April 6, 2006

"I think it sends an overwhelming message and a clear signal of the discontent of Madison."

Students opine on the significance of Tuesday's anti-war referendum.

40 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Oh honestly, I think the chair of College Democrats is reading the tea leaves a little too closely. The results show that a small minority of Madison, who voted, would like the troops to come home. Some smaller subset of that population is discontented with things.

Yesterday I read something in the Cardinal that said something to the effect that Herb Kohl better change his pro-war voting because of the referenda results. And I think: so who are all these people against the war going to vote for instead? His republican opponent? Yeah right.

Uncle Jimbo said...

I talked with John Nichols of the Cap Times yesterday, and he was fairly giddy. He admitted that basically Madisonman's point is accurate, but still considered it a victory , which it was for grass roots politics.

He also said he would let the troops in Iraq vote about whether they should stay and he really believes they would vote themselves home because Bush lied and the war is lost.

It blows me away to see the serious disconnect with reality on the far left. Some of the troops would certainly vote themselves home, but he vast majority would continue the mission.

Cordially,

Uncle J

TWM said...

Discontented Madisonites. Heaven help us when they get peeved.

Just teasing, Professor :)

Goesh said...

Madison, in my day of sporting long hair and bellbottoms, was a major hub of radicalism, on equal footing with Berkeley - it was almost a Mecca. On the one hand it is good to see dissent still flourishes there, on the other hand just because some lads and lasses from the Dells have cast aside the milk bucket, scraped the cow manure from their shoes and moved to the big city doesn't mean they are still movers and shakers. Far from it. The headlines could just as easily read, "Cheeseheads vow to bring Doughboys home from the trenches" for all the good it will do. Folks down this way are asking what the hell do them farmers know anyway? I'm hearing all kinds of snide remarks about this.

MadisonMan said...

but still considered it a victory , which it was for grass roots politics.

I do think it's cool that those against the war were able to organize things enough to get this on the ballot, and then get enough voters out to pass it. Even in places in the State that Bush carried in '04. Good on them. That's how a democracy should work.

Simon said...

I think it sends an overwhelming message and a clear signal that people will say anything when they don't think there will be consequences. See also opinion polls. The American people had two opportunities to make a choice about the war in which there were actual consequences understood to inhere in the choice: the midterm elections 2002 and the Presidential election 2004. In both instances, they voted to support the war, and I think that in the next election of any real consequence, midterm 2006, and faced with the solitudinous privacy of only their conscience, the weight of reason and the privacy of not having to live up to the expectations of their peer group when that peer group will not know their choice, most voters will make the right choice, which is to say, they will not vote for a party whose national security strategy is to unilateral surrender.

jeff said...

Based on re-enlistment rates and whatnot, it sounds like John Nichols isn't just out of touch, he's not even on the same plane of existence as the troops in Iraq.

SGT Shultz
USAR

Ann Althouse said...

Goesh: "it was almost a Mecca."

Can we still use "Mecca" that way, or do we worry about offending? I was just wondering about that yesterday, as I was thinking about Gene Pitney, who just died. Would anyone today write a song with lyrics like this:

"Oh she's my dream goddess and her ruby lips are so div-i-ine
And though her folks say we're too young to know of love
I worship at her shrine
Each morning I face her window and pray that our love can be
'cause that brownstone house where my baby lives
Is Mecca (Mecca, Mecca, Mecca) Mecca (Mecca, Mecca) to me-e-e-e-e-e."

Sorry to hijack -- so to speak -- the thread.

Jake said...

The vote tells the world that the people of Madison are pro-terrorist and are against freedom for 50 million people.

AllenS said...

Ann,

Do you remember the song from the early 60's called Ahab, the Arab, by Ray Stevens? Couldn't do it today.

Goesh said...

Mecca, Mecca, Mecca for me? I didn't know we were discussing pastry. Naww, it wouldn't be offensie - using Makah, probably, but then for one who confuses Gene Pitney with Bobby Fuller and Johnny Horton, I wouldn't heed me in matters of music if I were you.

Ann Althouse said...

Allen: Yeah. It was probably the first I ever heard of Arabs, back in the 60s. They played that recording just the other day on the 60s channel on XM radio.

PatCA said...

I'm sure Bush and Rummy are writing down the name of the Campus Democrat president, just in case they need some foreign policy advice! :)

As Simon says, when it counted, the people voted--reluctantly, worriedly, yes--for the war. War is a terrible thing, but not the worst thing.

AllenS said...

Now that I think about it, the first I heard about Arabs was the Laurel and Hardy movie about the two of them joining the French Foreign Legion so Ollie could forget about some woman.

Goesh said...

