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Bloggingheads
04-24-2008, 11:04 AM
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Eastwest
04-24-2008, 12:44 PM
It's time for Barack to step aside, with apologies, for the good of the party and the good of the country.

Apologies for what?

Apologies for arrogantly putting himself forward with no experience, poor judgment, bad friends, and so many negatives that there is absolutely no way he can ever beat the Republican attack machine.

The whole basis for choosing the Democratic candidate needs to be who has the best chance of beating McBush.

If Barack had the brains to stay away from the race issue entirely, or, when unavoidable, the smarts to downplay it as much as possible, he might have stood a chance. But no, he had to foreground it instead with a sermon to the country on the topic which had nicely been put to sleep where it belongs (at least during campaigns wherein racists make up over half the electorate).

The Result: The "Bradley / Wilder Effect" will kill him for sure, even if the polls look OK in the fall, thus also guaranteeing at least four more years of Republican insanity, both internationally and domestically.

Thanks, Barack. What an idiot.

EW

AemJeff
04-24-2008, 01:01 PM
It's time for Barack to step aside, with apologies, for the good of the party and the good of the country.

Apologies for what?

Apologies for arrogantly putting himself forward with no experience, poor judgment, bad friends, and so many negatives that there is absolutely no way he can ever beat the Republican attack machine.

The whole basis for choosing the Democratic candidate needs to be who has the best chance of beating McBush.

EW

I haven't had a chance to watch the diavlog, yet; and I'm not sure if you're kidding. But I don't think the problem is with the particular candidates - the current process and political context seem only to be capable of producing structurally weak candidates on the Dem side. I'd like for that not to be true - especially when, as I see it, the Federal judiciary is in danger of being fatally compromised by Republican appointments - but, I think the truth is we have met the enemy and he is us. I think the party is in need of grass roots reorganization similar to what the GOP underwent prior to 1994. Until either the party power structure or the demographics of its constituents have changed. I had, and still have to an extent, hopes for Howard Dean in this regard - but anybody who styles himself an agent of change in an organization like a major political party has a real battle to win.

mumi
04-24-2008, 01:03 PM
First, Jeralyn - I love you and you are Great for Bloggingheads. When this election cycle is over I hope you will be here a long time.

However, your arguments for Hillary are weak and absurd on the face. This isn't a courtroom. Sophistry only goes so far outside the court. Mark has embarrassed you.

Barack Obama has won the race and it is time to unite behind the candidate. Continual bickering is awful for us.

mum

popcorn_karate
04-24-2008, 01:11 PM
I Agree completely Mumi.

Hillary has no chance for the nomination. All of her wins come after Republicans started voting in democratic primaries for Hillary - so she can lose in November. All she is doing now is trying to ensure that Barak loses to McCain.

and Jerralyn - you might want to consider that if you have to make completely obtuse and absurd arguments, and never actually address what Mark is saying - you just might be wrong.

the "big states" argument is just ridiculous.

she's getting the "blue collar, gun owners" - ha! nobody that cares about gun rights is going to vote for Hillary of all people.

piscivorous
04-24-2008, 01:11 PM
let me give you a recap. I'm right...no I'm right... your facts are right...yes they do... I'm right ... no I'm right.

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 01:34 PM
Neither Kleiman, Mumi, nor Popcorn have woken up and smelled the coffee:

The Bradley effect will kill Obama.

Folks keep trying to blame Hillary for exposing Barack's obvious negatives and thus making him "unelectable."

Excuse me: Barack is his own worst enemy. He had the negatives even before Hillary pointed them out.

So we're supposed to think that, absent Hillary, the Republican attack machine would somehow have either not noticed Obama's negatives, or out of abundant tastefulness and nobility, would somehow not have brought them up at all?

Kleiman and all the other Obama Kool-Aid drinkers love to demonize Hillary. They are just refusing to recognize the fact that their darling Barry is unqualified, arrogant, damaged goods who doesn't stand a chance of winning the White House. What are they smoking?

EW

bkjazfan
04-24-2008, 01:37 PM
I have been listening to discussions on race for longer than Obama has been alive and now he comes up the ingenious idea to have another one. Either he's late to the party and used it to deflect the reason he sat and listened to anti-white, American comments from his spiritual advisor for 20 years.

John

submersibledirigible
04-24-2008, 02:01 PM
Jeralyn: "I'd like to hear Barack Obama for once say I will go out and campaign for Hillary if she's the nominee"
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10474?in=00:39:23&out=00:39:31

You're in luck Jeralyn! Not only has Obama indicated he'd campaign for Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee, but he's indicated his Organizing Fellows (http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/fellowsapp?source=www_feature)program would even work on Hillary's behalf if she won the nomination.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/6/11170/54536
Q. You recently talked about a fellowship program where you will train some of the young grassroots activists that have joined your campaign. Can you talk more about that?

A:Basically what we've done is we've been attracting so much volunteer talent, so many young people who have gotten involved in the campaign, that we wanted to give a handful of them an opportunity to have some more intensive training. So we've asked them to apply for fellowships. I think they're called Obama Fellows. They will get intensive training, and they will be put on staff and will have an experience, starting in June.

Q:The nomination may not be decided by then, are you sure you're going to be ready to set those grassroots volunteers loose in June?

A:We're still going to be interested in training. Even if I'm not the nominee, I'm still going to be somebody who cares very deeply about the Democratic Party winning in November, and still will hopefully have a little bit of influence on the process.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-24-2008, 02:41 PM
I won't opine on what Hillary should do or whether Barack is a weaker candidate than Hillary. But you're certainly right that Ms. Merritt is, shall we say, "logically challenged."
Here's the pattern so far (15 minutes in):

Ms. Merritt proposes an argument.
Mr. Kleiman points out that the argument depends on an assumption that has not been supported and that seems implausible.
Ms. Merritt's next step SHOULD be to defend the premise or propose some more plausible alternate premise that gets her to her conclusion.
This is not what she does. She either returns to her original talking point or changes the subject. And when Kleiman insists that she fix up the lacuna in her argument, she just falls back on "maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree." Sorry, Ms. Merritt, but logic is not just a matter of opinion -- either your argument is valid or it is not. Kleiman has (so far) shown that all your arguments are invalid and you do nothing to repair your arguments. Therefore, Kleiman wins the argument. It's always possible that his ultimate position is wrong -- perhaps a better arguer than Ms. Merritt could have met the challenges that he offered -- but there really isn't any doubt that he has exposed big flaws in her arguments which she is unable or unwilling to close.

MightyRick
04-24-2008, 02:41 PM
"The Bradley Effect will kill Obama"? Please don't misuse an already misunderstood phenomena. The Bradley Effect speaks to only the surface regarding what happens, not why it happens. What happens is that the polling numbers for black candidates are sometimes higher than the resulting votes. Lots of ideas have been advanced for why this is so, but it is still not well understood. The only potential effect here is that people might say, "Look, Obama is beating McCain in the polls, so let's nominate him." But the numbers may not accurately reflect how the voters will actually vote, thus overstating one of the reasons to nominate him. Actually, I think the Bradley Effect has been diminishing, but has come back into play with Obama.

Regarding this diavlog, it was painful to watch. She was all over the place and he wouldn't back up and rephrase his many badly stated questions. For example, he asked, "Name a big state Clinton won." She replied with lots of them. He then said, "But those don't count...no Democrat is going to win Texas, any Democrat will win Mass., etc." She then (correctly) replied, "But you asked me to name big states..." He should have just backed up and said, "I'm sorry, I should have stated the question better. Leaving aside the states that won't be in play, which big state did Hillary win that is going to be in play in the fall?" This type of behavior would have saved us a lot of nonsense.

Happy Hominid
04-24-2008, 03:02 PM
But that's fine. Like Jeralyn says, we just have to let it play out. It's absolutely clear how it will eventually play out, but no one should (any more) ask Hillary to step aside. It's pointless. She's not going to and her supporters are behind her.

Is this likely to help McCain in the long run? I suspect only marginally. Once Obama gets the nod, it will be all about his philosophy vs. More Of Bush. If Obama can't win then it's not Hillary's fault.

uncle ebeneezer
04-24-2008, 03:15 PM
Well said Bloggin'. Thanks for putting into much kinder words than I would have chosen. The part I loved best was when Kleiman went through all the ways in which Obama is winning the nomination (popular votes, pledged delegates, and more super-delegates breaking for him since the very begining when Hillary was still seen as the "inevitable") and then we are treated to the fine pretzel-logic of why actually, no, Hillary is winning because she's winning the big states (the ones that are already custom-made for her) in a Democratic primary. Anyone who still insists that looking at Obama vs. Hillary and tries to extrapolate the results to predict Obama vs. McCain, is just mixing up their apples and oranges so much that I have trouble taking anything they say seriously. I thought Kleiman tried to admirably point this out, but Ms. Merritt refused to follow his basic premise. I find it incredibly rich that the people who need to use such mental gymnastics to frame it such that Hillary is winning, have the audacity to suggest that the rest of us are the ones drinking the Kool Aid. Clinton has the biggest political machine, name recognition, former President playing her attack dog, etc., so why can't she close the deal? Or better yet, why is she losing?

Bloggin' Noggin
04-24-2008, 03:20 PM
I like the diavlog title, but that um laut over the 'e' is like fingernails on the blackboard to my pedantic soul! In German, you can put an um laut over an 'a', an 'o' or a 'u', but not over an 'e'.
There is, of course a second um laut in "Gotterdammerung" [not sure how to put the um lauts in here], but it is over an 'a' (thus turning it into an 'eh' (given the double 'm' after it) rather than an 'ah').
Please, please take it out! I'm tearing my hair out here, and I haven't got much left!

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 03:25 PM
Re Mighty Rick's "Please Don't Misuse 'Bradley Effect'")

I presumed too much of readers (that they would understand the concept refers to polling numbers portraying an unreasonably rosy picture for the prospects of a black candidate in a general election.)

This is also known as "Wilder Effect" in reference to that black governor's predicted margin of 10% shrinking to 1% final margin.

So perhaps prefer: "The unpleasant realities disguised by the 'Bradley / Wilder Effect' lead Obama-cult dreamers to suppose he's got a chance of reaching the White House when in fact he doesn't have a prayer."

It would be nice if semantic precision would help your friend Barry, but, unfortunately, he's dead meat twisting in the wind, a gruesome testimony to the problem presented by cult-dreamers stampeding a nominating process to a foolish and unrealistic conclusion.

Result: We get two "exotics": the first woman or the first Black, neither exemplifying the best those categories have to offer, this when a simple safe candidate (like Biden or Dodd) would have beat McCain no problem.

An Obama nomination would be another fine example of how Democrats always manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

EW

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 03:30 PM
Re Uncle Ebeneezer's:

Well, why is Hillary losing?

She's not. The more folks find out about Bary, the more they realize he's unelectable. (See my immediately preceding post.)

Insofar as she is losing, it's because the other 40-55% of the democratic base along with the "race-loyalists" have been suckered into thinking a fatally-flawed incompetent can somehow win in November.

I refer to it as the "stupid fools" effect.

EW

AemJeff
04-24-2008, 03:39 PM
"Barack Obama is black, therefore he can't win." Speculating about the "Bradley Effect" prior to the national election without reference to, at the very least, the effect of McCain's support for the war and how that might offset whatever effect race might have on the contest is premature, at best, and, probably, disingenuous. But you did get to call him "Barry!" Well argued, sir!

I'm with everybody who made the claim that Jeralyn wasn't very good here. This was painful to watch.

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 04:15 PM
Re Aemjeff's:

I'm with everybody claiming Jeralyn wasn't very good here. Painful to watch.

Of course. This is expected from Obama-cult echo-chambers. Not surprising you found it "painful." (Reality's hard for dreamers to swallow.)

Sure, go ahead and discount "Bradley Effect" as somehow inoperative in the polls' misrepresenting Obama's very-dismal prospects. I wish you were right. But the fact is, outside of university intelligentsia, out-of-touch elites, and idealistic newbie voters, racism is alive and well in the American electorate, especially when the level of insecurity in that same electorate is sky-high due to Republicans so ably pushing those buttons. (Prediction: Al Qaida scare in late October.)

I would vastly prefer your ideal world. Trouble is: We live in the real one.

Obama's minted-in-Deval-Patrick-land "hope" is a false one. He was frustrated as an arrogant young freshman senator that he does not have the interpersonal skills necessary for wheeling and dealing with the ossified and corrupt minds of the US Congress. Can't blame him for trying to do an "end-run." Trouble is, end-running for president exposes all one's faults and raises everyone's worst fears, even the unreasonable ones.

Obama doesn't stand a chance in November.

EW

look
04-24-2008, 04:30 PM
Re Aemjeff's:
...racism is alive and well in the American electorate...
Not just the malignant racism of my father, but the benign racism of my mother.


Can't blame him for trying to do an "end-run."
I think he didn't expect to be so successful. This was probably supposed to be a trial run to gain exposure.

I think the most significant thing Kleiman said was that even if they go on from here to split the remaining votes, Hillary would still need 80% of the remaining supers.

Happy Hominid
04-24-2008, 04:33 PM
What is the EVIDENCE that either of them is "more electable"? I know (I assume) what you would say to show how Obama would lose. But what about the reasons Hillary would lose? She is the most unpopular politician in America. Middle-roaders who hate Hillary, might have voted for a Dem this year, will vote for McCain. I can see evidence for either of them having problems, but no definitive evidence that either is worse. Nearly every poll over the past 4 months has shown Obama doing better against McCain than Hillary. I'm not saying polls are perfect, but what evidence do you have that they are wrong?

So where does it leave us? With nominating whoever wins the most delegates, regardless of what states those delegates come from. This is not about who we IMAGINE is a tougher candidate in November. It's about who gets the most delegates in the nominating process. And she will lose that battle - eventually. I'm not for shutting her down now. Let her fight on so that she KNOWS she has been rejected.

lamoose
04-24-2008, 04:39 PM
As someone who joined the Democratic Party for one reason--to vote for Obama in my primary--it's things like this diavlog that make me wonder if I've made a huge mistake.

It's not that I don't love Obama. I do, and I hope against hope that he'll be the nominee and elected president.

It's the Clinton supporters, who apparently make up a very significant portion of my party.

I know I fall squarely within Obama's demo (mid-20s, white, male, college education, etc.), but it's truly shocking to me that there are so many people out there who love Hillary so much that they're oblivious to the damage she's inflicting on the eventual nominee. I'm not one for ad hominem attacks, but I don't see how else you can describe this behavior... It's positively idiotic, hysterical.

This TalkLeft person is, in the words of someone describing Meghan McArdle (a bit unfairly!), weapons-grade stupid. People actually visit her blog on purpose?

I can't take much more of Clinton's supporters' kindergarten-level arguments... but kudos for Mark in trying to reason with this sad creature.

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 05:04 PM
"Barack Obama is black, therefore he can't win."

This is, sadly, a very real question. Mind-boggling that it is, 40 years after the murder of Martin Luther King, we still may very well be a country with enough bigots to impede the election of an African-American.

Obama tried to overcome this "handicap" by pretending to be a post-racial candidate, but he actually had a biography (and autobiography) behind him that would -- by definition - stir up the racists. My guess is that even Condi Rice or Colin Powell would have a "Rev. Wright" someone in their lives that the race-baiting oppossition would discover and loop in campaign ads. Everyone has a Willie Horton, and it really is the KKK of America as far as a 10% bloc of swing voters are concerned.

So after all the cogitation of pundits like these two, there is a real electability issue: Will Barack turn into McGovern or Kerry or Dukakis? Superdelegates may not deny Obama a victory he deserves, but they may feel they are commiting electoral suicide as they cast their ballot.

I am an Obama supporter, but there is some reality to be faced about his prospects. Perhaps if Democrats and independents distanced themselves sufficiently from the core precepts of the military-industrial-congressional-prison complex, they might be sufficiently worried about a Clinton presidency .

Clinton last week threatened to obliterate Iran with nuclear bombs. So much for Democrats spreading goodwill in a world damaged by Bush unilateralism. Do we really want a president who is threatening the world with genocide?

Joel_Cairo
04-24-2008, 05:18 PM
He showed some real Zen Mojo in keeping all calm and cool while Jeralyn spouted all this crazy talk. The force was clearly with him.

AemJeff
04-24-2008, 05:19 PM
["Barack Obama is black, therefore he can't win."]
a very real question

It's undeniably true. The point I tried to make in response to EW is that, from where we sit now, it's not necessarily determinative. There's been no such contest, yet. The Hillary/Obama fight is a pretty approximate test and doesn't shine that much light. There will be a lot of factors in the fall. I've just spent >$3.50/gallon to fill up my car. My home equity has plummeted in the last twelve months. My current job seems secure, but I worry about the effect of a long downturn. al Sadr's organization is threatening to resume all-out war. It's possible that in November the conditions will be such that the Dems could run Ronald MacDonald and still win. Or not...

I'm on record worrying about the viability of both Democratic candidates. I dithered about whom to vote for until the last possible minute, and I still have doubts about the choice I made. I can see profound weaknesses in all three major candidates from both parties. I think that anybody who claims they have a clear idea of who really has the advantage has a significant burden to demonstrate why that might be true. I haven't heard any convincing arguments, so far.

popcorn_karate
04-24-2008, 05:21 PM
Re Mighty Rick's "Please Don't Misuse 'Bradley Effect'")n.

Result: We get two "exotics": the first woman or the first Black, neither exemplifying the best those categories have to offer, this when a simple safe candidate (like Biden or Dodd) would have beat McCain no problem.

EW

This is what I've been saying for a LONG time. It is so obviously true. I can't believe my party chose to implode this election cycle instead of nominating a safe, competent candidate that could win hands-down, so we could get on with the business of repairing our country. Dodd was my original choice.

p.s. calling Barak "Barry" just makes you seem petty and ridiculous. (while mostly you sound pretty intelligent and reasonable)

rfannan
04-24-2008, 05:30 PM
She repeatedly claims that Barack has never said he would campaign for Hilary. That's just nonsense. He has said numerous times, in debates and otherwise, that he would support the nominee of the party and do whatever is needed to win in November. Jeralyn is really a terrible debater. She constantly changes the topic when she can't answer a question or doesn't like Mark's answer.

popcorn_karate
04-24-2008, 05:36 PM
Nope - Hillary is a disaster. She's a Republican-lite Authoritarian, with the added downside of loving nanny-state regulations, as well.

I'll take 4 years of McCain, with both houses of congress in democratic hands fighting his policies, over 4 years of Hillary enacting the Republican agenda while democrats in congress go-along because she's a Democrat.

If Barak loses in the fall, many of us will blame hillary. Maybe then we can start rebuilding our party with-out the likes of the Clintons, Liebermans, Mickey Kaus and other corporate shills.

If he wins - even better.

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 06:05 PM
If Barak loses in the fall, many of us will blame hillary. Maybe then we can start rebuilding our party with-out the likes of the Clintons, Liebermans, Mickey Kaus and other corporate shills.


Or, more likely, he'll get blamed, and she will be back in 2012.

AemJeff
04-24-2008, 06:06 PM
Maybe then we can start rebuilding our party with-out the likes of the Clintons, Liebermans, Mickey Kaus and other corporate shills.

PK, Be careful what you wish for. If you want eliminate everybody you don't like from the party, you end up with something like the Greens or the Libertarians.
The only nationally successful Democrat we've seen in forty years is Bill Clinton. (Carter lost his second term.) An ideologically pure party purged of its successful tacticians would be an excellent way to guarantee Republican hegemony.

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 06:07 PM
p.s. calling Barak "Barry" just makes you seem petty and ridiculous.

And racist (Make sure he keeps a slave name, like the folks who continued calling Mohammad Ali ,"Cassius").

harkin
04-24-2008, 06:07 PM
Jeralyn is the same person who in her previous BH appearance declared that republicans who change parties to vote for a democrat in the OH primary should have their web comments investigated to see if they do not meet her prescribed level of sincerity (those who do not go to jail if Jeralyn has her way).

How's the investigation coming Jeralyn? Did you change your tune because these voters are voting overwhelmingly for HRC or because you realized you had no understanding of constitutional law?

Bloggin' Noggin
04-24-2008, 06:16 PM
Re Aemjeff's:



Of course. This is expected from Obama-cult echo-chambers. Not surprising you found it "painful." (Reality's hard for dreamers to swallow.)

Sure, go ahead and discount "Bradley Effect" as somehow inoperative in the polls' misrepresenting Obama's very-dismal prospects. I wish you were right. But the fact is, outside of university intelligentsia, out-of-touch elites, and idealistic newbie voters, racism is alive and well in the American electorate, especially when the level of insecurity in that same electorate is sky-high due to Republicans so ably pushing those buttons. (Prediction: Al Qaida scare in late October.)

EW

It really is possible to distinguish between the following two propositions and assign them different truth values:

1. Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread (whole wheat, I guess) and will win easily in November

and

2. Ms. Merritt did a lousy job of defending her position, from a logical point of view (as opposed to a spinmeister's point of view).

At least most of us can make such distinctions: for example, my political position is closer to Bill Scher's than Jonah Goldberg's, yet in their diavlog together, I think Goldberg did better than Scher. I think in last week's Scher/Carroll diavlog, Scher wasn't very effective against Conn. I like Obama, but I don't think he did very well in the PA debate. See? It's not so hard.

I think Obama has a better chance of winning than you do, but that doesn't mean I think racism poses no dangers for his candidacy. I do take seriously your concerns, but I don't regard them as established with the certainty you project. Perhaps things will turn out as you expect, but I don't think your case is strengthened either by calling everyone who disagrees deluded or by claiming that Ms. Merritt did a good job of defending her position.
Your persuasiveness would be enhanced by an attempt to be (or at least appear) a bit more judicious.

jh in sd
04-24-2008, 06:26 PM
Wonder, Are there still too many racisist in America to elect a black person, or maybe too many chauvinists to elect a woman? I would like to think not but cannot say I totally disagree. But if McCain were to win the election against either of these candidates, I would not count it as a reinforcement of that idea because with both of these candidates, I think the issues is whether the country is willing to take such a hard turn to the left. Although Clinton is talking more as a centrist in the campaign stage, I think her record will show, as will Obama's, that she is further to the left than the majority of Americans. One thing we can be sure of, though, is given the current contentious nature of political dialog, it will be difficult to have an honest discussion about the subject.

(On a personal note, Wonder, I hope you don't mind that I'm using a nickname for you, as I feel the word "wonder" has such a musical sound to it. I reminds me of a line from a beautiful poem by James Agee: "Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder, wandering far alone of shadows on the stars." Also, it sound like the name of a hippie-child, which I suspect you may have been at one time. jh)

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 06:34 PM
Re BlogginNoggin's:

Perhaps things will turn out as you expect, but I don't think your case is strengthened either by calling everyone who disagrees deluded or by claiming that Ms. Merritt did a good job of defending her position.

First: If you'll trouble to review my posts, you'll notice I never made any reference to Ms. Merritt or any acknowledgement of her arguments. (I didn't find her overly eloquent. Nonetheless, the negative characterizations of her POV owe more to righteous indignation than objective analysis.)

Second, On my calling folks out for "delusion," etc. it's a bit of a diagnostic tactic and therapeutic stratagem.

"Delusion" refers to an inability (willful or otherwise) to see reality as it actually is (as distinct from how one might wish it to be).

The diagnostic aspect: Where folks react strongly, then I know how acute their "Obama Deification Syndrome" has become.

The therapeutic stratagem: For those amenable to learning (maybe 20%), this may actually facilitate awakening to realities.

Sorry if you might have taken this personally. Your right, though: People don't like straight talk. They'd rather be told what they want to hear (common echo-chamber sentiment).

Cheers,
EW

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 06:40 PM
Wonder, I hope you don't mind that I'm using a nickname for you, as I feel the word "wonder" has such a musical sound to it. I reminds me of a line from a beautiful poem by James Agee: "Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder, wandering far alone of shadows on the stars." Also, it sound like the name of a hippie-child, which I suspect you may have been at one time. jh)


Guilty as charged.

AemJeff
04-24-2008, 06:46 PM
Nonetheless, the negative characterizations of her POV owe more to righteous indignation than objective analysis

Really? I'm curious. By what metric have you determined the truth of that?

Where folks react strongly, then I know how acute their "Obama Deification Syndrome" has become.

I've reacted in a fairly strong way. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure you'd have a hard time finding much in the way of Obama worship in anything I've written.

For those amenable to learning (maybe 20%), this may actually facilitate awakening to realities.

Your clear analysis of the lesser beings among whom you're unfortunately beset gives the rest of us a clear example to which we can strive.

Andrya6
04-24-2008, 07:22 PM
I think there is a Bradley effect in the polls about Obama, but there are two other factors, comparable to the Bradley effect, that will drag down Clinton and McCain, respectively, in the general election. I suspect the Bradley effect will be quantitatively the least of the three.

For Clinton- Obama has definitely done negative campaigning, but he hasn’t thrown the whole sink at HRC- but the Republicans will. There is a LOT of bad stuff about Clinton which people have forgotten, but which the Republicans will hammer on if she is the nominee. Examples: The attempt to take publicly owned furniture when she left the White House. Lying about Travelgate. The amazing returns on her cattle futures investment. Representing clients in Arkansas in front of regulatory boards appointed by her husband. The pardons when Bill Clinton left the White House- of Marc Rich, of terrorists, and especially HRC’s brothers’ involvement in the pardons.

