August 10, 2005

"Why don't we put the mothers of other soldiers on a bus..."

"...and send them to Crawford to tell the President they understand the commitment their sons and daughters made...?"

In case you were wondering if anybody was going to lay into Cindy Sheehan....

78 comments:

Art said...

It's a free country.
I question whether the President would want visits from sympathetic gold star mothers since he would then have to decide if he wanted to let them in and leave someone who disagreed with him standing by the roadside.

I realize the blogosphere is a haven for people with very "well defined beliefs". But I think some people from the outside world might wonder about someone who refers to a woman who lost her son as "deranged" just because she disagreed with the policy that put him in harms way.

A footnote from history:
Conventional wisdom at the time held that the decline of the Soviet empire began when graves of soldiers killed in Afghanistan were marked, "died in international duty" as opposed to "died for the motherland."
They didn't understand this "international duty" stuff.

Too Many Jims said...

Yeah here is the image that Bush wants 600 buses filled with mothers of dead soldiers and marines coming to tell him what he did is ok. If they don't want us to see coffins, I can't imagine they would want reminders of the collateral damage.

Joan said...

Oh, I think this is a far better quote: [W]omen who are not crazy have better things to do than ride round on a bus, bothering the President.

Art, you seemed to have missed the fact that Cindy Sheehan has, in fact, met with President Bush. I don't think Sheehan is deranged because "she disagreed with the policy that put him in harms(sic) way."

I think she is deranged because she clearly doesn't understand that it was her son's choice to enlist and to serve, and her current behavior is dishonoring her son.

Jim, even if such a parade of Bush supporters materialized, it wouldn't get any media attention at all, except perhaps to denigrate the stupidity of the participants.

Elizabeth said...

I wonder when they'll start sliming the wounded vet who didn't want to meet with Bush and other administration members while recovering at Walter Reed.

Goesh said...

I wonder what Conservative coerced Sheehan's son into enlisting? Maybe they suckered him with promises of an educational allowance and gleaming brass buttons to impress his girlfriend with. He should have been told that the US had been attacked on 9/11, Afghanistan invaded and Bush was thumping the war drum against Iraq.

Cat said...

Art, you are wrong. Not only did Bush meet with her last year and she went from feeling good about it to finding him to be cold and cruel, she also had a sit down yesterday with deputies from the Chief of Staff's office, Condi Rice's office and a few other notables. She REFUSES to listen and all she says is, I don't believe Bush cares. She's morbid and she's nuts.

Aaron said...

It is a free country and Sheehan can do as she likes, but what a distorted picture the media make of the world. If you always run Man bites Dog stories eventually you think it is normal for men to bite dogs. I am sure many many women blamed Lincoln, FDR, JFK for the death of their sons. I wonder if there was this level of obsession with them during those eras. In the end I think the media is losing its ability to form people's view of the world. Not just because of the internet. And not just because of any political bias - but simply because the sensationalism and shear divorcing the world they portray from the world most of us experience is so profound.

Cat said...

...And Elizabeth, if you go a little further into the story, he's not "sliming" a group of people, he's commenting on the bizarre behavior of one and the her martyrdom(sp) by the MSM.

Elizabeth said...

Cat, where did I mention a group of people? I mentioned a specific vet. And it's a legitimate news story for the press to cover, no matter what you think of her motives or behavior.

Steve H. said...

She's not the problem! I am! I'm just CRUEL!

Look at her DEAD SON! The woman has a DEAD SON! Anyone who criticizes her is a SON OF A BITCH! She can do NO WRONG because she has a DEAD SON!

When she comes back next year with the bus, and the year after that, Bush will STILL be a bastard. Because...look at her DEAD SON!

Elizabeth said...

Why blame the MSM, anyway? O'Reilly, is "covering" the story and has accused Sheehan of borderline treason--sweet Jesus, the rightwing nuts bring that one out at every turn! And Michelle Malkin the Mystic has apparently contacted the dead, opining that she couldn't imagine Casey Sheehan would approve of what his mother's doing. Of course, reality isn't limited to the reaches of Malkin's imagination, thank God. And I'll bet the man's mother knows his thoughts better than a columnist who never met him. So while you're slamming the media, don't forget the opportunistic bottom feeders on all sides of the story.

ploopusgirl said...

Cat: I like your definition of morbid: "Women who are ridiculously (yes, on the brink of maniacally) angry that their sons have been killed." I think we should just kill her, eh?

Steve H: ...

Steve H. said...

No! Let's kill everyone who supports the war! Because LOOK! She has a DEAD SON!

ploopusgirl said...

... speaking of morbid. I somewhat understand your point Steve (if that's actually you...), but... you're going a little overboard and are being quite disrespectful of the son at the very least..

bos0x said...
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Christopher said...
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Steve H. said...

