June 21, 2006

"Senate Democrats have been loath to express their opinions publicly...."

"But interviews suggest a frustration with Mr. Kerry," who was "never popular" anyway, says the NYT.
Mr. Kerry now describes the war in Iraq as a mistake, even though he once supported it. His critics say they believe the new stand reflects more politics than principle, and ignores other Democrats' concern that setting a fixed date will leave those in tough re-election fights open to Republican taunts that they are "cutting and running" in Iraq.

The Democrats' exasperation has increased in the last week, as they postponed a vote on Mr. Kerry's amendment to try to fashion a broader consensus among themselves. Democrats up for re-election asked him not to propose a fixed date. But Mr. Kerry, several Democrats said, was unwilling to budge from that idea, even though his co-sponsor, Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, seemed willing to compromise for the sake of consensus. In the end, Mr. Kerry agreed only to extend his deadline, from Dec. 31 of this year to July 2007.

Mr. Kerry's insistence on pushing ahead with his own plan has left the Democrats divided, and open to renewed Republican accusations that they are indecisive and weak — the same ridicule that Republicans heaped on Mr. Kerry in 2004, when his "I was for it before I was against it" statement about a vote on money for the war became a punch line.
Oh, please, if the Democrats don't even like him, can't they make him go away? You know, what the Democrats need is a presidential candidate who was critical of the war early on, but who now firmly supports the successful completion of the mission. Gore?

66 comments:

Simon said...

I think they're essentially against the wall in '08, but they could make a strong showing in 2012 with a Schweitzer / Herseth ticket. Of course, to get there, they first have to get past this kos phase.

I know I'm usually the one leading the charge against comparative law, and this comparison isn't entirely a good fit, but the Dems seem to have gotten themselves into the same funk as did the Labour Party in Britain. Having been thoroughly discredited as a party of government, Labour got absolutely slaughtered in 1979 by a resurgent conservative party under the firm control of an unusually ideologically-driven leader, Margaret Thatcher. In 1983, they got an even sterner drubbing. Bits of the party began to detatch, thinking third party runs were the way to go (sound familiar?), others thought that all they had to do was sit back and do nothing, and when the Conservatives self-destructed, Labour would be returned to power without having to fundamentally change at all (sound familiar?) while some groups - particularly one called Militant Tendancy - essentially claimed that Labour had to move even further to the left (that should definitely sound familiar). Eventually, the realization set in that if they ever wanted to get back into power, they had to change, they had to get the ultra left out of the party, and they had to make a beeline back for a position that people could vote for. It took them until 1997 - nearly twenty years in the wilderness. It's easy to make the argument that Daily Kos is Militant Tendancy to Newt Gingrich's Margaret Thatcher, Al Gore's Jim Callaghan, and John Kerry's Paul Foot, and I suppose that there's an argument that Joe Biden is Neil Kinnock (no -- wait -- that's just Biden's speeches, sorry), but it's much harder, to see which Democrat is going to step up to the plate and say to the party, "shit, you guys, we're going to be out of power until kingdom come if we don't do something." In other words, the Democrats need their very own Tony Blair - the question is who.

On the one hand, I tend to think that the failure of the Democrats to propose a serious alternative is kind of neat, because obviously, that keeps my party in power. But being in power shouldn't be an end in itself; the lack of any serious competition from the Democrats, I think, is having a serious and detrimental impact on the Congressional GOP, which has become lethargic, stagnant and - one has to suspect - increasingly corrupt (witness the Hill search mess). I have a vested interest in the Democrats becoming credible again, if for no reason other than because the competition will keep the GOP honest. If we lose the House this fall -- a couple of months ago, I thought that was certain, but after the Jefferson thing, it's becoming apparent that Democrats have found yet another way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory -- that isn't something I particularly like the idea of, but it's like a penicillin shot in the ass: sure it hurts, and sure it isn't something you'd choose to do, but sometimes, it's the fastest and most efficient way to deal with the sickness.

My $0.02. Your mileage may vary.

me said...

I've seen Gore a few times on talk shows promoting his movie. He just doesn't have it. His facial expressions are always out of sync, and he still sighs loudly, like he did in his debate with Bush.

Regardless of a candidate's positions, there is the likeability factor, which just isn't there.

David said...

By the time the Democrats decide what to do about troop drawdown the process will already have begun. By dithering they will have allowed the process in Iraq to reach it's end game. I have no doubt they will, at that time, claim success and take credit for a process already begun.

Can Kerry be this dense or is he deliberately stalling so he can claim he was right all along"

Sloanasaurus said...

The Democrats need another Harry S. Truman - an American who just happens to be a democrat, rather than vis-a-versa.

Truly said...

Just so you know, I believe the link is broken.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Truly. I fixed it.

-Peder said...

It would also help Democrats if they had some kind of overarching philosophy that would help them out here. They seem completely focused on the tactics of the situation rather than what the actual best course would be for the US or Iraq. Yes, there's an election coming up and they have to keep that in mind, but they've had years to focus on this. They're always acting like this was a pop quiz that surprised them on a Monday morning.

Jacques Cuze said...