Clinton even has a "Willie Horton" moment in her past- her minor apparently sympathetic involvement in the Black Panthers murder trial when she was a law student. I don't think she did anything wrong, but wait till Rush Limbaugh gets going on that!

For McCain- most people don’t know how far right he is on domestic issues. His commitment to privatizing social security is going to be pure poison. (George Bush got away with this because Kerry didn’t push the issue- a mistake that neither Clinton nor Obama will repeat.)

handle
04-24-2008, 07:48 PM
We should be listening to Jeralyn, a resident of Denver CO., she knows how the wind blows in the "heartland", where I also lived for a couple year snippet of my misspent youth.
If Obama (who I will enthusiastically support, against Mcquagmire) does not transcend "clinggate" in a big way, we better start painting our signs for the big Iraq march on Washington in the fall.

Why?

I hope you watched Mickey and Robert's sort of tongue-in-cheek exchange on (sorry to paraphrase) the idea that we expect people to suddenly adopt our viewpoints if they are empowered to greater economic or social status, because we see our points of view are simply right. (sorry no dingalink.. I have to download the WMV)

I'm going to tell you something that will probably scare you: I think the vast majority of the "heartland people" from the south, the midwest, and virtually
all rural and working class areas in this country are not misguided, dumb, or inarticulate.
Their cultural viewpoints, while different from many urban dwellers, are completely rational and reasonable for anyone working to carve out a decent life in those environments.
I am going to use an extreme example to illustrate this:
When your closest human neighbor may live a mile or more from you, and the nearest town is ten, twenty, or more miles away, having a gun handy is probably the closest thing to security you can muster. Mistrust of outsiders, yes especially if they don't look or think or talk like you has evolved from basic community protection and policing, by people who don't have a lot of time for considering gray areas. Hence the "love it or leave it" type of rationale.
And "clinging" to religion is not just bible thumping, it's a place you go to interact with the people in your community, and see they are on the same page as you, and know the value of a moral existence, thus, you can rest somewhat assured, that they are on your side.
I am not addressing racism here because I see no monopoly on that ugliness in any demographic, or geological area.

OK, you say, but many of them live in urban or suburban environments now. True, but that doesn't change a persons world view. The American frontier has been settled for many years now, but people still want to live like pioneers, and idolize the cowboy-pioneer culture.

The assumption that they are misguided, and need to be shown the light, spells death to the left wing. It leaves them no alternative than to embrace the carpet bagger mentality of the right, simply on face value of principles put forth to them even when those principles are voiced under completely false pretenses.

When I looked at in this way, I can see that even an urban progressive, change embracer like myself, would rather be pandered to, than told that I didn't know what was good for me, and that my principles were all wrong, and that you were going to fix things for me.

Here is what I see is the core problem: these voters have decided most (all?) of the presidential elections.
We have NOT had a Democratic president from the North, since JFK! Regardless of race, background, or stumpablity.
You may see Black and White, I see North and South.The Clintons hail from Arkansas. Obama claims Illinois.
Transcend race? we are way past due. We might want to transcend closed mindedness in our political party as well.

I think we are in BIG trouble.... I pray that I am wrong, but I'm giving even odds that I'm not. (not much of a gambler, I'm afraid, two-to-one maybe?)

Whatfur
04-24-2008, 07:55 PM
Not sure if a conservative should be able to contribute to the love fest going on here but first let me say that I am pretty sure at this point that unless these 2 become some combination of P and VP that McCain is looking real good. Its going to be hard getting YouTube video of any new McCain anger outbursts unless he stops laughing long enough.

Can you imagine THAT first lady hanging around the White House with Bill...picking out china and stuff? OMG there is another SNL or MADTv skit in there somewhere. Wonder if she is still runnin proud of her bitter, ignorant, little country.

Seriously....the biggest thing that I find rather funny/ironic over and above you Dems ignoring the votes in MI and Florida (of all places) but the fact that the supposed "party of the people" ...doesn't trust "the people" and thus we have "super-delegates". How effing elitist IS THAT!!!!??? Not to mention that Obama can get more delegates from an Idaho caucus than Hillary gets from winning TX. Pretty funny stuff. No wonder you are all wound up so tight.

In case you forgot all the problems with Obama...
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10449?in=00:35:35&out=00:35:58

And of course Hillary is ...well...Hillary.

handle
04-24-2008, 08:11 PM
I agree, the mich fla thing is a disaster, but if I"m not mistaken, It was the Repub state Govmts that moved them up knowing full well about the Dem rules.
So nice slimy lawyer type move you guys! Another back door win for the party of Morality, and right thinking! Need I say "fair and balanced" too? How bout "dittos"?
I know, you don't care 'cause it works for you. Well, you better get busy working for your war guy, 'cause we are gonna "swift boat" him big time!

Sorry, was that mean? I was just groovin' on your SNL reference. NHI

handle
04-24-2008, 08:34 PM
One more thing "whatfur"
I assume you didn't even read my post, but the jist was that people in the "heartland" and rural areas are not misguided or dumb. Your party is banking that they are.
Gen. Patton said Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser. You guys
won the last election, but you can't close the deal in Iraq, or Afganistan. Don't look now, but your incompetence is showing. And another thing Americans don't like is being used for RPG fodder.
You know what they do to Carpetbaggers don't you?

rfannan
04-24-2008, 08:39 PM
It wasn't the Repub governments in Michigan and Florida who moved the primaries up to hurt the Democrats. In Florida, the Democrates voted overwhelmingly (unanimously in one house, all but two in another house) to approve the new dates). In Michigan, the democrats control the governorship and one of the two houses. It was a joint idea (and the Repub Party actually stripped the party of half of its delegates for doing so)

StillmanThomas
04-24-2008, 08:42 PM
I am so freaking depressed!!!

This diavlog shows the Democratic disconnect to perfection. Mark and Jeralyn each support their own candidate, and neither will budge. Both make emotional arguments, ignore each others' points and generally do little more than exhaust each other in the course of the hour.

I just registered as a Democrat so I could vote for Obama in my state's upcoming primary. However, I think Bob Wright nailed my candidate's growing weakness in his latest conversation with Mickey Kaus. It saddens me to say it, but I'm no longer sure that Obama is electable in the fall.

Fundamentally, however, Jeralyn is right when she says that Hillary should not drop out. And no matter how much I wish she would quit, she shouldn't. And that's because she's running in a primary system that is totally pathological. The Dems have created a nightmare system that shows how much they actually fear democracy. Imagine if Major League Baseball played a best-of-seven World Series, and then asked that season's All Star teams to pick the world champion. That's exactly what the Democrats have created, and it stinks to high heaven.

So, by the party's own logic, Hillary must fight on, because the popular vote and the pledged delegate count don't matter. They're only advisory. The party machinery ultimately will decide who the nominee will be. And I can't see any way for them to do that without fatally wounding whomever they select.

look
04-24-2008, 08:52 PM
He showed some real Zen Mojo in keeping all calm and cool while Jeralyn spouted all this crazy talk. The force was clearly with him.

This is not the droid you're looking for. (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10474?in=00:26:09&out=26:12)

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 09:09 PM
If Obama (who I will enthusiastically support, against Mcquagmire) does not transcend "clinggate" in a big way, we better start painting our signs for the big Iraq march on Washington in the fall.

There should be a big Iraq march on Washington in any case.

None of the three major candidates can be trusted to end the war in Iraq, although any Dem. would be infinitely better than McPerpetualwar.

Please do not harbor unrealistic expectations of Obama. He is the best of the three, but he and Hillary are both making campaign promises that neither can fulfill.

Supporters of Obama need to be ready to hold him accountable on ISSUES and RESULTS, not charisma, oratory or the trappings of diversity.

The Dems. are NOT electing the most progressive of the candidates. That would have been (1) Dennis Kucinich* or (2) the eminently viable John Edwards.** Kucinich would have ended the war for real in 3 months, and Edwards would not have rested for an instant until he delivered on universal healthcare and a new anti-poverty program.

* Dismissed as a joke candidate by the media.
** Slimed and swiftboated by hacks like Mickey Kaus.

graz
04-24-2008, 09:27 PM
It really is possible to distinguish between the following two propositions and assign them different truth values:

1. Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread (whole wheat, I guess) and will win easily in November

and

2. Ms. Merritt did a lousy job of defending her position, from a logical point of view (as opposed to a spinmeister's point of view).

At least most of us can make such distinctions: for example, my political position is closer to Bill Scher's than Jonah Goldberg's, yet in their diavlog together, I think Goldberg did better than Scher. I think in last week's Scher/Carroll diavlog, Scher wasn't very effective against Conn. I like Obama, but I don't think he did very well in the PA debate. See? It's not so hard.

I think Obama has a better chance of winning than you do, but that doesn't mean I think racism poses no dangers for his candidacy. I do take seriously your concerns, but I don't regard them as established with the certainty you project. Perhaps things will turn out as you expect, but I don't think your case is strengthened either by calling everyone who disagrees deluded or by claiming that Ms. Merritt did a good job of defending her position.
Your persuasiveness would be enhanced by an attempt to be (or at least appear) a bit more judicious.

Bloggin' the logician... thanks for the clarity, concision and a response to name calling that responds in opposition and not in kind.

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 09:30 PM
I didn't get the Götterdämerung title in the first place.

And change that um laut to Umlaut, BN, making it one word and uppercase first letter (all nouns in German are capitalized), before I tear all my hair out!

graz
04-24-2008, 10:01 PM
Bokonon:
Quote:

"This diavlog shows the Democratic disconnect to perfection. Mark and Jeralyn each support their own candidate, and neither will budge. Both make emotional arguments, ignore each others' points and generally do little more than exhaust each other in the course of the hour.

However, I think Bob Wright nailed my candidate's growing weakness in his latest conversation with Mickey Kaus."

I listened to Bob's point about the flawed judgement that Obama employed by the "cling comments." I think he contended that it was enough of a gaffe to be considered a deal-breaker. Was he serious about the import of this one gaffe. I don't have the luxury of being able to replay it currently, but my recollection is that Bob didn't offer his usual evidence based case for his supposition.

piscivorous
04-24-2008, 10:29 PM
Isn't Götterdämerung used as a substitute for a calamity or a disastrous ending.

David Thomson
04-24-2008, 10:49 PM
"Barack Obama is black, therefore he can't win."

Who says that? "Barry" Obama's racial characteristics are not the determining factor. If he were a right-center Republican---he would win by a landslide. No, Obama's problems are his leftism and race hustling. The country is very ready to accept an elected leader of color, but not one pushing a tacit "get whitey" agenda.

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 10:58 PM
Re Wonderment's:

None of the three major candidates can be trusted to end the war....

Please do not harbor unrealistic expectations of Obama.... he and Hillary are both making campaign promises neither can fulfill.

Supporters of Obama need to be ready to hold him accountable on ISSUES and RESULTS, not charisma, oratory or trappings of diversity.

Well, that's the big problem, isn't it?: The chronic dishonesty of politicians. I never suggested Hillary was anything but a street fighter and would never have held that against Obama, either, but for his obvious and undeniable hypocrisy.

Hillary never claimed to be a virgin.

Yet Obama is actually telling the biggest lie (as its the only arrow in his quiver): There is no way, if he was in Hillary's boots on "authorization day," he wouldn't have voted exactly as Hillary voted, this because representing a heavily Jewish senatorial base, failure to make such a vote would have ended his political career forever.

Nonetheless, even though he's clearly just as bad a political liar, he arrogantly and duplicitously proclaims he's as pure as new-driven snow, bringing an entirely new politics and "change" to an inherently unfixable system.

EW

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 11:00 PM
"Barry" Obama's racial characteristics are not the determining factor.

Calling Barack Obama "Barry" conveys an inherently racist message. Every time you do it you reveal yourself as a bigot.

It's really disgusting code, but I wish you good luck with it. I pray it catches on with Republican talking heads. Nothing could be better for the Obama campaign.

Wonderment
04-24-2008, 11:07 PM
Yet Obama is actually telling the biggest lie (as its the only arrow in his quiver): There is no way, if he was in Hillary's boots on "authorization day," he wouldn't have voted exactly as Hillary voted, this because representing a heavily Jewish senatorial base, failure to make such a vote would have ended his political career forever.

That's absurd. First of all, what on earth are Jews being dragged into the conversation for? The large majority of US Jews has always opposed the war. Also, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and 20 other Dems. voted against the war authorization. At least 4 of the opposing Senate votes were cast by Jewish Senators:

Sens. Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Conrad (D-ND), Corzine (D-NJ), Dayton (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (D-FL), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wellstone (D-MN), Wyden (D-OR

StillmanThomas
04-24-2008, 11:07 PM
You're normally so level-headed EW, but this is a totally specious argument. Obama, weak as he is, is winning by many metrics. What he is showing, starkly, is how weak a candidate Hillary is. Whenever someone asks "Why can't he put her away?" I ask "Why can't she put him away?" She has had every advantage in this race--incredible name recognition, a $200 million war chest, the party machinery behind her from the start--and has blown them all.

Unfortunately, both candidates and the entire Democratic primary process are showing how weak the party is. Look at their total failure to achieve anything since they took over Congress in 2006. They were completely in charge of designing their own primary rules, and they came up with a system that is totally undemocratic, guaranteed to produce a debacle in a closely contested race.

America is in very dire straits. The fascist neocons are hell-bent on destroying constitutional government, and the loopy democrats are playing Keystone Kops on the sidelines. I am not happy about this.

look
04-24-2008, 11:19 PM
Calling Barack Obama "Barry" conveys an inherently racist message.
You'll have to walk me through why it's racist. If anything, it points up the conscious decision Barack made to adopt a black persona. I think it is a legitimate topic for discussion, especially as we're now having a national dialog on race. Specifically, I wonder about the state of his psyche, especially in light of having grown up in a time that being half black was a big deal.

AemJeff
04-24-2008, 11:20 PM
Unfortunately, both candidates and the entire Democratic primary process are showing how weak the party is. Look at their total failure to achieve anything since they took over Congress in 2006. They were completely in charge of designing their own primary rules, and they came up with a system that is totally undemocratic, guaranteed to produce a debacle in a closely contested race.

I think this sums the situation up pretty neatly. I've never seen so much advantage squandered so efficiently ever before. And the Republicans set a pretty high bar in that regard.

StillmanThomas
04-24-2008, 11:22 PM
I listened to Bob's point about the flawed judgement that Obama employed by the "cling comments." I think he contended that it was enough of a gaffe to be considered a deal-breaker. Was he serious about the import of this one gaffe. I don't have the luxury of being able to replay it currently, but my recollection is that Bob didn't offer his usual evidence based case for his supposition.

You may well be right that Bob's argument wasn't well-supported. I was just struck by how his growing sense of gloom matched my own. I can't shake the feeling that both candidates are fatally flawed, and that we're in for a Democratic meltdown in the fall and yet another right-wing administration. The current administration is run by a moron, but a McCain one will be run by a viciously angry man whose out-of-control temper could well launch a worse military disaster than the one we're in now.

Whatfur
04-24-2008, 11:25 PM
First, thanks rfannan for filling in handle on his attempt at facts.

Yes handle, an attempt to swift boat McCain would be would be comical. You see...the reason it worked against John Kerry is that he took what could of been a respectable military career and blew it with false stories building up his own experiences while tarnishing the reputations of everyone else there... while McCain honored himself and honored HIS band of brothers. So I would keep that one under your "magic hat (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39920)"

Secondly, I hate to urinate on your arugula salad but I am pretty sure that people in the heartland relate much more to those of a conservative bent. Although I have to admit there are times when the honesty of both your candidates could not be questioned. Like when Hillary said, "We're going to take things away from you"...you know? "on behalf of the common good". Or when Obama said, "...the Bush tax cuts, people didn't need them, and they weren't even asking for them.". And you ARE correct, WE are not misguided or dumb and most of us know it would be dumb to turn our back on Iraq...maybe your pollsters are spending too much time in Boston or LA.

But anyway, sorry for the interruption...please...please...carry on. DON'T CLICK HERE (http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/1691/FE_PR_070924mccain.jpg)

JLF
04-24-2008, 11:30 PM
I fear you might be right about Obama's chances. I also fear that Clinton's chances aren't much better. There isn't another Democratic politician that can guarantee a stronger GOP vote. No one has her negatives, negatives that aren't going away by November.

So what that leaves is the choice of two of the weakest possible candidates to face the one Republican with the strongest chances of attracting moderate Democrats. And knowing this, every Democratic leader is busy rearranging the deck chairs. Without much doubt, Obama will be the Democratic Party nominee. Without much doubt, 30-40% of the American electorate in November will willingly sacrifice another four or five thousand young men in a hopeless war in Iraq and mortgage the economy to China all to avoid voting for a black man.

Mencken was right: "No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."

Bloggin' Noggin
04-24-2008, 11:31 PM
Re BlogginNoggin's:



[QUOTE]First: If you'll trouble to review my posts, you'll notice I never made any reference to Ms. Merritt or any acknowledgement of her arguments. (I didn't find her overly eloquent. Nonetheless, the negative characterizations of her POV owe more to righteous indignation than objective analysis.)

Not so fast! You dismissed Jeff's objection to Ms. Merritt's reasoning (note that: her reasoning, not her eloquence) as a consequence of his being a member of the "Obama cult". So you WERE implicitly saying that no one could object to her reasoning on sensible grounds.

Second, On my calling folks out for "delusion," etc. it's a bit of a diagnostic tactic and therapeutic stratagem.

"Delusion" refers to an inability (willful or otherwise) to see reality as it actually is (as distinct from how one might wish it to be).

The diagnostic aspect: Where folks react strongly, then I know how acute their "Obama Deification Syndrome" has become.

The therapeutic stratagem: For those amenable to learning (maybe 20%), this may actually facilitate awakening to realities.

I know of no reputable psychotherapy that would regard such therapy as anything but malpractice. To diagnose and treat someone, you actually need to know something about them, other than that they see things differently from you. There are any number of non-delusional reasons why someone might disagree with you -- those must be eliminated before you can diagnose "delusion". If I went in for long-distance diagnoses myself, I might suggest that you suffer from delusions of grandeur.
Certainly Obama isn't the only one with a condescension problem.

Sorry if you might have taken this personally.
I didn't and that was in no way my point. My point, to reiterate, was that even a Hillary supporter (one who isn't himself a Hillarybot) can make a distinction between support of Hillary and thinking that Ms. Merritt did a half-way decent job at defending her sensibly (just as I feel Bill Scher didn't defend liberalism very well against Jonah Goldberg).

Your right, though: People don't like straight talk. They'd rather be told what they want to hear (common echo-chamber sentiment).

Again, this bears no resemblance to what I said. What I actually said was that someone who is independent-minded enough and discerning enough to reject bad defenses of his own side (what I called "being judicious") has more credibility with those who are not already in the choir than someone who is not so discerning and independent.

JLF
04-24-2008, 11:38 PM
If Obama loses in November you can bet the ranch she'll be back in 2012.

David Thomson
04-24-2008, 11:40 PM
"Calling Barack Obama "Barry" conveys an inherently racist message. Every time you do it you reveal yourself as a bigot."

Obama called himself Barry until his early adult years. I suspect that he reverted to Barack once he decided to become a race hustler in Chicago. "Barack" sounds so Third Worldish---and impresses guilt tripped white "yuppies." It makes him seem "authentic."

Eastwest
04-24-2008, 11:47 PM
Re Wonderment's (referencing Popcorn's reproval: "Calling Barak "Barry" just makes you seem petty and ridiculous."):

And Racist (Make sure he keeps a slave name, like the folks who continued calling Mohammad Ali ,"Cassius").

Well, actually, Wonderment, that's uncalled for.

"Barry" is the nickname Senator Obama and family used thru early college years. My rationale: deflation of this echo-chamber's Obama-deification syndrome.

Obama's as phony as the next politician, all the more so for his false apologies, just "slicker." Totally diagnostic was his juvenile "brushing off of shoulders and shoes" act after being crushed in that admittedly creepy faux debate.

Calling a politician by a deflating nickname when they condescend to the electorate by persisting in living a lie is not inherently racist.

I've actually come to view the whole idiotic marathon campaign as a comedic exercise only bone-headed politicians could create. (The whole thing, from announcing intent to celebrating in the convention shouldn't exceed six months and shouldn't involve such obscene financial manipulations which seem to shut out everyone but ego-mad intellectual prostitutes.)

Cheers,
EW

piscivorous
04-24-2008, 11:50 PM
It might be an interesting study to go through various posts and tally the various disparaging names you use to refer to Senator McCain and yet here you are lecturing someone on name calling. How precious!

look
04-25-2008, 12:04 AM
It might be an interesting study to go through various posts and tally the various disparaging names you use to refer to Senator McCain and yet here you are lecturing someone on name calling. How precious!

And ten demerits for McPerpetualwar...that's not even trying!

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 12:14 AM
You'll have to walk me through why it's racist. If anything, it points up the conscious decision Barack made to adopt a black persona. I think it is a legitimate topic for discussion, especially as we're now having a national dialog on race. Specifically, I wonder about the state of his psyche, especially in light of having grown up in a time that being half black was a big deal.

I don't know that I follow Wonderment in finding it racist, but calling Obama "Barry" in scare quotes certainly seems a good deal more like name calling than "raising a topic of discussion."

That's not to say that we can't talk about his decision to identify as black, nor do we have to just speculate -- he wrote a whole book about negotiating between his black and white identities and worlds. (And if you haven't read _Dreams of My Father, I recommend it.) I don't object to your raising any issue you like about him, but I think it's quite a stretch to say that David Thomson and EastWest are "raising an issue for discussion" when they call Obama "Barry." Seems more like an expression of contempt.

One may of course spin straw into gold and take such taunts as a jumping off point for discussing Obama's complex racial identification, but it doesn't follow that the straw was gold all along.

"Barack" really is his full name, of course -- it isn't as though he changed his name -- and I don't think there would have been anything wrong if Jimmy Carter had preferred to be known as James Carter as president. Yes, there's more to it than that, but I don't see much troubling about it. To reclaim his foreign sounding name strikes me as a measure of integrity: he doesn't want to "pass" for white. Once upon a time Jewish actors had to change their names to something more Anglo-Saxon, less "foreign," less Jewish. I don't blame them for doing this. But at some point, Jews decided they didn't want to feel they had something shameful to hide and they kept their names. You could say that such Jews were "choosing a Jewish identity", but that rather overlooks the way in which IT chose THEM, and their choice was more a matter of figuring out what it MEANT to them and how they could keep from feeling as though it were a shameful secret, and how they could keep from selling out their fellow Jews for the sake of their own privileges.
Obama doesn't disown his "white identity" either, as far as I can see, but he wants to be very clear that he's not going to try to get special treatment by pretending not to be black as well.

January
04-25-2008, 12:23 AM
Judging from the last election, where John Kerry was stigmatized before the General campaigning even began, it would seem Clinton can't win because people have already made up their minds about her. Her negatives started high and only go higher because there's so little she can do to change past perceptions. No amount of chug-a-lug on Hillary's part will convince any Texan I know that she's really one of The People and as such washes dishes just like the rest of us ladies.

But what are Obama's chances? To the white people I grew up with, blacks are either so good they're divinely sent (think of the character in The Green Mile, the wrongly-accused Death Row prisoner who would rather go to the electric chair than cause any trouble to his white jailers), or so evil they run with the hounds of Satan. And since most people, particularly politicians, are merely representative of humanity, it was perhaps inevitable that Obama's campaign would go a bit pear-shaped. First there was the Rev. Wright thing. While the cosmopolitan John McWhorter perfectly understood that quite mainstream Blacks might go to Trinity United, your typical Texas redneck, the kind who wants to hear nothing from Blacks that isn't expressed in tones of forgiveness, is shocked, shocked, to discover that not everyone has forgotten the pesky past of lynchings and Jim Crow.

And then there's Cling-gate. Ironically, Obama has the same disease that Bush Jr. has. When he's exhausted -- and he's been very tired this last month -- he has trouble forming words and sentences. I understood the short-hand he was speaking in, unapologetic wine-drinking brie-eater that I am. If you restate what he said in its most extreme form, Obama would be the first to disagree with you. But as a way of saying, "Lay off rural people. Even if you don't understand them, try to think of how you'd feel in their position." I can appreciate where he was coming from and give him a D+ and a "must try harder" in the margins. Bush said things that were actually cruel about some trailer-trash death-row penitent when he was running for prez, but no one punished him for it. After all, he's white. Bush doesn't have to be as four times as good as the next guy to get the job.

More evidence of this odd standard, where we demand perfection of Obama but accept mere competence from Hillary: most MSM articles I read on the race assume that Obama will have problems getting disaffected white Reagan Dems once the nomination is finished in his favor. The MSM may be right about that. But I see far less ink spilled on the question of Hillary's ability to win back Black voters should she get the nomination. Or to win back us white Chardonnay-sippers who have only recently discovered how thoroughly our own party despises us.