Oh, please. What's disrespectful is dragging this boy's corpse out OVER AND OVER AND OVER in order to feed a sick need for attention.

I have news for Cindy Sheehan. A dead son is not a lifetime pass to the White House. One meeting is plenty, and riding around on a bus labeled "Impeachment Tour" is not helping you get a second one.

ploopusgirl said...

Yeah, whatever you say there. Seems like it's time to up your dose of Ritalin, though..

Ann Althouse said...

Bosox: You went too far.

Let's try to keep the question in focus. It seems to me that the son volunteered, fought, and died fighting for a cause. The mother is against the war and is trying to use her son's death as a megaphone for her antiwar position and the press is helping her. We feel sympathetic toward her, up to a point, because she lost her son, which is very sad. These are separate things, which we ought to keep separate. The reason for giving greater weight to her opinion is if we think those who haven't lost sons aren't really understanding the significance of each death. But is that so? And do people who volunteer and put their lives on the line want to be thought of as fighting for a big mistake?

bos0x said...

I'm so sorry for exposing your readers' virginal, middle-aged eyes to such hurtful obscene things? Or something? I like how Steve H's comments are still perfectly okay, apparently, despite screaming about DEAD SONS and SONS OF BITCHES and bastards, not to mention being totally irrelevant. None of the first comments discussed dead sons at all, and the most commenters seemed to disapprove of Sheehan. It must be so wonderful and fulfilling to mock people who don't exist.

P. Froward said...

Well, if they are fighting for a mistake, they'll have to get used to it sooner or later.

As for Mrs. Sheehan, she's getting an awful lot of mileage out of the dead son thing. The Dead Son means she's right, the DS means we're not allowed to argue, the DS means everybody is required to listen to whatever she's got to say, for as long as she wants to keep saying it, etc. The DS is a publicity gold-mine. I won't assume that she's being very calculating about all this, but she is supposed to be an adult, after all, and adults have been dealing with hard cheese a lot better than this for a very long time. Is it normal still to be acting out quite this much after a year and a half? How long is she going to keep this up? When do we start wondering if it's all a bit self-indulgent?

I'm not questioning the depth or legitimacy of her grief, nor her right to grieve. I don't deny that renting a bus is a perfectly normal part of the grieving process, and that all grieving parents go through the bus-renting stage. I just wonder how long that stage has to last.

Personally, if I died doing something that I believed in, I would hope that my family would respect that and not use my death as a sales tool for ideas I disagreed with. And I certainly hope I'd have the strength of character to extend them the same courtesy, even if I disagreed intensely with whatever they died for. But for me, family trumps ideology. Others feel differently.

jaybee said...
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Sloanasaurus said...

I have no problem with Mrs. Sheehan. Despite the cliche that our soldiers are "fighting so people like Mrs. Sheehan can dissent" it happens to be true. She should stay there for the rest of the month. I sympathaze with her for her heroic son.

If the liberal media (aka the mainstream media) wanted to be "non-partisan" about the matter maybe they would interview spouses and mothers who support the war. Maybe they can interview some who are outrageous about their support for the war, or interview some who despise the media.

However, the liberal media is not non-partisan - they are against the war, pro-abortion, anti-Christian, pro higher taxes...you name it...they are for liberal causes - which is why they love Mrs. Sheehan.

Taylor said...
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jklb said...
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Sloanasaurus said...

What is up with the spammers. They infest everywhere.

leeontheroad said...

I don't deny that renting a bus is a perfectly normal part of the grieving process, and that all grieving parents go through the bus-renting stage

Thank you for th snicker, (not) Prof. This story could use one.

Grief can be very ugly, as here; but 'tis true the bus-renting is over the top.

So have been many things when "folks can't take it anymore," but I do think it's the news cycle that's providing a platform.

I hope it wears her out, and she finishes the stages with equanimity.

Elizabeth said...

Since we're all so dedicated to fair and balanced media, I have to ask, once again, why no disapproval of O'Reilly's "treason" hysteria? This reminds me of what Kerry was subjected to by the Swiftboat liars, and the obnoxious "DEAD SON!" crap reminds me of the smug GOP delegates wearing their little purple heart bandaids, ridiculing Kerry's service to his country--"Oh, he got a bobo in Vietnam! Poor thing." Malkin even went so far as to imply that Kerry shot himself to get decorated. Despicable, just despicable. But I guess if your own candidate spent the war stateside, getting stoned, you have to attack the opposition's patriotism and sacrifice.

Every service man and woman in Iraq volunteered, but that's no indication of how any particular person feels about the war itself, its rationale, how it's being waged. Much of the ranks if made up of people who enlisted before 9/11; they knew they could be called to serve in conflict, and whether they're fighting for a mistake or not doesn't change the fact of their honor and integrity. But it could well be true that Sheehan's son expressed regrets and opposition to his mother.

Coolout said...
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Elizabeth said...

