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Bloggingheads
01-05-2008, 07:39 PM

Baltimoron
01-05-2008, 11:02 PM
FYI: The diavlog stops within the first topic, at under 10 minutes.

Dear bhTVFathers:

This is the team to take into the primary season!

Poll info, links, good exchanges, courtesy...these are the horse race announcers for the season!

I wonder generally if the Iowa Caucus have "reset" the political debate. The last year was long and sometimes somewhat entertaining, but it's really all just fodder for the general now. All the candidates standing get new lives and can know "tack" subtly, and everyone is watching for the next tactical move.

bjkeefe
01-06-2008, 12:24 AM
FYI: The diavlog stops within the first topic, at under 10 minutes.

I noticed that, too. It shows as only 3:22 long, if following one of the links from the BH.tv home page.

However, if you are dying to watch right away, this semi-workaround seemed to work for me: Click the text link "Play entire diavlog" on the video page itself.

InJapan
01-06-2008, 04:37 AM
Lots of talk, though it did not seem to have too much content.

One thing for Bill, regarding the conservative bloggers and Huckabee - I wonder if Bill (or Conn) spends anytime reading the more religious sites. Since libertarian leading bloggers are so strongly represented (among the "conservative" bloggers) it would be natural that Huckabee would be anathema to them. My general impression upon searching for explicitly Christian blogs is that most don't want to deal with politics. There are forums that will discuss politics, but they are in the minority. Therefore, trying to analyze how Huckabee is doing by reviewing blogs may give you a distorted view.

What I did come across (when searching Christian sites pertaining to politics) is much disdain for the "economic" conservatives, and resentment over how the libertarian and fiscal conservatives have used the religious in order to promote agendas - other than the religious'. I can see their point.

BTW, I downloaded the WMV to watch this.

bjkeefe
01-06-2008, 06:20 AM
InJapan:

Therefore, trying to analyze how Huckabee is doing by reviewing blogs may give you a distorted view.

That's a good point. It's somewhat akin to telephone polling becoming less reliable since so many people -- especially the young -- only have cell phones. I wonder if that explains part of the underprediction for Obama's Iowa margin.

What I did come across (when searching Christian sites pertaining to politics) is much disdain for the "economic" conservatives, and resentment over how the libertarian and fiscal conservatives have used the religious in order to promote agendas - other than the religious'. I can see their point.

This is not a new complaint, it seems to me. The religious right has been complaining about insufficient fulfillment of promises since at least the Reagan years, especially the loudmouths like Robertson and Dobson.

InJapan
01-06-2008, 07:39 AM
I can understand the frustration that evangelical christians must be experiencing, in that of their particular agenda not much has been addressed. Ever since 1980: (1) abortion has not been dealt from the executive branch other than as a trivial adjunct to foreign affairs (and the "partial birth" initiatives had to be worked hard through the legislatures); (2) no national level help on home schooling in any large way; (3) nothing at the national level to help them against the homosexual activists, with the gay marriage drumbeat getting louder; (4) stances against euthenasia were not helped by the Schiavo affair which ended up all in naught anyway; and so forth on their social agenda.

Also, economically many in that wing of the Republican party are not on the coasts (save Orange country) where the economic growth has been the strongest, but rather live in areas that struggle with losing work because jobs move to cheaper labor countries.

Plus, some of them (from visiting various websites) struggle with, if not outright pacificsm, then at least doubts about "the war", which seems fit.

So yes, I can see why they might rally around Huckabee and give the rest the cold shoulder. The RNC needs to throw them a bone, one which has meat on it.

If abortion and gay rights are so legally checkmated that nothing can be really done short of a constitutional amendment, then perhaps home schooling could be tractable issue in which the Republicans could deliver the goods.

bjkeefe
01-06-2008, 08:08 AM
InJapan:

... abortion has not been dealt from the executive branch other than as a trivial adjunct to foreign affairs ...

I don't completely buy that. Three words: Supreme Court appointments.

I'd also add strong support, by the Bush Administration at least, for wingnut favorites like "abstinence-only" programs both domestic and international. This is not directly related to the abortion issue, I'll grant, but it's all of a piece. More directly, the Bushies showed sympathy, if not outright participation, in stealth campaigns to spread disinformation about abortions, and were clearly complicit in removing access to proper information on government Web sites.

...(3) nothing at the national level to help them against the homosexual activists, with the gay marriage drumbeat getting louder; ...

I don't agree here, either. What do you think Bush's closest advisor spent most of 2004 doing? Getting anti-gay amendment referendums added to as many state ballots as he could. Granted, there was an overlap of interests here, but it still was a big bone to toss to the Christianists. Also, Bush did frequently speak in favor of "one man and one woman," not to mention all kinds of codespeak, and voiced support for a Constitutional amendment. The Bushies didn't push really hard for this last, admittedly, but part of the reason why is that even they could accept reality on this one: the votes in Congress just weren't there.

I agree with most of the rest of your points.

One question: what do you suggest Republicans could offer in support of home schooling?

jmcnulty
01-06-2008, 03:04 PM
Mickey noted Hillary's "Titanic moment" and then backed off it just before the Iowa caususes. The Hillary people still point to the meaningless national polls, whicho only refect name recognition, not committment (ask Rudy Guliani), but the fallacy is that with each primary or caucus that Hillary loses, Obama becomes more and more well-known to the electorate. He is the "black JFK," and I say this as a conservative Republican. I do not think that he can be beaten in the general election, especially by John McCain, who will be competitive, but lose 40 states to him. The only man who can unite the party and win -- Fred Thompson -- has been underwhelming on the stump, and now the media basically ignores whatever he does. He ran a brilliant Christman ad -- best of the bunch, and at least 10 times better than Hillary's "Santa Claus" disaster --, and it was ignored. I do not know if he had enough money even to show it on television in Iowa. It was seen on the internet, but not picked up and talked about on television like Huckabee's "floating cross." Obama cannot be "Swiftboat"-ed, and the media gives him a pass (as the first serious black presidential candidate) on strict scrutiny unlike Hillary (Bill used up all the free media passes for the Clintons during the 90's). Obama is new, fresh, quick on his feet, seemingly "reasonable," and as Joe Biden hilariously noted, "clean and articulate." He has a beautiful wife and a young family like JFK in 1960. The whole race thing is a meaningless relec of a bygone era. Instead of the black unemployment rate -- for which there are many reasons -- look at the number of young white girls with black guys. I cannot imagine any significant group votring against Obama because he is black. "Inexperienced?" Tell me of one presidential election since FDR in which the American people have turned down a candidate because of "inexperience." Did Kennedy have less "experience" than Nixon in 1960? Hillary, whether she will admit it to herself or not, is toast. She will lose in New Hampshire and then in South Carolina, where there is a large Oprah-fied black vote. By then, Obama's nomination will have a momentum all its own and be a foregone conclusion. Hillary better accommodate herself to the Senate, and make plans for launching the "Hillary Clinton Foundation" to distribute remaining campaign money.

bjkeefe
01-06-2008, 03:11 PM
jm:

Interesting thoughts. I agree with a lot of them, especially the cringe-inducing factor of Hillary's Christmas ad. I have long thought that her biggest mistake was to try to make herself seem likable on a big stage or on TV -- she just can't pull it off. I'm sure she's fine in person or in small groups, but she comes off as more phony than Romney when she tries to bring the warm and fuzzy to a large audience.

