 percent of the vote in SF. SF is actually much wealthier than the country at large (your Wikipedia link will suffice). These two facts taken together show clearly that SF voting patterns are anomalous compared to the country at large, It’s mathematically possible that SF’s $200K voters prefer Bush but can you give a reason that all the other income groups voted for Bush in much smaller numbers than the same group nationwide and the rich didn’t? That’s an extraordinary claim that requires some evidence, of which GK did not supply a single shred.

    However, I have higher personal moral standards than GK. Instead of talking out of my ass, like he does, I wasted an hour finding relevant numbers online.

    In 2004, Bush/Cheney lost every precinct in San Francisco. [.xls file from SF Elections Dept]

    The rich precincts, the super-rich precincts, the slum precincts, Bush lost them all. We’re talking about cluster of a few hundred voters now. The idea that in the teeth of this voting pattern, somehow the SF rich distributed themselves in some magical way to support Bush is preposterous.

  80. Once again, Lazarus defends into juvenile namecalling once he loses a debate in humiliating fashion.

    We have already established, from provided links, that :

    1) Billionaires nationwide preferred Bush 72-28
    2) People earning $200K nationwide preferred Bush 63-36
    3) Hedge Fund Managers in NY prefer the GOP in 2008 by a 61-28 margin.
    4) The tech industry (concentrated in Santa Clara County) preferred Bush 52-48. This includes lower-level employees earning as little as $60K.

    Yet, Lazarus wants to believe that SF is more ‘special’, where even the wealthiest vote Democrat. To attempt this, he produces an SF voting pattern by precinct.

    Looking at his sheet, note that the wealthiest area, Pacific Heights, while going for Kerry, still had a higher Bush percentage than, say, poorer areas like the Mission or Western addition. This proves that even in SF, wealth corelates to GOP-voting (but a majority is not yet proven).

    However, even Pacific Heights and Nob Hill do not have an average income over $200K. Thus, the ‘precinct’ data shows a corelation between wealth and GOP voting (my point), but does not disprove that the $200K+ set voted at least 51% for Bush.

    Thus, Lazarus’ own data proves my point about wealth corelating to GOP voting even in SF, and fails to disprove the $200K+ Bush majority in SF.

    He concedes one honest sentence :

    “It’s mathematically possible that SF’s $200K voters prefer Bush ”

    It is indeed overwhelmingly probable.

    The 15% that voted for Bush in SF have a much higher income than the 83% that voted for Kerry. Period.

    Ignoring statistical facts is what makes leftists who they are, but that doesn’t work anymore.

    The funny thing is, leftists like Lazarus usually say that ‘rich people are selfish’ and claim to be glad the rich don’t vote for them. Now, he pathetically and desperately is trying to claim that ‘at least in SF, most of the productive people voted for Kerry, even if they preferred Bush everywhere else in the whole country.’ Methinks Lazarus is bitterly clinging to the hope that his party is ‘smart’ despite his own evidence to the contrary.
    ___________________________________________

    “However, I have higher personal moral standards than GK.”

    That’s a laugh, coming from someone who claims that Republicans are pedophiliac retards, and from someone who also earlier admitted that Democrats have mistreated black people to a much greater degree than the GOP has.

    “Instead of talking out of my ass, ”

    Castro is certainly a place that voted for Kerry, but it is not high income, so that is to be expected.

  81. GK,

    Look, it’s really not that complicated. Here’s were you are tripping up, I think.

    On the one hand, you are trying to make the voting patterns of the wealthy of NYC conform to the national average, believing (incorrectly) that if the majority of wealthy voters voted for Bush nationally that trend must hold up in any selected region or precinct.
    On the other hand, your initial argument is based on the fact the NYC is way off the charts compared to the national average, being skewed heavily democratic.

    Only 16 percent of Manhattanites who voted, voted for Bush in ’04. You want us to believe that 95% of voters earning over 100K in Manhattan voted for Bush, even though _nationally only 57% did so_. What you are saying, in effect, is that NYC 100K+ voters must have voted against the national trend and against the local trend, but in opposite directions (i.e. voting in higher number for Bush than the national average but in lower numbers than the local average). While that’s theoretically possible, it’s not what a reasonable person would conclude. A reasonable person might conclude that among the 37% of 200K+ voters who voted for Kerry, a disproportionate number of them live in democratic enclaves such as NYC and SF rather than being spread evenly across the country.

    Put it another way, GK. Since the national average voting for Bush was about 54%, and NYC’s was only 16%, it is reasonable to assume that there was a shift away from the national average in NYC in _all_ categories, including income. If the shift wasn’t spread out evenly among all categories, if, as you would have it, certain categories stayed in line with the national averages, then the other categories would have to have had shifts that were mind-boggling to make up for the large discrepancy between the local and the national percentages. Virtually no one earning under $100K could have voted for Bush just to get that 16% to fall within the wealthy category. There is simply no evidence to support such a fantastical view.

    Clearly, voting patterns in NYC differ dramatically from national patterns. There’s no reason to assume that the wealthy do not contribute to that difference, especially given their higher-than-average presence in NYC. I would argue that the percentage of wealthy voters for Bush in NYC _must_ have been significantly lower than the national percentage in order to account for the 16% total vote figure.