Baltimoron
04-25-2008, 12:35 AM
You missed a few "I'm not going to answer that"'s and "Oh, come on!"'s.

AemJeff
04-25-2008, 12:46 AM
but the benign racism of my mother.

I'm curious about what you mean by this. It's not that I can't imagine something like "benign racism," but that it sounds like it means something quite specific to you.

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 12:50 AM
I really liked Kleiman in a previous appearance, I think it was with McCardle. In this one he comes across like a jerk. He needs to learn to dial it back a bit when he's debating somebody as gracious as Merritt. As to his question, repeated like 10 times, why did Hillary bring up Farrakhan? Because Obama's pastor, friend, and mentor of 20 years gave him a lifetime achievement award and said he "epitomized greatness." If Hillary's pastor, friend, and mentor of 20 years gave David Duke an award, would Kleiman think Obama should just shut up and be a "good Democrat" in order not to scare black voters?

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 12:51 AM
Re Wonderment's:

That's absurd. First of all, what on earth are Jews being dragged into the conversation for? The large majority of US Jews has always opposed the war. Also, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and 20 other Dems. voted against the war authorization. At least 4 of the opposing Senate votes were cast by Jewish Senators....

Excuse me, Wonderment, with all respect, that's just BS sophistry. Hillary represents Twin Towers Land, Ground Zero, New York.

None of those places you mentioned has a genuinely hawkish Jewish base constantly expressing politically coercive fear over the ever-present threat to Israel (with which by the way, I'm not always overcome with sympathy, given the way this "card" gets played).

Ironically, if Hillary was Jewish (as with 4 of your examples), she would have stood a better chance of being able to vote against the resolution without suffering terminal political circumstances.

So now you're just engaging in the same kind of honesty-challenged rhetoric as Senator Obama.

So, back to the Barack altar with you. Offer up a little more incense, cuz man, you're really going to need some prayers come November.

EW

jh in sd
04-25-2008, 12:53 AM
Jeralyn and Mark seem to be quite at odds in this diavlog. Anyone willing to weigh in on which one is the wingnut and the liar?

David Thomson
04-25-2008, 12:55 AM
"To reclaim his foreign sounding name strikes me as a measure of integrity: he doesn't want to "pass" for white."

This is 2008---and not the 1950s. It was to Obama's financial and social advantage not to "pass for white." Guilt tripped whites can be more easily manipulated by an "authentic man of color." Going from Barry to Barack put a lot of money into his bank account.

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 12:56 AM
RE Bloggin Noggin's:

I don't object to your raising any issue you like about him, but I think it's quite a stretch to say that David Thomson and EastWest are "raising an issue for discussion" when they call Obama "Barry." Seems more like an expression of contempt.

Just to help you out with the above analysis, no, I'm not the least bit interested in discussing race relations. I deliberately diss Obama because he's a liar, plain and simple, not because he's black.

I'm inherently suspicious of anyone who treats any politician Left, Right, or Center, without a critical eye willing to tag BS as such where they see it so obviously present.

EW

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 01:04 AM
Re Bloggin Noggin's:

Not so fast! ......

I know of no reputable psychotherapy......

Certainly Obama isn't the only one with a condescension problem.......

My point, to reiterate, was that even a Hillary supporter (one who isn't himself a Hillarybot) can make a distinction between support of Hillary and thinking that Ms. Merritt did a half-way decent job....

Wow, like you really thought I was seriously talking professional psychotherapy?

To clarify: I found both Diavlog participants hysterically emotional and allergic to rational sequiturs. The points brought up in my posts are my own and have nothing to do with that 50-minute bickering session.

As for the inferred "condescension problem," I don't find it a problem at all. Where I encounter uncritical cult mentalities, I don't feel the least bit apologetic for pointing out the stupidity of leaving one's critical faculties on the doorstep. After all, I'm not running for office and so don't have to play sycophant to get your vote. If I were to somehow meet the approval of Obama groupies, I'd consider it an insult.

Best,
EW

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 01:15 AM
"Or to win back us white Chardonnay-sippers who have only recently discovered how thoroughly our own party despises us."

No, you have that all wrong. America despises you. So Democrats have to pretend to despise you to get elected. Don't take it personally.

CrowsMakeTools
04-25-2008, 02:25 AM
It might be an interesting study to go through various posts and tally the various disparaging names you use to refer to Senator McCain and yet here you are lecturing someone on name calling. How precious!

People who like McCain like him because they like what he represents to be his values: patriotism, a sense of personal honor, and independent thinking. I expect that his reputation for patiotism will be relatively untarnished in the next 6 months. I think that he is going to have a lot of explaining to do concerning the favors he has done for friends and contributors like Donald R. Diamond, and I don't think he is going to be very convincing.

I don't doubt that McCain has a deep sense of personal honor. My concern is that his belief in his own personal integrity and virtue has blinded him to the ways in which he has repeatedly compromised himself ethically in the name of service to his constituents. I think that this is nearly inevitable for someone who has been in the Senate for 21 years, most of the time in the majority party.

The Republicans had the same problem 12 years ago, the last time they nominated an old divorced and remarried western state Senator with a distinguished war record.

I think that we can look forward to seeing John McCain doing his erectile dysfunction ads, with Cindy smiling at his side, for Big Pharma, sometime after he retires from the Senate in 2011, in the third year of the first Obama adiministration.

Bobby G
04-25-2008, 02:34 AM
First, this was an incredibly frustrating debate. I'm surprised Kleiman didn't blow up after the 1,000th time Merritt refused to understand the point that, just because Obama loses to Clinton in state X, it doesn't mean he'll lose to McCain in state X (though I suppose one should admit that it increases the likelihood that he'll lose state X to McCain). Her Michigan arguments were ridiculous. Her Florida point had a little more plausibility, but the notion that the results of a state where the candidates just debating on TV and not campaigning are as valid as they would be if they had campaigned in that state, seem to me fairly unlikely, prima facie.

I do think, though, that Clinton shouldn't drop out. First, her strategy of rendering Obama unelectable is one way for her to win. Second, I just don't see either of them losing to McCain. He seems like a pretty terrible candidate, so far at least. But elections are surprising things.

Wonderment
04-25-2008, 03:38 AM
You'll have to walk me through why it's racist.

His name is Barack. On his birth certificate. He was called Barry as a child. Now he prefers Barack. Calling him "Barry" Obama is as much of a slur as calling him Osama (which the right wing extremists have also done).

Remember Cassius Clay? Lew Alcindor?

Do you think it would be okay if you referred to Kareem Abdul Jabar as "Lew" Jabar or Mohamad Ali as "Cassius?"

It seems vile to me. But I really hope the Republicans keep doing it.

Wonderment
04-25-2008, 03:39 AM
I suspect that he reverted to Barack once he decided to become a race hustler in Chicago.

Calling him a "race hustler" is also racist.

Wonderment
04-25-2008, 03:41 AM
EW,

It is nuts to think that Hillary voted for the Iraq War Authorization because she's afraid of pro-war Jews. Sorry, simply nuts.

bjkeefe
04-25-2008, 03:58 AM
10. Wanted to help the Recently Awakened From Coma community come up to speed on the state of the Democratic campaign.

9. Surveys showed a pent-up demand among conservatives: "More popcorn movies, please."

8. Wanted to make Bob and Mickey's last diavlog seem like a weighty discussion.

7. Looking to boost sales of sidebar ad space to the makers of Bayer, Nexium, Valium, Prozac, Ritalin, and Super Fast Forward Flash Player.

6. Email containing new root password for the video server inadvertently CCed to Karl Rove.

5. Part of an ongoing effort to rehabilitate the images of Ann Althouse, Conn Carroll, and Glenn Greenwald.

4. Concern that the forums have a monopoly on endless bickering between people who are never going to change their minds.

3. The question was raised: "How can we reawaken Eastwest's love for pomposity and underlining?"

2. Focus groups who viewed Terry McAuliffe's screen tests agreed: "Not unhinged enough. Get somebody else."

1. New sponsors said, "Make BloggingHeads.tv less like blogging and more like TV."

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 04:27 AM
Wonderment,

Please pardon while I state the obvious for you which you know full well and about which you are feigning ignorance: "The mix" existing in the constituency she represents would not have forgiven a "no" vote at the time. The demographic to which we've both referred is an extremely important part of that mix. Suggest you go back to the Front Line Documentary on "Bush's War," looking specifically at the clip addressing the way the White House engineered the political pressures behind that vote.

Obama was in a completely different political arena wherein he was completely immune from any career-altering fall-out.

Again, if Obama had been in the same position, there is no way he would not have voted same as Hillary did. But of course, that's highly theoretical as he would never have been elected by her constituency.

My assertion that you are being "honesty-challenged" in dismissing this issue remains as before.

EW

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 04:38 AM
Well, yeah, to call him a "race hustler" does seem blatantly racist. For anyone genuinely curious, just Google "Barry Obama" and you'll get a good neutral Newsweek discussion which begins as follows:

"Barry Obama decided that he didn't like his nickname. A few of his friends at Occidental College had already begun to call him Barack (his formal name), and he'd come to prefer that. The way his half sister, Maya, remembers it, Obama returned home at Christmas in 1980, and there he told his mother and grandparents: no more Barry. Obama recalls it slightly differently, but in the same basic time frame. He believes he told his mom he wanted to be called Barack when she visited him in New York the following summer. By both accounts, it seemed that the elder relatives were reluctant to embrace the change. Maya recalls that Obama's maternal grandparents, who had played a big role in raising him, continued long after that to call him by an affectionate nickname, "Bar." "Not just them, but my mom, too," says Obama.
Why did Obama make the conscious decision to take on his formal African name? ....."

EW

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 05:16 AM
Probably enough on this DV.

On the Tarnished Dreamscape of the Crumbling Obama Campaign and the Democratic Party's Unique Ability to Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory, see Krugman's column for Friday, April 25th:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/opinion/25krugman.html?hp

Starry-Eyed Groupies: Your fate awaits you. You've brought us four more years of Republican rule. Get used to it. Nobody to blame but yourselves.

Merci Beaucoup,

EW

piscivorous
04-25-2008, 05:52 AM
Professor Kleiman is not correct when he says Senator Clinton won by 9.4% as opposed to the double digt win many are claiming. fot the record

Senator Clinton 54.661444867447969987957702732248%
Senator Obama 45.338555132552030012042297267752%
Victory Margin 9.322889734895939975915405464548%.

So Professor Kleiman overstate the winning percentage by 0.077110265104060024084594535452%

From the figures at Real Clear Politics (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_vote_count.html)

Incompetence Dodger
04-25-2008, 07:04 AM
Brendan,

I didn't think it was possible, but your post just single-handedly redeemed both this diavlog and this weapons-grade-stupid pie-fight in the forum. Well played.

daveh
04-25-2008, 08:41 AM
As Mr. Kleiman is a smart (but unpleasant) fellow, I can't imagine that he believes the BS that he's peddling here.

I looked up the matter concerning the unconstitutionality of the Michigan vote (http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080326/METRO/803260443/1361), as I wasn't aware of it, but it had absolutely nothing to do with any disadvantage to Barack Obama. Rather minor parties complained that only Democrats and Republicans got voter lists. Furthermore, it seems that Obama's advantage comes from caucuses and allocation rules that would never pass Constitutional muster were they applied in a general election.

He also can't seriously be arguing that blue collar white voters are not the crucial swing voters. The members of Obama's coalition are not.

While Wisconsin was a close swing state in 2004, are Virginia and Washington "swing states" in the mold of Pennsylvania and Ohio? No. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0922901.html)
For 2004, Washington was Bush 1,304,894 or 45.6%, Kerry 1,510,201 or 52.8%, Virginia was Bush 1,716,959 or 53.8%, Kerry 1,454,742 or 45.6%.

Ohio was Bush 2,859,764 or 50.8%, Kerry 2,741,165 or 48.7%, Pennsylvania
Bush 2,793,847 or 48.5%, Kerry 2,938,095 or 51.0%.

Democrats will have to have 130,000 (ca 4% of the total) votes to switch to gain Virginia's 13 electoral votes, where Republicans have to switch only 72,000 or about 1.3% of the total to get Pennsylvania's 21 votes, the state iin which Kerry was born. While it is not inconceivable that either Washington or Virginia (24 electoral votes total) will vote the other way, these states are not in the same "swing state" category as Pennsylvania or Ohio (41 electoral votes total).

jstrummer
04-25-2008, 09:07 AM
If bloggingheads.tv had wanted to get an Obama flack and a Clinton flack to appear, couldn't they have just called the campaigns? Merritt is particularly bad at it anyway. I think getting Mark Penn would've been a step up.

January
04-25-2008, 10:03 AM
These are good numbers and I hope to see more such contributions in the future.

But the case based on numbers for Clinton still isn't that strong, or else Merrit wouldn't have kept throwing in Texas and Indiana, which surely won't be relevant in the General. And why does she ask to include Michigan and Florida but won't be pinned down on the number of delegates that it would take for Clinton's margin to be 'close'? Is it because the Clinton campaign wants plenty of room to shift the goal-posts later, should the need arise?

I realize that Merrit and the Clinton campaign keep hoping for a type of procedural accounting that ends up giving 50.00009% of the popular vote to Sen. Clinton. I can't blame them. If Clinton keeps pushing the super-delegates to have such tender regard for white working-class voters (who will vote for McCain anyway, I believe) while scorning the most loyal constituency that the Dems have ever had, she's going to need a lot of cover.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 10:26 AM
Pretty funny, Brendan, but only Ms. Merritt acted as though she were on The McLaughlin Group. Kleiman spent most of his time taking apart her arguments one by one. Taking apart some of the spin (which a lot of other commentators buy into) seemed like a useful exercise to me.
If Ms. Merritt had been a better arguer and had actually thought through some of these issues ahead of time, Kleiman's challenges could have led her to present a better case for Clinton. We could have gotten beyond the mantras of "big states" and "blue collar whites". daveh attempts to help her out by focusing on SWING voters, which would have been a good start as a comeback to Kleiman's dismantling of the "big states" argument.
If Ms. Merritt had been better prepared (and a better reasoner), I think the discussion could have been quite illuminating. Kleiman could have been a good opportunity for an equally clever and prepared Clinton supporter to make a better case.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 10:44 AM
Thanks for that help, EW.
On what grounds do you call Obama a liar?
Of course, absolutely every politician could be called a "liar" -- it's an occupational necessity not to state the whole truth and to sell yourself different ways to different audiences. Recall Michael Kinsley's definition of a gaffe: "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth." Just imagine a candidate who came out and gave your version of "straight talk" to the voters:
"You guys are simply deluded to vote for my opponent. This campaign is all about trying to give you the shock therapy you need to free you from this delusion!" Surely you recognize that such a politician would lose, big time.

So, given the standards appropriate to politics and politicians -- standards that wouldn't convict Hillary or McCain -- what's the evidence that Obama is a "liar"?

graz
04-25-2008, 10:53 AM
[ what's the evidence that Obama is a "liar"?[/QUOTE]

I thunk therefore it is!!!

graz
04-25-2008, 11:55 AM
This is what the face of hope looks like?

Mark Kleiman seems to be having a real tough time dealing with reality outside of the classroom.

Mark and company screamed bloody murder about SCOTUS ending the vote-counting before the final tally was in 2000.

I find it fucking hilarious listening to Mark now demand Dems deny primary voters across America the right to cast a ballot.

Thank Goodness Mark spoke up so fervently in favor of disenfranchising such a wide swath of voters.

Go McCain!

I'm glad you returned from self-banishment. The secret bhtv police must have stopped pressuring you?
You are right about Mark's partisan posturing.
But isn't the the democratic primary process inherently disenfranchising?
I'm not in agreement with him, yet his case was based on his interpretation for what he believes would be good for the party. That is plausible in both the classroom and the reality based community.

popcorn_karate
04-25-2008, 01:58 PM
You are essentially correct.

But my problem is not so much with their ideology as their double-dealing and back-stabbing of people that are supposedly on "their side". Ideological purity is not on my agenda ( and could never come close to happening in the democratic party)

soibois
04-25-2008, 02:04 PM
Listening to Mark Kleiman talk about this stuff is like hearing Yo-Yo Ma play the Macarena. With a brick.

lowellfield
04-25-2008, 02:50 PM
I'm sorry. I admire her zeal, but one nice thing about BH.tv is that there's a generally pretty high level of intellectual honesty. I disagree with Eli Lake but you don't get the feeling listening to him that he's just lying to your face. That's the subtext of Ms. Merritt's "performance" here: "I know I'm completely full of s---, but I'm a Hillary supporter so that's my job and I'm a team player."

If she were good at it, it would still be entertaining, but she's not, so it's just fun to watch her get kicked around.

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 03:08 PM
Re Bloggin Noggin's:

On what grounds do you call Obama a liar?

Actually, I covered this in preceding posts: I agree with BN's analysis that "every politician could be called a 'liar'" and find that disgusting but, given realities, at least forgivable, depending on the egregiousness-quotient.

What makes Obama's offense ultra-smelly is his claim to represents a new politics even while repeating over and over a lie he knows as untrue to unfairly and purposely smear his opponent.

Excuse me, Barack, that's the old politics. You're "hanging out a mutton sign while selling dog meat." (Old Chinese saying.) That's way worse than the others who never claimed to represent any sort of "new politics."

Like I said, in Hillary's shoes, no way Obama wouldn't have voted for qualified authorization just as she did. He then hypocritically uses this over-and-over ad nauseum to paint her as a mindless Cheney-esque war-monger. It's a lie and he knows it yet he repeats this lie shamelessly.

His claim to represent new politics makes this kind of crap from him unforgivable. It shows him to be more deeply dishonest than the rest of the political class. He's a complete hypocrite.

EW

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 03:15 PM
This from Soibois is beautiful:

Listening to Mark Kleiman talk about this stuff is like hearing Yo-Yo Ma play the Macarena. With a brick.

EW

thouartgob
04-25-2008, 03:17 PM
Re Wonderment's:



Well, that's the big problem, isn't it?: The chronic dishonesty of politicians. I never suggested Hillary was anything but a street fighter and would never have held that against Obama, either, but for his obvious and undeniable hypocrisy.

Hillary never claimed to be a virgin.

Yet Obama is actually telling the biggest lie (as its the only arrow in his quiver): There is no way, if he was in Hillary's boots on "authorization day," he wouldn't have voted exactly as Hillary voted, this because representing a heavily Jewish senatorial base, failure to make such a vote would have ended his political career forever.

Nonetheless, even though he's clearly just as bad a political liar, he arrogantly and duplicitously proclaims he's as pure as new-driven snow, bringing an entirely new politics and "change" to an inherently unfixable system.

EW

So Obama's biggest lie is something you can't prove. Sounds like maybe we are looking at a rationalization of Hillary's behavior as opposed to making a logical point about obama lying.

As for Hillary and her "lies" I offer this article http://www.slate.com/id/2188985/ and apologies if it has been posted before. This is a double wammy since she it undercuts her truthiness and her feelings of anguish over the voters in michigan and florida


a few choice quotes


It was a different story in October. Back then, Clinton was far and away the national front-runner—by some 20 points in a number of polls. With much less at stake in the matter, she told a New Hampshire public-radio audience, "It's clear, this election [Michigan is] having is not going to count for anything." Clinton was unwilling to take her name off the Michigan primary ballot, as Obama and her other significant rivals did, but like them she agreed not to campaign in Michigan or in Florida before their primaries.



n doing so, the DNC essentially committed itself, for fairness' sake, to strip the similarly defiant Michigan of all 156 of its delegates three months later. Clinton held tremendous potential leverage over this decision, and not only because she was then widely judged the likely nominee. Of the committee's 30 members, a near-majority of 12 were Clinton supporters. All of them—most notably strategist Harold Ickes—voted for Florida's full disenfranchisement. (The only dissenting vote was cast by a Tallahassee, Fla., city commissioner who supported Obama.)


Six days later, when the party chairs in the DNC-approved "early" primary states urged Democratic candidates to sign a "four-state pledge" promising not to campaign in any state that violated the DNC calendar, Clinton did not object. She waited, with characteristic prudence, until the other candidates had signed, then signed herself. On Sept. 1, the Clinton campaign issued this ringing statement:

We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process. And we believe the DNC's rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role. Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar.

These are only a few items. Many more have been uttered and more will surface. If Clinton is doing obama supporters a favor by undercutting him I think obama supporters should help hillary supporters equally.

So the question is not how much of a liar obama is but how much lying hillary can get away with. Lots in a democratic nomination very little in the general.

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 03:40 PM
Re Thouartgob's:

So Obama's biggest lie is something you can't prove.

Actually, I just did. Twice.

If you can't read or refuse to absorb the meaning of words, I can't help you.

You Obama groupies are as bad for the cause of liberal / progressive politics as the idiots who voted for Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000.

Like I said, the upcoming election of McBush is all thanks to you.

Merci Beaucoup,

EW

thouartgob
04-25-2008, 04:26 PM
Re Thouartgob's:

Actually, I just did. Twice.

If you can't read or refuse to absorb the meaning of words, I can't help you.

EW

As far as I know you haven't proved anything, once or twice. Forgive me if I am getting this wrong but you assert that hillary's constituency was going to dump her if she didn't vote for the war. You also stated based on that assumption that if obama was in hillary's shoes then he would do the same thing. That is not a proof but an opinion. One of the things I had heard in an obama speech is that there are more important things than being safe. I believe that to be the case and if he had the same mindset during the vote then he may have indeed not voted for the war, no matter what the demographics, that would be my opinion.

It is your opinion as well that obama is basically a "black nader" and therefore cannot be elected or whatever. It has been proven that he gets a hell of a lot more votes than nader and seems to be a much more viable candidate than many other candidates in the democratic race. Whether he is more viable than hillary is another story.

Your focus on the vote is important though because it is emblematic of a problem hillary is going to have in the general election. Despite her "obliterate iran" rhetoric she cannot out-hawk mccain. She can't attack him on Iraq in the way obama can.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 04:43 PM
Would you look at that! Despite my misspelling of "Umlaut", which might have seemed to diminish my credibility on the German language, BloggingHeads actually took out the Umlaut over the 'e'!
I've got influence!
It's wonderful how responsive BHtv is. Now, I feel a bit guilty for overdramatizing my reaction -- it was meant to be a joke (not the reaction, but the overdramatizing).

If only I could get Chevron to change that damned ad after the NewsHour where they talk about exploring "unchartERed territory five miles deep" as easily! No matter how often I shriek "UnchartED at the screen, they never do anything about it.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 05:05 PM
Re Bloggin Noggin's:



Wow, like you really thought I was seriously talking professional psychotherapy?

No, my point is that you need more evidence of "delusion" and "cult mentality" than the fact that someone supports Obama or a negative reaction to Ms. Merritt's reasoning. You say above that you can tell he's deluded from his strongly negative reaction to Ms. Merritt. But consider that your posts on the subject of Obama tend to be extremely shrill and contemptuous -- also heavy on confident assertion and light on actual evidence. By your own criteria, it appears we would be justified in inferring that you are suffering from delusion and "cult mentality" as well -- though of an anti-Obama variety.
Let me amend "condescension" to "arrogance." You've charged Obama with that as well. The issue isn't just one of pandering (or politeness) -- arrogance is a cognitive problem. It keeps the arrogant from learning from other points of view (see the history of the Bush administration).

look
04-25-2008, 05:28 PM
Obama was in a completely different political arena wherein he was completely immune from any career-altering fall-out.

Again, if Obama had been in the same position, there is no way he would not have voted same as Hillary did. But of course, that's highly theoretical as he would never have been elected by her constituency.



I get sick of Obama saying that he didn't vote for the war, because at the time he was safely making speeches in Illinois to a bunch of Dems who wanted to hear that.

On the other hand, he has the most liberal voting record in the Senate and supports such things lib ideas as a massive increase in the capital gains tax. So, I don't think it's a stretch to say he would probably have voted against the war.

It's too bad someone as on the ball as you can't make his or her points without calling into question the honesty or intelligence of others.

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 05:46 PM
BN's:

You say above you can tell he's deluded from his strongly negative reaction to Ms. Merritt.

Never said any such thing. I've stated repeatedly I don't associate myself in the least with Merritt. My posts reflect my own opinions, not those of either of these two screeching juvenile diavlog participants.

Yes, I do feel Obama is contemptible. You don't agree. No problem.

Folks shouldn't deduce I'm enthusiastic about Hillary, merely that I think she's the only survivor electable because she's best able to survive our misogynist and racist electorate.

To me, it's insane the primary process bypassed boring-but-safe candidates like Biden and Dodd, both of whom would have won the general, this in favor of the two most vulnerable and difficult-to-elect personalities. It's nuts.

I don't criticize the idealism, energy, and commitment of Obamaphiles. It's necessary, praise-worthy, and long-overdue. It's just a shame they've been tricked into following pied-piper style a dishonest and arrogant slickster who never stood a chance of becoming elected once his negatives emerged.

Bill Clinton was right: Veteran observers wouldn't be fooled by him. Only youngsters and ideologues have been suckered. You call my analysis arrogant. I think it's reality-based.

EW

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 05:54 PM
Re Look's:

It's too bad someone as on the ball as you can't make his or her points without calling into question the honesty or intelligence of others.