I have a question for you: Why do you think Rudy is doing so badly in the NH polls? The only answer I have is that he wrote that state off early, but that raises the real question: Why didn't he have a chance there, or why didn't he think he had a chance there? Was it because it seemed that Romney was inevitable in that state back when Rudy laid out his strategy? Or is there a reason why NH Republicans don't like Rudy, in and of himself?

basman
01-06-2008, 04:09 PM
I enoyed this exchange. These guys are knowledgeable, thoughtful, smart enough and genial.

If Huckabee, who can be charming and disarming, but is ultimately an empty, vapid and very weird suit, can rise to the v.p. slot--which potentially makes him a heart beat away from the Presidency, as they say--the implosion of the Republican Party will have been complete.

jmcnulty
01-06-2008, 05:21 PM
It is an interesting question. Oddly, the success of the "surge" has hurt Guliani's chances. In an environment where terrorism was was a big issue, voters were concerned enought about it to overlook Rudy's checkered personal past and social views (pro-gay and anti-gun), but in an envorinment where Iraq is receeding as an issue, it is hard for him to get traction, especially with the stories about Kerik and the use of police to escort his mistress. This reminds Republican voters: (1) that he had SEVERAL mistrisses; and (2) he is just another politician who thinks that he can use pubic assets for personal purposes.

Hillary is another case. She really is Nixon in a pantsuit, and I do not mean that pejoratively. People forget that Nixon was very smart and hard-working, as well as also being ruthless, vengeful, and unprincipled. As Pat Buchannan, who worked for Nixon says, Nixon was a pragmatist "down to his bones." Thus, a man who made his reputation fighting commies in the Forties and Fifties could drink toasts with Mao in China in the Seventies.

Hillary made a mistake in this campaign. Her only chance was to make herself seem so smart and experienced as to be in her own league, while Obama was a callow youth, perhaps a President someday, but not ready for prime time. The entire Hillary "likability" campaign has been a waste, and a distraction from her stong point -- her capability. You can't make anyone like her by showing pictures of her Sunday school class or dislike Obama by pointing that he susposedly wrote an essay when in kindergarten. Edwards has always been a poppinjay, making lots of noise, but unable to go the route. The other candidates were gas bags or clowns to a greater or lesser extent.

It was always impossible to make Hillary seem likable -- to much water under the bridge. They should have concentrated on making her seem smart and capable -- and the incredible multiple flub on driver's licenses for illegal aliens undercut her remaining asset, her smarts. Maybe in small groups, she is charming. Before large groups, she seems cold, calculating, robo-candidate. Obama has hit her where she is most vulnerable -- her likability. Even I like Obama, although I disagree with his policy precscriptions.

Nixon won in 1972 not because anyone "liked" him, but because he was respected as a grown-up who could be trusted with the Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Soviet nuclear missiles, etc. By contrast, McGovern was likable, but seemed a hopeless dreamer who could not stand up to the world (or even pick a vice-president who has not been in a mental hospital). Remember, McGovern's slogan was "Come Home, America."

Hillary also has the problem that her "experience" is really ephemeral. If her name was Hillary Smith, we would not be talking about her. She really was running for third term for Bubba, a contradiction that her campaign does not seem to know how to handle -- whether to embrace Bill and lose her "feminist" credentials, or hold him at arm's length and seem even more "unlikable." The more that he tries to help her, the more we are reminded that she is NOT him.

Frankly, I would have like to see her nominated, because I think that she is beatable. I think that Obama is not. I almost feel sorry for her, because she has put up with Bill for 30 years waiting her "turn," and now she is about to lose it. Bill, in my opinion, has submarined her while being careful to seem supportive, because a Hillary term would take away from his "accomplishments." He has humiliated her in every way possible, and now he has humiliated her politically by demonstrating that she cannot win like he did. For example, his bizarre claim that he was against the War in Iraq since 2003 is easily checked (as he had to know) and only reminds the public, again, that she voted FOR the war.

Once her aura of "inevitabilithy" was punctured, her candidacy lost its rationale, especially when the alternative was a likable, smart, facile black guy who seems to have all the personal qualities that she lacks.

InJapan
01-06-2008, 06:34 PM
InJapan:



I don't completely buy that. Three words: Supreme Court appointments.


And the supremes from Reagan and GWB have stopped abortion how? Nothing the supreme court can do except slight modifications (e.g., age of consent of under 18 year olds.)




I don't agree here, either. What do you think Bush's closest advisor spent most of 2004 doing? Getting anti-gay amendment referendums added to as many state ballots as he could.



Do you believe those referendums would not have been there if GWB was not in office? My take is that the various interest groups in the states will pursue their cause regardless if there is someone in the White House who agrees with them. Indeed, I suspect that if there be a sitting President who strongly supported gay marriage that the various interest groups against that will be even more desperate to seek state referendums.



One question: what do you suggest Republicans could offer in support of home schooling?

Perhaps by supporting an effort to not let states have federal education funds unless the state allows for parental choice in education, whether it be vouchers or home schooling.

David_PA
01-06-2008, 09:03 PM
JM - I agreed with a large portion of your analysis above about Obama, Hillary, and Rudy. This means that the times just might be right for someone like Obama to get elected to the presidency.

bjkeefe
01-07-2008, 02:13 AM
InJapan:

And the supremes from Reagan and GWB have stopped abortion how? Nothing the supreme court can do except slight modifications (e.g., age of consent of under 18 year olds.)

It's an ongoing process of court-filling, mostly, and now the anti-choice bloc is one vote away from being the majority, thanks to Reagan, GHWB, and GWB. Meantime, the SC already has upheld a couple of decisions that nibble away at a women's right to choose -- parental notification as you note, and the so-called partial birth abortion ban.

Do you believe those [anti-gay marriage] referendums would not have been there if GWB was not in office?

Yes. They were organized primarily by Karl Rove. I'm not saying there were no state-level groups interested in pursuing such ideas before he came along, but there were no such referendums in 2000 and sixteen in 2004, IIRC.

My take is that the various interest groups in the states will pursue their cause regardless if there is someone in the White House who agrees with them.

Perhaps. But this idea, itself, lends support to my original claim that the Bushies did at least do some things that the religious right wanted.

Indeed, I suspect that if there be a sitting President who strongly supported gay marriage that the various interest groups against that will be even more desperate to seek state referendums.

Hard to say how effective they'd be. In any case, I don't expect such a president. I think the way it will work is that gay marriage will become an ever more acceptable idea as today's teens and twenty-somethings become the mainstream part of the electorate. Intolerance in this area seems to be strongly dependent on age. I've even heard fundamentalist Christians acknowledge this reality -- their kids just don't see what the big deal is about someone being gay.

Perhaps by supporting an effort to not let states have federal education funds unless the state allows for parental choice in education, whether it be vouchers or home schooling.

I don't know much about this, but it is my understanding that it isn't illegal to home-school your kids in any state, right now. Am I wrong about that? Or are you saying that vouchers would be given to parents to pay them to home-school their kids?

bjkeefe
01-07-2008, 02:24 AM
jm:

Oddly, the success of the "surge" has hurt Guliani's chances.

While I don't agree that The Surge has been a success, I accept that many Republican primary voters probably do see things this way. You might be right about the effect of such a perception.

Hillary is another case. She really is Nixon in a pantsuit, and I do not mean that pejoratively.

Hard to take it any other way, but as it happens, I mostly agree.

Frankly, I would have like to see her nominated, because I think that she is beatable. I think that Obama is not.