I'm starting to envy people who can remember all those songs and singers. I wonder how many complaints that station has received over playing that song about Ahab? We need a good book and record burning in this country, and let's expunge portions of Senate Record too from when certain southern Senators used the word "nigrah" when speaking of Blacks.

MadisonMan said...

As Simon says, when it counted, the people voted--reluctantly, worriedly, yes--for the war.

People probably thought the war would be run by competents. And people are allowed to change their mind. Now, there's no evidence I've seen that a true majority have done that -- but a good planner in DC would take such a possibility into account. Alas, the planners of this war seemed to have ignored anything that was not congruent with their own sunny and rose-colored predictions.

I guess I should ask the obvious question: if Republicans in November lose their majority in the Senate, or a significant chuck of their majority in the house, would you view that as a referendum on the war, or on the culture of corruption in DC, or on something else altogether? (I pick #2, incidentally)

Steve Donohue said...

This thread is perfect for someone, but I daren't say who. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, fine, but I'm walking on eggshells, and if they should crack too loudly, I fear that comment threads should grow quite long once again.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"I guess I should ask the obvious question: if Republicans in November lose their majority in the Senate, or a significant chuck of their majority in the house, would you view that as a referendum on the war, or on the culture of corruption in DC, or on something else altogether?"

I think we're in danger of losing the House of Representatives, and it will largely be a question of how successfully the new Majority Leader is able to get the Republican legislative agenda back on track and distance the party from the allegations of corruption. I don't think it will primarily be the war, I think it's going to be a referendum on Bush, on the corruption in the House, and on what the House has and hasn't done since Newt's departure. Frankly, I can live with that result, and in some ways - as Machiavellian as this may sound - I can't help but think that losing the House for a term would be a massive boon to the GOP and to America.

Thorley Winston said...

The vote tells the world that the people of Madison are pro-terrorist and are against freedom for 50 million people.

Nah, a just a plurality of those few who bothered to vote in an April election when the State-wide election isn’t being held until November.

Goesh said...

I would go with #2 as well, Madisonman. As the threat of Iran's nuclear potential gets hyped, and it will, an American presence on their left flank will be more acceptable to the American people. Couple this with a decent economy at home and falling American casualties in Iraq, and I don't see the Iraq occupation swaying voters that much. We are starting to see as well an orchestrated release of Intelligence documents from Iraq showing Iraqi collusion with terrorist groups, which bolsters part of the rationale for being there. The timeline of this release of information should be raising eyebrows but it is not. Anyway, given our rapid deployment capability, a two-way street, it doesn't take much to simply pull some troops out if necessary to convince the Public there is a withdrawal underway, i.e. mission being completed. Said troops can be reinserted just about as quickly if needed. The smart money has always been in it to keep the flow of oil going and to secure the left flank of Iran. The Will of smart money always trickles down and is followed if the domestic economy is strong and it will be. Then too in a real pinch and if you love a good conspiracy, through 3rd party players some cut-rate lab in South America could always make some cheap nerve gas or Ricin product that could be planted in Iraq as election time draws near. Sure...just create a paper trail of anonymous tips to field agents on the ground in Iraq alluding to the presence and possible location of the 'juice' then go dig it up. Talk about making Nancy Pelosi gnash her teeth....

Goatwhacker said...

I think we're in danger of losing the House of Representatives, and it will largely be a question of how successfully the new Majority Leader is able to get the Republican legislative agenda back on track and distance the party from the allegations of corruption. I don't think it will primarily be the war, I think it's going to be a referendum on Bush, on the corruption in the House, and on what the House has and hasn't done since Newt's departure. Frankly, I can live with that result, and in some ways - as Machiavellian as this may sound - I can't help but think that losing the House for a term would be a massive boon to the GOP and to America.

As a "small-government" conservative I'd have to agree with you. The old saw about absolute power corrupting absolutely seems to have been proven right again. The GOP apparently needs a strong opposing party acting as a governor in order to stay true to their supposed belief in less spending and a smaller/less intrusive government. One party holding majorities in the Senate and House plus the presidency is an undesirable situation.

Thorley Winston said...

One party holding majorities in the Senate and House plus the presidency is an undesirable situation.

Interesting considering that for the last century, one party control of the presidency and Congress has been the rule rather than the exception.

PatCA said...

"People probably thought the war would be run by competents."

There you go again! as Reagan would say. Name a war that was conducted up to your standards.

Also, I don't attribute the errors so much to competence as I do to the timidity of politicians who have to deal with an anti-American press, entertainment and academia, as well as a vocal, pacifist electorate. We gave up on Korea and Vietnam because they went on too long--and that strikes fear into the heart of any politician who is faced with the possibility of sending troops abroad. September 11th rendered Tomahawk tossing an invalid response to terrorism and Afghanistan gave them false confidence, while the bad guys were thinking, hmmm, I'll just head for the hills when they come and start my guerilla war. Couple of years and they'll be evacuating, fer sure. Won't the sight of helicopters on Baghdad roofs make us proud, once again, that we "stopped the war!"

