Joel Stein Answered – By Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve avoided commenting on Joel Stein’s “look at me, I’m so lame!” column in the L.A. Times, because there’s really not much to say about it – or him – once you read the transcript of his interview with Hugh Hewitt.

But I do want to suggest one thing – that the liberal, democratic, anti-Bush part of the house ought to read this article, look in a mirror and worry. Because the ‘bubble’ that Stein has always lived in – of elite schools, jobs, friends, and perspective – is worryingly close to the Hollywood/ Silicon Valley/ Manhattan core of funders, intellectuals, and media figures that form the schwerpunkt of the Democratic Party right now.

And the cluelessness displayed – the cultural equivalent of “what are these scanner things and how long have they been in supermarkets?” is one of the great weaknesses of my party.

Conveniently, The Atlantic this month has the anodyne to Stein. (Along with a silly, innumerate article about Iraq which I will pin to the wall tonight)

In The Atlantic in 1894, Teddy Roosevelt – wealthy Harvard man – wrote this:

What College Graduates Owe America

August 1894

It is proper to demand more from the man with exceptional advantages than from the man without them. A heavy moral obligation rests upon the man of means and upon the man of education to do their full duty by their country. On no class does this obligation rest more heavily than upon the men with a collegiate education, the men who are graduates of our universities. Their education gives them no right to feel the least superiority over any of their fellow-citizens; but it certainly ought to make them feel that they should stand foremost in the honorable effort to serve the whole public by doing their duty as Americans in the body politic …

To the great body of men who have had exceptional advantages in the way of educational facilities we have a right, then, to look for good service to the state. The service may be rendered in many different ways. In a reasonable number of cases, the man may himself rise to high political position. That men actually do so rise is shown by the number of graduates of Harvard, Yale, and our other universities who are now taking a prominent part in public life. These cases must necessarily, however, form but a small part of the whole. The enormous majority of our educated men have to make their own living, and are obliged to take up careers in which they must work heart and soul to succeed. Nevertheless, the man of business and the man of science, the doctor of divinity and the doctor of law, the architect, the engineer, and the writer, all alike owe a positive duty to the community, the neglect of which they cannot excuse on any plea of their private affairs. They are bound to follow understandingly the course of public events; they are bound to try to estimate and form judgment upon public men; and they are bound to act intelligently and effectively in support of the principles which they deem to be right and for the best interests of the country …

For educated men of weak fibre, there lies a real danger in that species of literary work which appeals to their cultivated senses because of its scholarly and pleasant tone, but which enjoins as the proper attitude to assume in public life one of mere criticism and negation; which teaches the adoption toward public men and public affairs of that sneering tone which so surely denotes a mean and small mind. If a man does not have belief and enthusiasm, the chances are small indeed that he will ever do a man’s work in the world …

Again, there is a certain tendency in college life … to make educated men shrink from contact with the rough people who do the world’s work, and associate only with one another and with those who think as they do. This is a most dangerous tendency. It is very agreeable to deceive one’s self into the belief that one is performing the whole duty of man by sitting at home in ease, doing nothing wrong, and confining one’s participation in politics to conversations and meetings with men who have had the same training and look at things in the same way. It is always a temptation to do this, because those who do nothing else often speak as if in some way they deserved credit for their attitude, and as if they stood above their brethren who plough the rough fields …

This is a snare round which it behooves every young man to walk carefully. Let him beware of associating only with the people of his own caste and of his own little ways of political thought. Let him learn that he must deal with the mass of men; that he must go out and stand shoulder to shoulder with his friends of every rank, and face to face with his foes of every rank, and must bear himself well in the hurly-burly. He must not be frightened by the many unpleasant features of the contest, and he must not expect to have it all his own way, or to accomplish too much. He will meet with checks and make many mistakes; but if he perseveres, he will achieve a measure of success and will do a measure of good such as is never possible to the refined, cultivated, intellectual men who shrink aside from the actual fray …

[Above ellipses in the orginal – A.L.]

It’s amazing that TR could so accurately pin up a description of what ails Mr. Stein. And for Mr. Stein, I’ll ask only “Is it embarassing to be such an archetype?”

49 thoughts on “Joel Stein Answered – By Theodore Roosevelt”

  1. You guys are just hilarious. The war in Iraq was a mistake from the beginning, an unjustifiable assault against a country that had done nothing to the U.S. and had no means — as we found out later — to do so. Having lost the Just War test, the right continues its chest-thumping about all manner of picayne excusifying and breaking its arms patting itself on the back over its “success” in the Euphratean wilderness. Meantime, more American troops get killed, the Iraqi oil business (upon which reconstruction was supposed to occur) is getting successively pounded with ever-lower production figures, and anyone contravening the received wisdom of “success” is shouted down. The parallels to Vietnam are just amazing, right down to the looming energy crisis and the scary-assed levels of inflation that Bush apparently is willing to unleash on the American public (else, why cancel publication of the M3?).

    Stein’s big problem, in my mind, is that he fell for the initial sales pitch in the first place. Bush never did have a compelling excuse to go to war, not unless you count the PNAC propaganda line that forcing democracy down other countries’ throats was somehow going to work. What if, as recently happened with Hamas, they pick thugs and dictators? Hitler came to power by legal and duly elected means, too…

  2. AL, you’re right that Stein is not worth thinking about or answering. But as far as being a cautionary note to idiots like Pelosi, Boxer, Schumer, Reid, and the rest, they should definitely ponder the implications. It’s what the little twerps are learning in universities, and what the chackoffs like moveon.org and the DNC are preaching. They need to look in the mirror and think about what the people that don’t belong in their dysfunctional choir are thinking about Stein and his imbecilic ilk.

    Great caricature of the leftist/terrorist spin, Rob. You’ve got it down to an art. Scrappleface does it funnier, but you’re pretty accurate as to the basic underlying stupidity. Well done.

  3. How much do you know about TR’s father, AL? Yes, TR was rich, yes he was a Harvard grad. But his father, also Theodore Roosevelt (called “Greatheart” (from Pilgrim’s Progress) by the family, had instilled in the family an ethic of philanthropy and public service that would be rare now, rare for any time.

    TR, Sr.’s decision to hire a substitute to enter the Civil War for him so filled him with regret and shame that it affected three generations (at least) of his family.

  4. Great read AL… Thanks for passing that along!

    And I agree, the degree of congruence between Roosevelt’s description of the “educated men of weak fibre” and the sense I get from Joel Stein from reading his earlier Time articles as well as his latest piece (and subsequent interview with Hugh Hewitt), is uncanny.

    The man’s a shallow, callow dilettante.

  5. Joel Stein is about Joel Stein.

    Not supporting the troops is about diverting attention to – JOEL. Egoists don’t differentiate between negative and positive attention – all attention goes into the plus column.

    I have a new blog on the go. If you like political satire with a right slant – click on my link.

  6. Dang it, AL. You just had to go and nail it. I gropped for a reply to Mr, Stein, but I rather like yours.
    I know what TR meant too…I had a comfortable upbringing, but knew from very early on, you had best well show something in appreciation for it. My choice was the Army (Guard, Reserve or Active for 21 years now). However, TR mentioned plenty of other ways to get out there and be more than an effete drone.
    Nice post.

  7. [Once again Armed Liberal is locked in daily Manichean struggle with the Los Angeles Times; fortunately, he seems to be winning. They get as far as his front door every day, but no farther than that.]