We've all had the sorrow of watching families interviewed on our local and national "mainstream media" outlets after getting the news of the death of a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan. I know that not once have I seen any of the "leftist" press interrogate or ridicule these families when they state their support for the war effort, and say how proud they are that their son or daughter died fighting for Iraqis freedom. To claim that the media doesn't provide a forum for the parents and families of service members who support the war is outright wrong, but there's no corresponding anger when the rightwing media attacks familes who are angry about the deaths of their loved ones, and who make it clear they don't understand or support the cause for which they died. Sheehan is an extreme example, with her public demonstration. But I see more and more of these expressions from the interviews with local families. I pray they're not going to be targets of rightwing vitriol.

Brendan said...

"Since we're all so dedicated to fair and balanced media, I have to ask, once again, why no disapproval of O'Reilly's "treason" hysteria? This reminds me of what Kerry was subjected to by the Swiftboat liars, and the obnoxious "DEAD SON!"

Oh I see. The Swift Boat Vets are liars, but Mrs. Sheehan is pure as the driven snow. They "smear," whereas she merely "criticizes." Uh huh. Exactly how are the Swifties liars? Didn't they serve just as bravely and honorably as your folk hero Kerry? If one of their comrades exaggerated his wartime exploits for political gain, why are they liars for trying to set the record straight? Mrs. Sheehan has callously exploited her son's death for political purposes, which makes her a very unsympathetic figure. If she has connections to far-left, anti-war groups or individuals like Michael Moore, then we have a right to know. No one's asking to her to take her folded flag home and shut up, but she's the worst gold star mother in recent memory. Her suffering doesn't immunize her from criticism.

Brendan said...

But I see more and more of these expressions from the interviews with local families. I pray they're not going to be targets of rightwing vitriol.

So long as they don't make a spectacle of themselves by camping in front of the President's vacation home, I think they'll be safe.

Boy, Fox News is really a bee in your bonnet, huh? I guess you and your fellow lefties will just have to get by with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, BBC, NY Times, Wash Post, LA Times, and 99 percent of academia. Poor babies.

Elizabeth said...

If you're going to quote me, get it right, Brendan. I didn't say she's pure, or that she "criticizes." She's making a spectacle, and I called her an "extreme" example.

The swiftboat group's service in 'Nam has nothing to do with their smear on Kerry. They hated him for his antiwar stance after his service--that doesn't justify their mostly bogus claims about his actual service.

I think you're way out of line to say she's callousing exploiting her son's death. And so what if she's left wing? She has every right to a political position, just as the families who express their support for the war, or for Bush. Are they exploiting their DEAD SONS for politics? I don't think so.

Elizabeth said...

That's an absurd list, but I see you subscribe to the rightwing persecution fantasy. How leftwing was Judith Miller's reporting on the purported WMDs in Iraq before the war? How leftwing was their pursuit of Monica-gate? ABC, CBS and NBC are pablum, not leftwing. They're useless, not partisan. NPR is generally balanced, MSNBC is middle of the road to center right. Most of the political segments and talk shows on all of those stations over-represent GOP and conservative talking heads with one or two token liberals. Get real.

Matt Brown said...
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Matt Brown said...

Ann: I usually just read your posts, but your comments section is becoming increasingly interesting!

Bosox: In case you didn't realize it, this is Ann's blog. She can do with it as she wills. If she wants to keep someone's comments, she can. If she wants to delete someone's comments, she can. The way I see it, you are darn lucky she doesn't delete everything you write.

Joseph Angier said...

I have to agree with Elizabeth here. "He fought and died fighting for a cause." Did I miss something? Does anyone on this blog have inside information on why, and under what circumstances, Casey Sheehan enlisted in the Army? And what he might have thought about said "cause" once he got to Iraq? I'm not saying his mother is the final authority on this, but her guess is probably better than any of ours.

I also remember a few months ago, when Jane Fonda (and I'm not a big fan of hers) was spat on by an angry Vietnam vet during a book signing. When Fonda suggested in a subsequent interview that guys like that 'get over it,' the huffiness from this blog was palpable. But Cindy Sheehan ... get over it. The President says your son died fighting for a cause ... that means he died fighting for a cause ... right?

bos0x said...

Sloanasaurus: You don't think it would show conservative bias to run a story about Sheehan's protesting, include a few quotes of Sheehan's, and fill the rest with quotes from random spouses and mothers declaring how wrong and disgraceful Sheehan is? Sheehan is not one side of the story - the story is actually about her, so unless these spouses and mothers are organizing their own demonstration or whatever what they have to say is irrelevant.

SwineBass: Your opinions simply fascinate me, honestly.

Sloanasaurus said...

"....ABC, CBS and NBC are pablum, not leftwing. They're useless, not partisan. NPR is generally balanced, MSNBC is middle of the road to center right..."

I listen to NPR everyday. It is great radio; very well done, but also very liberal.