I don't doubt it's hard to listen to. With a few exceptions (as with Wonderment who I now believe is bull-shitting rather than admit the disingenuousness of Obama's "war-mongerer" indictment of Clinton) I reserve my accusations of dishonesty for Obama's hypocrisy. As is abundantly clear, I think Obama-philes are just too mesmerized to bring their skepticism and critical faculties to bear where they otherwise might be well-inclined to do so. It's not a question of an intelligence deficit. It's a question of whether they're bothering to put it to any use.

EW

look
04-25-2008, 05:56 PM
I'm curious about what you mean by this. It's not that I can't imagine something like "benign racism," but that it sounds like it means something quite specific to you.Jeff, I'm talking about the low-level racism that is borne of unfamiliarity. My mother was from small-town southern Ohio where she had little to no exposure to black people. Many moons ago when I joined the Army for a three-year hitch, she asked the recruiter if there were a lot of blacks in the Army. He replied that it was about the same percentage as in the American population. She has black neighbors she's friendly with to call over the fence hello, and give plants to when they need dividing, etc.

Along these same lines, my 85 year-old aunt (again from southern Ohio), a former school teacher, told the story a couple weeks ago, that the first time she finally had a black student, that one day his dad came in and stuck out his hand and said, 'Hi, I'm Billy's father.' She said to us, 'One of the hardest things I've ever done was to raise my arm to shake hands. I'd never touched a black person before.'

In the mid-Seventies, my great-uncle, a Catholic priest, then around 55 years-old, said matter-of-factly, 'In 50 years we'll all be brown.' He's probably about 50 years of the mark, but still, good call, Uncle.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 06:18 PM
Re Bloggin Noggin's:



Actually, I covered this in preceding posts: I agree with BN's analysis that "every politician could be called a 'liar'" and find that disgusting but, given realities, at least forgivable, depending on the egregiousness-quotient.

What makes Obama's offense ultra-smelly is his claim to represents a new politics even while repeating over and over a lie he knows as untrue to unfairly and purposely smear his opponent.

Excuse me, Barack, that's the old politics. You're "hanging out a mutton sign while selling dog meat." (Old Chinese saying.) That's way worse than the others who never claimed to represent any sort of "new politics."

Like I said, in Hillary's shoes, no way Obama wouldn't have voted for qualified authorization just as she did. He then hypocritically uses this over-and-over ad nauseum to paint her as a mindless Cheney-esque war-monger. It's a lie and he knows it yet he repeats this lie shamelessly.

His claim to represent new politics makes this kind of crap from him unforgivable. It shows him to be more deeply dishonest than the rest of the political class. He's a complete hypocrite.

EW

Thanks for the reply, EW. You base your charge that he is lying on the claim that he would have voted as Hillary did if he'd been in the Senate. I'm not sure he has ever made a specific claim about how he would have voted, had he been there at that time. But let's suppose that he did make the claim that he wouldn't have voted for it. How would you establish that he is lying? You act as though you can see alternate histories, and as though any sensible person can just directly observe counterfactual facts. Some senators did vote against -- and others were much more ready than Hillary to regret their votes after the fact. How can you know how Obama would have voted? And given that the charge of lying requires you to judge Obama's own beliefs, how can you know that HE knows he would have voted for the war? A charge of lying shouldn't be based on something so speculative as how Obama would have voted.
As a matter of fact, I believe what he generally does is to point out that, as Hillary was voting for the resolution, he was delivering a speech against the war, in which he provided reasons which have been borne out by events. This is all true -- no lie whatsoever.

You say that in doing this he is implying that she is a Cheney-esque warmonger. Again this is reading a great deal into what he actually says -- based on my recollection at any rate. I think he's implying that (a) having criticized the war, and not having cast a vote for it (because not in the Senate), he is likely to be less invested in its continuation and "success" and (b) that Hillary is more hawkish than he is (which is way short of calling her "Cheneyesque" or a "warmonger"). As I say, that's based on my recollection of what he says. If you have a smoking gun quote where he says something really egregious, please let me have it.

Now there certainly are times when Obama, out of perceived political necessity, seems to be pandering to voters: NAFTA in Ohio, for instance. Your broader point seems to be that if Obama claims to want a new and better, more honest politics, then he must either NEVER EVER pander in this way -- he must tell the voters exactly what he really thinks at all times or he is a vile, disgusting hypocrite. Of course, this would be political suicide.
Essentially, you give us a false dilemma: either be completely and totally honest or be as dishonest as you want, but never try to be as honest as possible within the limits of political possibility -- that's hypocritical! (Incidentally, I don't really get why dishonesty of all sorts is OK EXCEPT for dishonesty about exactly how honest you are being. And of course, I don't see how Hillary can get out of claiming to be honest herself, which also seems to make her a hypocrite.)
To me it seems desirable to have politicians who are as honest as they can be without being so honest that they can't be elected.
My point is very similar to the one Heather Hurlburt makes about the Democrats and torture. The difference between the democrats and the republicans on torture is actually one of degree, even though it may be expressed in absolute terms. Yet that difference of degree may be a good thing -- and perhaps exaggeratedly absolute terms do help to a) signal to the voters that you take honesty (or humane treatment) as more important, and b) make falling short more costly when one is found out.

I don't know why hypocrisy is regarded by our culture as the very worst of vices. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to live in a world where everyone demands virtue of everyone else and where everyone feels ashamed when they are caught falling short of the ideals they propose for everyone else, rather than in a world where no one demands good behavior from others for fear of falling short and turning out to be a hypocrite. If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, I'd rather keep the tribute coming in.

On this subject,Matt Yglesias had an interesting post yesterday (http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/04/credit_where_due_3.php), where he suggests that some of what might be considered "dishonesty" from Clinton is really a very savvy way of threading her way between honesty and unelectability.

look
04-25-2008, 06:31 PM
"To reclaim his foreign sounding name strikes me as a measure of integrity: he doesn't want to "pass" for white."

This is 2008---and not the 1950s. It was to Obama's financial and social advantage not to "pass for white." Guilt tripped whites can be more easily manipulated by an "authentic man of color." Going from Barry to Barack put a lot of money into his bank account.

Well, BN, I'm 1 for 2.

I found it fascinating the first time John and Glenn discussed Obama's conscious choice to adopt a black persona (if that's the proper phraseology). I think that for an intellectual, that must have been especially cognitively dissonant and have created a great sense of being on the outside looking in.

Bloggin' Noggin
04-25-2008, 06:41 PM
Interesting stories, there, look. I think this is the kind of thing that Obama was trying to do with the bit about his grandmother in his race speech -- the bit that conservatives insisted on reading as "throwing grandma under the bus". I thought it was very clear, his point was that people can have racist attitudes and hangups without being bad people. At this point, we need recognize racism as a social problem -- those attitudes in good people can cause a lot of problems for those of the relevant race -- but we need to be more forgiving of individuals when these attitudes slip out. Harsh blame and anger aren't the way to go.
If conservatives would really listen to that part of the speech, they would see there was nothing to fear from Obama.

Incidentally, there was a very touching scene I think in the PBS bio of Lyndon Johnson where a black member of the administration (what's his name -- Wilkinson -- used to see him a lot on the Newshour I think on those panel discussions or something). tells a story about how Johnson blurts out 'Nig--' before recalling who he's with. Johnson wasn't putting anyone down, but the word just started to slip out, and he was deeply embarrassed. Wilkinson understood and was actually rather touched by Johnson's fumbling attempts to get past that half-uttered word. (Sorry I told the tale so badly. Gotta run)

bjkeefe
04-25-2008, 06:43 PM
BN:

On the Yglesias post: I don't agree with Matt that there's anything admirable about HRC's tactics on the gas tax. I take your larger point about politicians having to make some compromises between brutal honesty and viability, and I agree with you that hypocrisy as an accusation against politicians is pretty much of an eye-roller. I also think there's a lot to your point about hypocrisy, in general, being overblown as a "sin."

However, McCain's "gas tax holiday" is a really stupid idea for several reasons, and to go all squishy on something as obvious as this is why I don't like Hillary Clinton and most Democratic politicians. It ought to be easy to craft a sound bite by pointing out any or all of the following: it won't be that much of a savings, even in the best of worlds (a couple of bucks per tankful), it will deplete the funds for highway maintenance, the companies selling the gas will likely just take advantage of the tax holiday to boost prices, resulting in almost no consumer savings while seriously hurting revenue collection for a worthy program, and the whole thing just echoes the Bush strategy of tossing meaningless bones in a shameless attempt to pretend he cares about the non-millionaire set.

The hard truth, of course, is that Americans aren't going to change their use of gasoline until they feel the pinch in their pockets, and further, that people better get used to gas being expensive, because that's not going to change for the foreseeable future. My dream candidate wouldn't be afraid to say either of those, but I can accept the political reality that delivering this message is better done from the Oval Office than on the campaign trail. Meantime, however, there's no reason not to be clear on the main point -- that McCain's proposal is stupid and that you, the candidate, are against it.

uncle ebeneezer
04-25-2008, 06:49 PM
Nice work, BN.

In Chevron's defense, until you can prove that they aren't talking about a large boat or plane that has yet to be reserved by a wealthy client, they could technically still be correct. Irregardless <--yes, I purposefully wrote that), excellent work defending the grammatical integrity of this site. Careful though, the power you wield is bringing you dangerously close to "lobbyist" status.

bjkeefe
04-25-2008, 07:04 PM
I should add that I'm probably hypersensitive on this one, given the related pandering stances taken by both Clinton, and then Obama, about vaccines and autism. Here is another instance where the Democrats seem to think the best thing to do is to try to appeal to the least well-informed voters. When McCain pandered on this one weeks ago, both Clinton and Obama should have been all over it as indicative of GOP's tendency to ignore science. Instead, both appear to have viewed it as something to duck, and that's the kindest interpretation of their actions.

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 07:05 PM
Calling him a "race hustler" is also racist.

Why? There are race hustlers, right? They do exist. Obama WAS for years a "community organizer"? What do you think that amounted to? Now, maybe you'd take issue with that characterization. But that's a factual dispute. Obama's sentiments expressed in his first book, his chosen career as a "community organizer," his choice of associates all make the claim of his being a "race hustler" at least arguable. His Tiger Woods act was just that, an act. He's not a post-racial candidate, he's a man obsessed with his racial identity above all else. He married a woman who wrote in her college thesis that loyalty to the black community comes first and foremost. All the evidence suggests Obama is a race man faking it as a political Tiger Woods post-racial unifier.

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 07:13 PM
Johnson wasn't putting anyone down, but the word just started to slip out, and he was deeply embarrassed. Wilkinson understood and was actually rather touched by Johnson's fumbling attempts to get past that half-uttered word

Upon passage of the Civil Rights Act, LBJ remarked that he'd have those ******s voting Democratic for 100 years. His not infrequent use of the n-word may not have been indicative of a sincere animosity toward blacks, but it was not a touching and forgivable idiosyncracy as you apparently claim. LBJ, from what I know about the man, was a contemptible figure on a personal level, to say nothing of his political judgement. Take, for example, the annecdote of his early political career where he'd leaked to the press that his opponent had sex with animals. When told this wasn't true, LBJ reportedly said that of course it wasn't, he just wanted to see him deny it.

AemJeff
04-25-2008, 07:38 PM
Thanks for that. I have some relatives who probably wouldn't feel out of place, including some I'm very close to. One interesting phenomenon in my family is that the southerners (sadly, all passed now) were more likely than the northerners to be genuinely free from any form of racism benign or otherwise.

Wonderment
04-25-2008, 07:40 PM
Why? There are race hustlers, right?

"Race hustler" is a slur, like "uppity n-word." Its purpose to do demean advocates for African American rights. You should be ashamed of yourself.

bjkeefe
04-25-2008, 07:50 PM
I quite agree. I don't know any other way to hear "race hustler" than as an slur, particularly when said about Obama.

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 08:24 PM
"Race hustler" is a slur, like "uppity n-word." Its purpose to do demean advocates for African American rights. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I've most often heard it applied to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and I think it's an apt description of those two. I would not use it to describe other, more upstanding advocates. And I can understand why a supporter of Obama would view it as an insult--it IS an insult. It just isn't a slur in the way you mean. You are exhibiting the leftist tendency to cry racism when none exists. There are individuals who use race and racism to their own advantage in rather unscrupulous ways, who manipulate white guilt and political correctness to their own, selfish ends. These people are properly described as race hustlers.

bjkeefe
04-25-2008, 08:32 PM
Hans:

I'll grant that Sharpton and Jackson have emphasized race as a matter of concern, and I'd even go along with the notion that, in extremis, both have probably taken advantage of events that had a racial tinge for personal advantage. However, calling even them "race hustlers" still seems like a slur. The term connotes complete insincerity. Say what you will about Sharpton or Jackson's imperfections or other drives, I think it's unfair to assume that the prime motivation at play -- concerns about racial inequality -- isn't genuine. In the case of Obama, I think it's even more the case that he is sincere about wanting to address racial issues for the good of society, and isn't looking just to feather his own nest.

As for us leftists possibly overreacting whenever such terms are used, I wonder why you on the right feel so often compelled to toss about terms that you know go right up to the line, even if they don't always cross it. What purpose does it serve? It strikes me as either bait-dangling or boorishness. Coming from you in particular, I expect better.

Tim_G
04-25-2008, 08:51 PM
Experience, schmexperience. Dick Cheney had experience.

Repent, and Accept the Obamessaih!

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 08:59 PM
Jeff, I'm talking about the low-level racism that is borne of unfamiliarity. My mother was from small-town southern Ohio where she had little to no exposure to black people. Many moons ago when I joined the Army for a three-year hitch, she asked the recruiter if there were a lot of blacks in the Army.

If this was ever true, and I don't think it has ever been the case, it's certainly not true today. The least racist parts of the country are those which have the least exposure (see Obama's support among whites in very white states compared to those in mixed states). However, I don't want to necessarily accuse the people in mixed states, like California and Texas, of being racist, they are just less taken in by the novelty of Obama's race. At a minimum, they are less likely to view it as a positive and perhaps for some voters it's even a negative. The voters in white states like WY or ID, to the contrary, literally fell over themselves to prove how unracist they were and voted for Obama overwhelmingly, the "how cool would it be to have a black president" crowd. Almost without exception, the worst examples of racism and racism-motivated crime are in areas with mixed race demography.

In what is I think a related phenomena, Professor Putnam of Harvard studied ethnic diversity and trust. (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c4ac4a74-570f-11db-9110-0000779e2340.html?nclick_check=1) He found that trust was greatest in areas of lacking diversity and lowest in areas rich in diversity, like NYC and LA.

The core message of the research was that, “in the presence of diversity, we hunker down”, he said. “We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.”

Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, “the most diverse human habitation in human history”, but his findings also held for rural South Dakota, where “diversity means inviting Swedes to a Norwegians’ picnic”.

pod2
04-25-2008, 09:02 PM
I won't opine on what Hillary should do or whether Barack is a weaker candidate than Hillary. But you're certainly right that Ms. Merritt is, shall we say, "logically challenged."
Here's the pattern so far (15 minutes in):

Ms. Merritt proposes an argument.
Mr. Kleiman points out that the argument depends on an assumption that has not been supported and that seems implausible.
Ms. Merritt's next step SHOULD be to defend the premise or propose some more plausible alternate premise that gets her to her conclusion.
This is not what she does. She either returns to her original talking point or changes the subject. And when Kleiman insists that she fix up the lacuna in her argument, she just falls back on "maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree." Sorry, Ms. Merritt, but logic is not just a matter of opinion -- either your argument is valid or it is not. Kleiman has (so far) shown that all your arguments are invalid and you do nothing to repair your arguments. Therefore, Kleiman wins the argument. It's always possible that his ultimate position is wrong -- perhaps a better arguer than Ms. Merritt could have met the challenges that he offered -- but there really isn't any doubt that he has exposed big flaws in her arguments which she is unable or unwilling to close.

I was going to write a post just like this one before I read yours. Merritt's style seems more well suited to a 30 second format of network. Her argument about Indiana vs NC was particularly striking. At one point, she was cornered into asserting that Indiana was more important to superdels than NC, because it would more realistically be in play in November. The fact that Kleiman has to rebut this line is emblematic of Merritt's problems during the rest of the dialogue. He directly answered every query, sometimes conceding or asserting points that counted against his argument, while she steadfastly refused to answer his questions. Even questions repeated were dodged or dismissed.

Regurgitating talking points about "record-breaking turnout in the Florida primary" (I counted at least five iterations of this phrase) or any number of other sound bites from the Clinton team's latest strategy memo does not serve us, the audience, well. She offers no new thoughts or analysis, and refuses to be prodded into having a discussion.

pod2
04-25-2008, 09:18 PM
10. Wanted to help the Recently Awakened From Coma community come up to speed on the state of the Democratic campaign.

9. Surveys showed a pent-up demand among conservatives: "More popcorn movies, please."

8. Wanted to make Bob and Mickey's last diavlog seem like a weighty discussion.

7. Looking to boost sales of sidebar ad space to the makers of Bayer, Nexium, Valium, Prozac, Ritalin, and Super Fast Forward Flash Player.

6. Email containing new root password for the video server inadvertently CCed to Karl Rove.

5. Part of an ongoing effort to rehabilitate the images of Ann Althouse, Conn Carroll, and Glenn Greenwald.

4. Concern that the forums have a monopoly on endless bickering between people who are never going to change their minds.

3. The question was raised: "How can we reawaken Eastwest's love for pomposity and underlining?"

2. Focus groups who viewed Terry McAuliffe's screen tests agreed: "Not unhinged enough. Get somebody else."

1. New sponsors said, "Make BloggingHeads.tv less like blogging and more like TV."

Amen.

Particular shout outs to numbers 5, 4, and 3. Number 2 is wickedly funny, and I don't mean that in a good way. Number 1 sums it up.

Thanks for this, it almost made listening to this thing worth while.

Tim_G
04-25-2008, 09:21 PM
She was supposed to be inevitable, right?

Why can't she close the deal?

It must be because she's a flawed candidate who can't win in November.

Hillary got 2.5 million after her victory. Big whoop! You want to compare fundraising, great! Someone please remind me who's been out-raising whom?

Oh, it's Obama (http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/finances/map/index.html).
What's this (http://thepage.time.com/2008/04/25/hillraiser-defects-to-obama/)? A big Hillary fundraiser just defected to Obama.

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 09:21 PM
Say what you will about Sharpton or Jackson's imperfections or other drives, I think it's unfair to assume that the prime motivation at play -- concerns about racial inequality -- isn't genuine.

I'm not a historian of either man's career. But from everything I do know about Sharpton, I think the term is apt and appropriate. Jackson is a more complicated man. But he's in the race business and he's benefitted greatly because of it. He often bullies people and corporations on slim or even contrary evidence and many times to the detriment of race relations.

As for us leftists possibly overreacting whenever such terms are used, I wonder why you on the right feel so often compelled to toss about terms that you know go right up to the line, even if they don't always cross it. What purpose does it serve? It strikes me as either bait-dangling or boorishness. Coming from you in particular, I expect better.

Did I use the term? I was responding to accusations of racism about another poster's usage of the term. I don't think it's a racist slur. It is an insult, absolutely. I think Obama's career, his own writings, and his associations leave him open to the charge, though obviously in a diluted form compared to Sharpton and company. Your opinion that a word like that creates more heat than light is probably correct in most circumstances. Still, is it out of bounds? Is it racist? I don't think so.

bjkeefe
04-25-2008, 09:38 PM
Hans:

I've registered my opinion on the use of the term, as have you, and I don't think we're going to get beyond "is so/is not."

I also don't much care to get into a debate over Al Sharpton. I will state that I once expressed a view of him close to yours, and someone who knew a lot more about his career was able to change my mind substantially by listing some of his accomplishments. I also think that for all the times he comes off as a rabble-rouser or a blowhard, he also says some things that need to be said. I wasn't about to support him for president when he ran in 2004, but I was happy to hear from him during the debates.

look
04-25-2008, 10:19 PM
If this was ever true, and I don't think it has ever been the case, it's certainly not true today. The least racist parts of the country are those which have the least exposure (see Obama's support among whites in very white states compared to those in mixed states).To fill in some blanks of my shorthand memories, my mother started out in small-town Ohio, married my dad, a marine, lived in southern California for 9 years, then moved to northern Ohio. So I'm not saying her benign/low-level racism is due to non-exposure, but really the opposite, and supports the professor you site. But my emphasis here is benign. It's people on their best behavior, trying to get along, feeling badly they don't understand each other better, feeling badly they don't really want to understand each other better, but above all knowing that folks is folks, and it's important that we all just get along.

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 11:22 PM
To fill in some blanks of my shorthand memories, my mother started out in small-town Ohio, married my dad, a marine, lived in southern California for 9 years, then moved to northern Ohio. So I'm not saying her benign/low-level racism is due to non-exposure, but really the opposite, and supports the professor you site. But my emphasis here is benign. It's people on their best behavior, trying to get along, feeling badly they don't understand each other better, feeling badly they don't really want to understand each other better, but above all knowing that folks is folks, and it's important that we all just get along.

I think that people who live in areas with few members of an ethnic group form their views of that ethnic group from popular culture and social norms. So 60 years ago that meant people with no experience with blacks or hispanics would form negative impressions because that was pretty much the norm, to one extent or another. Still, even when low level racism was the norm, it was mostly those living in racially mixed areas that had an intensity in that belief. People may have been racists in Idaho, but what did it matter? It was not an issue of importance to their daily lives (segregated schools in a state that's 99% white?).

Today, however, I think it's the opposite, the default and accepted and normalized social position is one of color blindness. It takes the negative personal experiences only provided by contact to counteract the accepted social consensus--the kid bullied by a certain ethnic group or person mugged, etc. Sometimes it's not even something traumatic, it's a feeling of daily alienation or separatedness which drives people toward their own race and away from others (or away from everybody). Again, this sort of racial stratification and identification cannot be experienced by individuals in nearly monolithic ethnic communities, like South Dakota or Idaho, so their views on race are the ones which predominate in popular culture and which are considered socially acceptable.

Eastwest
04-25-2008, 11:26 PM
Re BN's:

Now there certainly are times when Obama... seems to be pandering to voters: NAFTA in Ohio, for instance. Your broader point seems to be that if Obama claims to want ... honest politics, then he must ... NEVER EVER pander ...

So, why not admit it? He's just the same old politics everybody else does, farming out the nastiest interpretations to surrogates while trying to deflect by saying, "Well, I didn't say that..." (Which brought a laugh from both Hillary and the moderator)

His hypocrisy on that particular vote is only one of many. For instance, he deliberately race carded Clinton early on to peel away her black votes, knowing full well he was distorting and jiving.

So, I say therefore, he has no aspect whatever by which he distinguishes himself from the standard campaign style. And therefore there's nothing new there. He presents no "change." His "hope" is just jive. And what's more he doesn't even have the interpersonal skills to work with other politicians to get what he does advertise (which isn't appreciably different from Hillary).

So how's he not just "selling dog meat under a mutton sign?"

EW

hans gruber
04-25-2008, 11:48 PM
I've registered my opinion on the use of the term, as have you, and I don't think we're going to get beyond "is so/is not."

I agree, we agree to disagree.

In general, however: I've done my share of debate in comments and forums. And I've grown tired of feigned outrage. I've done my share of feigning the rage as well as experiencing it from others. The sort of feigned outrage exhibited here: "How dare you use that term, you racist!" is among the worst variety. It's better to attack a position head-on (Obama is not a race hustler and here is why) than to try to shut down the debate (you racist, how dare you use that slur!). I guess that's my quibble. I do think your point is important. We should avoid certain words which flag us as partisan even if we are, in fact, partisans. Good arguments can be overlooked. For example, if I see lots of empire, hegemony, chickenhawk, or excessive use of neocon, or references to Bush as chimp this or that, then I'm pretty likely to just ignore that poster and everything he is saying, even though he might have something really interesting to say (Wonderment and Twinswords come to mind). Better to sound reasonable even if you're a batshit crazy Kossak (or, in my case, a rabid right winger).

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 12:06 AM
The sort of feigned outrage exhibited here: "How dare you use that term, you racist!" is among the worst variety. It's better to attack a position head-on (Obama is not a race hustler and here is why) than to try to shut down the debate (you racist, how dare you use that slur!).

But, certain arguments really ought to be just shut down at the outset. Calling Obama a "race hustler" really does seem outside the boundaries of fair discussion. I'm not sure that even if Al Sharpton is the target of that insult that it's not a slur, and I am sure that even then it best not to try and make the case. Particularly when the term is being used by white guys (and while determinations of the racial background of forum posters is obviously problematic, I think it's a good bet that most of the folks using the term here fit that description) it's offensive - prima facie. That's the price we pay as members of the class responsible for inflicting racist policies on other people - whether or not as individuals we bear any responsibility - we've lost any moral claim to that sort of assertion.

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 12:52 AM
hans:

I've done my share of feigning the rage as well as experiencing it from others.

Thank you for this particularly honest admission. I wish I could respond in kind.