    I’d like to point out that Joel Stein’s “courage” is something less than he advertises it to be. He thinks that a lot of people agree with him, and that they are quietly applauding him for rising above the hypocrisy.

    He imagines himself as a sort of Lillian Hellman, with everybody around him stage-whispering: “Thank God someone had the courage to say it!”

  8. A.L.,

    You say:

    And the cluelessness displayed – the cultural equivalent of “what are these scanner things and how long have they been in supermarkets?” is one of the great weaknesses of my party.

    A tangential point, but the scanner story is one of those canards spread by our friends the liberal media. See here for more. (Of course, I am relying on snopes.com, and they have proven wrong before as well; the lesson is beware *everything* you read.)

  9. Y’know, the last few posts Armed Liberal’s done here really cut to the quick of why I tend to find his pretense of being a common-sense moderate more than a little suspect.

    On the one hand, we’ve got this current post, where one guy writing for the LA Times does an editorial making the argument that enthusiastic support for the troops really does imply support for the war in Iraq, and that if you don’t support the war in Iraq, then you should avoid lionizing the troops themselves. It’s not an argument I personally buy into, but I generally don’t see what’s so horrifying about it to war supporters, since many of them have already been making that argument from the other direction – that, since supporting the troops means supporting the war, you _must_ support the war to properly support the troops.

    Regardless, this editorial is an opportunity for AL to stand up and cast doubt on the party and ideology he continually claims to still support at some level. Joel Stein is a self-admitted member of liberal elite who’s not gung-ho for the troops? Then a pox on the entire Democratic party, by way of a 112-year-old Teddy Roosevelt essay!

    On the other hand, we had yesterday’s post where, after two or three years of thousands of liberals consistently making the argument that there are real, systemic problems with the Bush administration’s approach to torture issues, AL finally takes note that, hey, maybe there’s more here than a few bad apples. His response is to say that he need to think about it, and that supporters of the war need to take a stand on the issue… but there’s no indication of _what_ stand, exactly, he proposes war supporters take, nor is there anything nearly approaching the garment-tearing that he suggests Stein’s column should trigger on the lefty side.

    So, to recap: years of systemic torture is something Republicans need to think about and take a stand on. Eventually. Last week’s Joel Stein column means Teddy Roosevelt _hates_ the modern Democratic party.

    I repeat: the guy who publically posts stuff like this increasingly doesn’t feel like any flavor of “liberal” to me.

  10. Thanks AL. I lurk here a lot and sometimes want to disagree with you – but not on this one. It’s not so much that TR answered Jezeerastein directly, but more that TR demonstrated early on that public service is not just a good thing, but a requirement of some – giving back to those who gave to you, so to speak.

    Rob, your post itself was hilarious. You sanctified everything TR had to say (although it wasn’t your intent). And you did it with the usual flair of liberal glittering generalities.

  11. Chris I think you are missing the boat on this one. The Democrats biggest problem right now is that they dont understand they have a problem. The mainstream (democrats included) reads the article and retches. There are about a million union members that would love to have a drink with Stein after an article like that- so they could crack a bottle over his head. You are right that there is an important constituency that does smile and pump their fists when they read things like that. Unfortunately they are almost exclusively Democratic Senators, Ivy League professors, fellow newspaper writers, and Howard Deaniacs. Thats about 10% of the population (to be generous). The other 90% just rolls its eyes, not because some hidden truth has been revealed, but because the glaringly obvious disrespect and desdain of the far left concerning the military and national defense is so thinly veiled to begin with. The cocktail circuit may love it, but it wont play in Peoria. Thank god.

  12. bq. Chris I think you are missing the boat on this one. The Democrats biggest problem right now is that they dont understand they have a problem. The mainstream (democrats included) reads the article and retches.

    Mark, actually, you’re missing the entire gist of what I said:

    – I don’t think that Stein’s column was all that bad, and don’t think 90% of the rest of the country feels so either. I don’t agree with it, but he’s not saying “let’s lynch all the baby-killers!”, or other things along those lines. Nor did I say anything about “an important constituency” agreeing with Stein – please don’t put words in my mouth.

    – However bad the column might be, it’s not 1/100th as bad as the torture stuff that even AL now admits the Bush admin is doing. But AL’s response to the two events is, shall we say, non-proportionate.

    And, please, spare me your faux-concern for the political fortunes of the Democratic party. If you want to attack the Democrats, attack the Democrats – don’t write posts explaining Democrat “problems” that are basically just Republican spin. Case in point, even if the vast majority of Americans would just as soon run Stein over with their cars, *Stein is not an official or unofficial representative of the Democratic party*, and it’s dishonest to act like the Democrats didn’t win in ’04 because of what Joel Stein wrote.

  13. You know, I tend to agree with Chris. If the democrats lose in 06 it will assuredly be because of Stein and other loose cannons like him, speaking for the democratic party. Is Stein a pen name of Howard Dean, or he a real person, by the way?

  14. Rob — your comments typify the bubble that Dems surround themselves in.

    Chris — you’ve missed the main point entirely. Most Americans would view that almost anything short of Saddam stuff is within bounds for Al Qaeda prisoners. WHY is 24 so popular? Because it shows a guy (with politically correct terrorists) basically just shooting them. Or whatever. The average American is more concerned about his/her family getting blown up, or himself. That’s the calculation every person flying makes (“is that set of Muslim men onboard terrorists or just guys?”). And so on.

    Dems like Kennedy weep over the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 9/11 Architect and connected to the 1993 WTC bombing. Most Americans would gladly break every bone in his body. Twice.

    Conflict is escalating. We are indeed at war despite Dems denial and belief that the US should in fact lose, and morally deserves to lose. Stein’s column is bad because it represents the bubble and thoughts of most Dems; and suggests that spitting on Vets shouldn’t happen (but it wouldn’t be bad in and of itself if it did occur). What’s even more revealing is that Stein opposed the AFGHAN war and feels that troops in both conflicts are committing moral sins for shooting Al Qaeda terrorists.

    Ordinary people question Dems Patriotism because absent a few heretics (who will shortly be burned at the stake like Lieberman) there is no patriotism in the Democratic Party. Dems believe the military should not exist. See Stein’s statements.

    This is a remarkable change in the Dem Party which as recently as the mid 60’s believed in the Flag, Nation, and Military.

  15. Speaking of Atlantic Magazine and the war, the issue with “Why Iraq has no army” on the cover just arrived here a week or two ago.

    Ah, has anyone commented on that? It was probably circulated months ago in your part of the world but HOW DO THEY GET AWAY WITH SAYING NEARLY QUARTER OF A MILLION MEN DON’T EXIST!!!

  16. Maybe people would understand Joel Stein’s point better if he used this analogy: Suppose you’re living in the deep South in 1864 and you’re against slavery. Would you say you support the Confederate troops even though you’re against the war to secede? I’m guessing not.

  17. At least part of Joel Stein’s column makes sense – and “this guy explains why”:http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/001797.html Ulysses has a point.

    Meanwhile, yes, Stein ought to be embarassed for being such a caricature/ cartoon (“archetype” implies a depth not present here, whereas “cartoon” coveys the proper 2-dimensionality). Rob McMillin should also be embarassed for being such a cartoon.

    I predict that neither will be. To recognize one’s cartoon existence in flatland inevitably requires the one characteristic not present by definition.

  18. Chris you keep making the same claim, and not getting my point. I think the democratic Party, as run today, is driving off a cliff. I think that people like Joel Stein are helping steer.