Again, I agree. I also don't want her to win the nomination because even if she can win the general, I can't bear the thought of four or eight more years of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

I don't agree with your assessment of Bill. I don't think he's trying to humiliate her, or that he's trying to undermine her chances to win. He'd have more clout to pursue his private sector agenda as First Laddie, and there's the chance that he could also do something else of significance in the government, if he wanted to do that. As much as Bill likes being center stage and in the spotlight, being an eminence gris has a lot of appeal to those who crave power. Just ask Dick Cheney.

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 10:13 AM
[regarding abortion] Nothing the supreme court can do except slight modifications

This is just patently false; the Supreme Court can overturn a previous decision for several reasons; as wrongly decided, or even on the grounds that they did not have jurisdiction to begin with; that the question was not a constitutional question.

In fact they have done so; in the most famous instance, Plessy v Ferguson was decided by the Supreme Court in 1896 or so, and upheld segregation. It was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1954, with the case Brown v Board of Education. The Supreme Court can do far more than fiddle with age requirements, a Court so inclined can wipe Roe v Wade off the books completely. (A disaster, in my opinion).

TwinSwords
01-07-2008, 10:16 AM
a Court so inclined can wipe Roe v Wade off the books completely. (A disaster, in my opinion).

Are you saying Roe was a disaster, or wiping it off the books would be a disaster?

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 10:28 AM
I also think Hillary is bound to lose both New Hampshire and South Carolina. Here is what I have changed my mind about in the last year: I think Hillary can lose the nomination. I thought she was inevitable, and I don't think so anymore.

After watching the ABC debates, I think what Hillary seems to miss is that when voters want "change" her resume of 35 years experience is a handicap; it says she has had power and had her chance and failed to accomplish anything. Hillary had her chance to improve health care, and blew it. (Her other problem is that her "experience" is not hers, it is her husband's).

Richardson fails this question, too. He actually whined during the debate, "What is wrong with having experience? What is wrong with having been energy secretary? [etc]". Well, what is wrong is that as energy secretary you made no big changes and accomplished only short-term fixes, and currently oil is at $100 a barrel, about 5 times the historical level, and so your turn as energy secretary was just a stop gap. Did you work toward alternative energy? Work toward oil independence? No. You had no vision and no ability to use your power to lasting effect.

Same thing with Hillary. Besides the lie of 35 years of experience, what lasting effects has the change had on the lives of American's? Where is the Hillary benefit we can point at? Nobody ever heard of her before Bill ran for president, and the only thing she is remembered for in the White House is screwing up the healthcare for which there was initial strong support, and then writing a children's book or something. In the current mood, her experience PROVES she is not up to the job, and Obama's lack of experience becomes a positive because he is fresh to the job and may accomplish something with a non-Hillary approach.

jmcnulty
01-07-2008, 11:52 AM
The question is whether Obama is going to be expected to put some meat on the bones. Does anyone, even a fellow Democrat, relly know what an Obama administration will look like? It is fine to run on the "audacity of hope." but the question is whether the media will scrutinize Obama the way they have scrutinized others. I suspect that it will not, because (1) the media wants a Democratic President; (2) the media sees Obama as the second-coming of JFK, a President of youth, style, and vigor, comfortably cafe-au-lait; (3) any attenpt to question him closely will risk being accused of "racism" and not wanting a black man as President; and (4) he is facile and able to elude most attempts to question him. This is a problem for progressives as well as conservatives. As a conservative, one assumes that he will govern as a liberal, but then again, Clinton governed on most things as an Eisenhower Republican, not as a liberal (remember school uniforms and Sister Souljah?), so progressives have to wonder if they are really getting what they expect. If you think the plodding Bob Dole against the nimble Bill Clinton was a great race, wait for Obama against John McCain, who would be the oldest man ever elected President. Many conservatives, although they respect John McCain as a war hero, will either not vote or vote for Obama, who will win by 10% of the vote, 55-45.

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 12:51 PM
The question is whether Obama is going to be expected to put some meat on the bones.

Probably not, is my guess. The media is too wimpy to stand up against a strong refusal. Just look at how they caved on the question of GWB drug use, which was cagily half-admitted, but Rove correctly told Bush to simply refuse to answer in any detail, and that worked. Nixon ran and won with a "secret plan" to get out of Vietnam, of which he refused to discuss any details. If Obama is smart, he will answer just enough questions to get a pass from the media and no more.

Does anyone, even a fellow Democrat, relly know what an Obama administration will look like?

No, but they know what a McCain or Clinton administration will look like; exactly the same as the Bush administration or the previous Clinton administration. That is the entire point of Obama's campaign, IMO, whatever is behind curtain number three is preferable to the transparent curtains of McCain and Clinton.

It is fine to run on the "audacity of hope." but the question is whether the media will scrutinize Obama the way they have scrutinized others.

Sure. The only problem is Obama's cards are on the table, including admitted cocaine use. Legislatively, he doesn't have enough negatives for an anti-Obama campaign to gain any traction.

I suspect that it will not, because (1) the media wants a Democratic President; (2) the media sees Obama as the second-coming of JFK, a President of youth, style, and vigor, comfortably cafe-au-lait; (3) any attempt to question him closely will risk being accused of "racism" and not wanting a black man as President; and (4) he is facile and able to elude most attempts to question him.

The media just wants to sell papers, magazines, and television time. Period. If portraying Obama as JFK-2 does that, they will so portray him. If questioning him closely sells the show, they will do that and be careful to frame it properly to avoid charges of racism; the non-Fox journalists are experts in that. And Obama is an expert in not getting pinned to the mat, but so what? He does it better than Kerry or Hillary.

progressives have to wonder if they are really getting what they expect.

I don't think that is true. One thing Obama makes clear as day is he will take troops out, etc. These are his promises and mandates for being elected. Anybody that wants more shape than that for an administration is looking for too much, his administration will be whatever it takes to get the big promises done (end the war, repair the US reputation, do something about healthcare that works, repair the economy).

If you think the plodding Bob Dole against the nimble Bill Clinton was a great race, wait for Obama against John McCain, who would be the oldest man ever elected President. Many conservatives, although they respect John McCain as a war hero, will either not vote or vote for Obama, who will win by 10% of the vote, 55-45.

Pretty much what I think as well. Of the few Republicans I know, McCain can still get their vote, but they don't like his war stance either.

bjkeefe
01-07-2008, 02:38 PM
jm:

I think you're over-generalizing in all of your remarks about "the media." First, not all outlets want a Democratic president. Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, National Review, The Weekly Standard, most of AM radio, and too many others to list will almost certainly be unanimous in opposing any Democrat, even Obama.

Second, while there may be some self-consciousness worries present when criticizing Obama, this won't stop it. In particular, most people who work for responsible media outlets will have no compunction about scrutinizing his policy proposals, his other statements as the campaign unfolds, and his history. In fact, I expect the liberal wing of the MSM to over-compensate, out of fear that they might be accused of giving Obama a free pass. Also, for every organ that goes a little easy on him, there will be another who uses his skin color, father, and early life against him. Much of this will be veiled or in codespeak, but I'll tell you this much: I wish I could have a penny for every time someone says "Barack HUSSEIN OSAMA, oops, I mean Obama" over the course of the next ten months.

On another note, I always have trouble with facile, since there are both positive and negative definitions (http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=facile) for this word. What do you mean by your use? If you mean he's a little slippery in some of his answers, welcome to life with modern (successful) politicians. I have to say that he seems a lot more straightforward than most, which is part of the reason I began to like him in the first place.