The truth is, I honestly think I don't waste time feigning outrage, because there are so many things that are truly worth of that emotion. I will admit that there are times when I feel like saying in response to some anti-{Bush|McCain|Clinton} criticism, "Okay, that's not really a big deal," but consciously don't. This choice stems from a feeling that people on my side have spent too much time trying to be flexible, to our detriment and loss of political power. I'd be more willing to rein in my fellow lefties and fellow Obama supporters if I had more of a sense that those on the right or those in the Clinton camp were willing to do the same. I may be deluding myself here, and if you can suggest an example of where I have feigned outrage, I'd be interested to hear it. I do agree that many on my side of various issues indulge in this, and maybe I should speak up more in response.

Okay, I finally realized that you're suggesting that I'm feigning outrage over the "race hustler" thing. I'll cop to possible overreaction, but it's not an act.

I do agree that I might fly off the handle in this area. I would say that I haven't made much effort to restrain myself for two reasons. First, terms like "race hustler" are too often just opening gambits -- a toe in the water, in other words. The impression is that most people who say things like this are seeing what they can get away with. I want to stress that I am speaking of statistical likelihoods and I do not hold this view of you in particular. Still, I will respond with vehemence when you chime in in defense of use of such a phrase, because I know what's going on when most people use such terms.

Second, race is an extremely sensitive subject. I know it's a less than perfect solution to suppress use of certain phrases, but it's a loaded and unhappy topic. I can only repeat myself here: When the issue is deciding who would be the best next president, is it really necessary to use language like "race hustler?" How does it help clarify anything? To my mind, it doesn't.

It's better to attack a position head-on (Obama is not a race hustler and here is why) than to try to shut down the debate ...

In the abstract, I agree with you. In this case, I don't. Trying to rebut a charge like "Obama is a race hustler" is (a) fairly impossible, as it asks proving a negative, and (b) more than a little undeserving of respectful and reasoned debate. I would not ask you to respond this way, say, to a charge that John McCain is a unapologetic hawk because he's got short man syndrome.

For example, if I see lots of empire, hegemony, chickenhawk, or excessive use of neocon, or references to Bush as chimp this or that, then I'm pretty likely to just ignore that poster ...

I agree that the Bush/chimp thing adds nothing. I'll also go along with "lots" and "excessive" for most of the other labels.

However, I do think that there is some basis for most of the non-chimp labels, and more to the point of our conversation, I'd say that there's a real difference between, say, calling someone a "race hustler" and calling someone a "chickenhawk." For one thing, the label in the latter case is much more a reflection of how the user sees (and disagrees with) the individual. For another, it's an expression of disagreement with a chosen policy view, albeit oversimplified, not an attack on someone that's too often just codeword for disparaging someone for happening to have some physical characteristic. A more fair comparison would be "chickenhawk" versus calling Obama an "appeaser" because he expressed willingness to talk to objectionable foreign leaders.

pod2
04-26-2008, 12:55 AM
Seriously....the biggest thing that I find rather funny/ironic over and above you Dems ignoring the votes in MI and Florida (of all places) but the fact that the supposed "party of the people" ...doesn't trust "the people" and thus we have "super-delegates". How effing elitist IS THAT!!!!??? Not to mention that Obama can get more delegates from an Idaho caucus than Hillary gets from winning TX. Pretty funny stuff. No wonder you are all wound up so tight.


Given: Clinton herself, on multiple occasions, agreed that the results from Florida and Michigan should not count.

Given that Clinton has asserted that the only reason her name was on the Michigan ballot was because of a technical difficulty, and that she had intended to remove her name.

Given that all candidates agreed on the rules of the nomination process before it began...

is it your position that Clinton should be able to completely ignore the rules of the game halfway through, even though she herself has advocated for the justice of those rules?

It's as if Romney, halfway through February, begins to argue that the Republican nominee should be chosen through proportional representation in all of the primary contests.

Obama won Idaho by 63 POINTS! Clinton won the TX primary by 3, Obama won the caucus by 12.

I would argue that organizing for a caucus victory more closely resembles pulling together coalitions for legislative wins as a president.

Unfortunately for all above points, I kind of agree with criticism of the Dem party about the fundamental schizophrenic schism (redundant?) between a truly representational nomination process and a basically backroom veto security council reality (superdels). It's sick, and it reflects some of the corruption within the party. Which is not to say that the GOP doesn't have its own unbelievably despicable structural flaws.

pod2
04-26-2008, 01:12 AM
Like I said, in Hillary's shoes, no way Obama wouldn't have voted for qualified authorization just as she did. He then hypocritically uses this over-and-over ad nauseum to paint her as a mindless Cheney-esque war-monger.

EW

As commenters have pointed out repeatedly, there were many serious Democrats who voted against the authorization to use military force. It was widely understood to be just what it purported to be, a blank check for Bush to invade Iraq. The intentions of the administration were explicit in October 02. What's more, Clinton made plenty of highly public pronouncements in February 03 leading up to the invasion talking about the threat Saddam posed and the necessity for regime change (a continuation of the WJ Clinton doctrine). The senators and congressional reps who shared Obama's values VOTED AGAINST the resolution. Saying that Obama would have voted for it carries zero information, thus proves nada.

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 01:26 AM
The senators and congressional reps who shared Obama's values VOTED AGAINST the resolution.

And like I said: None of them (unlike Hillary) were taking any downstream electoral re-election risk in doing so. So it's you who have told us nada.

Like I said, the White House deliberately engineered the timing and political pressures on the Congress to get the vote they wanted and they succeeded, this after a wall-to-wall false-intelligence campaign which brain-washed nearly everyone. (Again, go to the appropriate clip in the Front Line (streamable) documentary "Bush's War."

You're being disingenuous. Just like Mr. "Dog-meat under a Mutton Sign," you're BS-ing from a phony holier-than-thou pedestal.

Go sell it to kindergarten kids. Adults don't buy this bullshit. This is just more of the faux-outrage syndrome of hypocritical political virgins.

EW

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 01:29 AM
pod2:

Unfortunately for all above points, I kind of agree with criticism of the Dem party about the fundamental schizophrenic schism (redundant?) between a truly representational nomination process and a basically backroom veto security council reality (superdels).

A lot of me agrees with you. Here's the part that doesn't.

First, the process of selecting a nominee is not the same thing as the process of electing an officeholder. It is up to the party to decide how it wants to do this.

Second, I kind of like the idea of some brakes available to be applied in case of emergency. In between the dangers of the herd mentality and the deplorable tendency for many in the media to jump on the front-runner's bandwagon, I don't hate the idea of people with experience having a little disproportionate clout. In reality, their veto is far from absolute -- since most of them are themselves elected officials, they're not going to go too far in overturning popular will.

I'll be the first to concede that insiders can be just as dumb or self-interested as the average voter, and I wouldn't wail if the Dems switched to a pure popular vote to pick the nominee, but I don't hate the thought of superdelegates in the abstract.

There's another piece, too. Having superdelegates means that a few early wins, in wildly unrepresentative states, I might add, are less likely to secure the nomination. Here, I'd be happy to do away with the superdelegates if we set up a system where Iowa and NH weren't always the first two contests.

I'll grant that there's a lot of acid in my stomach as a result of how hard it is to wrap things up this time around, but I see this year's campaign as an outlier. Usually, I think the nominations are sewn up too quickly, even with the superdelegate aspect, with too few people getting a chance to cast a meaningful vote.

As I said, a big part of me agrees with you -- let the people decide. I'm just saying that there are other things that should be cleaned up as well, if that's the route we're going to go.

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 02:08 AM
Okay, I finally realized that you're suggesting that I'm feigning outrage over the "race hustler" thing. I'll cop to possible overreaction, but it's not an act.

No, you didn't seem all that outraged, I thought you just said you took it as a slur when directed at Obama. Which I took mean to that you couldn't imagine somebody could think that so the only possible explanation was they were racist.

I do agree that I might fly off the handle in this area. I would say that I haven't made much effort to restrain myself for two reasons. First, terms like "race hustler" are too often just opening gambits -- a toe in the water, in other words. The impression is that most people who say things like this are seeing what they can get away with. I want to stress that I am speaking of statistical likelihoods and I do not hold this view of you in particular. Still, I will respond with vehemence when you chime in in defense of use of such a phrase, because I know what's going on when most people use such terms.

Honestly, I'm a bit amazed at the repulsion to the term itself. The term is descriptive, it's the best one I can think of to describe a certain sort of person, like Al Sharpton, whose entire career has relied upon stoking the flames of racial resentment, often times with disastrous and violent results. Does there exists no such person who uses race to get ahead, who manipulates racial tensions and discord for their own advancement? Isn't race hustler a pretty good description of such a person?

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 02:16 AM
That's the price we pay as members of the class responsible for inflicting racist policies on other people - whether or not as individuals we bear any responsibility - we've lost any moral claim to that sort of assertion.

Wow. This honestly reads like a conservative making fun of white guilt, but you're actually sincere!

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 02:41 AM
Wow. This honestly reads like a conservative making fun of white guilt, but you're actually sincere!

Of course I am. White guys lecturing black folks about race, in this country, barely a generation after civil right legislation was enacted, literally within living memory of [even tacitly] state sanctioned lynchings is absurd. Whatever people like me have experienced, it's not comparable to what blacks have had to endure for centuries. White guilt? I might not be responsible for the treatment of blacks prior to 1965, but I'm certainly a beneficiary of the culture that was responsible.

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 02:42 AM
Hans:

Honestly, I'm a bit amazed at the repulsion to the term itself. The term is descriptive, it's the best one I can think of to describe a certain sort of person, like Al Sharpton, whose entire career has relied upon stoking the flames of racial resentment, often times with disastrous and violent results. Or we to believe there exists no such person who uses race to get ahead, who manipulates racial tensions and discord for their own advancement? Isn't race hustler a pretty good description of such a person?

Eleventy-seven posts ago, we agreed to disagree on the proposition "use of the term 'race hustler' is racist," so I'm going to apologize for my part in keeping the argument alive and try not to belabor it. I'll just state once more that I don't see why anyone demands carte blanche for using this term. I'll augment with a point I don't think I've made yet, at least not explicitly: if at least some people find the term objectionable, is it really necessary to argue for its continued use? It seems to me that if there's a real, substantive, and not just crypto-racist point to be made, it can be stated a different way.

More importantly, it seems that the essential argument here is that it's okay to apply the term "race hustler" to some people, and therefore, it's also okay to apply it to Barack Obama. That asks me to concede two, two, two claims in one, or it tries to force me into defending Al Sharpton, say, before I even get back to Barack Obama.

To reiterate about Sharpton or others to whom the term might more plausibly be applied: I still hear the term as purposefully demeaning, as though there is something wrong with a black man agitating for black people's rights. To reiterate about Obama: I don't see any evidence that his approach has been to emphasize race as part of his political agenda. It seems to me that he's been trying his level best to preach a philosophy of inclusiveness and coming together, and would have preferred to stick to this absent the reaction his skin color has provoked among the more cretinous of our population.

Did he seek to form an identity as a young man, and did it turn out to be, in large part, as a black man? Almost certainly. As he has recounted, there comes a point when you realize that white people look at you and see "black guy" too often for you to think you have a hope of presenting as anything else. Of course there is a lot that comes along with this. Some of it is outright baggage, like being associated with a church where a pastor occasionally gave voice to thoughts that make us white people upset. Most of it, it seems to me, manifested as actions that should be viewed as positive; in particular, a long career of working at the community level to help and cajole people to lift themselves up.

Now, maybe he could have chosen to work with the community of, say, alcoholics. Or kids with reading disabilities. Or some other group that isn't easily lumped together by skin color. But he didn't. Apparently, it was his estimation, combined with his own seeking of a personal identity, that led him to work with inner city black people. If we can agree for the moment to say that's a "group," I think we can also agree it's a group that needs help.

By all accounts, and by evidence of his rise in prominence, he done good. And after all that, it's supposed to be acceptable to disparage him for looking to take the next steps in his own career and personal growth? And to try to slap some simplistic and loaded term onto this view is also supposed to be accepted?

The way that I see it, the term itself is unnecessary, and to apply it to someone like Barack Obama is particularly derogatory. I may be overreacting, but I do so because I can't stand that he's not being given, by too many people and by too many callous political operatives, the equal treatment of being judged on his own merits as a presidential candidate. I see use of the "race hustler" as merely a more polite way of preying on the same old prejudices that have fucked up our country, our planet, and our species from day one. We should be able to grow out of such primitive tendencies.

I'm sorry if this was a little incoherent, but I hope my core feeling got through.

shimmy
04-26-2008, 02:51 AM
EW, your big slam on Barack Obama is that he's a liar and a hypocrite, because you know that he wouldn't have voted against the war if he had been in the U.S. Senate at the time of the vote. How do you know this?

Obviously, if I may be so bold, you don't. I would be interested, though, to hear some of the things that make you sure enough to make the claim... especially actual things actually about him.

- S.

p.s. I'm surprised and impressed that nobody has popped off and said that J. Merritt's tone of voice and especially her sometimes-kinda-B.S.-y-seeming smile were among the most gratingest elements of the 'cast. (I happen to admire Kleiman's rhetorical style, but I see here that others find him to be the grating one. OK.)

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 03:08 AM
That's the price we pay as members of the class responsible for inflicting racist policies on other people - whether or not as individuals we bear any responsibility - we've lost any moral claim to that sort of assertion.

Yeah, I had to chuckle over this bleeding heart, too.

Being so guilt-tripped your brains drop out of your skull serves no one.

True, it's tasteless and over-the-top to call Obama a "race-hustler." (He's too teflon-skillful and "sub-rosa" about it for that charge to stick. It's not his foible, would be an invalid charge, and frankly, it just sounds gratuitously "nasty" to go there, anyway.)

But one needn't be overly apologetic in calling out some who really seem to make their living "hustling" that topic. (We know who they are, so why name names?) And no, even as a white guy, you should be able to call a spade a spade, though you better have a justifiable context, a very solid case and a non-gratuitous reason for it if you do. (You also get a couple clicks of moral authority if you happen to really support something resembling equal opportunity.)

EW

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 03:11 AM
And no, even as a white guy, you should be able to call a spade a spade, though you better have a justifiable context, a very solid case and a non-gratuitous reason for it if you do.

You really wanted to go there?

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 03:14 AM
You really wanted to go there?

'Course he did. It's all part of his pseudo-above-it-all stance that he likes to affect.

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 03:15 AM
a) How do you know this?

b) I'm surprised and impressed that nobody has popped off and said that J. Merritt's tone of voice and especially her sometimes-kinda-B.S.-y-seeming smile were among the most gratingest elements of the 'cast. (I happen to admire Kleiman's rhetorical style, but I see here that others find him to be the grating one. OK.)

Shimmy, you're late to the party and clearly haven't read the posts. The short answers, recapitulated are:

a) Because he's just another politican and for politicians, survival counts above all else, unless you've already decided it's your very last term. (If you think otherwise, do some reading.)

b) Both Kleiman and Merritt have been taken to task for being whining schoolchildren. I found them both intolerable and have so-noted repeatedly. Again, a little reading wouldn't hurt you. You know what they say, right?: "Failure to read is the functional equivalent of not being able to read." Translation: "Illiteracy."

Cheers,
EW

look
04-26-2008, 03:38 AM
Today, however, I think it's the opposite, the default and accepted and normalized social position is one of color blindness. It takes the negative personal experiences only provided by contact to counteract the accepted social consensus--the kid bullied by a certain ethnic group or person mugged, etc. That strikes me as awfully optimistic. I think so much of the problem is generated by family attitudes that it won't be sorted out in many places, for a long time. As I alluded to above, there's a level of built-in mystification between black and white. For as far as we have come, the problems of racial profiling, white people getting uptight if a black family moves next door, little black girls choosing white Barbie Dolls, are rampant. I think there's a basic tenseness a majority of black people live under due to being so scrutinized, and it leads to higher rates of high blood pressure, etc. The botched Great Society has made things much worse.

look
04-26-2008, 03:40 AM
Incidentally, there was a very touching scene I think in the PBS bio of Lyndon Johnson where a black member of the administration (what's his name -- Wilkinson -- used to see him a lot on the Newshour I think on those panel discussions or something). tells a story about how Johnson blurts out 'Nig--' before recalling who he's with. Johnson wasn't putting anyone down, but the word just started to slip out, and he was deeply embarrassed. Wilkinson understood and was actually rather touched by Johnson's fumbling attempts to get past that half-uttered word.

Yes, I'm familiar with that story...very sweet.

Have you read many presidential bios?

brucds
04-26-2008, 03:46 AM
What kind of an idiot talks about Obama's "negatives" as an argument for nominating the Queen of Negatives in all polling on presidential candidates known to humankind - Hillary Clinton.

Is this all that the Bitter gang have left ? Making shit up that has no bearing on reality ?

God, the Hillary cult is an embarrassment.

brucds
04-26-2008, 03:48 AM
"Like I said, in Hillary's shoes, no way Obama wouldn't have voted for qualified authorization just as she did."

Are you sure you don't mean "Weating Hillary's underpants on his head, no way Obama, etc. etc. ?"

look
04-26-2008, 03:48 AM
p.s. I'm surprised and impressed that nobody has popped off and said that J. Merritt's tone of voice and especially her sometimes-kinda-B.S.-y-seeming smile were among the most gratingest elements of the 'cast. (I happen to admire Kleiman's rhetorical style, but I see here that others find him to be the grating one. OK.)

You know, this isn't their first vlog together. This one might interest you, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmuqggmu1Xc

brucds
04-26-2008, 03:58 AM
This person Jeralyn is just horrible. The "Night of the Living Dead" wing of the Democratic Party.

benjy
04-26-2008, 05:09 AM
for most annoying diavlogger ever. This woman makes Hillary look like charisma incarnate. Please, if you're going to have people on to recite Hillary propaganda, can you have someone with a less irritating voice do it? And please, no mas diavlogs where one or both people simply want to propagandize for one side, rather than both diavloggers wanting to get at the truth and see the merits and deficiencies of each other's positions (And, for the record, my irritation has nothing to do with gender--oddly enough I find annoying women annoying, and un-annoying women un-annoying, which is oddly the same way i feel about annoying and un-annoying men) I should also nominate Mark Kleiman for a medal for being able to put up with this for 45 minutes...aside from the irritation factor (and I stuck it out for the whole 45 minutes!!) masochist that I am :)...the whole diavlog wasn't worth much as I'm assuming most people who watch bloggingheads know almost all this stuff already, and we can and have heard the propaganda for each candidate more than enough times from the campaigns. Maybe in place of this type of diavlog we could have more discussion of the different political positions and philosophies, i.e., the various arguments for being a liberal or conservative and the merits and deficiencies of each position? A simple example being that the pledge of allegiance ends with liberty and justice for all...basically most things come down to the tension and balance between these two ideas, but we hardly ever hear discussion of that. Clearly we aren't living up to the justice side of the equation, as anyone who went down to North Philly to canvass for Obama can attest, or anyone who has ever had occasion to see an inner city public school, etc... So its pretty clear that as a society we don't want to pay for justice for all, but we also don't much like to think about or discuss the fact that we don't live up to our ideals. Some tension is of course natural and unavoidable considering that we're all to a greater or lesser degree selfish, but it would seem we could at least do better than we are now if we made a good faith effort, and rather than giving up because we think we can't ameliorate some of the poor's problems through government, we tried to figure out and implement better ways to approach these issues. Basically government, for all its flaws, should be our collective conscience on matters of justice--if we really believe in justice, government's our main avenue for trying to move closer to it as a society. And of course we'll never have complete equality of outcomes and we would never want to live in a place that stifled liberty enough to try to achieve total parity. But saying that we have no collective responsibility at all to attempt more fairness in our society simply because we will never attempt or would want to attempt perfect equailty is a straw man...with all of these debates, the answer is always a balance between our competing ideals, not an absolute choice of one or the other ideal. Which is pretty obvious stuff, but amazingly enough many conservatives try to frame the debate around only the liberty part of the equation and argue as though we should and even ever could have the liberty half win out to the total exclusion of any attempt by government toward the justice half. Which is of course silly considering that we all agree everyone should have a right to go to school even if they can't pay for it, our cities should provide homeless shelters and food for destitute people, and we'd surely find it intolerable not to provide these basic services for people. But while we'll pay for school for kids even if they can't afford it, we don't and haven't shown a willingness to pay for a good school for every kid--so we've presently drawn the line at a very low level of payment for fairness, but not a high enough payment to ensure adequate opportunities to move substantially closer to fairness. Or as Joe Biden('s dad) likes to put it more succinctly, "don't tell me what your values are, show me your budget". Warren Buffett also makes a very good argument for fairness, in which he discusses the fact that the people who are rewarded at higher levels by the market do indeed have skills and produce outputs which are valued at that level by the market (unless there's corruption, nepotism, boardroom salary/compensation package back-scratching, etc., but I'll leave those aside), but they still wouldn't be able to earn their relatively high salaries without the contributions of all the employees in the economy who have lower value added jobs...i.e. McDonald's couldn't exist without all the people flipping burgers for minimum wage, and while these workers are valued by the market at a very low level, the CEO and people in management positions wouldn't be able to manage a company or product at all without the people there to flip burgers. So when people say "its my money, not the government's" it ignores the fact that their earnings come from a collective effort in which they occupy the more highly rewarded postions, but that there would be no earnings or wealth created without the inputs of the employees at the lower levels of compensation. OMG, I just used the word "collective" in America, but fortunately that doesn't effect whether or not the analysis is accurate. Of course we're never going to divide profits and wealth equally, but we can as a society say that if you want to engage in the market and are richly rewarded because your talents and contributions are valued at a high level by it, you'll have to give back more to others in less highly rewarded positions with less wealth, because one of the rules of our game is that we believe in a higher level of justice than markets alone provide, and there's no reason that markets and purely laissez-faire capitalism have to be our only value and ideal. Alright, I'll leave it there, but btw, giving back to a country that has provided you with great opportunities to achieve wealth and success is a fairly decent definition for patriotism, wouldn'tcha say? And, of course, it'd be interesting to hear all of your thoughts on these issues, especially to hear some conservatives discuss whether they believe in an attempt by government to achieve any level of justice at all, or if we should just say bad luck to people who get the short end of the stick--oddly enough, conservatives never seem to want to discuss these issues....then again I suppose its easier to avoid looking at poverty and injustice than to confront them and either admit one doesn't care about justice or poor people, or try to rationalize that one really does care about them and feels that trickle-down economics, etc. are really honest attempts at achieving a greater level of justice, when the evidence and any trip to the North side of Philly or Memphis or New Orleans or Appalachia offer a clear refutation of such arguments by their very existence and the fact that we still have such endemic poverty in many pockets of the country... ANyway, surely a little discussion of the root philosophical and moral issues underlying our political debates would be more interesting once in a while than more predictions which we'll know the answers to in a month or two? ;)

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 06:25 AM
What kind of an idiot talks about Obama's "negatives" as an argument for nominating the Queen of Negatives in all polling on presidential candidates known to humankind - Hillary Clinton.

Is this all that the Bitter gang have left ? Making shit up that has no bearing on reality ?

God, the Hillary cult is an embarrassment.

For the record, as I've stated many times, I'm not enthusiastic about Hillary, either. Unlike Obama, however, she stands a chance of being elected.

EW

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 06:29 AM
You really wanted to go there?

No.

Especially since, in Obama's case, it would be unjustified.

As for guys like Al Sharpton, sometimes I find they are motivated by nobility, sometimes by self-serving instincts. In any case, I've usually got better things to do with my time.

EW

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 06:35 AM
For the record, as I've stated many times, I'm not enthusiastic about Hillary, either. Unlike Obama, however, she stands a chance of being elected.

What is your basis for feeling that her chances are any better than Obama's? How do you explain that she is behind in the race for the nomination? What is your response to the argument that she has always had high negatives?

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 06:40 AM
benjy:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Speaking as a reader, may I suggest for your future consideration: paragraphs? I liked what you had to say, but I think I would have liked it better had it been physically easier to read.

No diss. Just intended as constructive criticism. Hope you take it that way.

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 06:50 AM
shimmy:

I'm surprised and impressed that nobody has popped off and said that J. Merritt's tone of voice ...

She did have that same drill-bit-like Midwestern nasal twang as the candidate she supports, didn't she? It did bother me, yes.

On the other hand, I've recently moved to upstate NY, and it's not significantly easier on the ears up here than it is around Chicago, so I guess I held my tongue because it'd have felt too much like I was dissing my neighbors.

Who'da thunk I'd long for the days of New Yawk City and, like, LA, dude?

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 07:53 AM
What is your basis for feeling that her chances are any better than Obama's?

Chronic Pessimism.

Having watched this ever since childhood in Texas in the Fifties, I think this country is still incredibly prejudiced against anyone who is "different." (Even now, it's just about as bad up here in the Pacific Northwest, just more subtle.)

Of course misogyny is not even close to extinct, either. I just think it's less powerfully operative in the political sphere. Folks will tell you happily they are completely free of racism until there's no penalty for going ahead and being racist (as, say, in a voting booth).