    Since I think there is an important role for a progressive party in this country – as in a party that actively defends the rights of working and poor people, reins in the excesses of private industry, and promotes other values that I hold important, it pisses me off when those values are cheated of fair advocacy by tools like Stein and those who pat him on the back at Drago.

    There is no other way for those progressive values to be defended than for the Democratic Party to become an effective advocate for them, or to collapse, and have a new party take its place.

    I don’t think it is going to collapse, but I do think they will continue losing, and at some point people will get fed up with the venal fools running it and demand change. I want to help that happen.

    Does that make any more sense?

    A.L.

    [fixed typos]

  19. TR hits on something very instructive as we see the rise of the new media barbarians attacking the MSM gates. For many years, liberals, especially those in academic life, have been able to surround themselves with completely like-minded people with no whiff of dissenting viewpoints (Pauline Kael, anyone?). Conservatives, on the other hand, have honed their thoughts and arguments in the midst of a media, academy, and political environment where hostility toward them abounded. Lesson: It is okay, and even good, to be among those who are different, because it stretches you and forces you to really know your arguments.

  20. A small (slightly orthogonal) point. Roosevelt’s thoughts are brilliant and painfully true. However, we must consider the fact that some manage to get to “elite” colleges, obtain passing grades, and somehow never receive an education. Mr Stein is an example. It is – in my humble opinion – a striking example of the collapse of the liberal education most clearly described in “Closing of the American Mind”. That man-child has no sense of history. He has no reasoning ability. And – for those who applaud his “honesty”, he is simply being a leaf in the stream…albeit a leaf that shouts out its idiocy rather than flying in liberal-spastic formation with the rest of the rotting leaves.

  21. Hey, expanding on Rob McMillin’s brillaint commentary, what did Kosovo ever do to us? Did they invade us? Have WMDs?

    But Joel Stein LIKED that war. Could it be because of who was in the white house?

  22. Wonderful stuff! A joy to read in application to academia, MSM and the Democratic party leadership. But if in reading it, I only experience such joy, without reflecting on my self, I reveal myself to be an “educated man of weak fiber.”

    The article is a call to educated men (and women) to assume the responsibility of using their education and other advantages for the good of the nation. Using it as “mere criticism and negation” of the likes of Stein is like playing Solitaire on a $3000 top-of-the-line PC — it does the job wonderfully, but it’s not really the point, especially considering that a simple deck of cards can do it just as well….

    I’m filing this one away in case I need to read it again myself sometime.

  23. Hey, Ulysses.

    Back in Civil War times there existed a significant minority in the Confederacy that didn’t agree with the majority decision to seceed. Many of those folks joined the US military, and fought against the South.

    If you guys really want to stand up for your ‘moral’ values, do you advocate the same course for todays dissenters? No? Why not?

    Maybe because the war -really- is justified, and you know it. But you can’t figure out how to make support pay, politically.

    Just a thought.

  24. Hey Chris!

    You said:

    “So, to recap: years of systemic torture is something Republicans need to think about and take a stand on”.

    I TOTALLY SUPPORT putting women’s panties on the weenie’s faces. Let them finally experience the first “life” orgasms of their lives. You do not want to be cruel and deprive them of that (or sentence them ONLY to their Death Cult, or DO YOU)?

  25. AL-

    bq. Chris you keep making the same claim, and not getting my point. I think the democratic Party, as run today, is driving off a cliff. I think that people like Joel Stein are helping steer.

    bq. Since I think there is an important role for a progressive party in this country – as in a party that actively defends the rights of working and poor people, reins in the excesses of private industry, and promotes other values that I hold important, it pisses me off when those vlaues are cheated of fair advocacy by tools like Stein and those who pat him on the back at Drago.

    I understand your point. I think you’re missing _my_ point – that what you’re doing is, at best, naive, and at worst disingenuous.

    You keep harping on the idea that the Democrats are under the sway of these radical extremists, and that said extremists are destroying the party’s effectiveness. The first part of that statement is debatable, but even taking it as true for the sake of argument, how does that make the Democrats any different from the Republicans, who are at least as influenced by the worst elements of _their_ party? Are you somehow under the impression that Tom Delay, Grover Norquist, and James Dobson are appealing figures to most of the country, or that they don’t hold considerable sway over the right wing?

    If you were taking equal time to trash both sides, that’d lend some credence to your claim that you’re doing this in hopes that the Dems will improve themselves, but the only Republicans I’ve seen you trash lately are Cal state GOP folks – you seem to go out of your way _not_ to directly critique Bush. That’s not gonna endear you to _actual Democrats_ – i.e., the people who you need to convince _if you actually want things to change_.

    Likewise, the fact that you’re hanging out here at WoC – a place increasingly populated with guys like Jim Rockford above, who already profoundly dislike the Democrats – rather than arguing with guys like Kevin Drum or even, horror of horrors, Matt Yglesias, doesn’t suggest that you’re likely to meet with much success. It’s like bitching about unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry at a vegetarian restaurant – it’s not really gonna change anything with the people who matter. All it really seems to do is validate the increasingly bad opinion of a bunch of guys who were prejudiced towards the left to begin with. You’ve said in the past that it helps you focus your ideas to post things out here, but if you’re increasingly divorced and anathema to actual Democrats, what good are focused ideas gonna do?

    Lastly, I personally find your priorities to be utterly bizarre for a supposed liberal. You claim to support progressive values, but what “pisses you off” isn’t the _actual_ setbacks that Bush has dealt those values, it’s the fact that the Democratic party isn’t purged of the people you disagree with. You claim that Stein and his ilk are to blame, but given how close the ’04 election was, I’d argue that had a handful of people such as yourself not been so persuaded by the FUD directed at John Kerry, all this talk about electoral oblivion would be directed entirely towards the GOP. Instead you supported Bush… and again, it’s not even that you’re pretending that Bush is perfect, but that you by and large refuse to discuss any issues you might have with the guy, preferring instead to “deflect” talk of torture and avoid blogging about it because you “feel it’s somehow expected of you”. And any damage done to progressive values is the fault of those damn progressives in LA and Manhattan and the Bay Area, and nothing to do with how you, y’know, actually _voted_.

    Color me unconvinced, AL. Make no mistake, I think you’re a nice guy, and probably do believe in a lot of lefty stuff… but your words and actions seem to undercut your beliefs, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to keep pointing that out until you can show how what I’ve written above is incorrect or unreasonable.

  26. bq. I TOTALLY SUPPORT putting women’s panties on the weenie’s faces. Let them finally experience the first “life” orgasms of their lives. You do not want to be cruel and deprive them of that (or sentence them ONLY to their Death Cult, or DO YOU)?

    Reread AL’s own bleeding post – we’re not talking about the panty thing, we’re talking about wrapping people in sleeping bags and crushing them to death.

  27. Chris, I’ll be presumptuous and try to restate A.L.’s points.

    1. The Democrat fringe (as you call them) would like to push A.L. out, while many of the Republican fringe don’t mind finding common cause with him where possible. See the difference? One side loses a vote, and the other side picks up a vote.

    2. The other thing is that Bush did BETTER in 2004 than in 2000. So, maybe we are seeing evidence of people being asked to leave by the fringe Democrats and basically taking them up on it.

    3. How can the fringe Democrats maintain their influence if their platform keeps losing elections? Will you even conceed the point if the Republicans pick up seats in the mid-term elections?