Bernie Goldberg argues that liberals do not recognize their own bias (a trade mark of the left is that self criticism is not tolerated). Perhaps Goldberg is right. One of the great differences between conservatives and liberals are that conservatives tend to be more suspicious of human nature. Conservatives tend to error on the side of checks and balances, because they believe that every person is a potential sinner. They tend to criticise their own and allow more self criticism. Liberals, only criticise conservatives. This is why conservatives are worried about voting fraud and want to check IDs at the polls and why liberals don't care about fraud, they assume that conservatives are trying to keep them from voting.

This is why a conservative will admit that Fox is biased to the right and why liberals will not admit that NPR, the Times, etc. is biased to the left. Liberals don't understand their own bias.

The conservative media constantly reminds us of instances where an action by someone on the left is given a pass, but that if the same action was performed by someone on the right, they would be skewered by the media. (for example, the latest Air America Fraud). Or how about Dick Durbin's comparison of our troops to Nazis vs. Trent Lott. The list goes on....

Elizabeth said...

Sloan, what a surprise; we disagree. Your generalizations are terribly shallow. Liberals eat their own; you know the saying, "I don't belong to an organized political party; I'm a Democrat"? The entire campaign was riddled by second guessing and left-liberal criticism of the Democrat field and Kerry is despised for losing; he was attacked roundly and thoroughly during the campaign for not replying to the Swiftboat distortions immediately, for not taking clear stands on issues, for running around looking like an elistist ponce (W's just as big an elitist scion of privilege, but he has fantastic instincts on how to appeal to people--hence the fake "ranch" and adopted Texas "aw shucks" persona. Wonder if he talked that way at Exeter Academy?).

The mainstream DNC is forever a target of liberal displeasure. I regularly write my Democrat Senator, U.S. reps and state reps with disagreements on their positions. Do you really want to argue taht Howard Dean doesn't piss off most of the Democrat elite? And conservatives manage to perform lockstep drills pretty well, by the way. Ditto, Rush!

And you are either disingenuous or uniformed with your Nazi example--you're leaving out a whole lotta stupid Nazi references by rightwingers. Google 'em, you'll find Santorum, Rush with feminazis and "Hitlery" Clinton jokes, and many, many more. Neither left nor right has a patent on boneheadedness, and the right doesn't have a patent on virtuous self-critique. When Newt Gingrich was under fire for his lousy ethics as Speaker of the House, why didn't Rush dig out his "Sleazer of the House" routine? Gimme a break.

Lone Ranger said...

What would be the point? The MSM wouldn't point a single camera in their direction. If the cause of the left is so noble, why do they have to be so weasly about it?

Ann Althouse said...

Bosox:: Your language was much worse and you know it. And you were using a lot of all caps.

knoxgirl said...

"NPR is generally balanced"

Sorry, but that's like saying FOX is balanced. NPR is great in a lot of ways, but it has a pronounced liberal slant. Especially on the Israel/Palestine issue, for example. In my opinion, anyway.

Ann Althouse said...

I've removed a lot of commercial posts. The only real-person post I removed was the one referred to in my previous comment.

Sloanasaurus said...

Elizabeth you make good points to my "self critique" argument. I will have to think about it.

However, the bias in the mainstream media is not an argument, its a fact.

Probably the greatest recent example of liberal hubris and obvious bias is the statement "those memos are fake but accurate."

DaveG said...

Joseph Angier said...

I have to agree with Elizabeth here. "He fought and died fighting for a cause." Did I miss something? Does anyone on this blog have inside information on why, and under what circumstances, Casey Sheehan enlisted in the Army? And what he might have thought about said "cause" once he got to Iraq?


Well, he did re-enlist, and that may indicate something about his beliefs. Or it may not. Me, I think it does.

Sloanasaurus said...

It should also be pointed out that anyone enlisting after Sept 11 and certainly after March 2003 knows that they are not joining up merely for college money.

vnjagvet said...

Elizabeth:

I am a Vietnam veteran (May 1967 to May 1968). I do not want to reargue the Swift Boat Veterans controversy, but I do want you to know that I violently disagree with your characterization of the dispute occasioned by the Swift Boat Veterans' campaign against John Kerry.

Those veterans were totally sincere. I know two of them personally, and know that each of them have voted for Democrats in presidential elections as have I. I can assure you that their considerable support to the Swift Boat veterans' campaign was non-partisan and based purely on their personal knowledge of Sen. Kerry's Vietnam experience.

I spent a considerable amount of time reading up on all of the issues, and, since my duties in Vietnam included investigations of alleged atrocities committed by our troops, had personal knowledge of some of those issues as well.

The charges against Sen. Kerry were not a "smear". Rather, they raised legitimate issues about the Senator's qualifications to lead this country in a time of war, especially in light of his emphasis of his Vietnam war record in his post-nomination speech.