Obama didn't have the wisdom to avoid the race issue at all costs (feeling that he needed to lecture the entire electorate on the topic). That's fine if you're teaching at a university. Not so bright if your main priority is squeaking past an electorate of closet xenophobes and racists.

EW

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 07:57 AM
"Like I said, in Hillary's shoes, no way Obama wouldn't have voted for qualified authorization just as she did."

Are you sure you don't mean "Weating Hillary's underpants on his head, no way Obama, etc. etc. ?"

Brucie,

You're either incredibly naive or being disingenuous. No third way on this one.

EW

dudeman
04-26-2008, 11:02 AM
As a moderate conservative who is still extemely upset by the GOP's over-spending and global policing policies during its 6 years in total power, I can promise you that Republicans are not enamored with McCain, and are not scared enough by Hillary, Obama or the Democrats in Congress to rush to the polls to vote for McCain in November.

Just because Obama doesn't win the votes poor white and old people in the midwest and Pennsylvania doesn't mean that they'll burn rubber driving to the polls for McCain if they can't vote for Clinton.

Democrats should listen to Republicans when they say that they'd rather run against Clinton.

brucds
04-26-2008, 11:09 AM
Eleanor Clift has the following on Hillary: Notables who abandoned her for Obama will get the Big Chill. "He's dead to us," a Clinton aide was quoted saying of John Kerry, who along with Ted Kennedy was turned off by the perception of race baiting that led up to the South Carolina primary. A major donor, conflicted between the two candidates and apologetic over his backing of Obama, found Hillary less than sympathetic. "Too bad for you, because I'm going to win," she snapped. (end clip)


Boy, that's a great future for the Democratic party. Looking forward to her passing health care reform with that approach. Reminds me of a previous wonderful era in Democratic politics. Oh yeah...that was the same Ms. Bulldozer screwing up royally.

The Clinton cult appears near-psychotic...

brucds
04-26-2008, 11:11 AM
East West - you're incredibly naive, because Hillary has the biggest negatives of anyone running. If she becomes the nominee, the Democrats have officially shot themselves in the foot.


And shove "Brucie" up your silly little ass. You're an unimpressive twit here.

brucds
04-26-2008, 11:21 AM
It boils down to "Hillary couldn't vote against Iraq because of the Jews."

So Jewish people are rabid supporters of the Iraq war. I guess I didn't know that. Are we to believe that Manhattan and the boroughs were a center of pro-Iraq war fever in late 2002/early 2003 ? This is a desperate rhetorical angle to defend Clinton's manifest cowardice. Chicago also has a large Jewish community. Dick Durbin voted against the war. As did Barbara Boxer, who has an enormous Jewish electoral base in Los Angeles. This is a crap argument.

Embarrassing shit coming from HillaryLand.

Jeralyn's utterly annoying, clueless tone here is rapidly becoming the substance of the "pro-Clinton" message.

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 02:26 PM
Democrats should listen to Republicans when they say that they'd rather run against Clinton.

That was the CW 6 months ago. A lot of Republicans think Obama is much weaker. I agree but I think Obama would be so terrible for the country, I rather face Clinton, a stronger candidate, because of the slim chance Obama would have at fooling the electorate (or McCain doing something very stupid, which is likely). So, while I think Obama is much weaker, I rather see Clinton as the nominee. If you think Obama is a stronger candidate, you just haven't been paying attention the last few months.

look
04-26-2008, 03:00 PM
So, while I think Obama is much weaker, I rather see Clinton as the nominee. If you think Obama is a stronger candidate, you just haven't been paying attention the last few months.Besides her toughness and street cred at playing the Republicans' game she has the stealth weapon of womanly wiles...really! She has a wonderful Shirley Partridge/Carol Brady smile when she gives her victory speeches. If she goes against McCain, a good deal of her appeal will be competent Mom who will guard us like a mother hen, as compared to crotchey old Grampa, who'll take a shotgun to the neighbor's cat.

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 03:53 PM
East West - you're incredibly naive, because Hillary has the biggest negatives of anyone running. If she becomes the nominee, the Democrats have officially shot themselves in the foot.

And shove "Brucie" up your silly little ass. You're an unimpressive twit here.

Mr. Bruce,

Gutter abusiveness is not a substitute for logic. You don't have to believe me. Just go to today's article in Slate on "Who's Most Electable."

According to it, before you even factor in the racism to which I refer (and I contend that's a huge deal), Clinton wins against McCain whereas Obama loses.

Based on a lot of personal experience in these matters beginning with when I was taught to drink from separate drinking fountains in Dallas in 1954, I conclude that the race effect will be 5%-10% worse for Obama than current nicey-nice polls suggest.

So, you could try climbing down off your childish righteous indignation and experiment with a rational sequitur or two. You'll be surprised: Unfamiliar territory that it is for you, your brain can still function under the influence of logic.

Cheers,
EW

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 03:59 PM
According to it, before you even factor in the racism to which I refer (and I contend that's a huge deal), Clinton wins against McCain whereas Obama loses.

Damn, EW. It would be a lot easier to have something like a reasonable conversation with you if you consistently framed your arguments as "arguments." ("I contend...")

brucds
04-26-2008, 04:13 PM
You made an assertion about Obama and Clinton - i.e. about the impact of Jewish voters on her decision to support the Iraq war resolution - that you pulled out of your ass.

Get off your high horse. You're arguing from "personal experience", not logic or an intelligent general analysis of where these candidates are coming from or going. Don't make untenable, patently biased arguments about what Obama may or may not have done - when you've got "evidence" that, frankly, sucks and expect to be taken seriously.

What you've put on display here is not impressive. It's that simple.

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 04:29 PM
Damn, EW. It would be a lot easier to have something like a reasonable conversation with you if you consistently framed your arguments as "arguments." ("I contend...")

AJ,

To review, on this thread I've posited:

a) Hillary's vote was compelled by her unique constituency and that Obama, in the same circumstances, would have been compelled to make the same vote;

b) That Obama is just another old-politics hypocrite (and not overly skillful one at that) in essence "selling dog meat whilst advertising mutton";

c) That "white guilt," understandable as it might be given the din of guilt-tripping that's been going on for decades now, is unnecessary; and

d) That Obama is less electable than Hillary and that nominating Obama guarantees another Republican administration.

Nothing overly controversial or illogical in any of this. Folks here don't like these sorts of presentations as they generally prefer ejaculations of emotion over simple logic.

That's OK. It's in the nature of an echo-chamber for Obama-groupies to respond this way.

Actually, I find it kind of amusing. Cheap entertainment (low-grade comedy) for the price of a few "clicks" on the keyboard.

You'all have fun now!

Cheers,
EW

Wonderment
04-26-2008, 04:48 PM
Oh, let's just take it point by point:


a) Hillary's vote was compelled by her unique constituency and that Obama, in the same circumstances, would have been compelled to make the same vote;

False. You have claimed the Jews made her do it, when in fact Jewish voters were overwhelmingly against the war and several other Jewish and non-Jewish senators with large Jewish constituencies voted against the authorization, as did NYC Jewish reps in the House like Nadler who represents "most of Manhattan's Upper West Side, and continues south to include most parts of Clinton, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, and Downtown Manhattan. In Brooklyn, the 8th District includes parts of Boro Park, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and Seagate."

b) That Obama is just another old-politics hypocrite (and not overly skillful one at that) in essence "selling dog meat whilst advertising mutton";

A ridiculously broad charge that can be leveled against any politician on the planet.

c) That "white guilt," understandable as it might be given the din of guilt-tripping that's been going on for decades now, is unnecessary;

I don't know anyone who advocates "white guilt."

d) That Obama is less electable than Hillary and that nominating Obama guarantees another Republican administration.


This is the only point you make that even deserves any debate, but since you offer no facts in support of it, it's not particularly persuasive.

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 04:51 PM
I don't know anyone who advocates "white guilt."

He's riffing on something I said to Hans Gruber (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=75102#post75102). That my point was in fact about propriety and moral authority, not "guilt," has been ignored.

Eastwest
04-26-2008, 06:05 PM
He's riffing on something I said to Hans Gruber (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=75102#post75102). That my point was in fact about propriety and moral authority, not "guilt," has been ignored.

AJ,

Actually, one has to acknowledge the essential correctness of your point. Absent very compelling reasons for calling someone out on "race-hustling," it's a loaded term with ghastly implications which, as you pointed out, should probably be avoided at nearly all costs.

The sub-point with which I was disagreeing is that white guys have completely lost the authority to ever use that or similar terms or to discuss the bed-rock realities underlying that zone of discussion.

Sorry if it seemed I was distorting your intent.

EW

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 06:10 PM
AJ,

Actually, one has to acknowledge the essential correctness of your point. Absent very compelling reasons for calling someone out on "race-hustling," it's a loaded term with ghastly implications which, as you pointed out, should probably be avoided at nearly all costs.

The sub-point with which I was disagreeing is that white guys have completely lost the authority to ever use that or similar terms.

Sorry if it seemed I was distorting your intent.

EW

Fair enough. I'll add that "lost the authority to ever use that or similar terms" actually goes farther than what I'm asserting. I wouldn't say "ever," just that right now, today, is not a good time for that sort of thing.

brucds
04-26-2008, 06:18 PM
"simple logic"

Lots of "simple"...little or no logic.

There's nothing more embarrassing to watch these days than the hysteria, vitriol and dishonesty of the Hillary crowd. You've been taken apart, piece by piece, and you've got nuthin - except your own inner turmoil.

So glad to see the Clinton wing of the party increasingly isolated. Hopefully she's man enough to suck it up and quit using Hannity talking points and pro-McCain arguments to tear down the front-runner. If the Clintons can't beat Obama on Democratic turf, they sure as hell couldn't have beaten McCain.

piscivorous
04-26-2008, 06:40 PM
"simple logic"

Lots of "simple"...little or no logic.

There's nothing more embarrassing to watch these days than the hysteria, vitriol and dishonesty of the Hillary crowd. You've been taken apart, piece by piece, and you've got nuthin - except your own inner turmoil.

So glad to see the Clinton wing of the party increasingly isolated. Hopefully she's man enough to suck it up and quit using Hannity talking points and pro-McCain arguments to tear down the front-runner. If the Clintons can't beat Obama on Democratic turf, they sure as hell couldn't have beaten McCain. It seems to me that you are blaming the runner that delivers the message and not the the crafter of the message itself. These are problems Senator Obama has created not the Clintons nor the Republicans. If there is fault here it is Senator Obama's and not those that spread the message of his shortcomings. Sometimes reality bits; for Senator Obama to try and blame others for, the troubles his associations and his statements have caused him, the reality he has created for himself is neither courages nor in my opinion very mature.

shimmy
04-26-2008, 06:48 PM
EW, you pompous rosebush!

My question to you was simple, and remains unanswered: "how do you know Obama wouldn't have voted against the war if he had been a US Senator back then?"

Perhaps I misread you, which happens sometimes. Maybe my eyes scanned the screen, but my synapses, never having learned how to fire in the correct sequence in response to such serious and complex stimulation, did not impart to my little brain any useful knowledge about your thinking at all.

Maybe I only think I can read, but it's false consciousness. I am kind of poor, after all. Whatever.

I could go back and read your posts again. "Again." But since you didn't even try to answer my question (you just restated the truism that all politicians lie), I won't. I'm going to merrily assume you don't really have any evidence about what Obama would have done in the Senate. This sounds reasonable for me to do.

Maybe, like most people (and all people at least a little bit) you've just decided at some point in the past that you don't like Barack Obama, and so when you think he's lying, it's probably true because you also don't like liars, unless you already liked them before.

The above is just as valid as your proposition about the man, if a bit convoluted. (Remember, tho...)

Do you believe anything any politician says?

Sheesh. :)

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 07:47 PM
He's riffing on something I said to Hans Gruber. That my point was in fact about propriety and moral authority, not "guilt," has been ignored.

A rose by any other name. If you want to call your white guilt a mere contention about "propriety and moral authority," and if that makes you feel better, go for it. But you're not fooling anyone, least of all yourself.

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 07:51 PM
Besides her toughness and street cred at playing the Republicans' game she has the stealth weapon of womanly wiles...really! She has a wonderful Shirley Partridge/Carol Brady smile when she gives her victory speeches. If she goes against McCain, a good deal of her appeal will be competent Mom who will guard us like a mother hen, as compared to crotchey old Grampa, who'll take a shotgun to the neighbor's cat.

Not mentioned here is that just by virtue of comparison to Obama, Hillary is well positioned to claim the title of moderate after the primary, which is very important running against the "maverick" McCain. That would have been a hard sell otherwise, but compared to Obama she is a moderate.

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 08:00 PM
A rose by any other name. If you want to call your white guilt a mere contention about "propriety and moral authority," and if that makes you feel better, go for it. But you're not fooling anyone, least of all yourself.

Help me out, hans. "White guilt" was your phrase, not mine. Why should anybody endorse your attempt to recast my argument into terms that you introduced into the conversation? You're obviously no dummy, and so I assume that you understand that your preferred point of view isn't the only way to parse any debate. So why imply that I'm dishonest if I don't capitulate and allow you to dictate the terms of this debate?

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 08:33 PM
You're obviously no dummy, and so I assume that you understand that your preferred point of view isn't the only way to parse any debate. So why imply that I'm dishonest if I don't capitulate and allow you to dictate the terms of this debate?

It's a peeve of mine to continually rename things to sound more appealing or to avoid the obvious. It's true that I have accused you of some degree of dishonesty (or at least evasion), but that's honestly how I feel. You originally wrote:

That's the price we pay as members of the class responsible for inflicting racist policies on other people - whether or not as individuals we bear any responsibility - we've lost any moral claim to that sort of assertion.

White people have a "price [to] pay...for inflicting racist policies,'" regardless if we as indviduals are personally responsible. What better way to describe this sentiment than white guilt? White people are guilty (of inflicting racist policies as a group) and we've got to pay the price (as a group even if we don't bear personal responsibility)! I maintain that white guilt is a better description of what you expressed than your alternate description of just making a point about "propriety and moral authority." I acknowledge your right to characterize your statements anyway you want, especially when you rightly believe "white guilt" has enough negative connotation as to render it damaging to your argument, I just think you know better than to deny it's a fair characterization.

hans gruber
04-26-2008, 08:38 PM
Fair enough. I'll add that "lost the authority to ever use that or similar terms" actually goes farther than what I'm asserting. I wouldn't say "ever," just that right now, today, is not a good time for that sort of thing.

OK. I'll check in now and then with you. I wouldn't want to criticize a race hustler for being a race hustler until the moment was right!

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 09:03 PM
I hope you’ll forgive a somewhat discursive reply. My dad was from the Deep South, he grew up on a farm somewhere near the border between South Carolina and Georgia. He was also just about the least racist person I’ve ever met. One of my earlier memories is during the riots in DC in ’67, a guy who worked for my dad, a black guy named Danny, was stuck at home with his family in an area where they were apparently in grave danger. My parents spent a lot of time and effort, unsuccessfully, to get Danny’s family out of town and to our house in suburban Maryland – where it likely would have been a significant problem for our white neighbors. For me, this was the beginning of my political sensibilities, as they’ve developed over the years. I have nothing but pride in the way my immediate family have conducted themselves with regard to black people. I don’t feel any personal guilt, whatsoever.

When you say that “white guilt” is a good literal description of what we’re talking about – you’re right. But point of view matters, and from mine, those words are an attempt to politicize the description, to skew how we look at it. As I’ve tried to imply, I’m not burdened by a personal feeling of guilt, it’s not a part of my worldview. But, the responsibility of people in the dominant culture in the US toward the victims of institutionalized racism exists. It’s real, it’s a part of the world. (please note that I'm not arguing for reparations, or any kind of tangible retribution, just for some circumspection regarding how we refer to certain other people)

The term “moral authority” is an exact technical description of the idea I was trying to convey – it’s not a loaded term in the way that “white guilt” certainly is– a phrase specifically designed to belittle an idea and undermine it as an object of discourse.

AemJeff
04-26-2008, 09:06 PM
OK. I'll check in now and then with you. I wouldn't want to criticize a race hustler for being a race hustler until the moment was right!

Come on. Maybe three posts ago I made the point that while there are still people alive who were witness to lynchings - possibly even some surviving victims - maybe whites ought to go easy on lecturing them about race. Is that really so hard to understand?

bjkeefe
04-26-2008, 09:49 PM
AemJeff:

Kudos for you for having the patience to try to explain nuance.

Hans:

I think you're smarter than you're acting, and you're being purposefully obtuse on these language issues. You made a good point about the dangers inherent in excessively dancing around use of certain terms, but you're being (no pun intended) awfully black and white about terms that you must know are racially loaded.

benjy
04-26-2008, 11:28 PM
I would like to nominate Jeralyn Merrit for the most annoying diavlogger ever award. This woman makes Hillary look like charisma incarnate. Please, if you're going to have people on to recite Hillary propaganda, can you have someone less irritating to do it? And if possible, pleeez, no more diavlogs where one or both people simply want to propagandize for one side, rather than both diavloggers wanting to get at the truth and see the merits and deficiencies of each other's positions (And for the record, my irritation has nothing to do with gender--surprisingly, I find annoying women annoying, and un-annoying women un-annoying, which is oddly enough the same way i feel about annoying and un-annoying men) I should also nominate Mark Kleiman for an award for being able to put up with this for 45 minutes...aside from the irritation factor (and I stuck it out for the whole 45 minutes!!, masochist that I am :)), the whole diavlog wasn't worth much as I'm assuming most people who watch bloggingheads know almost all this stuff already, and we can and have heard the party line for each candidate more than enough times from the campaigns. Maybe in place of this type of diavlog we could have more discussion of the different political positions and philosophies, i.e., the various arguments for being a liberal or conservative and the merits and deficiencies of each position? A simple example being that the pledge of allegiance ends with liberty and justice for all...basically most things come down to the tension and balance between these two ideas, but we hardly ever hear discussion of that. Clearly we aren't living up to the justice side of the equation, as anyone who went down to North Philly to canvass for Obama can attest, or anyone who has ever had occasion to see an inner city public school, etc... So its pretty clear that as a society we don't want to pay for justice for all, but we also don't much like to think about or discuss the fact that we don't live up to our ideals. Some tension is of course natural and unavoidable considering that we're all to a greater or lesser degree selfish, but it would seem we could at least do better than we are now if we made a good faith effort, and rather than giving up because we think we can't ameliorate some of the poor's problems through government, we tried to figure out and implement better ways to approach these issues. Basically government, for all its flaws, should be our collective conscience on matters of justice--if we really believe in justice, government's our main avenue for trying to move closer to it as a society. And of course we'll never have complete equality of outcomes and we would never want to live in a place that stifled liberty enough to try to achieve total parity. But saying that we have no collective responsibility at all to attempt more fairness in our society simply because we will never attempt or would want to attempt perfect equailty is a straw man...with all of these debates, the answer is always a balance between our competing ideals, not an absolute choice of one or the other ideal. Which is pretty obvious stuff, but amazingly enough many conservatives try to frame the debate around only the liberty part of the equation and argue as though we should and even ever could have the liberty half win out to the total exclusion of any attempt by government toward the justice half. Which is of course silly considering that we all agree everyone should have a right to go to school even if they can't pay for it, our cities should provide homeless shelters and food for destitute people, people should at least be able to go the emergency room if they're in dire need of medical care, and we'd surely find it intolerable not to provide these basic services for people. But while we'll pay for school for kids even if they can't afford it, we don't and haven't shown a willingness to pay for a good school for every kid--so we've presently drawn the line at a very low level of payment for fairness, but not a high enough payment to ensure adequate services to move substantially closer to fairness. Or as Joe Biden('s dad) likes to put it more succinctly, "don't tell me what your values are, show me your budget".

Warren Buffett also makes a very good argument for fairness, in which he discusses the fact that the people who are rewarded at higher levels by the market do indeed have skills and produce outputs which are valued at that level by the market (unless there's corruption, nepotism, boardroom salary/compensation package back-scratching, etc., but I'll leave those aside), but they still wouldn't be able to earn their high salaries without the contributions of all the employees in the economy who have lower value added jobs...i.e. McDonald's couldn't exist without all the people flipping burgers for minimum wage, and while these workers are valued by the market at a very low level, the CEO and people in management positions would be able to manage a company or product at all without the people there to flip burgers. So when people say "its my money, not the government's" it ignores the fact that their earnings come from a collective effort in which they occupy the more highly rewarded postions, but that there would be no earnings or wealth created without the inputs of the employees at the lower levels of compensation. OMG, I just used the word "collective" in America, but fortunately that doesn't effect whether or not the analysis is correct. Of course we're never going to divide profits and wealth equally, but we can as a society say that if you want to engage in the market and are richly rewarded because your talents and contributions are valued at a high level by it, you'll have to give back more to others in less highly rewarded positions with less wealth, because one of the rules of our game is that we believe in a higher level of justice than markets alone provide, and there's no reason that markets and purely laissez-faire capitalism have to be our only value and ideal. Alright, I'll leave it there, but btw, giving back to a country that has provided you with great opportunities to achieve wealth and success is a fairly decent definition for patriotism, wouldn'tcha say? And of course it'd be interesting to hear all of your thoughts on these issues, especially to hear some conservatives discuss whether they believe in an attempt by government to achieve any level of justice at all, or if we should just say bad luck to people who get the short end of the stick--oddly enough, conservatives never seem to want to discuss these issues, but then again I suppose its easier to avoid looking at poverty and injustice than to confront them and either admit one doesn't care about justice or poor people at all, or try to rationalize that one really does care about them and feels that trickle-down economics, etc. are really honest attempts at achieving a greater level of justice, when the evidence and any trip to the North side of Philly or Memphis or New Orleans or Appalachia offer a clear refutation of such arguments by their very existence and the fact that we still have such persistent poverty in many pockets of the country... ANyway, surely a little discussion of the root philosophical and moral issues underlying our political debates would be more interesting once in a while than more predictions which we'll know the answers to in a month or two? ;)

piscivorous
04-26-2008, 11:43 PM
You may have a point somewhere in but it is to intimidating to even look a such lengthy paragraphs much less read them.

pod2
04-27-2008, 03:02 AM
Ok, you started out on a strong, intelligible argument. Merritt's participation in this diavlog was very close to worthless. It was clear that she was not here to think out loud or engage her interlocutor's remarks, but was just rehearsing tired talking points. How many times can someone repeat the same catch phrases: "Hillary's win was a breath of fresh air," "Floridians came out to vote in record numbers," "The tide is turning" ...etc. etc. ad nauseum without addressing ANY of her co-diavloger's points?

If I wanted talking points repeated over and over, constantly interrupting legitimate questions raised by the other side, I would tune into al-hurrah or cctv. This kind of behavior on Bloggingheads really does deserve some sort of apology. I have seen commenters go apoplectic and Jonah Goldberg's comments, but this is entirely different species-wise. Goldberg, while many of his views may be delusional, at least attempts to address the points brought up in the dialogue. Merritt's MO seems to be: interrupt, change topic, interrupt, change subject, interrupt, dismiss without addressing.

Indiana more important to superdels than North Carolina? Because IN is more likely to be in play in November than NC? This kind of argument is insulting to voters, superdels, Obama, and even Clinton. She is incredibly intelligent, and would probably be appalled at the ham-handed attempts at advocacy presented by speakers such as Ms. Merritt. Please, let's give Clinton a little more credit than this.

pod2
04-27-2008, 03:21 AM
And like I said: None of them (unlike Hillary) were taking any downstream electoral re-election risk in doing so. So it's you who have told us nada.
EW

This is kind of interesting. Are you saying that Obama, by speaking out publicly against the war in 2003, by attending antiwar rallies and making speeches in opposition to the invasion was engaged in invisible, risk-free activities? I think you mean that Obama did not face the political pressure to go along with the resolution that Hillary did. I agree with you there. But Hillary's history of subjecting herself to political pressure and then acquiescing is exactly the reason I don't support her candidacy. As Wonderment has posted, there were many congressional reps who stood up to the political pressure and, by my reckoning, deserve the nomination more than Clinton. Including Jerrold Nadler, who represents probably the most Likudnik, AIPAC-driven constituency in the country--the upper west side of Manhattan. If Nadler could handle the pressure, we should expect a senator as powerful as Clinton to handle it, deliberately engineered timing or not.

Eastwest
04-27-2008, 06:00 AM
Are you saying that Obama, by speaking out publicly against the war in 2003, by attending antiwar rallies and making speeches in opposition to the invasion was engaged in invisible, risk-free activities?

Given his position in his state's legislature, yes, that's precisely what I'm saying. He was jeopardizing exactly nothing.

EW

brucds
04-27-2008, 10:40 AM
This is a completely idiotic argument - especially since you've provided absolutely zero persuasive evidence that Hillary was driven to her vote because of her Jewish constituency, as opposed to her overall political opportunism and cowardice in presenting herself as a "hawk". The most important question is, who did the right thing ?

brucds
04-27-2008, 10:42 AM
Frankly, buddy, your entire presentation here, from the first post, has been a load of crap and waste of everyone's time, given the high level arrogance, vitriol and hostility. If you want to come on this strong, better have some serious argument to back it up. Otherwise STFU.