  82. Obama’s model is Hugo Chavez. One man, one vote, one time.

    Already we see in MO the Bolivar Circles. Criminalizing any opposition to “the One.”

    Armed Liberal of course will soon be disarmed, since Obama will definitely take his guns. All he lacks are the votes, which he will have in a landslide victory.

    The economy is bad, voters will vote for Obama, the cool-hip Black guy. When they don’t like him anymore, too bad. It will be Hugo Chavez time. Already he’s suggesting he will fund his Obama-abteilung to the same extent as the military. Obama Corps.

    Obama’s whole strategy is to take from the middle class to give to the poor and the rich. The poor get a few crumbs, (well, the non-White poor anyway) and the rich get all the powerful positions.

  83. “Only 16 percent of Manhattanites who voted, voted for Bush in ’04. You want us to believe that 95% of voters earning over 100K in Manhattan voted for Bush, even though nationally only 57% did so. ”

    I said absolutely nothing of the sort. That is a sloppy strawman.

    I said that a MAJORITY (which I hope you know can be as little as 51%) of the $200K+ voters in NY and SF voted for Bush.

    Why would it be more in SF or NY? It could very well be less than the national average of 63%. But it still is above 51% – that is for sure.

  84. _Already he’s suggesting he will fund his Obama-abteilung to the same extent as the military. Obama Corps…._

    OK, look, nobody here has greater disdain for Sen. Obama than I do myself. Nevertheless, I am absolutely sure that this particular concept is unfounded.

    What Sen. Obama is talking about here is the same thing I’ve been talking about for a long time at BlackFive: a civilian expeditionary force based around the non-military departments and agencies designed to help in COIN and FID operations overseas. This is not a wild-eyed position, but one endorsed by the SECDEF, by LTG Chiarelli, and by a host of the military and civilian leadership (see the Center for US Global Engagement’s “poll of military officers,”:http://www.usglobalengagement.org/MilitaryPollPressConference2008DCConference/tabid/3004/Default.aspx for example).

    My own most recent piece on the subject “is here.”:http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/08/a-civilian-expe.html It treats the 1:1 civilian to military ratio already extant in Iraq, and looks at how to balance the benefits and problems of using contractors v. using bureaucracies formally part of the government.

    Anyway, my point here is that Sen. Obama is getting an unfair rap on this subject. I don’t like him either, and I think he’s totally unfit for the office he’s seeking — but even so, not just _any stick_ will do. :)

  85. bq. OK, look, nobody here has greater disdain for Sen. Obama than I do myself.

    I hope that you can adjust your attitude to respect the man and give him a chance to govern if and when he is elected president.

    Most recent polls have Obama over McCain by a margin approaching double-digits.

    The country needs to get behind it’s president and Commander-in-chief.

  86. I don’t agree, Morgan. The country relies on a loyal opposition to keep the powerful honest. We don’t need to all fall in line behind Sen. Obama, if he should win. Indeed, it would be bad if we did.

    I hope the nation will yet come to its senses and elect the only man in the race fit for the office. However, if it doesn’t, I hope that Sen. Obama’s supporters — some of whom are very smart people, whom I do like — will govern wisely, and he will prove as uninterested in actual governing as he has in actually writing legislation, actually producing scholarship, actually seeing through improvements in the community he was organizing, and so forth.

    Unfortunately, as the 3 AM ad rightly stated, the President has to make the final call. But perhaps he will be easily swayed by the best of his supporters even then; and if so, perhaps everything will be all right.

    It’s a shame that this election has been a race to the bottom. There was an impressive field of candidates a year ago, many of whom would have been good Presidents. Somehow the best of the Republicans got winnowed out very early, leaving one I would not have chosen from among them; and the best of the Democrats likewise never took hold, leaving two of lesser quality, and finally only the least of them all, a part-term Senator who has never done anything with any office but use it to run for a higher one, and who was willing to slander his grandmother (literally!) for a momentary advantage.

    Now we have a man I wouldn’t have chosen, but who at least has a proud history and some good qualities, running against that least of men — and, as you say, there is a chance the least of men might win.

    I do take refuge in the hope offered by his supporters. There are some of them (of you) who are very good people. Please don’t take my disdain for Sen. Obama, which I feel he has more than earned, as pertaining to any of you. I know you don’t have any choice left, and I understand that some of you want to believe in him for one reason or another. I wanted to as well, once, when the race was younger.

    I just can’t. We’ve seen too much of him to believe in him.

  87. Well, Grim, since we’re pouring out our hopes and wishes, I just hope that if McCain is elected he has the good sense to stay healthy for his full term, because I would shudder to think of our great nation under the direction of a President Palin.

    However, as a 72 year-old 4 time Melanoma patient and prison camp survivor, I’d have to say that perhaps in this case “hope” wouldn’t be nearly enough.

  88. I don’t find Gov. Palin bothersome. She appeals to me on a number of grounds. It doesn’t bother me that her mind is in a state-leader’s position rather than a national/international position: of course it is. It doesn’t bother me that she doesn’t know Sen. McCain’s positions or agree with them in her gut: for the one thing, she’s new to the campaign, and for the other, _I_ don’t agree with all of Sen. McCain’s positions either. Clearly she has a lot of work to do still to spin up to the task, but her heart, at least, is in the right place. A lot of things depend on that.