I am sure that no words of mine will convince you that the Swift Vets were genuinely interested in the welfare of their country and acted out of conscience.

But I cannot let statements like yours to go unnoticed or unrebutted.

Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)

leeontheroad said...

completely true, Sloan. But any number of folks enlisting or re-upping between 9/1//01 and 01/01/03 thought they were enlisting for Afghanistan, even though, yes, they should have known other deployments were possible.

Also true is that, of course, politics/patriotism alone is not the reason many may enlist. One young man (only whose mother I know; she's local; he's out of Fort Bragg) is Airborne, and, frankly, he wants to jump into action, and you only get to do that "for real" in war. (Other missions have other rules of engagement.)

The young man to whom I refer may or may not develop either or both political or strategy opinions once he is in battle. When the rubber meets the road, or, more, when the bullets aren't rubber but real, a whole set of confliciting emotions can result.

I've counseled adult children of Vietnam War vets, and in some cases where that fact is relevant, it hasn't been pretty-- even when the parents (always fathers, in my case) enlisted.

None of this is a reason in my view to argue for or against Sheehan.

Instead, I offer the possibility that some folks who are "gung ho" for the current WOT military policy-- before battle-- may reasonably temper their views after it. War is a blunt instrument, even where necessary, well-intentioned and the best option.

Being open to that, I think, is part of supporting troops and their families (though, again, that's not to say I would agree with their actions).

vnjagvet said...

Anger is powerful.

Losing a child (I have five) would make me very angry. I am not sure how I would display that anger. I would hope I would use it rationally and constructively, but from past experience with other events triggering my anger, I am not optimistic.

As a Christian, I think Ms. Sheehan needs my prayers, not my criticism in her understandable anger at her loss.

Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)

Sloanasaurus said...

Leeontheroad, I know what you and others on this board often imply... But, I just can't accept the argument that the men and women in our military are victims. They are soldiers.

leeontheroad said...

hi Sloan, not victims! Yes, soldiers. But soldiers are also human beings. My definition of that includes complexity.

I don't think folks becoem victims when experience changes or broadens or complicates their views.

Joan said...

Leeontheroad said: But any number of folks enlisting or re-upping between 9/1//01 and 01/01/03 thought they were enlisting for Afghanistan...

That's ridiculous. You enlist, you go where the Service assigns you. Even though we have been actively engaged in Afghanistan, only a small fraction of our total troop involvement is actually deployed there.

Thanks to Jim Rhoads for both your service in Viet Nam and your rebuttal of Elizabeth's charges against the Swift Vets. The Swift Vets' accusations against Kerry were not "smears", and Kerry still hasn't released all his records to the general public, and he probably never will. If the charges were bogus, he could easily refute them by releasing the after-action reports, etc. And yet he has not done so.

As for Ms. Sheehan, she is deserving of our sympathy for our loss. But she is also in need of grief counselling. The media attention she's getting is feeding into her unhealthy obsession.

Perhaps she genuinely feels she is doing a public service and that by her protests she will somehow change US policy so that we pull out of the Middle East. In the short term, that may save some US service men's lives, but how much havoc would it leave in its wake? How many Iraqis and Afghans would die? How many US citizens would die on US soil as reinvigorated terrorists once again attack us at home?

I feel for Sheehan's pain and loss, but her goals are short-sighted. She thinks the most important thing is that no other mother lose a son or daughter now. She doesn't understand that we have a lot more to lose than the current generation.

Elizabeth said...

Jim,

I'll take your word on the sincerity of the vets you know who supported the Swiftvets; I'll have to balance the rest against the word of other vets who rebutted their accusations as well. I won't pretend that Kerry wasn't a flawed candidate, either. But he went. Bush hid behind privilege, and Cheney, like so many of today's young gung-ho war supporters, had "other priorities" than serving. That made the difference for me. Even Clinton had the guts to say he opposed the war. Bush supported it in the "let's you and him go fight" manner.

And Jim, I also really like what you say about your view on Sheehan.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan,

I would not argue with you about Dan Rather's graceless fall from credibility. I would argue there's much more good reporting going on, and that good and bad covers all political spectrums.

We'll have to continue disagreeing on what is a fact about media bias. I worked for a number of years in journalism and in my opinion, modern journalism suffers from its increasing specialization as an academic area. I watched our newspaper hire Ivy League MAs who can't write coherantly much less with elegance and voice, and don't know squat about investigative reporting. Seeing them fill the ranks left by retiring reporters who learned on the beat has been heartbreaking. Not every craft needs a corresponding graduate program, in my opinion. The other problem is the consolidation of media under a few owners. Like pretty much every other city, mine went from two, independantly owned papers to one under the Newhouse banner. No matter what facts you have about media bias, big money is conservative, in at least one sense of the word: it doesn't want to shake things up.