As to his liberalism quotient, I think he's the most conservative of the big three Democrats. I don't love this about him, in and of itself, but I think it might be what the country needs right now, if we're ever going to make progress on things like Iraq, health care, and global warming.

David_PA
01-07-2008, 03:39 PM
jm:
As to his liberalism quotient, I think he's the most conservative of the big three Democrats. I don't love this about him, in and of itself, but I think it might be what the country needs right now, if we're ever going to make progress on things like Iraq, health care, and global warming.

I know you were talking to jm, but I couldn't help but overhear.

Have to take issue with you on this, bj. Hillary is the most conservative, then Barach, and then Edwards. On health care, he'd be almost as aggressively anti-insurance-industry as Edwards. On Iraq, he'd get out faster than Hillary.

I'll agree that rhetorically his inclusive talk to independents and republicans sets him up to be the most conservative of the 3 top dem candidates, but how that will translate into action is far from clear. He could do something like pull a 'welfare reform' a la Bill Clinton and tick off the left - with some other issue. But, I don't see what issue that would be. It's very possible that all he'd do to tilt right is have some independents and republicans in his administration.

The fact that JM and most republicans aren't able to as effectively label and criticize Obama because of his inclusive rhetorical approach, is fascinating to watch. B. Clinton's 1992 campaign effectiveness was in co-opting republican talking points and in continually and effectively counter-attacking the repub spin about him. Obama's effectiveness - so far - is in making everyone else (except Huckabee) look like a same ole same ole, with just about everyone in the public at large being tired of same ole, even if the pols and their surrogates aren't.

David_PA
01-07-2008, 03:47 PM
jm:

I think you're over-generalizing in all of your remarks about "the media." First, not all outlets want a Democratic president. Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, National Review, The Weekly Standard, most of AM radio, and too many others to list will almost certainly be unanimous in opposing any Democrat, even Obama.

Second, while there may be some self-consciousness worries present when criticizing Obama, this won't stop it. In particular, most people who work for responsible media outlets will have no compunction about scrutinizing his policy proposals, his other statements as the campaign unfolds, and his history. In fact, I expect the liberal wing of the MSM to over-compensate, out of fear that they might be accused of giving Obama a free pass. Also, for every organ that goes a little easy on him, there will be another who uses his skin color, father, and early life against him. Much of this will be veiled or in codespeak, but I'll tell you this much: I wish I could have a penny for every time someone says "Barack HUSSEIN OSAMA, oops, I mean Obama" over the course of the next ten months.


Agree this will happen, but Obama's approach is going to make this set of standard tactics harder to pull off so that it sticks. There are even some repubs like David Brooks who are unable to contain their like for Obama. Though, David will spin the other way when his repub pals put the pressure on him to attack Obama, should he be the nominee. Bill Kristol fired salvos at Obama today in his first NYT's edit http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/07/opinion/07kristol.html?hp. He's picturing Huckabee as the best repub antidote to Obama. Have to say he's right about that.

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 04:12 PM
He could do something like pull a 'welfare reform' a la Bill Clinton and tick off the left - with some other issue.

I am pretty far into the blue pro-welfare-state mindset myself, but as a pragmatic strategy, Barack should absolutely find an issue to woo a lot of the reform Republicans and new conservative Democrats into the fold, even if it pisses off the rank and file Democrat like me. I also don't know what; perhaps cutting some government programs, or beefing up the military, or I don't know what.

This is just a matter of judicious budgeting of resources. It simply is not possible for the Democratic nominee to piss me off enough to not vote, or to vote for a Republican; of the possible Republican nominees, there is NO WAY I can risk them winning by pouting and staying home, or trying to send a "message" by voting for an independent or whatever. Not everybody is as adamant on this as I am, but the resiliency is real and that resiliency in the Democratic vote should be spent on trying to gain Independent and Republican votes, and in office, he should do whatever horse trading it takes to make some of these other things happen, even if that hangs a few Dems out to dry.

To me, the big mandates are to end the Iraq war, secure the nation, improve healthcare, and start us on the road to energy independence. I don't care if Republican states reap all the pork and profits to be made in acquiring such results; perhaps the trillions spent would be enough to mollify and attract the Republican votes necessary. Just get them done.

bjkeefe
01-07-2008, 04:34 PM
David_PA:

I know you were talking to jm, but I couldn't help but overhear.

No prob. The more the merrier.

I think you make a good case against my superficial positioning of Obama along the ideological spectrum, so I will be more careful about tossing off that phrase in the future.

RIGHT-WINGERS: STOP READING HERE. GO READ ANOTHER COMMENT.
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The truth is, I'm trying to plant seeds, so conservative-minded people will be more inclined to vote for Obama.

bjkeefe
01-07-2008, 04:41 PM
Wolf:

It simply is not possible for the Democratic nominee to piss me off enough to not vote, or to vote for a Republican; of the possible Republican nominees, there is NO WAY I can risk them winning by pouting and staying home, or trying to send a "message" by voting for an independent or whatever. Not everybody is as adamant on this as I am ...

You and I are alike on this one, but there's always the chance of alienating the far left, and having them stay home. There's also the chance of making moderates and liberal Republicans say, "If he's going Republican-lite, why not vote for the real deal, instead?"

I think there is no question that, given the mindset of the electorate, not to mention the brainwashed state of too many of them, Obama will have to appear right-leaning on some thing or things during the general, and maybe during the primaries, as well. To parrot an overused phrase, he might need that Sistah Souljah moment. On the other hand, his consistent message of unity and reaching across the aisle may already be enough.

How's that for refusing to take a stand?

David_PA
01-07-2008, 05:08 PM
David_PA:



No prob. The more the merrier.

I think you make a good case against my superficial positioning of Obama along the ideological spectrum, so I will be more careful about tossing off that phrase in the future.

RIGHT-WINGERS: STOP READING HERE. GO READ ANOTHER COMMENT.
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The truth is, I'm trying to plant seeds, so conservative-minded people will be more inclined to vote for Obama.

Well, I don't know if it's possible to convince smart righties like JM that Obama is something he's not. A significant amount of Obama's inclusiveness is the real deal. The better job he does of convincing a portion of independents and a few conservatives of this, the better his chances become.

jmcnulty
01-07-2008, 05:45 PM
Obama appears "reasonable" to rightwingers, while Hillary only seems louder, shriller, and more hectoring, whether that is factual or not. It certainly seems that way. One problem is that the Right has had 15 years of Hillary and is tired of her -- actually, I think a large part of the Left is sick and tired of the Clintons (and their triangulating).

I heard Susan Estrich -- a Lefty, but a reasonable one -- say on the radio that even Republicans are showing up at Obama rallies. Even on the Right, believe it or not. their is a hunger for a black President+, given out sad racial history (100 years of indefensible "Jim Crow" after 200 years of slavery). Do you remember the character of President David Palmer on "24"? He was idolized on the Right and would win any Republican election. Obama connects into the same thing. The only question is whether Obama is required to endorse programmatic Liberal positions. As long as he can continue talking only about "hope" and "change," the longer he will bask in general approval.

I hate to bring this up -- since I do not believe that he is a "Manchurian Candidate" -- but he was a Muslim as a child (whether he was devout or not), and in Islamic law, the fact that he is now a Christian makes him a Muslim apostate worthy of only death. You may not think this is important, but do you remember the guy who had to flee Afghanistan because he had become a Christian? Instead of Obama being someone who can "reach out" to the Muslim world, he may be seen as an apostate who arouses contempt, hatred, and fear. This may become an issue. Either he will have to argue that he was never a Miuslim -- when neighbors of his in Indonesia say that he occasionally went to mosque with his Muslim step-father -- or that he is not really a Christian and is in private a Muslim.