    So much of what we believe, or think we believe, is rationalization — no clearer example of that than Bill Clinton! If you look at the former President’s career, he governed very close to the center after his first two years, set aside all the liberal concepts he might have held, but ran on ending welfare, NAFTA, the bond market, and a few other things. He was almost neoconservative in his dealing with the Yugoslavian states. Meanwhile, his personal behavior essentially ended sexual harrassment legislation as a feminist issue.

    Yet I think you would be hard pressed to find a conservative (who supports most of those things) who didn’t hate Bill Clinton in 1998, or a liberal who wasn’t a passionate defender. Feminists in particular were so heavily on board for him that they undermined their own position completely.

    There were huge numbers of policy arguments fielded in those days, but so very many were finally tribal: you were part of Clinton’s tribe and found a way to support what he was doing, or you weren’t, and found a way to attack him.

    I don’t like or respect Sen. Obama, who is publically disloyal to his family and friends, and has shown no diligence in the performance of any duty. However (as in #91), I’ll defend his policy positions when they’re right, and attack them when they’re wrong. I won’t vote for him, and I will rejoice if he is defeated, but I won’t beat him with the proverbial ‘any stick that comes to hand.’ I’ll only use the ones he deserves to be beaten with.

    I think if you can do that, you’re ‘the loyal opposition’ that the country needs: not a part of the problem of blind partisanship, which AL has often and rightly worried about.

    Let me join, however, your prayer for Sen. McCain’s long life and good health. Whether he wins or not, may he live long and be well.

  89. Grim,

    Re Palin: saying “heart” just sounds too mushy for what is, in many ways, a position where you have to make difficult decisions (because the easy ones get make elsewhere.) I don’t think it’s just a matter of marketing to prefer to say that her instincts and principles are in the right place, along with her heart.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find a conservative (who supports most of those things) who didn’t hate Bill Clinton in 1998

    [Raises hand.] I may or may not qualify as a “conservative” in American political terms but certainly I support most of those things. Once Clinton got his head handed to him in the ’94 elections (after his gays-in-the-military and health-care beginning) he really did govern as a centrist Democrat–not my first choice, but certainly liveable compared to some of the alternatives.

  90. I certainly didn’t mean to be _mushy_. :) Perhaps I was thinking of Chesterton:

    bq. [T]here is no more subtle truth than that of the everyday phrase about a man having “his heart in the right place.” It involves the idea of normal proportion; not only does a certain function exist, but it is rightly related to other functions. Indeed, the negation of this phrase would describe with peculiar accuracy the somewhat morbid mercy and perverse tenderness of the most representative moderns. If, for instance, I had to describe with fairness the character of Mr. Bernard Shaw, I could not express myself more exactly than by saying that he has a heroically large and generous heart; but not a heart in the right place. And this is so of the typical society of our time.

    That captures what I want to say about Gov. Palin. It is not just that she has a heart, and apparently a good one: but that it is in the right place.

  91. Oh, please. She has a good “heart”? This is bunk. From some accounts, she’s a manipulative conniving back-stabber who is so far out of her league they’re afraid to let her speak in public.

    Not to mention a serial liar.

    She’s barely qualified to be mayor of Wassilla let alone VP. To suggest that she is based on her “good heart” lowers the bar to an unacceptably low level.

    Hasn’t the fluffy notion that it is sufficient for our leaders to demonstrate good “instincts” or “principles” to be qualified to be Chief Executive of teh US been entirely discredited by GWB? Why does this all seem like deja-vu all over again to me?

  92. “A nice example”:http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/28/mccain-retracts-palins-pakistan-comments/ for why “heart” alone ain’t gonna cut it:

    bq. Sen. John McCain retracted Sarah Palin’s stance on Pakistan Sunday morning, after the Alaska governor appeared to back Sen. Barack Obama’s support for unilateral strikes inside Pakistan against terrorists

    bq. “She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest,” McCain told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos of Palin. “In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s—that’s a person’s position… This is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitve policy statement made by Governor Palin.”

  93. GK, you have not yet produced one scintilla of positive evidence that rich a majority of rich people in San Francisco supported Bush. You are making the claim that people who make less than $200K and live in SF are much less likely to vote for Bush than the national average while those who make more were almost as likely to vote for Bush as the national average. Not only that, but these rich people are distributed across over 1000 electoral precincts in such a way that in none of them, not even the single wealthiest precinct, did Bush win a majority.

    Here’s an idea: we commission a poll of San Franciscans making over 200K a year. You can choose whether to ask about 2004 or 2008. Your claim is that 50 percent plus one vote Republican.

    Loser pays for the poll.