So I don't take any news source as being sufficiently informative, unbiased (and that's not necessarily a virtue anyway, it's not like news is written by machines) and why I read all sorts of media, including left and right and center blogs.

DaveG said...

Nothing steams me, as a veteran of both the active duty Air Force and the National Guard, as much as this continuing description of duty in the Guard as a coward's way out.

As a pilot, I also understand the enormous dangers incumbent in flying a dangerous and obsolete airplane such as the F-102 piloted by Capt. Bush.

Kerry joined the Naval Reserve. He was later, and against his will and despite his efforts to avoid it, sent to a Vietnam assignment.

I don't care who you voted for, and I don't care who you believe was the more courageuous, but I resent the implication that serving in the Air National Guard is a cowardly act. I resent it even more when you in the same breath laud those that left the country. So, Bush could have served more honorably by "having the guts" to go into hiding in Canada or Oxford?

Ridiculous.

Elizabeth said...

There's nothing cowardly about the Guard, and I haven't said anything of the kind. But it was awfully hard to get in, unless you had connections. His unit was full of the sons of politicians and Dallas Cowboys. I don't blame the elder Bush for using his power to keep W out of combat (it's a lot more dangerous flying under fire, isn't it?) because my dad, a WWII vet who vehemently opposed our presence in Vietnam, did all he could to keep my brothers stateside. He didn't have the pull. And I won't apologize for saying those who were honest about their opposition to the war had more integrity than those who supported it as long as others were fighting it. I notice you have nothing to say about Cheney's mulitiple deferments.

Sloanasaurus said...

Elizabeth, I think it is only natural that people are biased. I don't buy the fact that people are able to filter their bias out of their reporting. Knowing that, it is also true that the field of Journalism tends to attract certain kinds of people...those who want to "do good" for society, help the homeless, etc... people who were attracted to the great era of "investigative reporting." These types of people tend to be more "liberal" than people in other professions (such as the accounting profession). This is why survery after survey shows that most journalists and those in the media vote democratic and are liberal.

Again, I don't think its a problem as long as people are aware of the bias. The great thing about the internet and the new media is that people are becoming more aware of the bias and that is a good thing.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan, I think we agree in large part here. I'll feel more sanguine when conservatives are more vocal about recognizing the bias in talk radio and Fox news, in particular, i.e. when skepticism is a virtue that outweighs partisanship. I think the left bias in the MSM is pretty anemic when compared with the propaganda of talk radio.

But I'm okay with the bias that keeps journalism as a watchful force. It shouldn't be a cheerleader for any government.

Aaron said...

Lileks has a good bit on the media coverage of this subject at his Screedblog.

Elizabeth: you mentioned that you thought the 04 election was marked by Dems attacking themselves. And you mentioned the line about Dem's not being an organized politcal party. (Quite the old chestnut). I think that this is a poor rebuttal of the critique that the left does not self-criticize well. First - I think the '04 election showed an astonishing level of ideological discipline on both sides and was probably something of an anomaly.

As a generality though, what I think the Dems are unable to do these days is constructively have a large tent - with all the clashing of positions that comes from this. To have Guliani and Bush be the two most popular figures in the same party shows how well the Republicans deal with divergent views. This gives both tactical and strategic political advantages.

Looking at Kos and MoveOn cannibilize the Dem party and the ongoing fights with the DLC are part of what make me convinced the left right now cannot tolerate dissent. I think that the kind of small sniping about political tactics on the Dem side you seem to site is not substantive enough to be helpful to the party - and is certainly not substantive enough to make me think that liberals are good at internal debate. On an intellectual level too many of the divisions being argued on the left may loom large to the different sects of greens, academics or pro-choice groups or whatever - but to the general public these divisions are not large enough to be meaningful. Dems aren't arguing big ideas.

Some of the left's self-criticism was Monday morning quarterbacking and passing around blame for losing - but I just never saw the Dems grapple with their basic positions and ideas. Certainly, no major democratic figure I have heard of simply said that at this point Republican arguments and ideas are more pursuassive to larger number of Americans. A lot of sturm and drang about marketing of ideas. That Professor Lakoff who is making a lot of hay about language choices. Paranoid theories about how Republicans distorted things. I think the grabbing onto the "values voter" polling data seemed an excercise in ignoring rethinking positions. Shouldn't Lieberman style democrats have been strengthened after the '04 elections? Instead pro-war dems are villified and even more marginalized. I don't think piling on and mao-maoing Dems who break with party ideology qualifies as internal debate.

Constructive debate is as much about how you express and deal with divisions of ideas. Dems marginilized their dissenters which weakens the party and republicans have been effective at building coalitions. I think for the short term future the Republicans are aware enough that they have an ideoloigcal coalition that they won't make the mistake of driving off the Glenn Reynolds type republicans. Anyway, I thought it might be helpful to you to see how your idea of intellectual diversity on the left looked from one outside perspective. The sooner the dems get in the game the better for America.