Either way, he has problems with this. It is not enough to say that the issue cannot be scrutinized. Has Romney's Momorism been an issue? Was that evangelical vote in Iowa pro-Huckabee or anti-Mormon? If McCain carries the South, it will be chalked up to racism (the former Confederacy, after all), when it may just be recognition of McCain as a war hero and concern about the Muslim issue having nothing to do with the fact that, as Rush Limbaugh says, Obama is a "Halfrican-American."

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 06:07 PM
I am the far left!

Probably what would piss me off a great deal is some deep profession of faith in God. But I will vote for the Democratic nominee regardless.

I would actually be pretty happy with some promises along the lines of 1960's style of Republican fiscal conservatism. According to ABC, only 40% of Republicans describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, in an anonymous poll. So I imagine the rest are still deluded fiscal conservatives or pro-business, and if Obama can get 10% of them with some fiscal conservatism that is fine by me. Government spending seems out of control, I'd love to end the war and start working on a balanced budget, or even a surplus budget. A big slice of pro-business measures might also be okey-dokey in my book, in particular less regulation and taxes on small businesses (non-public businesses reporting profits less than, say, $1M per year).

It seems like we can cherry-pick a FEW Republican principles that can woo about 40% of Independents and 10% of Republicans we need. We will never woo the hard-core 30% that still approve of Bush, but screw them anyway. All we need, as they say, is enough to pass the big legislation.

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 06:26 PM
I think Obama can say that as a child, he did as all children do and followed the dictums of his parents, influenced by the local culture. But as an adult making his own decision in a free country, he chose to be Christian. Thus he never considered himself a Muslim, and does not now consider himself apostate, and disagrees with anybody that does consider him apostate.

As politicians are always eager to make clear, they cannot control what others think of them, they can only make their own case. Ultimately, no national leader will refuse to meet or negotiate with the POTUS on such flimsy grounds; for example they sit and eat with and treat Condoleeza Rice as an equal despite their religious restrictions against women in politics. I think the whole history of Obama's youth is a non-issue, as it should be.

jmcnulty
01-07-2008, 08:28 PM
Obama's childhood religion may be of no consequence to you; the question is what the person in the streets of Karachi or Cairo will think, especially after hearing the Friday sermon at the mosque. Did he ever repeat the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith? Benezir Bhutto may have been killed in part because she was a non-traditional woman and in some respects Westernized (for example, she spoke English better than her native language of Sind). Whatever happerned to the concept of reporting? I agree that this should not become an issue, but the question is whether Obama will allow this to become an issue. For example, he is friends with a Kenyan politician who recently unsuccessfully ran for president (and claimed that the vote was fraudulent, leading to rioting). This politician is a Muslim and has said that he wants to impose Sharia in Kenya within six months of his election. He and Obama's late father are of the same tribe. Kenya's government has complained about the close relationship between an American candidate and a Kenyan politician. Will this become an issue?

David_PA
01-07-2008, 08:50 PM
Obama's childhood religion may be of no consequence to you; the question is what the person in the streets of Karachi or Cairo will think, especially after hearing the Friday sermon at the mosque. Did he ever repeat the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith? Benezir Bhutto may have been killed in part because she was a non-traditional woman and in some respects Westernized (for example, she spoke English better than her native language of Sind). Whatever happerned to the concept of reporting? I agree that this should not become an issue, but the question is whether Obama will allow this to become an issue. For example, he is friends with a Kenyan politician who recently unsuccessfully ran for president (and claimed that the vote was fraudulent, leading to rioting). This politician is a Muslim and has said that he wants to impose Sharia in Kenya within six months of his election. He and Obama's late father are of the same tribe. Kenya's government has complained about the close relationship between an American candidate and a Kenyan politician. Will this become an issue?
What are you talking about, JM? The radical Muslim world will much more greatly despise the republican candidate than Obama, if he is the nominee. Ok, lets say that Obama gets elected. Sure, some Muslims may hold Obama's Christianity against him given that he at least practiced the Muslim religion some. But, these same Muslims who would do this are right now breathing hate about Bush and his gang. The more radical of them are committing horrendous acts fueled by that hate of Bush and their hate of the West. So, is it an issue? Well, I guess so. But, it's much less of an issue than how much the radical Muslim world hates Bush. But, you wouldn't want to talk about that issue, would you?

jmcnulty
01-07-2008, 09:18 PM
I am only saying that this assumption that because Barrack Hussein Obama has some Muslim background that he can "reach out" to the Muslim world may be misplaced; they may just as easily consider him an apostate, which is worse than being an "inflidel" like Bush. As a Christian, Bush is subject to protection as a dhimmi if he pays the jizya tax and feels himself subdued by Muslims. Obama, as an apostate, is not be a dhimmi (worthy of Muslim protection).but subject to death. This may not mean that the King of Morocco will not negotiate a new trade deal, but I am sure that Osama Bin Laden will have something to say about it. What will the preachers in the mosques say?

David_PA
01-07-2008, 09:30 PM
I am only saying that this assumption that because Barrack Hussein Obama has some Muslim background that he can "reach out" to the Muslim world may be misplaced; they may just as easily consider him an apostate, which is worse than being an "inflidel" like Bush. As a Christian, Bush is subject to protection as a dhimmi if he pays the jizya tax and feels himself subdued by Muslims. Obama, as an apostate, is not be a dhimmi (worthy of Muslim protection).but subject to death. This may not mean that the King of Morocco will not negotiate a new trade deal, but I am sure that Osama Bin Laden will have something to say about it. What will the preachers in the mosques say?The more important consideration is likely to be that despite the rhetoric of the Muslim radicals (if it were to occur the way you say), he'd be able to reach out to the rest of the Muslim world. In claiming that Obama has the ability to reach out to the non-West better than other candidates, no one is claiming that everyone, especially the radicals, will like him. The radicals are in the business of demonizing any American president. While your point it technically correct, I don't think it would translate into a worse fate for Obama. You can't be claiming the radical Muslims wouldn't want to kill any Western leader they could.

jmcnulty
01-07-2008, 09:40 PM
You have to distinguish between what the President does and what he personally is. Any President who acts in America's national interest is going to be considered by Bin Laden to be "waging war on Islam." That must be distinguished from what he is -- an "iinfidel," who can be dealt with if Islam benefits from the exchange -- not an apostate, who is condemned by Islamic law for what he is. We are not talking about majorities here (as if that mattered in the Islamic world), but what those who are closest to the strictures of the religion -- the followers of Bin Laden, imams, scholars, mosque prayer leaders -- think. So, if Bush is killed during this trip to the Muslim world, it will be because of what he has done ("waged war on Islam"), not because of what he is ("a Christian").

David_PA
01-07-2008, 09:47 PM
You have to distinguish between what the President does and what he personally is. Any President who acts in America's national interest is going to be considered by Bin Laden to be "waging war on Islam." That must be distinguished from what he is -- an "iinfidel," who can be dealt with if Islam benefits from the exchange -- not an apostate, who is condemned by Islamic law for what he is. We are not talking about majorities here (as if that mattered in the Islamic world), but what those who are closest to the strictures of the religion -- the followers of Bin Laden, imams, scholars, mosque prayer leaders -- think. So, if Bush is killed during this trip to the Muslim world, it will be because of what he has done ("waged war on Islam"), not because of what he is ("a Christian").So ... . Agreed they'll both be vilified by the radicals - Obama, if elected. You're trying to spin this into Obama will have no positive traction in the Muslim world. I'm agreeing he wouldn't (if elected) have positive traction with Muslim radicals. But, I don't agree he wouldn't have positive traction in the Muslim world.