  94. _GK, you have not yet produced one scintilla of positive evidence that rich a majority of rich people in San Francisco supported Bush. You are making the claim that people who make less than $200K and live in SF are much less likely to vote for Bush than the national average while those who make more were almost as likely to vote for Bush as the national average. Not only that, but these rich people are distributed across over 1000 electoral precincts in such a way that in none of them, not even the single wealthiest precinct, did Bush win a majority._

    Personally, I find the entire argument about whether rich people tend to vote Republican significantly less interesting than GK’s enthusiastically detailed fantasy about how the nation is going to rise up in a final, glorious (but not *too* violent!) revolt against the fifth column liberal left half of the country.

    I’d be interested to know how many here believe in the scenario outlined in #44 as ‘likely’.

  95. Grim,

    Your words in #94 and #96 are eloquent and largely resonate for me and, I expect, numerous others. (Though I do find Palin troubling — she’s unqualified to be V.P., in my opinion.)

    On the earlier back-and-forth as to whether the Iranians (various factions within the Iranian government, actually) are striving to kill as many Americans as they can, or acting with admirable “restraint”: it seems that the New Media Order and its deluges of words and video streams lead to information being routinely buried in plain sight. Such is the case here; Americans relying on the AP or NBC will not get the full, detailed import of credible reports out of Iraq on this subject.

    At the “Long War Journal,”:http://www.longwarjournal.org Bill Roggio and others have cataloged the actions of the Revolutionary Guards, Qods Force, Hezbollah, the quasi-Sadrist Special Forces, and other Iranian and proxy forces. Metrico is incorrect. This is not a picture of restraint, but of maximizing American pain while minimizing the risk of provoking open war. A war that the Iranians, for their own reasons, do not want.

  96. *;* My main thought on the debate is that if Senator Obama’s diplomacy was in force, Kim Jong-il should hold on through the conventional diplomacy, and even through the long, cruel process of torment by race card playing, because after the sticks come the carrots, and dinner with Scarlett Johansson is worth it all.

  97. Anachronym,

    My answer to your perhaps rhetorical question in #102 is: _not bloody likely_ (so to speak).

    Of course, the problem with Grim’s fantasy is that the initial part only requires two people. A nutjob to shoot, and a 2nd nutjob to defend it. Then, suddenly, these two people become “the left” against whom, the rest of us rise up and defeat, though not, of course, violently. I guess we will stigmatize them, though apparently in an entirely different manner than the folks in the video tried to stigmatize (unsuccessfully) the McCain supporters …sorry, I mean, the Patriots… who marched through my neighborhood last week in order to raise hackles.

    I would have booed them, too, had I seen them. I don’t think I’d have flipped them off though.

  98. bq. #43: I feel sorry for the woman. She is being used and I believe that fact is now dawning on her. I would not be surprised if she broke down in the debate with Biden.

    bq. #99: Oh, please. She has a good “heart”? This is bunk. From some accounts, she’s a manipulative conniving back-stabber who is so far out of her league they’re afraid to let her speak in public. Not to mention a serial liar.

    You know, until this thread, I generally thought Hillary’s charges of Democratic sexism were bunk, mere political ploy. Now, I’m not so sure…

  99. #106:

    It’s real enough. When was the last time a male politician standing for public office “was symbollically stripped naked”:http://windycitizen.com/news/old-town/2008/09/29/a-real-nasty-piece-of-work-chicago-dive-bar-scores-hit-with-nude-sarah-pali as a means of humiliation?

    The painter’s comments are full of principled policy differences:

    _”That smirk says ‘I was the town whore in high school and look where I’ve gone.'”_

    _”I think Maureen Dowd mentioned that she wore harlot red stiletto heels,” he said._

    I don’t know how big a factor sexism is in this election. Sen. Clinton’s people suggested at points that sexism was even worse than racism; are they right about that? I don’t konw. Would people have taken Gov. Jindal more seriously, given his equal inexperience? Hard to say. Is the media’s focus on Gov. Palin’s gaffes so much greater than its focus on Sen. Biden’s because she’s a girl, or because Joe Biden has been around so long that people just assume he knows what he’s doing?

    Nevertheless, it’s clear that Gov. Palin takes hits that no one would ever think of directing at a man.

    _”I don’t see how she could be offended by this,” he said. “I made her into a sex figure.”_

  100. Grim, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin may look like they have similar experience, but I doubt if that’s entirely true. (And, as I suppose is obvious, Jindal is not a candidate whose opinions I like.)

    Palin is not only inexperienced in office, she appears to be relatively ignorant on all national and international affairs. It’s hard to watch the Couric interview without concluding that she’s bluffing on every question that required background knowledge. Palin hasn’t been reading up on government or history. In Wasilla she spent her time boosting strip malls and hassling the librarian. In Juneau (or wherever she had her HQ), she worked on nothing significant besides energy, and her statements on that subject are full of basic errors (e.g., the percentage of US energy arising in Alaska, she had 20 percent instead of 3.5). You could live that life and be a curious autodidact—Amazon delivers to Alaska—but Gov. Palin didn’t. As a result they have to tell us what a great heart she has, which, I’m afraid, generally strikes me as a code word for “She’s a Christian fundamentalist.”

    Jindal is likewise an extremist, but at least he isn’t ignorant. And if people are saying sexist things about Palin, and they are, ask yourself how she ended up on the ticket. She barely had to interview. She represented a big roll-of-the-dice game-changing gamble from the reckless Republican candidate, and her looks and family history as a working mother were a big part of what made that gamble a possible winner.