Sloanasaurus said...

Elizabeth, what troubles me about Kerry is that he gets virtually no respect from any of his peers other than the enlisted men on his boat (that he wrote up the citations for). Don't you think that is a little unusual? Considering that the military often creates bonds between men that are greater than family, it seems unusual that Kerry was so hated by his peers.

I contrast, I do not recall any of LT Bush's TANG peers recalling that he was incompetant.

DaveG said...

It's documented, far more authentically than CBS's "documents," that Bush volunteered for Vietnam duty. Volunteering safely in the knowledge that it would be declined? Possibly. There were six fatalities in Bush's squadron in the time he served, though, so danger is relative, I suppose.

I suppose If I wanted to bring up Cheney's deferrments, I'd have to bring up Kerry's attempts to do the same.

I really don't want to re-hash Silly Season 2004, though. Your clarification that you weren't inferring that the Guard was a good place to hide when you said "Bush hid behind privilege" will be good enough. Although it has also been documented that while there was, in fact, a waiting list to get in as an enlisted member, there was no such wait to go in as a pilot. Open slots were there for all that qualified. The only privilege that Bush had was an expensive education, something he apparently did better than the equally privileged Mr. Kerry.

Re: Clinton. You used the word "guts," not the word "integrity."

They aren't synonyms.

Elizabeth said...

Sloan,

I don't find Kerry's situation so unusual. I don't think Kerry did much bonding there--keep in mind, I've said again and again, I didn't like Kerry's personality. But those guys don't have to keep up any pretense of respecting him just because he wrote up citations back then. There's no quid pro quo at this point. They served with him, directly. That's their credibility.

I can recall people in Bush's unit saying they don't even remember him, possibly because he wasn't there!

Sloanasaurus said...

Joan:

Isn't it great ranting about Kerry, he was such a horrible candidate in everyway. In that I poty the Democrats. If they would have nominated Lieberman, we would be talking about President Lieberman right now.

Regarding the Kerry 180 Release form/military records, it is really hard to tell if he is still hiding anything about his service record. However, I think Kerry was really trying to hide the stuff about his academic record. The conventional wisdom in the campaign was that Kerry was a smart intellectual and Bush was a dumb post. The media kept this conventional wisdom alive for Kerry. During the Campaign, Althouse speculated that Kerry went to BU because of poor grades (and not the official reason which was vague). She was right. Kerry's academic record was dismal - it was worse than Bush's record. Politically it would have been very damaging to Kerry if the records would have been released before the election - it would have taken away Kerry's only remaining appeal over Bush (after the Swifties took away his war hero persona).

I don't blame Kerry for keeping the records secret.

Elizabeth said...

Dave,

It's also documented that Bush checked off the little box that said he'd prefer not to go to Vietnam--but as you say, let's not rehash the election. I'll think on my word choice of guts versus integrity. I do think some people showed guts in openly opposing the war, in serving as concientious objectors. Perhaps I chose "guts" because even as a Clinton voter, I've never used the word "integrity" in describing him. And I'd never, ever, use as an adjective for Bush, either. To be honest, it's not a word I associate with many people in power.

vnjagvet said...

Elizabeth:

I accept your gracious response to my comments as clarified after absorbing daveg's comments.

I am happy to participate in the thoughtful exchange of views Ann's site customarily engenders.

Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)

DaveG said...

I can recall people in Bush's unit saying they don't even remember him, possibly because he wasn't there!

Or possibly, and I'm going out on a limb here, because it was more than 30 years ago and he was just another pilot. Apparently he didn't ask or demand that he be treated like royalty, a behavior that would certainly have made his presence more memorable.

People sure seem to remember their 'exposure' to Kerry, though. They seem to particularly enjoy being flown around the country and feted as heroes. Nope, no quid pro quo whatsoever.

DaveG said...

To be honest, it's not a word I associate with many people in power.

This we agree on. I knew we could find middle ground if we worked hard enough at it. :-)

Elizabeth said...

Aaron,

Lots to think about, and much of it valid, especially on moving from how to market the party to how to actually give it substance. But I don't want to see Democrats become Republican lite. And I think there's a large swath of Republicans--fiscally conservative, defense hawks (though not necessarily Iraq hawks) that ought to dump the GOP for its abyssmal bowing down to the social right.

We've seen GOP moderates punished by the GOP power base for not sticking to the script, so things aren't all sweetness and light under the big tent. Giuliani and Bush are good examples of the range, but I doubt any pro-choice, pro-gay rights Republican will ever head the national ticket. It's just good PR--see how big our tent is? In theory, sure. But what I also see is people like Giuliani compromising their beliefs in liberty, and that bothers me. I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and believe it or not, have voted for GOP candidates on the local level more than once.

DaveG said...