You need to separate the Muslim radicals from the Muslim world. They are two different political entities.

Wolfgangus
01-07-2008, 11:15 PM
it will be because of what he has done ("waged war on Islam"), not because of what he is ("a Christian").

I don't think you know what you are talking about; you are just grasping at some imaginary straw you think makes Obama look less positive to Muslims than a Republican. It is ridiculous on the face of it; in the extremist eyes there are none of the shades of gray you'd like to paint; they don't sit around contemplating such fine points of the character of the people they plan to kill. This is why they blow up infant daycares with equal abandon as retiree luncheons, their objective is a message of carnage and vulnerability. Obama would do better than Bush or any Republican on the campaign trail simply because their viewpoint is one of obstinance and forcing others to their will and complete unconditional surrender, and his is not, and at the level of President (or any cabinet level officer of the country) people cannot be regarded as an individuals any more, they become their office. Condoleeza Rice is not a "black woman" in the eyes of any foreign head of state, she is the United States Secretary of State, period. In any meeting with her, there is not a moment that this role is not uppermost in their mind, and not a word that leaves their mouth that is not directed at the United States Secretary of State. Anybody powerful enough to influence debate will see Obama as the POTUS and nothing else.

jmcnulty
01-08-2008, 02:24 PM
We are talking about Islamic radicals here. No, they do not represent ALL Muslims, perhaps 10 % across the world and more in some countries (such as Pakistan). Was Benezir Bhutto klled because she was a former president and the head of a political party? Or was she killed, at least in part, because she was a non-traditional woman? I have already said that I expect Obama to beat ANY Republican and to be the next President, so I am not trying to create a disqualifying condition for him. I am just pointing out what I think may be a point of friction. If Obama is considered by Muslim "street" to be am apostate, is the King of Saudi Arabia going to be seen meeting with him? The Saudi repressentatives would not even use the same door as the Israelis at the recent Annapolis "peace" conference. Why? If they were there to negotiate with the Israelis, why would they not use the same entrance? You make the mistake of assuming that because religion is unimportant to you, it must the same with the Muslims.

Wolfgangus
01-08-2008, 03:15 PM
The Saudi repressentatives would not even use the same door as the Israelis at the recent Annapolis "peace" conference. Why? If they were there to negotiate with the Israelis, why would they not use the same entrance?

You make the mistake of assuming that because religion is important to you, it must be the same with politicians. In fact, I assume they would not use the same entrance because in fact they wanted to snub the Israelis, and were attending the "peace" conference because of pressures on them from the USA (and perhaps others), to whom they still must sell their product. So my conclusion is they were not there to negotiate at all, they were there so they could say they cooperated with the Bush Administration (so Rice could point at some accomplishments) but also wanted to make it clear there was no political reconciliation in the works. In fact, a quick Google search backs up this interpretation; Saud El-Faisal said he refused to shake the hand of Ehud Olmert because he regarded the conference as an economic business meeting and not a political "play". (Apparently despite the name "Peace Conference"). So there was no religious component to this refusal at all, it was just a politician figuring out how to please multiple constituencies that he found important, and I doubt the "Arab Street" was one of them, since

a) the Saudis are not elected, and
b) the average Saudi is sophisticated enough to understand that a handshake at a meeting means nothing if it is not taken as a photo op.

More likely, Bush or Cheney was twisting his arm hard to attend, but he was worried about what message his attendance would send to other national leaders. It had nothing to do with his religious feelings.

jmcnulty
01-08-2008, 03:36 PM
I never said or implied that the Saudi King had some religious feelings, only that the Saudi King is going to be careful not to atagonize the powerful and influential Wahhabi clergy. The tacit "deal" in Saudi Arabia is that the Wahhabi clergy can be as Islamist as it wants as long as its "jihad" is directed outside the Kingdom and not as a challenge to the royal family. In return. the Wahhabi clergy are given a free hand in policing the morality of Saudi society through the Mutawa, the religious police. This is important to the Islamic clergy and those practitioners of Islam who are devout (who represent a larger percentage than those who are willing to detonate themselves). The Saudi King is going to be careful, not because he is personally devout (royal princes spending part of their time whoring and at the gaming tables of Europe), but because he does not want the Wahhabi clergy to declare him a "hypocrite" who needs to be replaced by a true Islamic ruler. What is important is not realpolitic, but the attitude of the people, because their response is not at the polls, but through car bombs. We seem to have reversed positions. Weren't you one of those persons who warned of the "Arab Street's" response to an occupation of Bagdad by infidels?

Joel_Cairo
01-08-2008, 05:06 PM
I'm still catching up with the episodes I've missed over the past couple weeks, so please excuse my arriving late to this party, but I gotta say, Conn really brings out the best in Bill. In the past, I've been dismissive of Scher, calling him a lightweight etc, but he meshes really well with Conn.

Wolfgangus
01-08-2008, 05:11 PM
What is important is not realpolitic, but the attitude of the people,

No, what is important might be the priesthood's take on the politics of the meeting, and this may have been the constituency the king was trying to mollify; but shaking hands is not forbidden by the Koran. The king refused to shake hands because he needed some physical prop to make it clear there was no political negotiation, even a dumb prop like this. It was all politics and zero religion. He was not responding to any devoutness on his own part, and not responding to any devoutness on the priesthood's part, and not responding to any devoutness on the people's part. The clergy are a political power with political aims, and they use religion as their excuse for ruling the people, much like the early Christian church. But their concerns were political, not religious, their power depends upon having an enemy and presenting that enemy as intractably evil. Like all religious leaders they are more concerned with being the respected and admired chieftain of a flock than with the welfare of their sheep. Political reconciliation is not in their interest, either economically or egotistically. And they do wield power, the Saudi royalty are fully aware they can be overthrown.

But I doubt any Saudi citizen gives a crap whether the King shakes hands with a Jew or not; they will interpret that event precisely as their local imam tells them to interpret it, and he will follow the dictates of his superiors.

I reiterate: The decision to snub the Israeli team was not religious or predicated upon any religious principle or fear of outrage by Saudi citizens. It was a political decision and nothing else. If the political decision came from imams, that does not make it a religious decision.

jmcnulty
01-08-2008, 06:16 PM
Are you saying that religion never plays any role? If it turns out that Benezir Bhutto was killed by Islamists, in or out of the military, will you argue that this was purely a political matter?

Wolfgangus
01-08-2008, 07:14 PM
If it turns out that Benezir Bhutto was killed by Islamists, in or out of the military, will you argue that this was purely a political matter?

Yes, of course it was purely political. The suicide bomber may have been religious, but I'd bet money he was a naif told what to do by somebody else, and that if we could trace the reason back, this was a purely political assassination conducted using the tool of religion.

Bhutto was fond of saying she was what the terrorists feared most; and her reasoning was essentially they feared her for her political acumen and power which would sideline them. That power was nullified by assassination. This was not a religious attack, it was a political one.

jmcnulty
01-08-2008, 08:34 PM
This overlooks and minimizes the suicide bomber who probably killed the shooter. A military assassin would not have killed himself. How do you know that he was a naif? He was probably someone acting under a religious delusion. He may have been exploited and used by someone for a political purpose, but he had to have been recruited by means of a religious impulse. I do not know of anyone who uses suicide bombers for a political purpose except the Tamil Tigers. They do it for nationalist and Hindu purposes, which is nearly the same thing. The odd thing about Bin Laden and Zawahiri is that they have NO politics except Islam. What kind of government would a restored Capiphate be? You won't find the answer by reading Bin Laden. He just wants Sharia, rule by Islam, whatever that means.