    I’m a registered Democrat, much like A.L. I held my nose and voted republican for the first time in my life in 2004. And, though you might think otherwise, it wasn’t due to the Republicans tricking me or their so called smearing of Kerry.

    I weighed the issues and voted my conscience. If Lieberman was the nominee, I would have voted for him. They aren’t being very enticing by putting Dean in charge.

    I’m not sure whya Liberal can’t be a hawk anymore. Can you explain that? Where’s the liberal voice that’s strong on national defense? Where is it? Ever heard of Harry Truman or Scoop Jackson? Or hell, even JFK (the real one!)? A.L.’s moniker is pretty much self explanatory.

  28. bq. Chris, I’ll be presumptuous and try to restate A.L.’s points.

    Er, you’re not restating his points, Lurker. He hasn’t said any of this in any of his recent posts – these are your own arguments. So yeah, this is kinda presumptuous.

    bq. 1. The Democrat fringe (as you call them) would like to push A.L. out, while many of the Republican fringe don’t mind finding common cause with him where possible. See the difference? One side loses a vote, and the other side picks up a vote.

    How is the Democratic fringe trying to kick AL out? Where does AL say this, or where does the “fringe” say it in anything he’s referenced? If they’re fringe, how do they have to power to kick anybody out? This looks like a straw man to me.

    bq. 2. The other thing is that Bush did BETTER in 2004 than in 2000. So, maybe we are seeing evidence of people being asked to leave by the fringe Democrats and basically taking them up on it.

    Bush also had a war to campaign on, as opposed to 2000… and we’re still talking a difference between the two candidates of tenths of a percentage. And, again, straw man as far as people being “asked to leave”.

    bq. 3. How can the fringe Democrats maintain their influence if their platform keeps losing elections? Will you even conceed the point if the Republicans pick up seats in the mid-term elections?

    Please rephrase this sentence – where do you get the impression I give a tinker’s damn about fringe Democrats, and what point, exactly, am I supposed to concede?

    bq. I’m a registered Democrat, much like A.L. I held my nose and voted republican for the first time in my life in 2004. And, though you might think otherwise, it wasn’t due to the Republicans tricking me or their so called smearing of Kerry.

    I’d be a lot more willing to take this at face value, except that you then write this:

    bq. I’m not sure whya Liberal can’t be a hawk anymore. Can you explain that? Where’s the liberal voice that’s strong on national defense? Where is it? Ever heard of Harry Truman or Scoop Jackson? Or hell, even JFK (the real one!)? A.L.’s moniker is pretty much self explanatory.

    This is a false dichotomy: liberals can surely be hawks, and many liberals (although, yes, not Joel Stein) were hawks when it came to Afghanistan. The issue here is that the debate is being constructed such that deviation from the pro-Iraq side (and, increasingly, any disagreement with Bush himself) is evidence that somebody’s no longer a hawk, thus no longer serious about national defense, and thus someone who wants to spit on our soldiers and see OBL as ruler of the world.

    And, to put it mildly, I think most people find that chain of implication to be nonsense.

    Again, these are different issues than what I’m criticizing AL for. You’re clearly PO’d at the current Democratic party, and the way the current political fault lines have fallen, and that’s your right. Both you and AL are more than welcome to believe that the Iraq war was and is a good thing, and to vote accordingly. But claiming that a record of repeatedly trashing the Democratic party on a conservative group blog and ignoring the faults of the Bush administration is somehow strinking a blow for progressive values is simply wrong, and if you disagree, Lurker, I invite you to actually engage with what I wrote above, rather than diverting the debate towards your own issues.

  29. How is the Democratic fringe trying to kick AL out? Where does AL say this, or where does the “fringe” say it in anything he’s referenced? If they’re fringe, how do they have to power to kick anybody out? This looks like a straw man to me.Perhaps I’m thinking of some of his older posts. It just seems when in an Argument with one of the Kos Kiddies or many other Leftists, one is invariably invited to leave the Democrfatic party. This is one of the recurring themes that A.L. touches on. I don’t think you’ll understand where he is coming from unless you can grasp that fact.

    As far as them having the power… Well they don’t of the power to pick which people are on the Democractic party, but they are gaining influence, as evidenced by Kerry posting on Kos and with the fact of Dean ascending to the DNC chairmanship. It it certain is true that the more people that get asked to leave for their “diviant” beliefs, the more people will ultimately choose to leave. How can this attitude be reconciled with the need to add voters to the Democratic party?

    Bush also had a war to campaign on, as opposed to 2000… and we’re still talking a difference between the two candidates of tenths of a percentage.

    I seem the remember a difference of 4 or 5 percent, and that the difference had expanded since 2000. I’m not sure what the war would have to do with it unless you think it is incompatible with liberal values. I remember when spreading democracy was a liberal value.

    Please rephrase this sentence – where do you get the impression I give a tinker’s damn about fringe Democrats, and what point, exactly, am I supposed to concede?

    Perhaps I have assumed too much. I appologize. What faction of the Democractic party do you most identify with? The DLC?

    The point I wanted you to concede was that factions in the Democratic party that push out moderates or hawks do not promote the electoral success of the Democratic party.

    This is a false dichotomy: liberals can surely be hawks, and many liberals (although, yes, not Joel Stein) were hawks when it came to Afghanistan.

    It only looks like a false dichotomy to you since you view begrugded support for the Afghanistan invasion as enough to make one a hawk. A true hawk would not be ready to go back to the Clintion approach to terrorism so soon after the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.

    The issue here is that the debate is being constructed such that deviation from the pro-Iraq side (and, increasingly, any disagreement with Bush himself) is evidence that somebody’s no longer a hawk, thus no longer serious about national defense, and thus someone who wants to spit on our soldiers and see OBL as ruler of the world.

    There are surely honorable ways to oppose the Iraq project, but I can’t see a a way to do so and still claim to be a hawk. Dean certainly isn’t a Hawk. Is Kerry one? If he is, then how would you describe Lieberman and Zell Miller? Is ‘hawk” now one of those differences without a distinction as your argument seems to imply?

    I conceed that it is possible to be a liberal hawk. Heck, I am one. Is it possible to be a Democratic hawk though? Miller is all but gone, and the Democrats are looking to oppose Lieberman in his upcoming relection campaign.

    And, to put it mildly, I think most people find that chain of implication to be nonsense.

    Has any one here saying that you must agree with Bush to be a Hawk? I agree with Bush on only a few things. To me it’s apparent that there’s more room for dessent in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party. Maybe

    I may retarded and or something, but these claims by Democrats saying that they must agree with Bush or be villified as traitors looks like so much phycological projection to me.

    But claiming that a record of repeatedly trashing the Democratic party on a conservative group blog and ignoring the faults of the Bush administration is somehow strinking a blow for progressive values

    Unless you make the assumtption that “progrssive values” is congruent with the “Democratic Party”, I’m not sure why there should be a problem disussing them anywhere. Maybe that’s your blindness here. In your view, must one be a Democrat and vote Democrat to be progressive?

    The thing is there’s never going to be 100% agreement between an individual and a political party. Any one that puts party before principles is by defintion partisan. For everyone else, it’s left to weigh each of their positions and cast their vote with the party that best matches them at that time. That’s what A.L. has done and that is what I have done. It turned out to be the Republicans in 2004.