Gaius Arbo said...

The only message it sends is that Brian Shactman, despite being the chair of the University of Wisconsin College Democrats, either has no understanding of politics, or is practicing how to lie with a straight face.

Junk like this sends exactly the wrong message to our enemies and puts our fellow citizens at risk.

Simon said...

"The old saw about absolute power corrupting absolutely seems to have been proven right again. The GOP apparently needs a strong opposing party acting as a governor in order to stay true to their supposed belief in less spending and a smaller/less intrusive government. One party holding majorities in the Senate and House plus the presidency is an undesirable situation."

While I wouldn't entirely agree with your last sentence, this is certainly part of the equation. Having failed to pass the two key items of the contract with America - term limits and a balanced budget amendment - the CGOP has grown far from their native agenda, lazy and increasinly corrupt (I suppose it's possible that this is all so much smoke without fire, but it seems hard to believe). Their management of the House under DeLay is utterly indefensbile. A term in the minority might help remind them of the virtues of the policies most of our majority was sent to Washington to enact. Of course, as you point out, divided government may tend to restrain the worst excesses of both, as it did when Clinton and Gingrich balanced the budget.

Part of my thinking - the least defensible part - is that if we have to lose anything, I'd rather it be the House. With the House gone, and with the current mood of Democrats, it is likely that the GOP's legislative agenda is off the table for two years; this will free the President and the Senate to get on with what I regard the most pressing business before them, and something which has been neglected of late: filling the judicial vacancies, a task which does not require the consent of the House. See The Appeals Court Vacancy Crisis at CONFIRMTHEM.com.

Lastly, of course, if given control of the House, the Democrats might have to make good on this impeachment crap; since the GOP has shown unwilling to use that power in at least two thoroughly deserving cases, I don't entirely mind losing control of it. If they seriously believe that impeaching a President who won re-election will help them, they can go right ahead.

Simon said...

Gaius Arbo said...
"The only message it sends is that Brian Shactman, despite being the chair of the University of Wisconsin College Democrats, either has no understanding of politics, or is practicing how to lie with a straight face."

Isn't that a false dichotomy? I would think having no understanding of politics would be the sine qua non of being the Chair of a College Democrats group, and practicing how to lie with a straight face its object. ;)

reader_iam said...

I think it sends an overwhelming message and a clear signal of the discontent of Madison

Which is, of course, the center of the known world.

I couldn't help thinking: How very college student.

(I really don't mean that as snark: Upon reading that quote, I immediately recalling saying a thing or two from that kind of bubble when I was in college.)

vh: pufxg

MadisonMan said...

Name a war that was conducted up to your standards.

In the immediate past? Afghanistan. A clear, just and moral goal. Things went very well -- well, until the administration thought Iraq should be toppled because of WMD, er, because Saddam is evil, er, because Democracy must be spread. What is the reason they give today?

Ann, I apologize for hijacking somewhat this thread. Everyone go back to bashing Madison now!

Simon said...

"In the immediate past? Afghanistan. A clear, just and moral goal. "

The goal - was what? To remove the Taliban, right? Well, why did we do that - what was out "clear, just and moral" reason for that goal? I submit it is arguably none of those things, or at least, no more so than liberating Iraq. Why did we attack the Taleban - because they sympathized with Al Queda, the organization with which we had a legitimate greivance? Surely that wasn't it, or I guess we'd be justified in attacking a sizable number of sympathetic Muslim governments, not least Iraq. Perhaps because they had given material support to Al Queda? That would suggest that there's a fairly strong case that invading Iran would be okay. Or, was it because the Taleban harbored Al Queda - the way that Pakistan is now doing to some extent? You presumably wouldn't support invading Pakistan.

Perhaps there is some other "clear, just and moral goal" in going into Afghanistan? To be sure: we did not invade Afghanistan for any cause so enlightened - so clear, so just, so moral - as liberating the Afghans from the Taleban yoke. We hit them because Al Queda hit us, and we had to hit someone; the Taleban was the lucky and logical winner. Yet you hold that up as a "good" war. Might it have been the case that our actions in Afghanistan are (at least partially) justified by the removal of a ghastly and tyrannical regime, even if our reasons for doing so were not purely altruistic?

Kirk Parker said...

Ann, forget Gene Pitney--how much danger would Warren Zevon be in if he were still among us?

MadisonMan said...

We hit them because Al Queda hit us, and we had to hit someone

And remind me how Iraq hit us.