Wolfgangus
01-09-2008, 08:48 AM
This overlooks and minimizes the suicide bomber who probably killed the shooter.

I think the suicide bomber WAS the shooter.

A military assassin would not have killed himself.

Would a military assassin leave some equipment behind? We are talking about people that use men and women as expendable equipment. The suicide bomber is just the instrument of death, a smart-enough bomb to get close to the target. For this particular piece of equipment, you must convince it that it is serving Allah and will be rewarded; but they are simply equipment, all the same.

How do you know that he was a naif? He was probably someone acting under a religious delusion.

That makes him a naif, by definition. He is naive and child-like in his perceptions of the world. I admit that in my view all religious people are child-like in their perceptions of the world; but I think suicide bombers are especially so. After watching the interviews with those caught in Israel before blowing themselves up; it is difficult to see them as anything other than children.

He may have been exploited and used by someone for a political purpose,

Undoubtedly so.

but he had to have been recruited by means of a religious impulse.

Undoubtedly so, again. But that is my point, JM. A political operative exploited the confusion and despair of a person that had no true understanding of the world, and converted that person into an object, a weapon. It is along the lines of priests using religion to have sex with children. The religion is used as the tool to bypass the logic and rationality of the victim. The murder is not a religious act, it is a political act executed with the tools at hand: An oversupply of religiously deluded young adults, some of which are SO deluded they fervently believe that if they do as they are told, they get a free pass into heaven. So they demote themselves from humans to simple guidance systems on missiles. Better guidance systems than any technology we can provide, but just a delivery mechanism, nonetheless. Trying to characterize this as a religious murder is blaming the gun instead of the shooter. The people that DECIDED Bhutto must die made that decision for entirely political reasons, and that makes it a political assassination.

garbagecowboy
01-09-2008, 09:48 AM
Trying to characterize this as a religious murder is blaming the gun instead of the shooter. The people that DECIDED Bhutto must die made that decision for entirely political reasons, and that makes it a political assassination.


This is only if the prime mover of the assassination was, say, the ISI or some other organization whose motivations could not be described as religious.

If it was really Al Qaeda who was behind the whole plot, then regardless of what you think of the rationality of suicide bombers, then the "motivation" of the murder was not political it was religious.

Also my understanding is it was 2 people, the first with the gun, secularly dressed, the second, looking more like your typical radical/terrorist who blew everything up.

jmcnulty
01-09-2008, 09:49 AM
You don't know that the decision was made at the top as a purely political decision. Have you seen the tape of the shooter firing at Benezir Bhutto, just before the explosion? The shooter is young, clean-cut, and looks like a military guy, while the bomber is in full Islamic dress in white (the color of martyrdom). The bomb went off after Bhutto, apparently already shot, fell into the car. The explosion then occurred nearby enough to kill the shooter.

Did Bin Laden topple the Twin Towers as a political act? Should we look at Mohammed Atta as a political actor?

I personally think that there is nothing more child-like and naive than someone who characterizes ALL religious persons as child-like and naive. All you have done is characterize the shooter as a mere instrumentality of a political purpose. To those who consider everythiing religion, your answer is "No, everything is politics."

Wolfgangus
01-09-2008, 10:59 AM
Did Bin Laden topple the Twin Towers as a political act?

YES, it was an act of WAR, and war is inherently political. They were not trying to punish us for our religious transgressions, they were trying to punish us for supporting Israel, and they hate Israel because they think Israel stole their land, which they lost by being on the wrong side in various wars, beginning with WWII. But Israel did not steal their land, they forfeited the land by being the losing aggressors in war, which means they chose to risk their lives and property and lost some of both.

Should we look at Mohammed Atta as a political actor?
NO. With no other tools at their disposal, the political actors against Israel have chosen to conflate their religious beliefs with their political aims. I can't get into Atta's head, but I presume he was a religious actor that believed by attacking the evil USA he was somehow serving Allah. But I also believe that the leaders of his religion have cast the USA as evil because it suits their political purpose, to acquire land and power. The Koran is contradictory with itself, just like the Bible, so it can be read in many ways. Perhaps the majority of Muslims believe the Koran should be read in a way that permits Muslims to live peacefully alongside non-Muslims; and permits Muslim nations to live peacefully alongside non-Muslim nations, and rejects Sharia in the same way most Christians do not enforce the biblical command "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live", and do not enforce the biblical laws of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, [etc]". Somebody that takes the eye of another is prosecuted for assault, not blinded.

That allows the Koran to be interpreted to accomplish whatever ends are desired, and the desires are political, not religious. Destroying Israel is a political desire, not a religious one. World domination by a new caliphate is a political desire, not a religious one. The majority of the people that want the power, want the land and want to rule just piggyback their political fortunes on the backs of the religion, and interpret their holy book in whatever way they can to promote those political agendas.

Are muslims out there assassinating every apostate woman in the land? No. Why choose Benazir Bhutto, specifically? For one reason, and one reason only, politics.

jmcnulty
01-09-2008, 02:03 PM
If Israel were to vanish tomorrow, Bin Laden would still be at war with us. You obviously have not read his writings, where it is clear that while Israel is one of his complaints (along with global warming and the "low" price of oil), he is also following the Qur=an's command that Islam conquer competing religons. He looks forward to the day when only Islam is practiced on the face of the earth. No Muslim who reads the Qur'an closely could be confused about what it says. Unlike the Bible, there is no confusion about what the Qur''an says. The ulema (community of religious scholars) pronounces on what it means. No individual Muslim, unlike an individual Christian, would dare to offer a personal differing exegesis. No where does it follow the rule of "live and let live." Other countries and religions are only temporarily tolerated under a hudna (a temporary truce to Islam's benefit lasting no longer than 10 years) or for purposes of an alliance against a common enemy. He thinks that the mujahideen defeated the Soviets solely through their bravery and Allah's favor, never acknowledging billions in weapons from the West. Of course, the turning point in the war came when the CIA supplied the Mujahideen with Stinger missles that could bring down armed Soviet helicopters. Now, he intends to attack us, the "easier" of the Superpowers to defeat. As I have said, while there may be moderate Muslims, there is no moderate Islam. Sooner or later, you will realize that -- I hope when it is not too late. Regarding apostate women, have you never seen the morality campaigns in Iran where women wearing Western dress are beaten on the street? What does the Mutawa (religious police) do to a woman who does not cover her hair in Saudi Arabia? You, like most of the West, are living in a fool's Paradise with regard to Islam, trying to make it what you (as a secularist) want it to be. Show me where in the Qur'an that it accepts other religions, except within the strictures of dhimmitude for Jews and Christians.

Wolfgangus
01-09-2008, 04:19 PM
As I have said, while there may be moderate Muslims, there is no moderate Islam. Sooner or later, you will realize that -- I hope when it is not too late.


So I can join you in idiotic fear-mongering, I suppose. If there are moderate muslims there necessarily exists a moderate Islam. That is my point, in fact: The moderate muslims have moderated Islam to allow them to live in the modern world without abandoning the only religion they have known, instead of in the world of 800 AD. Whether the writing supports their views or not is immaterial; they (like Christians) are simply ignoring the militant and strident parts of the book and using the rituals and other parts they can comfortably accomodate, like praying to Mecca three times a day, or whatever. That IS moderate Islam, and it IS what most Muslims practice.