  101. I believe the reason she ended up on the ticket was more to do with the fact that she was a proven reformer who had taken on Republican party officials, beaten them, and maintained 80% approval ratings while doing it.

    The big nut to crack for the McCain campaign has always been the fact that nobody likes Republicans right now. Sen. McCain has to run as a reformer (which is what he wanted to do anyway; he’s always bucked his party). He needed someone to who was popular (which Republicans in general aren’t just now), charming and hard to dislike (plenty of people have worked very hard to dislike Gov. Palin, but she’s very charming), and a proven reformer who could show a history of bucking the party’s elite. That’s her, and it’s almost only her.

    I’m sure that people wondered if Gov. Palin’s sex would appeal to at least some Hillary voters (the answer seems to be yes, if they aren’t liberals: Glenn Reynolds linked to a poll from TN that shows McCain doing surprisingly well with former Hillary voters, and my own mother seems to be swayed mostly by Gov. Palin). Yet I don’t think it was the real reason for choosing her. Of course, as they say, YMMV.

  102. grim, I learned in my college survey course of world literature (which was secretly a women’s studies course) that most female-specific insults are directed towards women’s sexuality. Sandwiched somewhere btw/ Othello and Moll Flanders, I read large summaries of research to that effect. So I think its fairly predictive that once one sets out to insult a woman in any sort of visceral manner, she will either be a frigid b#tch or a wh#re.” It’s our language.

  103. I think that’s right, Mr. Shaw, which is why I find the painter’s comments so telling: _”I don’t see how she could be offended by this,” he said. “I made her into a sex figure.”_

    Indeed.

  104. _McCain doing surprisingly well with former Hillary voters, and my own mother seems to be swayed mostly by Gov. Palin). Yet I don’t think it was the real reason for choosing her._

    So they were lucky rather than clever?

  105. I’d rather they were clever. I’d worry they used up their luck in winning the election…as with the butterfly ballots..and then have none left with which to govern. Clever would give us better than a 50-50 shot to put things right.

  106. Gov Palin is a sop to the party’s base which consists of social and religious conservatives. Her believe in Alaskan separatism puts her in the category of traitor-you do know there is a special level reserved for them in Hell. Her religious believes are more suited for the Taliban w/ her intolerance for everyone whom doesn’t believe as she does.
    She is not stupid. Ignorant is the better word and this can be overcome. But after her interviews, all three of them, it does not appear she wants to overcome her ignorance. She is apparently charming but she comes w/ the petty meanness of someone whom knows your business; you are in or out, acceptable or not. Not unlike Hilliary Clinton in her believe she was ordained for something.
    The danger she presents to the governments of other countries is she reinforces the idea that the American people are ignorant. That ignorance is the result of an ideology of American Exceptionalism that has been proven to no longer work: “TED”:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/cbuilder?ticker1=.TEDSP%3AIND

    It’s the difference in cost between borrowing from the US govt and the London Interbank Loan Rate, the rate at which banks will loan each other money.

  107. Rumored coming to a Couric interview near you: Palin unable to discuss a single Supreme Court case other than Roe. Any takers she couldn’t even tell you what Brown v Topeka Board of Ed was about?

    I wouldn’t mind having Sarah Palin for a neighbor. (I doubt she’d like Berkeley much, though.) But let’s face it, while we—almost all the readers of this blog—were reading Bruce Catton and Richard Kluger and Winston Churchill and Alan Paton (or William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater, if that is what turned you on), Sarah Heath was learning to field dress moose. There’s just no knowledge base there.

  108. And the suggestion that my criticism of her “heart” has anything to do with sexism is nothing more than conceding the point by retreat to the strawman. Honestly I thought for a moment that Grim might be capable of doing something that is sorely absent from the political dialogue these days…providing a thoughtful right wing argument.

  109. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that you were personally a sexist, Morgan. I was merely responding to #106’s assertion that there was in fact sexism around. I assure you that I wasn’t thinking of you when citing that Chicago bar.

    With that said, I think Chesterton’s argument _is_ a thoughtful (and certainly ‘right-wing,’ at least in today’s context) argument. The concept is not just that the best kind of person has a heart, but that the heart is related to the other parts of one’s character in a normal and natural way.

    What appeals about Gov. Palin is that she is not just a politician, or just a mother. She is a mother who loves her children, and has extended that love into our various social mechanisms. She joined the PTA, from there went to local government, was elected mayor, and then governor.

    I suspect a lot of Americans would tell you that the professional class of politicians is not improving things from their perspective. Frankly, a lot of left-wing Americans will tell you that: I’ve read a powerful and ongoing criticism of America’s Foreign Policy elite by leftist bloggers for several years.

    What we may need is someone who remembers what this — all this government, all this stuff — was for in the first place. The criticisms pointed at her are the criticisms of a guild attempting to assert certification process: a politician should have learned and accepted X and Y, they should be fluent in Z, and so forth.

    Well, such ‘expertise’ is how we got where we are. This is one place where the left and right can agree: the so-called professionals have undermined the whole system. In the finance markets, in the housing sector, in the areas of foreign policy: if we don’t agree on precisely what is wrong, we certainly agree that the professionals have not been right.