And I think there's a large swath of Republicans--fiscally conservative, defense hawks (though not necessarily Iraq hawks) that ought to dump the GOP for its abyssmal bowing down to the social right.

FWIW, we agree again!

Brendan said...

It's also documented that Bush checked off the little box that said he'd prefer not to go to Vietnam--but as you say, let's not rehash the election.

Liz, since you're so enamored with guts and wartime glory, I can only assume that you voted for Dole (a legit hero) over Clinton (a legit draft dodger). Right? Or did your moonbatcrazy partisanship get the better of you?

Elizabeth said...

Dave,

Those are all possible scenarios--we can only speculate about what is in people's memories, or in their motives. That's all out of the realm of fact, which is how history works. You and I will no doubt follow the story that best fits with our desires.

It's good to find some common ground, yes! Another piece is that we manage to find a good place to talk, and to do so with respect. Cheers for the First Amendment, and for all the unites us as Americans.

Elizabeth said...

Brendan, I didn't vote for Dole, nor for Bush pere. But I admire both of them for their service and sacrifice in WWII. It may be beyond your ken that people can legitimately have different political views, different policy stances, and belief systems and still respect one another. If that's moonbat craziness, so be it.

Sloanasaurus said...

To get back to the subject, this just posted on Drudge:


The following email was received by the DRUDGE REPORT from Cherie Quarterolo, Casey's aunt and godmother:

Our family has been so distressed by the recent activities of Cindy we are breaking our silence and we have collectively written a statement for release. Feel free to distribute it as you wish. Thanks Ð Cherie

In response to questions regarding the Cindy Sheehan/Crawford Texas issue: Sheehan Family Statement:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

Sincerely,

Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

Developing...

Aaron said...

Elizabeth,

I actually do want the Dems to become Republican Lite. In fact if they want to rebrand themselves that just might be effective. Miller Light regularly outperforms Genuine Draft.

You are awfully confident that Gulianni could never get the nomination. I think that if he doesn't it will mostly be because he is not a disciplined enough candidate. I can't believe he made such a gaffe nominating whats his name for head of Homeland Security. First big federal stage policy move and he flubs it. I worry he will continue in that vein.

Some of it will depend on Bush's supreme court picks. If he gets 2-3 picks through I think the social conservatives will be able to handle a Gulianni as head of the ticket. They won't be as thrilled but there is an awful lot of wiggle room for Guliani because of his dignity and manliness on 9/11. Hard to rebrand him as weak even as the years pass.

'07 will be a very interesting year for the Republicans. The party is going to have to decide what direction to head in post Bush. Small government folks and libertarians are going to make a lot of noise. Social conservatives may be feeling too cocky. I think the Dems obsession withvalue voters has made the social right over estimate their importance (large though it is). Personally my efforts are going to try for a Gulianni/Rice ticket. Something for everyone!

I am unaware of anyone being as slammed by other republicans in the last 8 years as you state. Can I get an example? Voinavich is about as close as I can think of. He didn't just wander of the reservation - he tanked Bolton without attending of his hearings. Then he bizarly cried on the floor of the Senate. Castigating him for this is not just about a political position - it is about behavior. If he had made a cogent argument against Bolton I don't think he would have been as slammed. He acted in such a way that whatever his positions he was an ass.

The republicans who signed the letter sidestepping a possible philibuster were roundly criticized as many were worried it was a bad deal. I think they are looking pretty good now. If Roberts gets an up or down vote that may go quite a way for McCain's presidential hopes. If Roberts doesn't I think he is beyond sunk. What is cool about this is that McCain's standing will rise or fall based on effectiveness. There are those who want ideological purity but they aren't running the show for the Republicans at the moment. (though some are really really trying!) Doesn't seem that way over on the Dem side of the aisle.

alkali said...

What is up with that Cindy Sheehan? As a parent, I couldn't be prouder if my child fought and died to turn Iraq into a Shiite theocracy.

CraigC said...

If you can't get your fill of this issue, here are two rather more forceful takes on Ms. Sheehan:

http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/110938.php

http://www.instapunk.com/archives/InstaPunkArchiveV2.php3?a=599

Elizabeth said...

Aaron,

I'm cutting back on blog reading now that I have to get ready to return to school--I do enjoy reading your comments, and wanted to make sure to say so, and reply briefly:

I had in mind, for one example, Christie Todd Whitman. And overall, you have more faith that Guiliani can end up on the ticket than I do. While there are pro-choice republicans, they're just not among the front and center power figures. They appear at the convention, but can't address that topic. I also had in mind people like Paul O'Neil, or any others, who are savaged after leveling any critique of this administration.

But I'll agree that there is diversity in the GOP, absolutely. I had to laugh when I read this comment from Howard Dean today:
"New England Republicans are different than most. They are more reasonable and thoughtful," Dean said. "You don't get as many right-wing wackos."
Cheers!