Regarding apostate women, have you never seen the morality campaigns in Iran where women wearing Western dress are beaten on the street? What does the Mutawa (religious police) do to a woman who does not cover her hair in Saudi Arabia?

I will tell you what they DO NOT do: They do not send a suicide bomber to blow themselves up next to them. Perhaps they beat them, perhaps they mutilate them, that can be a religious practice. Do they send suicide bombers to blow them up, one at a time? NO. NEVER.

You, like most of the West, are living in a fool's Paradise with regard to Islam, trying to make it what you (as a secularist) want it to be.

No, I am living in the real world, recognizing the politics of power, domination and acquisition for what it is, and you are living in a paranoid hallucination, under the sad and shallow delusion that what is done in the name of religion is actually about religion.

jmcnulty
01-09-2008, 05:21 PM
They pray five times a day towards Mecca. What you do not know about Islam WILL kill you. But obviously you cannot be convinced by argument. What happened to the housewives who staged a protest in Saudi Arabia by driving themselves around town? Have you ever heard of the concept of "honor" killings? The "moderate" Muslims that you so prize are just looked as as "bad Muslims" by the Salafists. One of their primary bogeymen in fact, besides the infidel West, is the Muslim "hypocrite" who does not practice the pure Islam. One of Bin Laden's commentaries is entitled, "'Moderate' Islam is a Prostration to the West" in which he redicules the Western concepts of democracy and human rights.

jmcnulty
01-09-2008, 05:29 PM
I have only one more comment to make. You accuse me of "paranoid hallucinations."

What have I said that is not demonstrably true? So nothing that I have said is "hallucinatory."

As was famously said, even paranoids have enemies. What I have said is true, so I should not be thought of as a paranoid, imagining danger where none exists.

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 05:49 PM
jm:

What have I said that is not demonstrably true? So nothing that I have said is "hallucinatory."

You keep blurring the line between "some" and "all." You think that because it's impossible to demonstrate that there are no terrorists who act in the name of Islam, your conclusion that all Muslims are bent on killing infidels is somehow justified.

Now, I'm sure you'll say "I never said that." But this thinking, that all Muslims are bad, and the Koran can be interpreted in only one way, is the basis of all of your thinking on this matter, and that thinking is paranoid, delusional, oversimplified, distasteful, unhelpful, and ninety-eight other adjectives, none of which you like to hear, but all of which apply.

Wolfgangus
01-09-2008, 06:23 PM
They pray five times a day towards Mecca.

Whatever. How do such details inform the difference between politically motivated and religiously motivated killings? You have descended into trivia that makes no difference because you cannot muster a logical argument, so the only way you can prove you are superior is to trot out trivia instead of addressing the central logic of my argument.

What you do not know about Islam WILL kill you.

I seriously doubt that. Once again you mistake the causes of effects; certainly Islam might kill me, but if it does it will most certainly be because of my bad luck of shopping or eating or living or working in a place randomly chosen by a terrorist, not because of anything I knew or did not know about Islam.

But obviously you cannot be convinced by argument.

I can be convinced by argument, if you could make one. So far you make raw assertions that are patently false or do not make sense in the real world. Do not try to blame me for your inability to form a logically coherent statement worth thinking about.

Wolfgangus
01-09-2008, 06:44 PM
What have I said that is not demonstrably true?

BJ's response to this is true.

But let us take one specific thing: It is not demonstrably true that there is no moderate Islam, when there is demonstrably an Islam many muslims believe in that is indeed moderate. Your claim about how Bin Laden feels about that has no traction; who cares what Bin Laden thinks? A lot of devout Christians don't care what Pat Robertson thinks, either. Even Christians that believe the Bible is the literal word of God do not obey the commandment (direct from God's mouth) to wear tassles with a single blue thread on their clothing, or the commandment to kill their unruly children, or stone to death those that work on the Sabbath. (These are Old Testament directives, but practically the first thing Jesus says in the New Testament is that every rule of the Old Testament stands without any change whatsoever, and you can't get into heaven without obeying them).

If we interpreted the Bible the way you interpret the Koran, there could not be any moderate Christianity, either. There is a moderate Christianity and there is a moderate Islam for the same reason, because there are Muslims that ignore the militancy of the Koran, or take it as parable instead of literally, or in some other way avoid killing their family and coworkers.

That is just one thing. I have pointed out several others in the course of this exchange which I will not repeat. The central question was whether Benazir Bhutto was murdered for religious reasons or political reasons, and the answer is clearly, obviously, transparently, political. The question was not about all women killed by muslims, but as BJ says, you cannot distinguish one women from all women or one muslim from all muslims or one murder from all murders or the motives of the obedient soldier from the motives of his commander, there is apparently only room in your tiny world for one rule per subject.

jmcnulty
01-09-2008, 07:24 PM
You and BjKeefe can be a condescending towards me as you like, No matter what I say, you are always going to say that it is not a sufficiently logical argument. I have never said that ALL Muslims believe anything. I am talking about what the Qur'an says. There are obviously many Muslims who do not follow the Qur'an's commands. Some Muslims marry American women who do not immediately become Muslims. You may not care what Bin Laden thinks, but there are millions of Muslims who do. More important, he always frames his arguments in terms of Islam's demands. I am not aware of Pat Robertson has counselled the killing of anyone for religious reasons (Hugo Chavez does not count). The whole point of the New Testment is that Jesus fulfilled the law, that the era of Jewish law-keeping was over. Why do you think Christians eat pork? All that I am saying (futilely, apparently, since I am unable to convince even articulate, smart commenters, who apparently will not face reality until another 9/11) is that Islam is not just another religion. I know of no other religion like it. I am not saying that it is evil (there is much to admire in it), but it is different, and sees itself as supreme, destined sooner or later to bring Allah's law to the entire earth.

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 09:36 PM
jm:

I have never said that ALL Muslims believe anything ...

As I predicted (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=68163&postcount=30) [paragraph 2].

This is a familiar track we're on here. You work yourself into a frenzy with global statements about Muslims and Islam, someone calls you on your shit, you back off a bit, and sometime within the next few days, you'll start up all over again.

Do you not get that we've heard your twisted view on this matter ad nauseum? Do you not get that you're never going to convince anyone of this view? Do you not get that most of us find your bilious spewings offensive?

Do you not remember your promise (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showpost.php?p=67407&postcount=27)?

Wolfgangus
01-10-2008, 08:14 AM
The whole point of the New Testment is that Jesus fulfilled the law, that the era of Jewish law-keeping was over.

Bull CRAP, JM. Matthew, 5:17-19, http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/5.html

Jesus clearly says all the old laws apply, every jot and tittle.

Why do you think Christians eat pork?

Because it tastes good. Give some other authoritative reason to be found in The Bible. If you cannot, then Christians eat pork in violation of the Old Testament which Jesus says (In Mt5:17-19) still holds, every jot and tittle.

All that I am saying [..] is that Islam is not just another religion. I know of no other religion like it.

Every religion is different. I doubt islam is the only militant one out there.

I am not saying that it is evil (there is much to admire in it)

There is nothing to admire in any religion; particularly one that believes in flying horses or one that believes in talking donkeys. this is like admiring a mathematical error or a bug in a program or the particular way in which your car broke down. Or like admiring how deftly a con man assumed your identity and cleaned out your bank account and ran up your credit cards. There is no "art" to admire in deception, theft and the destruction of lives.