It is a typical Times article that smears Kerry. That's why as soon as I read it, I knew that I could count on you to repeat it. Congrats, I wish I could buy puts and calls on your behavior.


Read what Greg Sargent of the American Prospect has to say:

TIMES SHAFTS KERRY. Today's Times piece about Democratic debate over Iraq is quite a piece of work. First it bungles a key fact about John Kerry:

"Mr. Kerry now describes the war in Iraq as a mistake, even though he once supported it."

Actually, Kerry repeatedly described the war as a mistake during the 2004 campaign. What really happened was that he "supported" the President's request for the authorization to use force in Iraq if the President deemed it necessary. Then Kerry repeatedly criticized the President's use of that authorization to invade the way he did as a mistake. Is it too much to ask from The Times that they make this not-terribly-complex distinction?

Then the paper indulges in some highly questionable sourcing ... to portray Kerry as calculating and political:

"Senate Democrats have been loath to express their opinions publicly, determined to emphasize a united front. But interviews suggest a frustration with Mr. Kerry, never popular among the caucus, and still unpopular among many Democrats for failing to defeat a president they considered vulnerable. Privately, some of his Democratic peers complain that he is too focused on the next presidential campaign. (Emphasis added.)"

Interviews "suggest" a frustration; his "peers" say he's political, though no "peer" is quoted saying so, even anonymously. Meanwhile, the piece also adds high up in the story that Kerry's position leaves Dems "open to Republican taunts that they are `cutting and running' in Iraq" without letting any Dem rebut that argument until the end of the piece. And of course the story features an obligatory reference to Kerry's "I was for it before I was against it" campaign gaffe.


As the culture observing professor, how come on some days you ask why the Times is trying to disparage Mark Warner and others Dems and on other days you mindlessly repeat what they have to say about Clinton and Kerry?

Pogo said...

Oh, great. More stalker complaints from a sociopath. Not a comment about the issue at hand, but about Ann. Never good enough or smart enough, by his reckoning, but somehow she remains the flame to his moth.

I suspect it's how the moon must feel, at night, just a cold stone, able only to reflect the sun.

Jacques Cuze said...

but who now firmly supports the successful completion of the mission. Gore?

What do you think the mission is?
Is the mission achievable? What is the cost of the mission? What is the expected outcome for success and failure of the mission?

What is your experience relevant to your understanding of what completing the mission would take? What do acknowleged experts say? Are their views congruent with your views?

What are alternative uses of the resources of the mission?

What are the impacts on the US for maintaining the resources necessary to complete the mission?

Does the US have those resources? What does the US sacrifice by maintaining the resources necessary for the mission?

What is the mission? Has the mission evolved over time? If so, why? How has the mission evolved over time?

How do you measure the mission's achievements and progress? What do those measurements say in the period of time the mission has been going forward?

How do the American people feel about our completing the mission? What do the American people want? Should the American people's representatives stay firm and complete the mission if the American people feel otherwise?

What are the risks of not completing the mission? What are the risks of staying to complete the mission? What are the expected outcomes of each?

What has been the track record to date of the leaders that want us to complete the mission? Have they been doing a good job or a bad job? Have they made good decisions or bad decisions? Have they taken responsiblity for any mistakes they have made? Have they successfully managed the outcome so far? Have they been truthful to the people? Do they show an understanding of what it would take to complete the mission and the upsides and the downsides that we have just discussed above?

Is their understanding of the mission the same as your understanding of the mission?

What is the mission, and what is successful completion of the mission?

One of us is being very murky here in her thinking. I think that is a bad idea and I recommend use of the internet to help determine the facts and answers to these questions. Atrios, Hullabaloo, Talking Points Memo, Talk Left, Media Matters, Glenn Greenwald, Brad Delong, Crooks and Liars. All of these are excellent sources. If you care to go to radio, I would highly recommend the Al Franken show, The Thom Hartman show, Peter Werbe, and of course, Terri Gross.

You will find all of those sources well written, well sourced, informative, enlightening, entertaining and written by experts in economics, law, journalism, and music.

You need to firm up your notion of "complete the mission" -- your use of it is vague and would never pass muster in a freshman course. I would hope it would not be found acceptable in a law school.

dmc_in_washington said...

Gore? He'd be a worse presidential candidate than Kerry, if this CNN poll is to be believed:

Percentage of voters who say they will "definitely not" vote for:

* Rudy Giuliani 30%
* John McCain 34%
* Hillary Clinton 47%
* John Kerry 47%
* Al Gore 48%
* Jeb Bush 63%

(Poll taken June 1-6)

John said...

Sloan: The Democrats need another Harry S. Truman - an American who just happens to be a democrat, rather than vis-a-versa.

Could that be Joe Lieberman?

The only Dems who - nationally - have been consistent, are Feingold and Lieberman. Feingold will appeal to the Kossacks, but get little support from moderates and the Dems will NOT support Lieberman.

If the goal of the party is to win the election, wouldn't you think they'd nominate a candidate that can win? Instead, the Dems choose to make a statement - which by the way (ok Quxxo, queue your stats) -most Americans don't believe in. The Dems need to communicate more than a "Bush Sucks! Cheney Sucks! Rumsfeld Sucks! Rove Sucks, and is Evil!" platform to win an election.