The Taliban was shown to be giving aid, comfort and support to Al Qaeda -- why shouldn't they be attacked by the US then? If you can give a closer ally than Afghanistan's Taliban in 2001/early 2002 that should've felt the justified wrath of the US re: AQ, I'm all ears.

The USA went in with allies (remember those?) and, more importantly, a clear goal -- to hit AQ where they live. The Taliban was very deserving collateral damage.

A war with a clear goal is not a hard war to support. What's the clear goal in Iraq again?

I will note that the referenda in Madison (and likely throughout WI, but I'm not sure) did not mention the soldiers still fighting in Afghanistan. Why do you suppose that is?

Jeff said...

"it was almost a Mecca"

Seems like an appropriate label for a place that advocates surrendering to Islamic extremists.

Alan Kellogg said...

MadisonMan,

Iraq's attack on Kuwait had no part in the matter? Iraq's continual and blatant violations of the cease fire had no part in the matter. We had casus belli in 1991. Saddam Hussein was asking to have his ass kicked before the ink dried on the cease fire agreemnet.

For all his flaws, and they are legion, Clinton would've done a far better job of justifying the occupation.

Aspasia M. said...

Everyone go back to bashing Madison now!

I visited Madison for the first time last summer. It was a real nice town. At the German restaurant I went to with Mr. Geoduck, they were playing the polka and people of all ages were dancing.
--------

On the referendum: I agree with Juan Cole. It's irresponsible for the US to pull out of Iraq without some sort of peace keeping force. In the absence of a peace keeping force, then the US cannot leave Iraq because thousands of armed militia men may kill millions of people.

I also agree with Friedman(sp?): It is "five minutes to midnight" in Iraq.

I wish they'd get rid of Rumsfeld and put somebody in that position who knew what he was doing.

PatCA said...

So, Madisonman, either you think AFghanistan was a well run war or it wasn't.

If you're citing it in support of your competency argument, you would not agree with the 'loyal' opposition when they say we blew it and let Osama get away, that warlords rule, that Karzai is only mayor of Kabul?

Wickedpinto said...

I'm not possitive, but didn't the Penn and Teller BS show about the failures of university/college specificaly "diversity" as a selling point focus on a school in WI? and in fact focus on a particular professor who gets quite a bit of air? I can't remember right now, and am in the middle of an 20 hour audiobook, so I'm not gonna kill off my bookmark to find out for sure.

Kirk Parker said...

geoduck2,

How about some explanation of how you know Rumsfeld is so incompetent (other than repeating bald assertions of his incompetency, that is?)

Ann,

I thought the quote you pulled for the title was perfect. I'd sure be a lot more worried about the direction of the country if I learned that Academic Madison wasn't filled with discontent about it...

Aspasia M. said...

geoduck2,

How about some explanation of how you know Rumsfeld is so incompetent (other than repeating bald assertions of his incompetency, that is?)


1) Not going in with enough forces to provide security for the ground already fought for. (For example - when the army initially went up to Baghdad, there weren't enough troops to deal with insurgents left behind on the way to Baghdad.)

2) Not enough boots on the ground to prevent chaos and the rise of the insurgencies.

3) Dismantling the Iraqi army.

4) Insufficient planning for post-invasion Iraq.

5) Insufficient numbers of translators on the ground in Iraq.

6) Insufficient security of sacred areas - such as the Dome that was blown up.

7) In general - there's been constant insufficient security in Iraq.

8) Rumsfeld was in love with the idea of cutting costs and downsizing. He's in love with technology. Sometimes you just need boots on the ground and simple, straight forward strategic planning.

He should have gone in with overwelming force. A war is not the place or the time to make cut backs.

I can't name much of anything that he's done right.

I give all the credit to our troops. Our troops are doing a hard job in a dangerous situation.

And the Iraqi people are doing a good job holding on to a precarious sitation.

Again - we're five minutes from midnight.

Johnny Nucleo said...

You know what would be funny? If you were at a party or gathering or something and casually, in conversation, you said Arab with a hard "A". You don't say anything offensive, just say "A-rab". The looks you would get, the awkward silence. That would be funny.

DaveG said...

I'm afraid I just don't understand the "get out now" crowd. After all, this aspect of the war is for you.

Me, I would have been fine with pulling out the day after "Mission Accomplished." At that point, the threat to our nation had been removed. All of the subsequent cleaning up has been for the benefit of the more humanitarian amongst us.

As far as having enough boots on the ground to "win the peace," I find this to be an ironic case of being the victim of your own success. The only failure to plan that I see is the failure to realize that the Iraqi army would turn tail and run. We were not supposed to have to worry about winning the peace until after the tens of thousands dead from chemical attacks and the other sky-is-falling quagmire scenarios pushed by the weak-kneed "we'll get our butts kicked" crowd.

There's just no pleasing some folk.