Eastwest
04-27-2008, 03:03 PM
Frankly, buddy, your entire presentation here, from the first post, has been a load of crap and waste of everyone's time, given the high level arrogance, vitriol and hostility. If you want to come on this strong, better have some serious argument to back it up. Otherwise STFU.

You certainly are the best person in all of this to give sermons on "vitriol" and "hostility."

You have the mind of an infant and the mouth of a thug.

Congratulations on reaching the zenith of your potential.

EW

brucds
04-27-2008, 03:54 PM
You started out with a thuggish proposition, laced in vitriol. And did a terrible job of backiing it up. So you deserved any contempt that leaked through my responses and you wasted everybody's time by clinging to a series of lame arguments, even as they crumbled under closer examination. The "Her support by Jews made Hillary vote for the war - and Barack would have too if he'd been as surrounded by Jewish voters" angle was particularly pathetic.

AemJeff
04-27-2008, 04:16 PM
brucds, your choice of adjectives and general tone don't particularly distinguish you from anybody else engaged in name calling here.

look
04-27-2008, 07:29 PM
Re Look's:
As is abundantly clear, I think Obama-philes are just too mesmerized to bring their skepticism and critical faculties to bear where they otherwise might be well-inclined to do so. It's not a question of an intelligence deficit. It's a question of whether they're bothering to put it to any use.

Will you please tie everything together with regard to your belief that Obama would voted as Hillary did because of Jewish constituents/if he had Jewish constituents. You didn't answer a few items such as Wonderment's:

False. You have claimed the Jews made her do it, when in fact Jewish voters were overwhelmingly against the war and several other Jewish and non-Jewish senators with large Jewish constituencies voted against the authorization, as did NYC Jewish reps in the House like Nadler who represents "most of Manhattan's Upper West Side, and continues south to include most parts of Clinton, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa, and Downtown Manhattan. In Brooklyn, the 8th District includes parts of Boro Park, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and Seagate."


And mine, a couple post up:

On the other hand, he has the most liberal voting record in the Senate and supports such things lib ideas as a massive increase in the capital gains tax. So, I don't think it's a stretch to say he would probably have voted against the war.

With regard to my point, Hillary was probably voting to establish a warhawk standing and to impress any Zionists in her Jewish constituency. Obama would have been likely to do the opposite to establish himself further left, to build his rep as a lib.

Wonderment
04-27-2008, 08:21 PM
With regard to my point, Hillary was probably voting to establish a warhawk standing and to impress any Zionists in her Jewish constituency.

I think EW's argument on Hillary is ridiculous. But it's also worth noting
that even arch-Zionist right wing opinion was divided on the Iraq War. Bush was seen as a madman even by some powerful Likudniks on the Israeli right. Although some American neo-con fanatics felt they were doing it for Israel, several actual Israel right-wingers criticized the war.

It's true that Israelis hated Sadam (for good reason), but it doesn't follow from that that they would support an invasion, regime change and occupation with all its attendant risks for widening the conflict in the neighborhood.

In the Gulf War, Sadam did not retaliate against the US. He sent Scud missiles into Israel. And it was Israelis, not Americans, who had to put on gas masks and go through emergency drills during Iraq War II's Shock and Awe. There was also fear that Saddam would unleash a few suicide bombers on Israel in retaliation.

From an analysis by Dore Gold:

Speaking in August 2002, Israel's former defense minister, Moshe Arens, [considered by many to have been the Likud's ideological anchor on the right-- Wikipedia] concluded that in the immediate future, "the [missile] threat that Israel most likely will have to contend with" is that of Syria. He described the Iraqi capability as "relatively limited." During the same month, Israel's current chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, declared in Jerusalem that the threat posed by Iraq "doesn't make me lose sleep." In an open address at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in October 2002, the former head of analysis for Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, explained to an Israeli audience that since the Iraqi missile units had not conducted military exercises and lacked spare parts, the Iraqi threat to Israel was minimal.

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 08:31 PM
Wonderment:

I think EW's argument on Hillary is ridiculous.

I don't think the first half is, where EW said she voted yes to boost her hawk cred (or, equivalently, to avoid being painted as "soft").

Wonderment
04-27-2008, 08:38 PM
I don't think the first half is, where EW said she voted yes to boost her hawk cred (or, equivalently, to avoid being painted as "soft").

Yes, that, I agree, is true and was apparent to all at the time.

EW just went off the deep end on the Jews.

As far as Clinton's War Authorization vote being opportunistic and a play for the 2008 presidential "commander-in-chiefiness" sweepstakes, you bet! Biden and Edwards too, although Edwards had the decency to confess and repent.

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 08:49 PM
As far as Clinton's War Authorization vote being opportunistic and a play for the 2008 presidential "commander-in-chiefiness" sweepstakes, you bet! Biden and Edwards too, although Edwards had the decency to confess and repent.

I think you could say for any Democrat that it was just as much the case that he or she voted in favor purely to avoid being tagged by the GOP. Following form this, I think most probably thought the war was going to be as easy and quick as it was being sold. This raises another real question of judgment, along with the one that asks why people in Congress were so uncritical of the intelligence assessments regarding WMD and ties to terrorists.

pod2
04-27-2008, 09:25 PM
A lot of me agrees with you. Here's the part that doesn't.

First, the process of selecting a nominee is not the same thing as the process of electing an officeholder. It is up to the party to decide how it wants to do this.

Second, I kind of like the idea of some brakes available to be applied in case of emergency. In between the dangers of the herd mentality and the deplorable tendency for many in the media to jump on the front-runner's bandwagon, I don't hate the idea of people with experience having a little disproportionate clout. In reality, their veto is far from absolute -- since most of them are themselves elected officials, they're not going to go too far in overturning popular will.

I'll be the first to concede that insiders can be just as dumb or self-interested as the average voter, and I wouldn't wail if the Dems switched to a pure popular vote to pick the nominee, but I don't hate the thought of superdelegates in the abstract.


Which part of this argument would not apply to the general election? or elections in general?

There's another piece, too. Having superdelegates means that a few early wins, in wildly unrepresentative states, I might add, are less likely to secure the nomination. Here, I'd be happy to do away with the superdelegates if we set up a system where Iowa and NH weren't always the first two contests.


The rationale for the early states is actually to address just this issue: Iowa representing the midwest, NH the east coast, SC the south, and NV the west. Starting out with a big super duper Tuesday would favor those candidates who had the biggest war chest, wouldn't it?

look
04-27-2008, 09:38 PM
I think you could say for any Democrat that it was just as much the case that he or she voted in favor purely to avoid being tagged by the GOP. Following form this, I think most probably thought the war was going to be as easy and quick as it was being sold. This raises another real question of judgment, along with the one that asks why people in Congress were so uncritical of the intelligence assessments regarding WMD and ties to terrorists.Or why Hillary didn't read the NIE.

Anyway, EW's original phrasing didn't refer to Hillary establishing Hawk credentials, but seems to be saying that if Barack were Hillary he would have voted like Hillary. (In another post he says that Barack would be unlikely to have been voted in by her constituency in the first place.):

Re Wonderment's:


Quote:
None of the three major candidates can be trusted to end the war....

Please do not harbor unrealistic expectations of Obama.... he and Hillary are both making campaign promises neither can fulfill.

Supporters of Obama need to be ready to hold him accountable on ISSUES and RESULTS, not charisma, oratory or trappings of diversity.

Well, that's the big problem, isn't it?: The chronic dishonesty of politicians. I never suggested Hillary was anything but a street fighter and would never have held that against Obama, either, but for his obvious and undeniable hypocrisy.

Hillary never claimed to be a virgin.

Yet Obama is actually telling the biggest lie (as its the only arrow in his quiver): There is no way, if he was in Hillary's boots on "authorization day," he wouldn't have voted exactly as Hillary voted, this because representing a heavily Jewish senatorial base, failure to make such a vote would have ended his political career forever.

Nonetheless, even though he's clearly just as bad a political liar, he arrogantly and duplicitously proclaims he's as pure as new-driven snow, bringing an entirely new politics and "change" to an inherently unfixable system.

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 09:55 PM
pod2:

Which part of this argument would not apply to the general election? or elections in general?

I don't think we could have a body that could overrule the popular vote in the general election because I don't know how you'd choose the members of this body. Senior people attain their positions in a party by virtue of service to their party, and the analog would be, for the general election, people who have given service to their country. I'll add a reminder: I'm not completely sold on the wisdom of superdelegates for the party; it's just that I can see the case for their existence once one takes the party system as a given. But for the general election, I can't come up with a defense of the notion of a body with power to veto the popular vote, even in the abstract. (I've neglected the realities that it's not strictly a popular vote and that there are small cabals with disproportionate clout, obviously.)

The rationale for the early states is actually to address just this issue: Iowa representing the midwest, NH the east coast, SC the south, and NV the west. Starting out with a big super duper Tuesday would favor those candidates who had the biggest war chest, wouldn't it?

I don't want the primaries to start with a Super Tuesday by any means. I agree with you: we should seek a system which does not privilege those with a big war chest going in. I'm quite happy to start with a couple of small states, then a couple more, then a couple more. I just don't think it should always be Iowa and NH.

Why not, say, let Rhode Island take a turn once in a while? That's the smallest state, as I'm sure you know, which lets poor candidates have a chance. It's also not particularly blue the way, say, Vermont is, so both parties could have meaningful contests there. And, it has the added benefit of a several difference constituencies in a very compact space: the urban vote (from Providence), youngsters (from all the colleges), seniors (RI is one of the oldest states, on average, or at least was when I lived there), suburbia, and some real off-the-beaten track types. There are even limousine liberals in Newport and Jamestown!

The state of Washington strikes me as another good candidate for going first once in a while, for the same reasons: pretty small, good demographic mix, not extremely red or blue.

I think it's less important to have representative states in the geographic sense, in other words, and would prefer an emphasis given to different groups. And even if the geographic idea is not subject to debate, I don't see why Iowa always gets to speak for the Midwest, and I don't see why the first cut at a national candidate always gets to be made by people with interests that are very different from most of the rest of us.

brucds
04-27-2008, 10:18 PM
"don't distinguish yourself"

As I've said, I'll respond to people at the level they establish. EW started out with pure vitriol against Obama. He earned an equivalent response to what was, in fact, a pretty inane argument. Politeness to certain types is over-rated. Some folks deserve to be dealt with directly on the terms of argument they've established for themselves. People who are verbal bullies need to b e bullied right back.

AemJeff
04-27-2008, 10:24 PM
As I've said, I'll respond to people at the level they establish. EW started out with pure vitriol against Obama. He earned an equivalent response to what was, in fact, a pretty inane argument. Politeness to certain types is over-rated. Some folks deserve to be dealt with directly on the terms of argument they've established for themselves. People who are verbal bullies need to b e bullied right back.

I've reacted angrily once or twice in the past couple of days - I'm definitely living in a glass house, here. But I'd hate to see vitriol become the dominant mode on BHTV.

Wonderment
04-27-2008, 10:24 PM
This raises another real question of judgment, along with the one that asks why people in Congress were so uncritical of the intelligence assessments regarding WMD and ties to terrorists.

That is indeed the scary part. I tend to disagree with Look that part of the problem was not reading the data. With such large staffs and so much input from voters, that is hard to swallow.

Our Congressional rep., Lois Capps, who is no big shot with access to generals and diplomats and heads of state like Hillary, had, nevertheless, no problem understanding the issues and what was at stake. She, like dozens of others in Congress, listened to the pro-war arguments and felt they were insufficient, specious and deceptive. Thus, no authorization for the use of force.

(Of course, the MSM did contribute to the war fever and war propaganda. That could be part of a better Hillary argument: The NYT made me do it. )

But even assuming the validity of Hillary's current thesis -- that the intelligence suggested a probability that SH retained some WMD technology and had tricked the inspectors, and that said intelligence -- unfortunately -- subsequently turned out to be wrong -- she still exercised horrible trigger-happy judgment.

Basically, among world leaders who share with us a vested interest in not getting nuked or hit with smallpox, only Bush and Blair wanted this war. Only Bush and Blair cooked up the imminent existential threat bullshit, complete with mushroom clouds.

Although a few countries would get sucked into the coalition of the willing vortex, most everyone everywhere understood that SH represented no serious threat to the US and its allies. The invasion of Iraq was an exercise in unilateral bullying, displaying in its perpetrators a sadistic streak and a reckless disregard for the cost in blood and human misery.

Meanwhile, Clinton CONTINUES to pursue the strategy of proving how tough she is. Last week she released the "totally obliterate" genocide threat against Iran. This is an outrageous and gratuitous threat that actually sounds worse than whatever McCain and his fellow-hawks might say on the subject.

pod2
04-27-2008, 10:31 PM
pod2:



I don't think we could have a body that could overrule the popular vote in the general election because I don't know how you'd choose the members of this body.

How about the supreme court?

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 10:35 PM
pod2:

I presume that was a joke. I did laugh.

AemJeff
04-27-2008, 10:36 PM
Our Congressional rep., Lois Capps, who is no big shot with access to generals and diplomats and heads of state like Hillary, had, nevertheless, no problem understanding the issues and what was at stake. She, like dozens of others in Congress, listened to the pro-war arguments and felt they were insufficient, specious and deceptive. Thus, no authorization for the use of force.


Much as I agree with you on the merits, Wonderment, on this particular issue my inclination is to give Hillary a pass. I strongly believe the judgment of the CINC should be the beneficiary of a strong bias on the part of Congress. Generally, the executive is entrusted with defense and has access to data and analysis in excess of what's directly available to the legislature. I don't presume to know what Hillary's political calculation was at the time, but absent future knowledge of the craven nature this Administrarion has demonstrated since, I'd say she made a reasonable call.

pod2
04-27-2008, 10:43 PM
pod2:


Why not, say, let Rhode Island take a turn once in a while? That's the smallest state, as I'm sure you know, which lets poor candidates have a chance. It's also not particularly blue the way, say, Vermont is, so both parties could have meaningful contests there. And, it has the added benefit of a several difference constituencies in a very compact space: the urban vote (from Providence), youngsters (from all the colleges), seniors (RI is one of the oldest states, on average, or at least was when I lived there), suburbia, and some real off-the-beaten track types. There are even limousine liberals in Newport and Jamestown!

The state of Washington strikes me as another good candidate for going first once in a while, for the same reasons: pretty small, good demographic mix, not extremely red or blue.

I think it's less important to have representative states in the geographic sense, in other words, and would prefer an emphasis given to different groups. And even if the geographic idea is not subject to debate, I don't see why Iowa always gets to speak for the Midwest, and I don't see why the first cut at a national candidate always gets to be made by people with interests that are very different from most of the rest of us.


Ok, these are interesting ideas, and there is no reason that it shouldn't rotate, but this gets away from your initial argument that, since Iowa, NH, NV and SC were unrepresentative, therefore the entire contest can justly be overruled by party overlords. I believe the word "herd" was used.

Iowa, South Carolina, NH, and Nevada are not picked just because of their geographic diversity, their populations actually mirror important demographics within the party and within the general electorate.

If the process is flawed because of its unrepresentative nature, the solution is not to assert the right of the powerful to decide for us, it is to fix the process so that it's fairer and more representative. imho

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 10:44 PM
look:

Or why Hillary didn't read the NIE.

Laziness could well be part of what I called the "uncritical assessment" by Congress, although in her case, I would be surprised if she didn't, or at least have a trusted aide read it and brief her thoroughly.

Anyway, EW's original phrasing didn't refer to Hillary establishing Hawk credentials, but seems to be saying that if Barack were Hillary he would have voted like Hillary. (In another post he says that Barack would be unlikely to have been voted in by her constituency in the first place.):

This gets into multiplying hypotheticals, of course. My guess, for what it's worth, is that Obama would have voted the same way if he were already in the US Senate. Certainly he was already taking the long view of his political career by then. I don't think either assigned much weight to the possible reactions from their constituencies, if by that term it is meant only voters in their respective states. I think Obama mostly voted his conscience, with an awareness of political consequences on the national level, and I think Clinton voted mostly with regard to her plan to run for president.

I don't have any opinion on how either considered the question in the context of Jewish voters.

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 10:50 PM
Ok, these are interesting ideas, and there is no reason that it shouldn't rotate, but this gets away from your initial argument that, since Iowa, NH, NV and SC were unrepresentative, therefore the entire contest can justly be overruled by party overlords. I believe the word "herd" was used.

Iowa, South Carolina, NH, and Nevada are not picked just because of their geographic diversity, their populations actually mirror important demographics within the party and within the general electorate.

If the process is flawed because of its unrepresentative nature, the solution is not to assert the right of the powerful to decide for us, it is to fix the process so that it's fairer and more representative. imho

Generally, I agree with you. I do want to add a point of clarification, though. I wasn't trying to argue that the superdelegates should exist because the same states always go first. The two are separate issues in my mind. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough earlier. What I was trying to say, originally, is that the issue of the SDs is not that important to me, when I consider other aspects of the primary process to be more severely flawed.

To reiterate: (1) I strongly believe that the same states shouldn't always go first, and separately, (2) I can see the case for the superdelegates, even if problem (1) were solved. I should also stress that I am not a fan of the SDs; it's just that I can see the merits to the argument for them.

pod2
04-27-2008, 11:11 PM
Generally, I agree with you. I do want to add a point of clarification, though. I wasn't trying to argue that the superdelegates should exist because the same states always go first. The two are separate issues in my mind. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough earlier. What I was trying to say, originally, is that the issue of the SDs is not that important to me, when I consider other aspects of the primary process to be more severely flawed.

To reiterate: (1) I strongly believe that the same states shouldn't always go first, and separately, (2) I can see the case for the superdelegates, even if problem (1) were solved. I should also stress that I am not a fan of the SDs; it's just that I can see the merits to the argument for them.

I'm just trying to address your justification of the superdels. THe case against them:
1) I can't believe that this is necessary, but, here goes...overruling elections is inherently undemocratic.
2) party politics granting members power orders of magnitude greater than the electorate belongs properly in the realm of Deng and Brezhnev.
3) disenfranchising voters doesn't play well as a pr device, and building this disenfranchisement into the structure of the nomination process seems willfully dumb. The number of discussions of superdels, who can choose based on any criteria at all, is destructive to D/democratic memes.

The arguments for:
1) More states should get chance to vote first. THis argument is a non sequitor. It does not justify overlordism.
2) The herds could make a mistake, and overlords should have the right to overrule. This argument plays just as well in the general election, and actually happened in 2000. Unfortunately, it is not democratic, and I have a special affinity for democracy, as do you.
3) the entire process is flawed. Agreed, but fixing it does not involve putting less power in the hands of voters.

bjkeefe
04-27-2008, 11:20 PM
pod2:

In my heart, I agree with you: do away with the SDs and let the people pick.

I just don't think the argument against is a slam dunk, especially given the way an early advantage can end the race prematurely. But if it were up to me, and I had to make the call right now with everything else staying the same, I would choose to eliminate the SDs.

Wonderment
04-27-2008, 11:30 PM
I don't presume to know what Hillary's political calculation was at the time, but absent future knowledge of the craven nature this Administrarion has demonstrated since, I'd say she made a reasonable call.

I will stipulate to Sadam having WMDs. Even given that, it was still a horrible vote. The existence of WMDs somewhere on the planet where the US government does not want them is not a justification for preemptive war.

Furthermore, not knowing what Bush and Cheney would be like given a green light for war is even worse of a dereliction of duty by Clinton and company.

It was painfully obvious to millions of people all over the planet that Bush was a bullying hawk with a sadistic streak. He already had earned his rep as a reckless cowboy. He had already gone off the deep end with his "axis of evil." He had already changed US nuclear weapons policy. He had already dissed the UN, pulled out of the International Criminal Court, and he had already articulated a doctrine of preemptive, unilateral war. The entire neo-con war-mongering machinery was in place, waiting only for an enabling mass media and a cowardly and opportunistic Congress. Bingo. You're authorized.

AemJeff
04-28-2008, 12:35 AM
The existence of WMDs somewhere on the planet where the US government does not want them is not a justification for preemptive war.

I don't think this characterization is right. The existence of WMD's (read nukes) in Sadaam's hands would have been a disaster. If this had actually proven to have been the case, I believe there's almost no chance that any administration, run by anybody who's had a credible chance at the office since Bush I, wouldn't have taken action. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld invaded Afghanistan, an action I still don't find fault with and certainly, at the the time, didn't seem to obviously presage the incredible combination of arrogance and incompetence that the invasion of Iraq represents.

I didn't like them, then. I think they win the Worst In My Lifetime contest without question. But, and this is the point, had what they argued at the time been true, the action they eventually took would have been reasonable.

It was painfully obvious to millions of people all over the planet that Bush was a bullying hawk with a sadistic streak. He already had earned his rep as a reckless cowboy. He had already gone off the deep end with his "axis of evil." He had already changed US nuclear weapons policy. He had already dissed the UN, pulled out of the International Criminal Court, and he had already articulated a doctrine of preemptive, unilateral war. The entire neo-con war-mongering machinery was in place, waiting only for an enabling mass media and a cowardly and opportunistic Congress. Bingo. You're authorized.

None of the above was ever going to be part of the calculations of anybody in Congress except for a small minority on the left. It's not reasonable for you to assume that your ideological biases - which swing pretty far to one side (thats not an implied criticism, I wish I had your clarity) are going to have even been close to the consensus view in the US Congress. And the standard of reasonableness can't be "substantially see things like I do."

Ok, I've had half a scotch and an ambien - I hope this is relatively coherent. I'll see when I read it in the morning.

TwinSwords
04-28-2008, 12:57 AM
I've reacted angrily once or twice in the past couple of days - I'm definitely living in a glass house, here. But I'd hate to see vitriol become the dominant mode on BHTV.

I think it will at least be a prominent feature, if not the dominant mode, until the election passes. Until then, it's only going to get worse. I'm already amazed at how bad it has become (here), so I hate to think how much worse it's going to get.

Wonderment
04-28-2008, 01:25 AM
Ok, I've had half a scotch and an ambien - I hope this is relatively coherent. I'll see when I read it in the morning.

Yes, it is coherent, Jeff. We'll just have to agree to disagree on a couple of points. Sweet dreams!

bjkeefe
04-28-2008, 05:24 AM
Stanley Fish has a nice post up (http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/much-ado/) on why Ayers doesn't matter.

Wonderment
04-28-2008, 06:07 AM
Stanley Fish has a nice post up on why Ayers doesn't matter.

Arrrrrghhhhhh! How dare you? Charlie Manson, Helter Skelter, Ché Guevara, terrorists, 9/11, unrepentant, no flag pin, not-God-Bless-but GODDAMNAmerikkka in my Indonesian Madrassa! What do you mean no guilt by association? Obama knows Dohrn who who knew Tom Hayden who knew Huey Newton who knew Gus Hall who knew Josef Stalin!!!!! "Barry" Hussein Obama is a Stalinist race hustler traitor Islamofascist commie. Grrrrrrrrr.

Mac is Back! Take 100 years of that!

TwinSwords
04-28-2008, 07:59 AM
Nice post, there; you (or the person you got it from) obviously put a little bit of work into it. And I'm not going to fact-check the whole thing, but I do have a couple of questions.

Obama (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/11/ferraros-remarks-about-o_n_91008.html), himself, singles Ferraro out, attacking her in the national media:

Do you have a source for that? The source you provided has the quote, but no evidence that Obama "himself singles Ferraro out." He might have been responding to a question, for example; that would not qualify as "singling her out himself."

Bloggin' Noggin
04-28-2008, 01:55 PM
Ok, I've had half a scotch and an ambien - I hope this is relatively coherent. I'll see when I read it in the morning.

A kind of updated version of the Nixon cocktail -- pills, alcohol and comment board (rather than telephone).

AemJeff
04-28-2008, 02:22 PM
A kind of updated version of the Nixon cocktail -- pills, alcohol and comment board (rather than telephone).

Heh. Thankfully, in my case, there's so much less at stake.

TwinSwords
04-28-2008, 08:38 PM
CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/12/ferraro.comments/index.html#cnnSTCVideo) has a video link.
Okay, thank you. But that link doesn't support your claim that "Obama, himself, singled Ferraro out."

Sure: Other people attacked Ferraro. But where's your evidence for the claim you are posting in various threads that Obama, himself, singled her out?

If no evidence of your claim is forthcoming, then what are we to conclude about the veracity of the rest of your long, detailed post? What are we to conclude about your veracity?



Relentlessly negative right from the gate,
So, you're now saying that from February 2007, Obama has been "relentlessly negative" and "hurling accusations of racism at critics." We both know you can't back that up. (Because it's not true.)



Obama and his proxies have been hurling accusations of racism
Really? Obama? Can you cite some sources for these multiple (plural) instances of Obama hurling accusations of racism? Or are we just supposed to take the fact-free Fox News narrative on faith?



Lower than pond-scum and entirely without scruple.
Just so you know, that's called "raving."

TwinSwords
04-29-2008, 01:44 PM
We're not parsing at this level, are we?
Parsing?

I just asked you to back up your claim that "Obama, himself, singled Ferraro out." You apparently can't do so, and I think I know the reason why: it never happened. Which raises the questions:

— Why are you saying stuff that apparently isn't true?
— What else are you saying that is untrue?