    You try to turn this arounf on us to say that how does this promote the Progrssive cause. Well the simple answer is national survival as a democratic state. You are certainly free to think otherwise, but I don’t know if we’d recognise ourselves as Progrssives if a return to Clintonian anti-terror startegies led to a nuclear strike on a US city, leading to who knows what kind of retaliation. The US would most likely survive, but would our “soul”? What about all the innocents lost on conflagelation like that?

    I think it’s pretty damned Progressive to avert that future at almost any cost. That now makes me a hawk. And I guess A.L. too. And Lieberman and Zell Miller. And many other DINOs.

    A.L. is basically stating what the Democrats have to do to get his vote. He’s progressive to me because he favors goverment action to restrain pure unfettered capitalism and give the lowest of the low a hand up.

    The thing is that he’s a Hawk and doesn’t fill quite welcome in the Democratic party anymore. He’s up front about it. Over many posts, he’s even given a recipe for the Democrats to use to earn back his vote (and mine, and many others).

    They don’t seem to want it. It’s a progressvive vote, though that of a hawk. Why don’t they want it?

    If what you say is true, and the Democrats are the Progressive party, and one can be a Hawk and be progressive, then why is the Hawk part of the party shrinking?

  30. Chris:

    I have come to the conclusion that it is of little or no value to view AL’s positions in the context of any alleged political ideology…primarily because I don’t think his views represent a coherent philosophy for the following reasons.

    One criticism I have of his blogging is that he trying to represent himself as an important segment of the “center-left” who should be heavily courted by the Dems. This “hook” is supposed to be why anyone should pay attention to what he says. It is the cyber-electoral equivalent of hiking up your skirt to hitch a ride.

    But if anything, he has only convinced me that the slice of the political spectrum he represents is small and electorally unnatractive (i.e., he’s got hairy legs). Two pieces of evidence support this view: 1) His choice to post on this particular Pro-war blog populated largely by principled conservative/libertarian wing Republicans and lukewarm Bush supporters who are mostly thoughtful and well-tempered, themselves a rare and endangered political breed; and 2) His posts are rarely, if ever, linked to from elsewhere in the blogosphere.

    I’m not trying to slam on the dude, really, but his claim to be representative of an important voting sector does not seem to be borne out by even a cursory look at the available evidence (which does not include the supportive anectodal testimony that he occassionally receives from a fellow WofC poster).

    Given this, his role here seems to be that of the “sensible hawk” kicked out of the “intolerant” Democratic party. He’s a touchstone to all those who like to remind themselves (or need a reason to feel good about) why they vote Republican…because they dislike what they believe “Democrats” stand for even more.

    Because of this, I think his posts would tend to serve the purpose of keeping prevaricating center-rights (the main traffic here from what I can tell) from swinging left, if anything. He is the “deserter” who has seen fighting in the enemy trenches…and is here to report back regularly about how unprincipled and weak they are on the other side.

    Ironically, his net effect is therefore more likely exactly the opposite of what he states it to be. Whether he realizes it “or not.”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007979.php#c21

    But like I asked, does it really matter in the end? As long as you bail out of debates her before they spiral into a vortex of circumlocution and antipodal ideology (as is happening with you and lurker/AL on this thread!), it can sometimes be enjoyable, although I’m not sure anything of worth ever comes from it.

  31. Lurker-

    I repeat my observation that the arguments your making have far more to do with you than anything AL actually said. If you’re gonna say that people trying to kick AL out of the Democratic party is one of the themes of his writing, then it might help if you’d, y’know, _link to some of his stuff as proof_.

    A few other points:

    bq. Maybe I may retarded and or something, but these claims by Democrats saying that they must agree with Bush or be villified as traitors looks like so much phycological projection to me.

    It’s laugable that you can write this in the same thread as Jim Rockford’s post (#17) above. It’s even more laugable that you can write this and then follow it up with a chain of reasoning that suggests not agreeing with Bush on Iraq will lead to nukes going off in US cities. Speaking of which…

    bq. Unless you make the assumtption that “progrssive values” is congruent with the “Democratic Party”, I’m not sure why there should be a problem disussing them anywhere. Maybe that’s your blindness here. In your view, must one be a Democrat and vote Democrat to be progressive?

    I’m quoting AL’s comment above: ” …I think there is an important role for a progressive party in this country – as in a party that actively defends the rights of working and poor people, reins in the excesses of private industry…” That’s a rough version of the progressive values I’ve been discussing thus far, and at best, it’s distracting, and at worst it’s profoundly dishonest of you to try and twist your particular preferences on defense into a debate about progressive values.

    Yes, national security’s important – probably more important than almost any of the “progressive” values we’re talking about here. But it’s simply not the case that Bush’s Iraq policy will inevitably make us safer – the Liberals Against Terrorism site, and many others, have done yeoman’s work in showing time and time again how Bush’s prosecution of Iraq has acutally made us _less_ safe in the greater War on Terror. (Not to mention a great example of how one can value a strong military, a strong national defense – to be a hawk, in other words – and still not agree with Bush’s position on Iraq.)

    You don’t have to agree with their analysis, of course, but in the future it’d probably be a good idea to temper your argument so that you at least implicitly acknowledge the case isn’t as open and shut as you seem to think it is. Other than that, I reiterate my observation that you seem to want to make this about your political views and your pet peeves, and that’s simply not an argument I wish to have at the moment, thanks all the same.

    Andy-

    Yep, that’s pretty much dead on for me. But the role you describe has always been a pet peeve of mine (don’t get me started on Miller’s 2004 GOP speech), and I take some small enjoyment out of pointing out the contraditions in what AL’s doing until he stops doing it, or until he definitively proves your argument wrong.

  32. Andy, Chris, I’m just devastated. I had no idea that I was so misguided, that I’d fallen in with such bad copany, and that I’d fallen so far from favor in your eyes.

    Actually, not.

    There’s such a rich field of things to have fun with here, I’m not sure where to begin; let me start with a simple one – guilt by association. It’s obvious that an honest liberal – in your eyes – couldn’t possibly associate themselves with – date I say? Say it! – a place largely peopled with conservatives! – and so I must, therefore, be a dishonest liberal. A fellow-traveller, so to speak. That’s really the lamest argument I’ve heard in a long time.

    Let me suggest an alternative interpretation, closer to reality. I’m largely a two-theme blogger, with a primary and secondary theme.

    The first and far most important theme, simply, is “what in the world do we do about this worldwide conflict we find ourselves in?” A conflict which I largely see as one with a lot of possible bad outcomes – moral ones for us, physical ones for out opponents – which I’d like to minimize. That puts me in with a group of people that has three main loci; the very small Norm Geras/Chris Hitchens leftist antifascists; the somewhat larger Charles Johnson anti-Muslims; and a larger, more ideologically diffuse group of people. Personally, I’m somewhat to the right of Norm, but I’m nowhere near the space that the LGF crowd is in. So it’s that larger crowd that forms ‘my pack’.

    The second theme is one about remaking and recapturing the Democratic party. Kos isn’t wrong when he suggests that it’s been kidnapped and held captive by an interest group more interested in self-enrichment and perpetuation than in a) winning elections; and b) doing genuinely useful and progressive things.

    Socially, as I’ve blogged before, my Democratic-reform circle is pretty intolerant of my hawkish views; on the other hand, while I get a lot of debate about my progressive views in the ‘diffuse hawk’ community, they are relatively respectful.

    And, to me, bluntly, resolving the issues of the War take precedance over domestic politics. Once that’s resolved, there will be lots of time to discuss what to do domestically (as there probably will be as we get close to the election).