    Maybe what we need is not another leader who comes to us having schooled themselves at length in the ‘proper’ opinions on Pakistan and finance. Maybe we need one who loves her family, and got here because she wanted to help the place where they happen to live.

  110. So on the way home from work today I heard the ‘Truth Squad’ story brought up on the XM POTUS channel — and thoroughly demolished. They had a newspaper reporter from Springfield on who had investigated it and interviewed the original KMOV reporter:

    _”A St. Louis television reporter says a story he reported last week about Barack Obama’s campaign forming a ‘truth squad’ of prosecutors has been twisted out of context.”_ “link”:http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080929/NEWS06/809290331/1015

    _Republicans, including Gov. Matt Blunt, and conservative talk shows hosts have sought to portray Obama’s use of prosecutors as campaign surrogates as a form of intimidation to squelch free speech._

    _But the KMOV reporter who first reported about two St. Louis County prosecutors joining the truth squad says “in the retelling of the story, it got out of control.”_

    _”If they think a group has put out a misleading ad, they’re basically going to call a press conference and say the ad is misleading,” reporter John Mills told the News-Leader on Sunday. “I’m sure the Republicans would do the same thing.”_

    So even the reporter at KMOV now states that the interpretation being applied to his story is completely off-base. I find his original choice of language and emphasis rather strange as a result, but there you have it.

    “Followup quote from Jennifer Joyce, the City Attorney interviewed:”:http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080928/BLOGS09/80928009/-1/BLOGS09
    _”My sole purpose in participating in this initiative is about getting truthful information to the voters,” Joyce said in a statement, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This has never been or never will be about prosecuting people.”_

    “And from County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch:”:http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080929/BLOGS09/80929021
    _”What I said was if it is a lie I’ll call somebody on it and say that’s a lie; tell us the truth. That gets morphed by those with these very sinister motives,” McCulloch told KTVI, adding, “It’s morphed into ‘they are trying to intimidate people into not talking.'”_

    Finally, the KMOV reporter John Mills posted an “explanation on his own blog:”:http://www.kmov.com/localnews/stories/kmov_election_092808_truthsquad.bec69e89.html
    _”Members of law enforcement never said anyone would be prosecuted, indicted or punished for saying anything, only that they were prepared to tell the public the truth.”_

    And for anyone who wants to object to the involvement of members of law enforcement on principle:
    _”Republican John McCain also has prosecutors in New Hampshire and New Mexico and the attorney general of South Carolina on his truth squad.”_

    (Dear Lord, that’s a lot of comment markup. Hopefully I got it all correct. If not hopefully NM can come to my rescue.)

    So after all that, and to tie this all back to the original post, I’d like to call out Armed Liberal to elaborate on just what, in his view, Obama’s “issues with free speech” are. AL?

    [Putting formatting such as italics adjacent to a URL is tricky here at WoC. I separated the link in your paragraph 2 rather than fuss with it. –NM]

  111. I was talking about this with a JAG friend of mine. We normally want citizens to be able to participate in politics in any legitimate way, regardless of which job they occupy. Indeed, if anything, military members and policemen (because they have taken personal risk in defense of the constitutional order) ought never to be denied those basic rights.

    The problem seems to be that they’ve identified themselves to the news, etc., as “prosecutors and law enforcement officers.”

    That is a ‘color of law’ problem. If they wanted to participate as citizens, without making reference to their official status, that’s fine — nobody minds that. But when you say, “I am a prosecutor, and I am here to make sure nobody says anything unfounded about Barack Obama,” you’ve got a problem that would not have existed if you’d left off the initial clause.

  112. Anachronym:

    Different blogs have different formatting stuff. AFAIK, WoC had a problem with your italics markup because the underlines had spaces associated with them. Look closely at the tips for adding formatting.

    underline space f o o space underline

    renders as

    _ foo _

    underline f o o underline

    renders as

    _foo_

  113. I see. I wasn’t sure how well the italics markup would nest with the hyperlink markup. No spaces next time. At least the links worked.

  114. Actually, combining italics with a link is often tricky. In general I break that out separately, because I worry what the trailing underline or /i in angle brackets might do to Movable Type’s furry-brained interpretation of the URL. Oh for a preview function!

  115. “If they think a group has put out a misleading ad, they’re basically going to call a press conference and say the ad is misleading,” reporter John Mills told the News-Leader on Sunday. “I’m sure the Republicans would do the same thing.”

    And I’m sure their positions would not be reported during the press conference.

    Again, there’s this famous “nothing could be proven” line going through my head…

    And of course, since the reporter is sure Republicans would do the same thing, an examination of the ethical concerns that some biased people might flag are inconsequential…

    Congrats to Axelrod. It worked and he wins.

  116. Grim, I agree that someone who announced themselves in such a manner — ‘I’m the local prosecutor, and I’m watching you…’ would be at least implicitly making a threat. But nobody associated with the Obama campaign, much less either of the two people in question in the news segment, have said anything even remotely like it. I have not been able to find a single quote or press release that is even close.