Do you really hold that Obama wasn't part of the campaign to vilify Ferraro?
Saying Obama was "part of the campaign to vilify Ferraro" is wholly different from the claim "Obama, himself, singled Ferraro out." My concern is that you have made statements that you cannot support with facts. That calls into question your veracity. It essentially proves what everyone already knew:

You are so unhinged in your loathing of Obama that you are taking liberties with the truth to make your point.



And that his culpability in this lynching is actually contingent on whether or not he was replying to a question
No. What I am saying is that your veracity is actually contingent on whether you can provide a factual foundation for your allegations. So far, it appears that you cannot meet this simple test.



when he condemned Ferraro in such unforgiving terms?
Please cite a source showing when Obama "condemned Ferraro in such unforgiving terms."



somehow my credibility is suspect; because I'm citing CNN?
You know I never questioned your credibility because you cited CNN. I questioned your credibility because you made a statement that I think is false. And when I asked you for a source, you provided a link to CNN that in no way proved your point.



(could have been the NYT.)
Then why wasn't it? If you have a link from the NYT supporting any of your wild claims, please post it up.

In particular, I'd like some evidence for any of the following:

— "Obama, himself, singled Ferraro out."
— Obama has been "relentlessly negative" since February, 2007.
— Obama has been "hurling accusations of racism at critics."


Couple of quick questions for you:
— If you can't prove these charges, why are you making them?
— Do you actually believe them yourself, despite your lack of evidence, or do you just expect us to believe them?




Had Obama kept completely silent on Ferraro, would he not, as the candidate, bear ultimate responsibility for the national attack?
Obama is not responsible for the media frenzy du jour.




Fact is: Obama did, himself, condemn Ferraro.
Link please.




You make no effort to refute the substance of the charge.
I am simply asking you to provide a factual basis for your allegations.




you try to build a case against me, as an individual.
Hey, the case against you as a person isn't my fault. It was your fault the minute you starting saying things you cannot prove.

I will grant you the following: There is substantial emotional content to your posts. People who share your loathing of Obama will be delighted by your emotionally intense posts, and will not care about your inability to actually, you know, prove what you are saying. In your milieu, facts don't really matter. It's just so much "parsing," and parsing definitely takes the edge off the raving. When it's the raving that you find so appealing, the cost of parsing is too great to bear.



I'll be pleased to give it a fair reading.
Hahaha!

At least you've retained your sense of humor. Good one!

handle
04-29-2008, 10:19 PM
Sorry, I stand corrected.
Whatfur, you are trying to speak for the heartland, but I suspect you are one of those angry fox news watching guys who makes over a 100k. I'm more of a conservative than those guys, they are more of a radical group of corporate fascists. Too bad nobody likes your war, or your son of a bush anymore, in case you haven't seen the polls.
Theres nothing conservative about spending 8+ billion per month on an occupation that has no end in sight.
Here's how I see it Mr. "heartland", or are you a stock broker from NYC?
If your jeep gets stuck in the mud, you don't just floor it and spin your wheels until the gas runs out. You go back and forth and sideways and find a way out, because you can't change mud. On the flip side, I'm having a hard time with some democrats, because instead of getting dirty, we want to dream of a world where there is no mud.
So I disagree with your assertion that most people want to stay in your 6 month turned into 6 year and counting war. It's real nice and all, but we just cant afford it.
So Whatfur, since you are obviously glued to FOX propaganda, maybe you could enlighten us as to the rational du jour for this quagmire? It sure didn't turn out to be cheap oil...
You might want to avoid the "surge is working" argument as I think the jury is in on that pack 'o lies.
P.S. My swift boat comment was a joke. The fact that you guys would attack anybody who actually served over there was completely obscene, and your backpedaling is just as reprehensible.

dullurd
04-30-2008, 07:01 PM
I have to agree with what many here have said: Ms. Merritt, like Sen Clinton, is transparently evasive, illogical and intellectually dishonest. To quell my ad hominem longings, I have to add that she's unrelentingly whiny and shrill.

One huge elephant in the room that I haven't really seen any journalist touch upon is that educated voters overwhelmingly support Obama. And unless one is doing keg stands of Clinton kool aid, one must admit that education is correlated with intelligence. The majority of smart people (though certainly not all) can't stomach Clinton's stale intellectual dishonesty. Ms. Merritt is intelligent, but shows her stunning intellectual dishonesty when she argues for the legitimacy of the Michigan results.

Also, I'm pretty sure Obama has said he'll campaign for Hillary if she wins, don't know why Kleiman conceded that.

In conclusion, I like Kleiman's beard.

pod2
05-02-2008, 12:30 AM
I don't think this characterization is right. The existence of WMD's (read nukes) in Sadaam's hands would have been a disaster. If this had actually proven to have been the case, I believe there's almost no chance that any administration, run by anybody who's had a credible chance at the office since Bush I, wouldn't have taken action.

Does this logic apply to any other country in the world? If chinese citizens had this attitude, would we have any sympathy? This logic explicitly justifies an Iraqi invasion of the US. It explicitly justifies Iranian or Syrian bombing raids on Florida, Wyoming, California, etc. Enemy possession of WMD does not qualify as casus bellum, and we all know it. Pretending otherwise is delusional.

AemJeff
05-02-2008, 01:41 AM
Does this logic apply to any other country in the world? If chinese citizens had this attitude, would we have any sympathy? This logic explicitly justifies an Iraqi invasion of the US. It explicitly justifies Iranian or Syrian bombing raids on Florida, Wyoming, California, etc. Enemy possession of WMD does not qualify as casus bellum, and we all know it. Pretending otherwise is delusional.

Delusional? You paint with a pretty broad brush. The logic you assume assigns the same weight to all of the players. That's pretty evidently simplistic.

Saddam's played a game of high stakes brinkmanship that set him apart. You can argue whether that means he crossed a threshold or not; but you can't argue that he was a generic "enemy" equivalent to every other head of state in every state we have a beef with. That just wasn't case.

You'd also have a hard time making the case that he'd have been judged by the standards you're arguing by any of the possible presidents during the relevant period of of time. And that's really what my argument was. There's no way that anybody with a finite chance of achieving the Presidency between 1988 and 2004 would have left a Saddam with nukes unmolested.

pod2
05-02-2008, 09:05 PM
Delusional? You paint with a pretty broad brush. The logic you assume assigns the same weight to all of the players. That's pretty evidently simplistic.
.

I guess I don't understand how the possession of WMD by any country would justify a war of aggression against it.

Logical justification of this kind, if we apply these rules generally, would mean that an invasion of the US by any number of our enemies would be somehow ok.

I take your point to be more along the lines of realpolitik might makes right, etc. But in the real world where different players have different weight, your argument is that Iraq's possession of nuclear weapons would result in US invasion by any post Bush I president? I guess I may agree with you that many of the candidates may SAY that they would be in favor of such an invasion, I'm hard pressed to find any case where the development of a nuclear deterrent has EVER resulted in an invasion. The converse seems to describe the world we live in better: get nukes, you're safe from invasion. Can't think of any exception. Can you?

piscivorous
05-02-2008, 09:32 PM
Talk about a strawmaqn argument. I can think of four countries that we have invaded since WWII Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan and Iraq twice. But you are correct non of them had nuclear weapons.

AemJeff
05-03-2008, 01:51 AM
I guess I don't understand how the possession of WMD by any country would justify a war of aggression against it.

Logical justification of this kind, if we apply these rules generally, would mean that an invasion of the US by any number of our enemies would be somehow ok.

I take your point to be more along the lines of realpolitik might makes right, etc. But in the real world where different players have different weight, your argument is that Iraq's possession of nuclear weapons would result in US invasion by any post Bush I president? I guess I may agree with you that many of the candidates may SAY that they would be in favor of such an invasion, I'm hard pressed to find any case where the development of a nuclear deterrent has EVER resulted in an invasion. The converse seems to describe the world we live in better: get nukes, you're safe from invasion. Can't think of any exception. Can you?

Actually it would be the imminent possession of nuclear weaponry that would be most likely to provoke an aggressive reaction. The Norks presented a fait accompli and somehow they remain unmolested. (That and they have so much artillery pointed at Seoul that nukes really didn't shift the strategic balance as dramatically as it might have elsewhere.) But somebody who's about to to acquire ordinance on that level for the first time is going to reshuffle power arrangements in a way that tends to piss off the current power players.

pod2
05-03-2008, 11:34 PM
Talk about a strawmaqn argument. I can think of four countries that we have invaded since WWII Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan and Iraq twice. But you are correct non of them had nuclear weapons.

So you agree with me. Actual possession of nukes presents a deterrent.

pod2
05-03-2008, 11:42 PM
Actually it would be the imminent possession of nuclear weaponry that would be most likely to provoke an aggressive reaction. The Norks presented a fait accompli and somehow they remain unmolested. (That and they have so much artillery pointed at Seoul that nukes really didn't shift the strategic balance as dramatically as it might have elsewhere.) But somebody who's about to to acquire ordinance on that level for the first time is going to reshuffle power arrangements in a way that tends to piss off the current power players.

I'm tempted to agree with you about imminent nuclear weaponry. But, again, I must insist on seeing at least ONE example from the real world.

Invasion tends to happen when there are threats to hegemony-- see Guatemala, 1954, Vietnam, 1961, Cuba 1962, Czechloslavakia and Hungary, 1968, Afghanistan, 1978 (all three by the soviets), Lebanon, 1978 and 1980-82 (by Israel), Panama 1990, Iraq 1991, Yugoslavia, 1998. None of which posed imminent nuclear threat, but all of which threatened imperial hegemony in one sphere or another.

It's mostly about POWER, I agree. Nuclear politics has not yet proved decisive in provoking a serious invasion, as far as I can tell.

piscivorous
05-03-2008, 11:44 PM
Not really. The proposition has never been put to the test.

pod2
05-03-2008, 11:46 PM
But somebody who's about to to acquire ordinance on that level for the first time is going to reshuffle power arrangements in a way that tends to piss off the current power players.

Pakistan has been through this game, and we haven't invaded, unless I missed something. Certainly Israeli nukes shifted power arrangements in the Middle East, and I don't remember a US invasion of Tel Aviv. Do you mean that the US hesitates to invade unless their power is threatened and unless there is comparatively little risk to direct military action? If so, I agree. US planners intend to maintain US power throughout the world. Acquisition of nukes by Saddam would mean that invading Iraq posed unacceptable risk. Actual acquisition of massive WMD or nukes would have saved Saddam. QED?

piscivorous
05-04-2008, 12:24 AM
Or doomed him and his people to ashes!

AemJeff
05-06-2008, 11:13 AM
I'm tempted to agree with you about imminent nuclear weaponry. But, again, I must insist on seeing at least ONE example from the real world.

Invasion tends to happen when there are threats to hegemony-- see Guatemala, 1954, Vietnam, 1961, Cuba 1962, Czechloslavakia and Hungary, 1968, Afghanistan, 1978 (all three by the soviets), Lebanon, 1978 and 1980-82 (by Israel), Panama 1990, Iraq 1991, Yugoslavia, 1998. None of which posed imminent nuclear threat, but all of which threatened imperial hegemony in one sphere or another.

It's mostly about POWER, I agree. Nuclear politics has not yet proved decisive in provoking a serious invasion, as far as I can tell.

I assume we both have a pretty good idea what events have occurred since, say, 1940. If the argument is strictly about "nuclear weapons," I think you've narrowed its scope past the point of utility. The argument is about power relationships and perceived advantage. Nukes are a pretty obvious way to dramatically change the balance in any relationship involving states. What lessons do you think strategists learned from the Cold War? From the point of view of U.S. foreign policy (that is from the point of view of the people who have actually been in charge of that policy during the last sixty or so years) how would a world in which the Soviets didn't successfully acquire that ability look?

I didn't argue, by the way, that imminent nukes was a de facto sufficient casus bellum. What I said was "it would tend to piss off the power players." Restating that: the perception that if somebody was in a position to assume control of such weapons would be a powerful factor - from the point of view of any player whose position in the game would be threatened were that to become true - in the rational assessment of the level of threat posed by that entity.

Put back into the original context - Saddam played a dangerous, high-stakes game with the West which lead to a view of him in which the threshold judgment, above which an action would be considered, reasonably, an act of war, was significantly lowered. This administration, for reasons of its own, chose to exploit that fact. Willfully or no, they represented certain things to be true, which (I argue) would have - had they, in fact, not been false - lead almost anybody who conceivably could have been in their position to a similar conclusion, i.e. to an invasion of Iraq.

pod2
05-13-2008, 11:57 PM
Put back into the original context - Saddam played a dangerous, high-stakes game with the West which lead to a view of him in which the threshold judgment, above which an action would be considered, reasonably, an act of war, was significantly lowered. This administration, for reasons of its own, chose to exploit that fact. Willfully or no, they represented certain things to be true, which (I argue) would have - had they, in fact, not been false - lead almost anybody who conceivably could have been in their position to a similar conclusion, i.e. to an invasion of Iraq.

Ok, but the nuclear program claim was NOT their go-to claim in the run-up. Cheney rolled it out, sure, but a nuclear program is pretty much impossible to conceal once IAEA has access. After IAEA had access, what little doubts about the nuclear program remained pretty much evaporated. El Baradei was unequivocal, and he was the one with the relevant info. Even the aluminum tubes argument and the Niger argument (both debunked conclusively by the CIA), pointed to the existence of a desire for nukes, NOT imminent nuclear weapons. No one was saying (again, perhaps excluding Cheney), that Saddam had anything close to what the ISraelis hit at Osirik in 81.

The big claim that Bush and the administration was trotting out was chemical and biological weapons-- they mostly cited the fact that Saddam's regime could not VERIFY destruction of stores of these weapons in the early 90's. Again, no one in polite company (excluding of course Scott Ritter, who led the UNSCOM efforts to destroy these stores in the mid 90s) mentioned that these stores, if they existed, would long since have decayed past any military potency or usefulness.

Powell's presentation concentrated on the production of chemical weapons and the possibility of maybe enriching uranium. Claims that they were close to developing a nuke were not part of the case-- they were too obviously ridiculous.

AemJeff
05-14-2008, 12:29 AM
Ok, but the nuclear program claim was NOT their go-to claim in the run-up. Cheney rolled it out, sure, but a nuclear program is pretty much impossible to conceal once IAEA has access. After IAEA had access, what little doubts about the nuclear program remained pretty much evaporated. El Baradei was unequivocal, and he was the one with the relevant info. Even the aluminum tubes argument and the Niger argument (both debunked conclusively by the CIA), pointed to the existence of a desire for nukes, NOT imminent nuclear weapons. No one was saying (again, perhaps excluding Cheney), that Saddam had anything close to what the ISraelis hit at Osirik in 81.

The big claim that Bush and the administration was trotting out was chemical and biological weapons-- they mostly cited the fact that Saddam's regime could not VERIFY destruction of stores of these weapons in the early 90's. Again, no one in polite company (excluding of course Scott Ritter, who led the UNSCOM efforts to destroy these stores in the mid 90s) mentioned that these stores, if they existed, would long since have decayed past any military potency or usefulness.

Powell's presentation concentrated on the production of chemical weapons and the possibility of maybe enriching uranium. Claims that they were close to developing a nuke were not part of the case-- they were too obviously ridiculous.

I think you're conflating a pair of claims, here. First that the case for Saddam's possession of a viable nuclear program was weak, then that that claim wasn't put forward strenuously.

My recollection of the time is that it wasn't obvious to me that it was impossible to believe that Saddam might have such a program. Powell's speech was a craven act for which he should remembered forever - but it went a long way toward lending those claims credibility. Caviling in hindsight about the specifics misses the intentional impact that that speech unquestionably had: what he was trying to imply was clear - and diplomatic speeches are always couched in innuendo. The Administration was full on, top to bottom, making the case implicitly and explicitly, with fact and lies and everything between.

pod2
05-14-2008, 12:54 AM
My recollection of the time is that it wasn't obvious to me that it was impossible to believe that Saddam might have such a program. Powell's speech was a craven act for which he should remembered forever - but it went a long way toward lending those claims credibility. Caviling in hindsight about the specifics misses the intentional impact that that speech unquestionably had: what he was trying to imply was clear - and diplomatic speeches are always couched in innuendo. The Administration was full on, top to bottom, making the case implicitly and explicitly, with fact and lies and everything between.

If you look at the treatment of the speech, the claims taken seriously were the mobile weapons labs, chemical/biological stockpiles, claims of commanders in the field to have access to stockpiles or newly produced weapons, etc.

There was no claim that Saddam had any missile technology for launching nuclear weapons, or that he had procured ANY enriched uranium suitable for a nuclear weapons program. The aluminum tubes, the MOST conclusive piece of evidence Powell and others presented, was, when it wasn't dismissed (as the CIA did), used to point to Saddam's AMBITION to start enriching uranium. NOT that he possessed enough enriched uranium, missile technology, etc. to be on the verge of having nukes. Any claims that he had an active enrichment program were completely demolished by IAEA inspections, and no one in the administration (with the exception of CHeney, who claimed later to have misspoken) claimed that they had the enriched uranium and missile technology to launch ICBMs or even threaten deterrence regionally.

AemJeff
05-14-2008, 01:10 AM
Pod, I'm loathe to get into a long back and forth about the details that led to that war. I think we agree that it was a stupendously bad idea, and that the people responsible for it weren't above using distortion and lies to make their case. We disagree in the abstract about whether a case could have been made. I certainly don't want to defend the case that actually was made.

piscivorous
05-14-2008, 01:15 AM
Just to set the record straight it was the Department of Energy and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research that contested the CIA and, and I think 4 other agencies, that worked on the NIE, that made the claim the tubes were for centrifuges.

pod2
05-14-2008, 10:12 AM
Just to set the record straight it was the Department of Energy and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research that contested the CIA and, and I think 4 other agencies, that worked on the NIE, that made the claim the tubes were for centrifuges.

I think that there were several pieces after the invasion that pointed out the widespread dissent within the CIA about the uses of the tubes.

piscivorous
05-14-2008, 11:14 AM
I really don't care if there was decent, within the the CIA, or the other agencies that contributed to the NIE, I in fact hope just the opposite; that there is a rather healthy amount of debate in all the various agencies that have responsibility for providing information to the executive and legislative branches of the government. If there is no decent the agency is essentially brain dead and useless and we would be better off with out it nu matter the significance of the anacronym by which it is known. However it remains the fact that the official positions as expressed in the NIE are what they were.

pod2
05-15-2008, 09:43 PM
I really don't care if there was decent, within the the CIA, or the other agencies that contributed to the NIE, I in fact hope just the opposite; that there is a rather healthy amount of debate in all the various agencies that have responsibility for providing information to the executive and legislative branches of the government. If there is no decent the agency is essentially brain dead and useless and we would be better off with out it nu matter the significance of the anacronym by which it is known. However it remains the fact that the official positions as expressed in the NIE are what they were.

My contention is that, even stipulating that the NIE made an unequivocal claim about the tubes, this was still NOWHERE close to imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons. You still need uranium, you need labs where uranium meets centrifuge, you need missile technology. All of which was lacking, indisputably. There was not even an accusation that nuclear labs were taking uranium and enriching it for nuclear weapons (that kind of thing is basically impossible to hide once the IAEA comes in to the country in late 02 and early 03). There was no accusation that Iraq had missile technology needed for ICBMs or even scud technology that would reach Israel. Missile tests that SAddam did in the `1996-2003 period were pretty much across the board unsuccessful. So, at most, Powell and the CIA were alleging Saddam's desire for a nuclear program (overtures to Niger, centrifuges, tubes). Powell or the NIE never alleged an actual nuclear weapons program on the verge of success. The most damning allegations had to do with biological and chemical weapons (sarin, botulism, anthrax, etc.), most specifically mobile weapons labs and un-accounted for (but expired and impotent) weapons caches from the late 80s.

piscivorous
05-15-2008, 10:30 PM
My contention is that, even stipulating that the NIE made an unequivocal claim about the tubes, this was still NOWHERE close to imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons. You still need uranium, you need labs where uranium meets centrifuge, you need missile technology. All of which was lacking, indisputably. There was not even an accusation that nuclear labs were taking uranium and enriching it for nuclear weapons (that kind of thing is basically impossible to hide once the IAEA comes in to the country in late 02 and early 03). There was no accusation that Iraq had missile technology needed for ICBMs or even scud technology that would reach Israel. Missile tests that SAddam did in the `1996-2003 period were pretty much across the board unsuccessful. So, at most, Powell and the CIA were alleging Saddam's desire for a nuclear program (overtures to Niger, centrifuges, tubes). Powell or the NIE never alleged an actual nuclear weapons program on the verge of success. The most damning allegations had to do with biological and chemical weapons (sarin, botulism, anthrax, etc.), most specifically mobile weapons labs and un-accounted for (but expired and impotent) weapons caches from the late 80s. I would mostly agree with what you say. For me WMD or "imminent threat" were not all that important to me for supporting the campaign in Iraq. It was primarily humanitarian, the fact that will behind containment was failing apart, and my belief that "root cause" of the fanatical Islamists is the current forms of governance that the people of the Middle East have been subjected to, for decades, with no real hope of change insight.

It is also a fact of the past for which no amount of arguing or name calling is going to change the reality of the current state of affairs.

Big Wayne
05-16-2008, 01:08 AM
For me WMD or "imminent threat" were not all that important to me for supporting the campaign in Iraq. It was primarily humanitarian,
Six years in, how would you assess the success or failure of the humanitarian mission in Iraq? Have we achieved any of our humanitarian aims in that country?

Is it okay to achieve humanitarian ends against the will of the majority of the people in the target nation? I.e., come to their rescue despite their opposition to being saved?

Are you consistent in advocating expensive wars for humanitarian ends elsewhere in the world? Is your desire to attack Iran also humanitarian?



the fact that will behind containment was failing apart
This is the weakest of all the arguments. The UN would have been delighted to bolster the containment regime if Bush had been willing to stand down and back off from his threats of invasion. The problem is that Bush wanted to invade Iraq, and was determined to do so from before he became president. He wanted to be War Preznit. He thought it was a key ingredient of "greatness." And he (and Cheney) had other (impure) motives.

If people can't grasp the fact that Bush was going to invade no matter what and for his own reasons, they can't understand any aspect of this war and how we got in it.



and my belief that "root cause" of the fanatical Islamists is the current forms of governance that the people of the Middle East have been subjected to, for decades, with no real hope of change insight.
That makes no sense whatsoever in this context. Radical Islam simply was not extant in Iraq before Bush created the conditions for it to flourish.

If you're so concerned about radical Islam, you must be very unhappy that Bush has fostered it throughout the world. Eh?



It is also a fact of the past for which no amount of arguing or name calling is going to change the reality of the current state of affairs.
That is for sure!

piscivorous
05-16-2008, 02:14 AM
Six years in, how would you assess the success or failure of the humanitarian mission in Iraq? Have we achieved any of our humanitarian aims in that country? I can think of three Saddam Uday and Qusay are nolonger around. Or how about 25 or so millions no longer under their boot.

Is it okay to achieve humanitarian ends against the will of the majority of the people in the target nation? I.e., come to their rescue despite their opposition to being saved? And you of course know the will of the majority of the Iraqis. It seems to me a good deal of them were happy being rid of the dictator and his sons immediately after the liberation and quite frankly if the majority of the Iraqi were to have taken up weapons against us we would have been routed shortly after the populace perceived it was so against us being there. Even with our technological advantage 170,000 can't fight 4-5 million armed men, after all there was no shortage of weapons available, and they should have been able to field that many able bodies easily if it was really rejected by the majority.

Are you consistent in advocating expensive wars for humanitarian ends elsewhere in the world? Is your desire to attack Iran also humanitarian?
In certain circumstances yes. I supported the Bosnia mission even though it had no UN approval on humanitarian grounds did you? I don't think you will find that I have advocated attacking Iran. I have made arguments that it is not as an impossible mission as some here try to make it out to be, to significantly degrade if not destroy there nascent nuclear capacity, or to cripple their ability to afford it by eliminating their capacity to export oil. But that is different than advocating for it.
This is the weakest of all the arguments. The UN would have been delighted to bolster the containment regime if Bush had been willing to stand down and back off from his threats of invasion. The problem is that Bush wanted to invade Iraq, and was determined to do so from before he became president. He wanted to be War Preznit. He thought it was a key ingredient of "greatness." And he (and Cheney) had other (impure) motives.

If people can't grasp the fact that Bush was going to invade no matter what and for his own reasons, they can't understand any aspect of this war and how we got in it.That's a very nice recitation of the some of the lefts talking points but I think it would have been more effective if you had done it in all caps. That makes no sense whatsoever in this context. Radical Islam simply was not extant in Iraq before Bush created the conditions for it to flourish.

If you're so concerned about radical Islam, you must be very unhappy that Bush has fostered it throughout the world. Eh? Boy does this President have magical powers or what. He reaches back through time and creates radical Islam so that when he gets elected he can fulfill his life long dream of being a war prez by invading Iraq baring the fact that with the attacks on the world Trade towers, the Pentagon and whatever the last target was, sort of made him a war time prez already.

That is for sure! Well at least you can see part of reality.