    The other part of it, interestingly, is social – not so much F2F as online. I know and like Kevin D quite a bit (as I do Brian Linse, Steve Smith, and a bunch of other local D bloggers) but the larger pool of leftie bloggers – Kos, Willis, TBogg, Yglesias – is basically full of petutlant, annoying trolls.

    Sensing may disagree with my views on abortion and gay rights, but I don’t think there will be a lot of namecalling or venom that gets sent across. Blackfive may disagree with my views on progressive taxation, but he’s happy at the prospect of sharing a beer with me.

    Pro-war commenters like Jim Rockford, who disagree with me on domestic matters, don’t invite to to hit the door – as did commenter Andy in “this post”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007974.php#c36 – to which I replied “here”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007979.php.

    So far I’m pretty happy with the situation. Bummer that you’re not. But please, leave me in my irrelevance and go on about your business. Because, as much as I hate to say it, I’m here to engage in arguments that I find interesting, not those that you do.

    And let me suggest a third theme that I try and touch on, that I’m not a Democrat or Republican, conservative, or liberal first. I’m an American. And that I’m happy to take that as a place to start, and within that large and varied group, a place I feel free to circulate within.

    A.L.

  33. Chris,
    You are right. I’m going to let A.L. speak for himself about his relationship with the Democrats. I originally stepped in to try to clear things up, and it’s seems to have muddied the waters more with each exchange.

    Perhaps my writting is poor, but you are not picking up my POV at all. I know this is wearying to you, as it is to me, but I think it’s worth one more shot to try to reach you.

    It’s even more laugable that you can write this and then follow it up with a chain of reasoning that suggests not agreeing with Bush on Iraq will lead to nukes going off in US cities. Speaking of which…

    I never said this or even implied it. I think after 9-11 a much more hawkish stance was called for. That’s my position. I’m a hawk now. I didn’t start with Bush and just accept what he shovels, events made me more of a Hawk, and Bush was the only viable alternative to support that position. You are readinig my logic backwards. It wasn’t Bush to Hawk. It was Hawk to Bush.

    Plus it doesn’t have to be Bush’s hawkish stance, but the Democrats offer no hawkish alternative. Kerry is not a hawk by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how hard you spin it. Tepid support of attacking Afghanistan is not enough to make him, or any one else, a hawk.

    You want to say that the Democrats offer up a policy that’s just as Hawkish as Bush, just different. This is not true. They offer up policies that aren’t hawkish at all.

    The Democrats are the ones making it Bush or nothing choice for me. I would love a Democratic hawk. I would readily vote for one over Bush.

    But it’s simply not the case that Bush’s Iraq policy will inevitably make us safer

    Not many things are inevitable, but I think a Hawkish policy has a better chance of protecting the country over the long term than continuing business as usaual. Does this make me a Bushco drone?

    There’s plenty of room to disagee. I don’t object to that. I’ve also looked at the Liberals Against Terrorism site. They’re resonable folks. I just don’t agree with them. Their’s seem a Clinton-plus approach. Not very hawkish IMHO. Perhaps we have different working defintions of what a Hawk is.

    I’d like to touch briefly on this….

    It’s laugable that you can write this in the same thread as Jim Rockford’s post (#17) above.

    This is a touchy subject. It’s very easy for the rhetroic to get out of control.

    The limited point that I was trying to make was that the Republicans seem to have no problem taking in a liberal hawk, but the Democrats seem okay with pushing out hawks (or whatever it is that I am). Is this an over generalization? Probably.

  34. AL-

    bq. There’s such a rich field of things to have fun with here, I’m not sure where to begin; let me start with a simple one – guilt by association. It’s obvious that an honest liberal – in your eyes – couldn’t possibly associate themselves with – date I say? Say it! – a place largely peopled with conservatives! – and so I must, therefore, be a dishonest liberal. A fellow-traveller, so to speak. That’s really the lamest argument I’ve heard in a long time.

    No, AL, there’s nothing wrong with associating yourself with conservatives – you’re making that argument, I’m not. It’s pretending that assocaiting yourself with conservatives _is doing anything for the good of the Democratic party_ that’s objectionable to me (and, I suppose, to Andy). You say further down that you like Kevin Drum et al., but Andy’s right – what liberal bloggers are listening to or responding to your arguments? And if nobody’s listening, what good are you doing?

    bq. Socially, as I’ve blogged before, my Democratic-reform circle is pretty intolerant of my hawkish views; on the other hand, while I get a lot of debate about my progressive views in the ‘diffuse hawk’ community, they are relatively respectful.

    Ah, right, the “they accept me, my old side didn’t, therefore conservatives are more tolerant” argument. Except you’re just one datapoint here, AL – ask Andrew Sullivan how “tolerant” conservatives have been of him ditching Bush in the last election.

    Let me make it real simple: on both sides, there are differences that, at any given time, will raise a great deal of ire. Supporting Bush makes you persona non grata in the left, yeah, but there are other things that would make you just as unaccepted in the right… such as making a big deal out of torture. But don’t take my word for it – ask Greg Djerejian sometime.

    So, yeah, Andy asked why you don’t leave the Democratic party… and guys on the right asked the same thing, but somehow that anecdote only means that it’s the _Democrats_ that are intolerant, and not that you, personally, have undergone a political realignment that’s blindingly obvious to everyone _but_ you. But based on poll numbers, the number of Democrats who broke for Bush and the number of Republicans who broke for Kerry was roughly equal, so no, I don’t think there is anywhere near the systemic bias against dissent that you’re suggesting.

    bq. And, to me, bluntly, resolving the issues of the War take precedance over domestic politics. Once that’s resolved, there will be lots of time to discuss what to do domestically (as there probably will be as we get close to the election).

    Nice sentiment… except, as has been pointed out time and time and time again, nothing anybody’s suggesting here at WoC is bringing us one damn bit closer to resolving the issues of the War. Even you’re now admitting that Bush is not moving in the right direction with regard to the war, and that there are problems with the administration’s torture policy… but even though that’s _exactly_ what guys like Yglesias have been complaining about, somehow they’re still wrong and you’re still right. And the thing that really seems to animate you is _not_ the issues themselves, but the fact that people on the left don’t embrace your self-admitted wrong opinions with open arms.

    bq. So far I’m pretty happy with the situation. Bummer that you’re not. But please, leave me in my irrelevance and go on about your business. Because, as much as I hate to say it, I’m here to engage in arguments that I find interesting, not those that you do.

    Certainly, and I’m not suggesting otherwise. But just as you enjoy engaging with the arguments that interest you, I enjoy engaging with the arguments that interest me… which, in no small part, means doing my damndest to knock holes in your stuff. Simple, neh?

  35. bq. Perhaps my writting is poor, but you are not picking up my POV at all. I know this is wearying to you, as it is to me, but I think it’s worth one more shot to try to reach you.

    bq. I never said this or even implied it. I think after 9-11 a much more hawkish stance was called for. That’s my position. I’m a hawk now. I didn’t start with Bush and just accept what he shovels, events made me more of a Hawk, and Bush was the only viable alternative to support that position. You are readinig my logic backwards. It wasn’t Bush to Hawk. It was Hawk to Bush.

    Lurker, I think you’re the one that’s got it bass ackwards. I understand your POV just fine – much better, I think, than you do mine, given that you’re constantly making these remarks that completely gloss over any hint of complexity in this discussion.