    The only parties making this threatening implication are the news station (and now the original reporter claims, somewhat implausibly to me, that he didn’t mean to imply this) and the governor (who acknowledges that he got all his information from the same news report).

    Mark Poling, meanwhile, continues to insist that a threatening statement can be assumed to exist even though neither he nor anybody else can turn one up, in an inversion of the tree-falling-in-the-forest doctrine. If nobody threatens you, but you imagine that they’re capable of it, did the threat occur?

    “Here is McCain’s Truth Squad.”:http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/01/08/mccain_ready_to_truth_squad.html

    An attorney general, and a circuit solicitor (SC-speak for prosecutor) have ‘identified themselves to the news, etc, as proescutors and law enforcement officers’, as you worded it. At least, the article makes a point of mentioning their public offices, while not making the unfounded implications present in the KMOV news report.

    Obviously you aren’t meaning to say that the mere identification of a supporter as a law enforcement officer is disqualifying. Politicians routinely trumpet the support of law enforcement and other government officials purely as a way to signal that they are supported by ‘adults’ and gain credibility by osmosis. Clearly there must be more explicitly threatening wording. Where is that wording, in the case of Jennifer Joyce and Bob McCulloch?

  117. What I mean to say is that the LEOs and prosecutors should operate under the same basic restriction that the military does. You don’t participate in politics under color of your office: if you want to ‘do’ politics, you do it on your own time, out of uniform (if that applies), and without proclaiming your status as an officer of the government (and therefore laying claim to authority beyond your own as any-other-citizen-participating-in-the-process).

    I think that’s a reasonable standard that we can apply evenly. Some people have to be officers of the court, the law, or the military; they shouldn’t lose any of their rights as citizens for taking up those difficult duties. By the same token, though, they should do politics ‘as citizens’ rather than ‘as officers.’ I think that’s fair.

  118. Grim,

    Fair enough. But that’s not the standard either campaign is playing by, and it isn’t really the accusation being made here. People do politics ‘as officers’ all the time… with the implicit assumption that they are only bringing the gravitas and credibility of their office into play, and not the powers. The damaging implication that made this into a story was that these particular people were threatening to use their powers in such a way — but there is exactly zero evidence to back this up, only innuendo from various interested third parties.

    It’s interesting that you bring up the comparison with military officers. In that same article I just linked, one of McCain’s ‘truth squadders’ is ‘Adjutant General Stan Spears’. I wasn’t sure what an adjutant general was, “so I looked it up.”:http://www.scguard.com/leaders/spears.aspx

    Does that military rule apply to the National Guard?

  119. _But that’s not the standard either campaign is playing by…_

    I grant the point. I’m just interested in the question of, “What should the standard be?” I think this is the right standard, and we should restrain both sides to it.

    _Does that military rule apply to the National Guard?_

    I’m not sure. The NG and the regular military operate under totally different sections of the US Code, except under certain circumstances when the NG is ‘federalized’ — it’s one of the more complicated legal issues around the military. Exactly how it applies here is, as someone once said, ‘above my pay grade.’

  120. I don’t know if there can be a practical difference between that standard and ‘public employees cannot participate at all’ in terms of enforcement. Particularly with well-known persons such as governors and attorneys general, chances are many people are going to know what the individual’s job is, and if there can be an implied threat from ‘The Attorney General supports my campaign’ then there can be the same effect from that person simply mutely standing next to the candidate, if enough people know who they are.

    Additionally, reporters habitually want to know what a given supporter’s background is, especially since such information can go a long way toward illuminating such a person’s bias and motivations. To really make such a policy work, there would have to first be a nearly universal cultural ethic in place stating that it’s wrong to even ask what a supporter’s day job is; and such an ethic could easily be abused to cover up _other_ ethical lapses. We certainly have spent a lot of time in this (and every) campaign investigating the backgrounds of the candidate’s supporters for conflicts of interest or other scandals.

    As for the military rule, I think it is justified on a higher level — there is an old and ongoing tradition of military coups in other parts of the world; hence better to avoid all appearances of undue influence. On the other hand I cannot think of a case of a governmental coup by a common law enforcement agency. Of course, all the members of government are lawyers already…

  121. And yet another Sarah Palin gem: she says she reads newspapers and magazines regularly, but can’t name a single one. I read, I guess, three print opinion journals regularly, used to be more, and a bunch more online. Probably pretty typical of a WoC reader. I guess they forgot to prep Palin with the names of the magazines she could say she read, so when asked for specifics, well, she was stuck. Hockey Mom Journal and Cook Moose Illustrated didn’t have enough gravitas.

    John McCain: clever short-term campaign tactics.
    Barak Obama: winning campaign strategy.

  122. I wonder if she didn’t think that naming _National Review_ or something would get her tarred as a right-wing ideologue; or naming _Christianity Today_ as a fundamentalist; so she ends up being tarred as someone who doesn’t know how to read.

    You shouldn’t mock the moose hunting, though. If this finance thing carries on like it has been, you may wish you knew how to hunt and clean game before long.