    So let me make this clear: I’m sure it is the case that you hold the positions you hold because you feel they’ll make the country safer. I’m sure you’re not a drone mindlessly following Bush, although I still believe that the propaganda Bush put out about Kerry influenced more than a few people into thinking he couldn’t be trusted on security issues… maybe you were influenced by that stuff, maybe you weren’t. I’m not gonna apologize for suggesting it.

    At this point, it doesn’t much matter to me: the issue is not that you’re agreeing _with Bush_ on Iraq, but that you agree with Bush (and AL, and any other Iraq hawk you care to name) _on Iraq_. And hell, even that doesn’t bother me per se – if people want to support the Iraq war, and vote for Bush, that’s their call. What bugs me is when people act, as you have, as if there’s absolutely no choice between support for the Iraq invasion on the one hand and nuclear terrorism on the other – you’re certainly free to believe that, of course, but I’m just as free to blow your opinions off as those of a close-minded ideologue. (Case in point, yes, we have different definitions of “hawk”, because mine means someone can oppose a specific war and still be a hawk. Yours does not, apparently…)

    It also bugs the hell out of me when people act as if having a Democratic party that didn’t support the Iraq war means that there was some kind of hideous suppression of dissent going on. Elections are _about_ choosing between different opinions, and had we had an election between, say, Bush and Lieberman, that would have essentially meant that a big chunk of the country that _didn’t_ support the Iraq war wouldn’t have gotten a chance to vote their say on it. As it happens, that chunk was in the minority during the election, and the party lost, but that doesn’t mean it was a mistake to make the election about those issues. And regardless, the fact that you fell on the other side of the party line doesn’t mean that something’s wrong with the Democratic party, and it’d be great if you stopped pretending otherwise.

    bq. I’d like to touch briefly on this….

    bq. _It’s laugable that you can write this in the same thread as Jim Rockford’s post (#17) above._

    bq. This is a touchy subject. It’s very easy for the rhetroic to get out of control.

    Then rhetoric gets out of control day in day out on this site and hundreds of others, and has done so for the past four years. But at least we’re past the bogus “psychological projection” stuff you were spewing earlier…

    bq. The limited point that I was trying to make was that the Republicans seem to have no problem taking in a liberal hawk, but the Democrats seem okay with pushing out hawks (or whatever it is that I am).

    So if I show you an example of Republicans being equally intolerant of those who opposed the war in Iraq, or Bush’s spying or torture or detention policies, then I’ve proved just the opposite according to your reasoning, right?

  36. Chris,

    I think you’re the one that’s got it bass ackwards.

    What exactly is it that I have backwards?

    What bugs me is when people act, as you have, as if there’s absolutely no choice between support for the Iraq invasion on the one hand and nuclear terrorism on the other – you’re certainly free to believe that, of course, but I’m just as free to blow your opinions off as those of a close-minded ideologue.

    I never meant to apply any thing is a 100% certainty. There would be no disagreement if we all new the future. We weigh the risks differently, that’s all. I can’t convince you either. Does that make you an ideologue?

    (Case in point, yes, we have different definitions of “hawk”, because mine means someone can oppose a specific war and still be a hawk. Yours does not, apparently…)

    Being a hawk or not has nothing to do with Iraq. You’re trying to claim that Kerry is a hawk, and I’m saying that you’re crazy.

    It also bugs the hell out of me when people act as if having a Democratic party that didn’t support the Iraq war means that there was some kind of hideous suppression of dissent going on.

    As near as I can tell the only thing being claimed was that the Democrats are not interested in my or A.L.’s vote. Nothing was ever mentioned about any kind of suppression of dissent. Besides, aren’t Bush and Rove the ones somehow suppressing dissent?

    Perhaps A.L. and I are a members of a small demographic (as Andy says) and it makes sense for the Democrats to ignore and belittle our hawkish postion. It still doesn’t negate the fact that our position is not welcome.

    Elections are about choosing between different opinions, and had we had an election between, say, Bush and Lieberman, that would have essentially meant that a big chunk of the country that didn’t support the Iraq war wouldn’t have gotten a chance to vote their say on it.

    This is the most insightful thing that you’ve had to say. Have you ever thought about giving up the snarky tone and putting more energy in to thinking up stuff like this?

    Thanks for this thought none the less. I hadn’t considered the situation from that perspective before. It is a fair point and one of the unfortunate side effects of our two-party system.

    It’s obvious, isn’t it?, that whenever a new crisis occurs, there are going to be folks that weight the new situation more heavily than others, and thus find themselves shaken from their old alliances based on the traditional issues. I reckon I’m in that category.

    As it happens, that chunk was in the minority during the election, and the party lost, but that doesn’t mean it was a mistake to make the election about those issues.

    I wonder what it means for the Democrats traditional platform if they remain on the short side of the War on Terror? And that sorta closes the circle for us doesn’t it?

    But at least we’re past the bogus “psychological projection” stuff you were spewing earlier…

    I think there might still be something to this psychological projection thing. I was talking about you, not Democrats in general.

    And as near as I can recall, I typed it in on a somewhat flakey notebook keyboard. I don’t remember spewing anything. I haven’t actually spewed in a long time. The closest that I’ve gotten recently was on a cruise in rough seas.

    So if I show you an example of Republicans being equally intolerant of those who opposed the war in Iraq, or Bush’s spying or torture or detention policies, then I’ve proved just the opposite according to your reasoning, right?

    I’m certain you can find Republicans that have voted Democrat over any number of issues. So what? They have the priviledge to speakout as much as I do and the Republicans can ignore them as well as the Democrats do me. Let them make their case! Or is their dissent being supressed somehow?

    Now, if you’ll go back and read my quote that you extracted, it gives a very specific case. I did not intend for you to generalize it.

  37. Chris – My two cents – from a conservative: IMHO most non-blog reading, likely voter registered Democrat’s would agree with AL’s and Lurker’s POV when reading each of your posts. They likely would interpret TR’s writings similiarly and would like to “smash a beer bottle over Stein’s head”.

  38. Lurker-

    Whether you mean to or not, your contradictions are piling up in this thread. Two particular instances suggest themselves:

    In your last post, you said:

    bq. Being a hawk or not has nothing to do with Iraq. You’re trying to claim that Kerry is a hawk, and I’m saying that you’re crazy.

    And yet in comment #32, you said:

    bq. There are surely honorable ways to oppose the Iraq project, but I can’t see a a way to do so and still claim to be a hawk.

    (And for the record, I never said Kerry was a hawk, merely that there were liberal hawks who simply didn’t agree with Iraq.)

    Likewise, in your last post, you said:

    bq. I think there might still be something to this psychological projection thing. I was talking about you, not Democrats in general.

    But yet again, in #32 comment you said:

    bq. …these claims _by Democrats_ saying that they must agree with Bush or be villified as traitors looks like so much phycological projection to me.

    (Emphasis added.)

    I’m not trying to play gotcha – I freely admit these are relatively minor contradictions. But you’re clearly far more interested in having an argument – any argument – rather than picking an area of disagreement and trying to find out the specific facts of the matter.

    That being the case, let me spell things out for you, and leave it at that:

    bq. I wonder what it means for the Democrats traditional platform if they remain on the short side of the War on Terror? And that sorta closes the circle for us doesn’t it?

    Well, yeah, if you stopped paying attention to public opinion on the Iraq war in November 2004. If you still think the current state of the war is a winner with the American people, then rock on, man.

    bq. I’m certain you can find Republicans that have voted Democrat over any number of issues. So what? They have the priviledge to speakout as much as I do and the Republicans can ignore them as well as the Democrats do me. Let them make their case! Or is their dissent being supressed somehow?

    No, that’s my point exactly. You’re free to make your case about your pro-war views, and other people are free to argue with you about them. That’s not “belittling and ignoring” – that’s _political discussion_. Get used to it.

    bq. Now, if you’ll go back and read my quote that you extracted, it gives a very specific case. I did not intend for you to generalize it.

    And yet I did, and as you admit, it pretty much undercuts any grounds you have for claiming that anything unusual or unfair is being done to you or AL. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

  39. And yet I did, and as you admit, it pretty much undercuts any grounds you have for claiming that anything unusual or unfair is being done to you or AL.

    I don’t admit anything as I never said it was unusual or unfair. I was pointing things out for what I thought were the Democrats own good. But if I’m wrong, then they don’t need me anyway….

    Well, yeah, if you stopped paying attention to public opinion on the Iraq war in November 2004. If you still think the current state of the war is a winner with the American people, then rock on, man.

    And if what you are implying is true, the Democrats are making a rational choice by not making a home for my vote. Why do you care what I think if the Democrats don’t? You should be more rational like them.

  40. bq. And if what you are implying is true, the Democrats are making a rational choice by not making a home for my vote. Why do you care what I think if the Democrats don’t? You should be more rational like them.

    _weeps_

    Lurker, man, *you’re the one that started this bloody conversation*.

    And I never said – _nobody ever said_ – that the Democrats don’t “need” you. You’re introducing a whole “well, I’m gonna take my ball and go home!” dimension to politics that simply doesn’t apply. Democrats stand for some things, Republicans stand for others. There is no decision, at any point, of “hey, let’s kick Lurker out of the party!” _You_ pick _your_ side of your own free will, and that’s the end of it. Get a grip.

  41. Lurker, man, you’re the one that started this bloody conversation.

    So what? Has your participation shown any drop off?

    I jumped in to try to clarify where I thought A.L. was coming from. Sometimes he doesn’t drop in as frequently as we’d like. You’re as much responisbile for where it went from there as I am.

    And I never said – nobody ever said – that the Democrats don’t “need” you. You’re introducing a whole “well, I’m gonna take my ball and go home!” dimension to politics that simply doesn’t apply.

    I never meant to imply that the Democrats need me in particluar. They need votes, of which I can supply only one. Though there may by others like me, perhaps the Democrats have decided that our number isn’t worth the effort.

    Democrats stand for some things, Republicans stand for others. There is no decision, at any point, of “hey, let’s kick Lurker out of the party!” You pick your side of your own free will, and that’s the end of it. Get a grip.

    You are right that I didn’t get a letter telling me to hit the road. I’m sure they’d be happy for my vote even though they removed my most important plank from their campaign platform. In fact, it seems they’re now trying to burn that plank so it can never be in a Democratic platform again.

    And about picking sides… I don’t want to pick sides. Though I remain a a registered Democrat, I’ll evaluate the issues and vote my conscience every election. That doesn’t mean I’ll ever sign on with the Republicans.

  42. AL

    I only want to clarify two quick points and then be done with the matter.

    1) “So far I’m pretty happy with the situation. Bummer that you’re not.”

    I am completely neutral on the situation. My point in raising the issue is precisely as stated by Chris in his closing paragraph in #37.

    “…and so I must, therefore, be a dishonest liberal.”

    I have not ascribed willfulness to your actions, yet, so please don’t put words in my mouth suggesting that I claim you are being dishonest or covert about your beliefs or intentions. I am not. It’s your continual attempt to quantify the popularity of your views (“So it’s that larger crowd that forms ‘my pack”) that I find quite unjustified and perhaps naive.

    2) “Pro-war commenters like Jim Rockford, who disagree with me on domestic matters, don’t invite to to hit the door – as did commenter Andy in this post – to which I replied here.”

    As I noted “here”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007979.php#c4

    (“At any rate, I don’t really care which “party” you think you belong to. I take your views at face value.”)

    you misinterpreted my comments as a serious suggestion that you should “switch” parties. But in my follow-up correction to this not only did I make note of this, but I also pointed out that, in all seriousness, I do not care whether you choose to stay a Democrat, either in name or official affiliation. So now I’ve said it twice, clearly and seriously.

    So while I have not accused you of dishonesty yet, I will have to reconsider this if, in the future, you choose to raise this false claim again even after being specifically corrected.

    Finally, you claim a social component to shaping your beliefs, “which I find very strange.”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/007979.php#c21 Maybe we should invent a term for this…perhaps we could call it “Deborah Howell Syndrome.”:http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/1/28/1527/04347

    Anyway, enough of this silliness.

  43. “I jumped in to try to clarify where I thought A.L. was coming from. Sometimes he doesn’t drop in as frequently as we’d like.”

    And I’ll apologize for that…it’s been a wacky, frustrating week in the real world. I ought to be around more this week, and may try and craft a post to trigger a longer conversation…

    A.L.

  44. Chris; Whether you are missing the point on purpose, or because you are clueless, the result is the same.

    Americans will not trust the Democrats with foreign policy because of people like John Kerry calling from Davos, Switzerland. Most people will find it difficult to relate to a Senator calling from a 5 star ski resort in the Swiss Alps while paying off their Christmas purchases.

    While you talk the subject to death, the terrorists are busy with their plans to torpedoe us and our economy. UBL knows more about U.S. History than you do! This is a replay of Giap’s political win over the U.S. in Viet Nam after he lost militarily.

    You, Chris, have one thing in common with the terrorists, you both hate Bush! The difference is, the terrorists respect Bush! To the terrorists, you are, to resurrect a phrase, “A useful idiot.”

  45. For what it’s worth, I’m another Democrat pushed into the arms of the Republicans in the last election; I’m another one who held his nose and voted for Bush in 2004, breaking my lifetime streak of never having even considered voting Repbulican for President before.

    And, while I support our war effort in Iraq, I can understand those who think it’s a big mistake. Heck, maybe it will be, if don’t do it right (and those Democrats, and Buchananite Republicans pushing for withdrawal ASAP surely aren’t aiding our effort to get it right).

    But the Democrats have failed to offer a viable alternative to dealing with international terrorism. After 9/11, it’s clear (to me, anyway) that we need big ideas. A “War on Terror” fits the bill. But so would a number of other alternate strategies.

    One that jumps to mind would be the cessation of all trade and diplomatic contact with Saudi Arabia — freeze their assets in the U.S., stop buying their oil, don’t let them fund U.S. mosques, ban every federal employee from obtaining employment with the House of Saud after retirment, kick every Saudi national out of the country and don’t let any back in, with the possible exception of their UN reps, in which case all of them should have permanent FBI tails.

    We could also go full tilt on alternative energy sources, including – and this is important – NUCLEAR power. I’m sure the funds sunk into a war on Iraq coulda paid for hella research on solar cells. We could turn the entire state of Arizona into a giant solar farm. Whatever.

    But where are the Democrats with a big, non-war idea? Fcuking nowhere. No better than the Republicans on that front. It’s as if they haven’t noticed that maybe we’ve got a serious problem.

    I remember mentioning in passing to a liberal friend of mine that ‘the world changed on 9/11.’ She seemed surprised. THIS is the friggin’ problem. Where is the awareness of national security issues in the Democratic Party?

    Until I see them getting serious, there ain’t no way I’m voting for a Democrat for President.

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