    (And because I want all my friends here to survive the coming apocalypse, I’ll tell you! Small game is cleaned by creating a nick in the flesh around the spine, and then pulling the skin off like a tube sock; then gut it, remove the head, and hang to cool. Anything as large as a rabbit or smaller can be cleaned that way. Larger game is more complicated, but again the key is to get the flesh off and the guts out so you can cool the meat as fast as possible. Bleed it at the neck, slit down from neck to groin (not severing the urethra or rectum), split the breastbone with a heavy knife or hatchet, gut it (removing the urethra and rectum by cutting wide around them), and then quarter the animal and hang it to cool. If you want the skin, which you may want to tan, remove it carefully before quartering but after gutting. Tanning hides is another lesson, but is best done with the animal’s own brains, which should be precisely adequate to the size of its skin.)

    Deer hunting season is starting around the country, if you’d like to practice this skill before it becomes crucial to your survival. When you’re done, we’ll see how many of you have developed a new respect for Governor Palin. :)

  123. My recollection is that my older edition of Joy of Cooking has the necessary instructions for preparing game. I don’t know about deer, but I have found out the hard way that the urban environment is just fine for raccoons, rats, and skunks, one of which lives under my garage at the moment. I can’t say my mouth waters.

  124. You know what’s surprisingly good? Pigeon. We had it in China on occasion. The bones fragment badly, which creates a challenge for eating them, but properly flavored they’re very tasty — and certainly available for an urbanite in America.

  125. AL

    Let’s talk aboout fraudalent behavior. The Republicans are so into playing games they are producing their ads before the event. In this case trashing Obama for being for the bailout plan. Yes, they knew they weren’t going to vote for it and planned to take advantage of the fact:
    The Republican National Committee’s new advertisement critical of the the Wall Street “bailout” was produced and sent to television stations in key states before the package failed, officials at two stations said.
    “link”:http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0908/RNC_ad_was_cut_sent_out_before_package_failed.html#comments

    Another issue Republicans do not won’t to admit to is they are engaged in wide spread voter suppression. In fact they are so stupid about it they pissed on themselves nd left this mess:
    Brunner said she is only following Ohio law. She blamed the McCain camp for the confusion because it added the box to the form, which was not needed. But because it is there it must be checked or applications are invalid, her office contends.
    “OHIO”:http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1221316209325160.xml&coll=2
    “OHIO”:http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2008/09/voters_sue_secretary_of_state.html
    Or in Indiana where they change polling stations without notice:
    “INDIANA”:http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/20/164340/529/212/604905
    Or how they won’t let VETERANS REGISTER, please tell Grim:
    “VETERANS”:http://www.bradblog.com/?p=6389
    and to finish in Michigan”MICHIGAN”:http://michiganmessenger.com/4076/lose-your-house-lose-your-vote

  126. Sigh. Robert – how is it that when I get time to start paying attention, you always have a comment I need to respond to?

    OK – here’s one for you to sleep on tonight. If you went into the files of any national newspaper right now, they would have an obituary prepared for Barack Obama. It’s not because there’s a shadowy cabal that plans to kill him and they have pre-prepared the obits; it’s because the news cycle is so fast these days that if you want to play in it you pre-package responses to likely outcomes so you can be ready ten minutes after the news breaks. Sometimes you blow it – there were some glitches but I don’t have time to search for them – and sometimes it’s like the discovery that the Pentagon has a plan for civil unrest in Omaha. Well yes, they have plans for zombies in Los Angeles too; there are buildings full of plans which is how staff officers learn their jobs. And then when the Z-virus breaks out, they can pull the 3-ring notebook off the shelf and hand out the cricket bats.

    The voting issues are tough ones, and seriously piss me off. Sadly, they cut both ways; the R’s want to make it hard for homeless vets to vote, the D’s want to make it hard for serving vets to vote. The R’s want to cull the rolls of questionable registrants, the D’s want to register felons, the homeless, and people who may or may not be who they claim.

    Each of them aggressively games the system to their perceived advantage, and it angers me a lot. I tend to want to err on the D side – to be slightly tolerant of error that allows the wrong person to vote, rather than the error that keeps the legitimate voter away. But I get hammered from both sides for my views, as well as for my belief that the other side isn’t inherently evil, they just disagree with me on policy.

    A.L.

  127. “If nobody threatens you, but you imagine that they’re capable of it, did the threat occur?”

    and

    “On the other hand I cannot think of a case of a governmental coup by a common law enforcement agency. Of course, all the members of government are lawyers already…”

    While the first point is worthy of a response (at least on a philosophical basis; I believe anyone who is effectively threatened — let’s skip for a second the subtle difference between imagination and inference — by whatever mechanism that person has been threatened, no?) the second is of course bullshit. These candidates need to win states. Right now the right DA in the right city can influence a number of votes that might swing an election. We’re not talking coup, we’re talking ethics, before any real talk of voting rights infringements.

  128. The second quote there was in the context of comparison to the much stricter military rule against any involvement in domestic politics whatsoever. I was not contesting the idea that a government official of sufficiently poor ethics could sway an election. Please see the remainder of the conversation between myself and Grim for the details.

    As for the first quote, since your accusation remains based on nothing but your predisposition to believe the bizarre phrasing that the KMOV reporter chose and has now disavowed, this entire debate remains completely philosophical at this point.

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