Pogo said...

Re: "You need to firm up your notion of 'complete the mission' "

Moon interrogates sun.

PatCA said...

"The Democrats need another Harry S. Truman - an American who just happens to be a democrat, rather than vis-a-versa."

Don't hold your breath.

Although I do think this article was meant to discredit Kerry to make the way for ...Gore or Hillary? don't worry, they will get back to their real work, bashing Scooter Libby, soon.

John said...

I forgot to add the last plank in the Dem platform:

"Most Americans are stupid and ignorant because they don't believe everything we do! [See planks 1-4]"

1-Bush Sucks!
2-Cheney Sucks!
3-Rumsfeld Sucks!
4-Rove Sucks, and is Evil!

Coco said...

"If the goal of the party is to win the election, wouldn't you think they'd nominate a candidate that can win?"

That's what the Democrats thought they were doing last time.

Quxxo is right about the Kerry article. I'm no fan of his by any means but I read the article this morning on the train and notcied the same unsourced editorializing that the quote from the previous post mentions. Very sloppy.

Pogo said...

Re: "unsourced editorializing"

Is that somehow new for the NYT? I find it standard operations, even unremarkable. The paper of record indeed.

tcd said...

Pogo, don't you know that the NYT is only sloppy when it concerns Democrats? When it's about Republicans, "unsourced editorializing" becomes concrete irrefutable facts! Get w/ the program man!

Joe said...

Where does the idea that Gore is strong on the war come from? He has made it clear that he believes the biggest threat we face is not from Islamic fanatics with the weapons and intent to destroy us, but that the earth's temperature might rise a degree in the next century. He has clearly lost what little mind he might have once had.

Richard Dolan said...

Ann says: "You know, what the Democrats need is a presidential candidate who was critical of the war early on, but who now firmly supports the successful completion of the mission. Gore?"

I think that misses the real problem that the Dems have here. Ann's comment is about political personalities and tactics but doesn't get to the root of the Dem's problem (root causes, anyone?): why would it have made sense to be "critical of the war" early on, and why is it essential to support "successful completion" now?

I certainly agree that "successful completion" is critical. But the problem with framing the issue in these terms is that the real policy choices get lost in an exercise in retrospection -- if we knew then what we have learned by living through the last 3 years, things would have been done differently. Of course -- but that is a truism about all of life, and is unhelpful in coming up with national security policies to deal unknown and unknowable contingencies. "Learning from one's mistakes" is greatly to be desired in political leaders, assuming we can identify the reasons why particular past actions were mistakes. But bear in mind that the countervailing cliche is the imperative of facing today's world and avoiding the impulse to refight the last war instead. For a long time, the Dems have been all about constantly refighting one past war in particular.

The Dems as a party, and especially anyone who intends to seek the Dem Presidential nomination, need to articulate principles and policies that would guide their actions on national security issues. They need to explain how those policies and principles will keep America and its friends around the world safe, meet the terrorist threat, and provide a framework to move forward. The impression that condemns them as weak and unacceptable on national security issues is that, as a party, they stand for nothing, have no principles stronger than the latest poll results, and thus constantly shift in the wind depending on whatever they think might sell in the domestic political marketplace. Kerry's endless flip-flops on Iraq captures all of that perfectly -- it's all about pandering to what he (they) think voters (Dem base voters) want to hear for domestic political reasons, not about what makes sense from a national security perspective. In practice, it reeks of defeatism, celebrates every setback, and makes the highest virtue of national security policy the avoidance of difficult or long engagements abroad that might demand a domestic price to maintain. Ultimately the attitude projected by the Dems internalizes the notion that the US is the most dangerous player on the world stage (thus, the need to work only through the UN or other such institutions to avoid unilateral action and cabin US power). Individual Dem politicians resist aspects of that overall worldview, but I think it is where the Dem party as a whole is at.

Whatever one's views about Iraq, the GWOT or the American place on the world stage, there is nothing in the Dem's current approach to these issues that inspires respect, let alone support, from anyone except the "cut and run" crowd. And even the "cut and run" crowd can't tell you what national security policy the Dems should support or why, or what approach the US should take in dealing with the many national security challenges ahead. Instead, it all just gets reduced to soundbite-sized bromides -- work with the allies (except when an enemy like N. Korea demands othewise); unilaterally foreswear force upfront and pursue negotiations endlessly, whether or not there is any prospect of accomplishing the policy objective at hand; etc.

In short, before the Dems can find a standard bearer in '08, I think they have more basic problems to solve.

Mike said...

Then the paper indulges in some highly questionable sourcing ... to portray Kerry as calculating and political:

Kerry's position "I voted to authorize the war but I opposed Bush actually using that aithorization" appears to me to be as politically calculating as you can get. I don't think we need the NYT to make this case. Kerry does the job quite well on his own.

Thorley Winston said...

Kerry's position "I voted to authorize the war but I opposed Bush actually using that aithorization" appears to me to be as politically calculating as you can get. I don't think we need the NYT to make this case. Kerry does the job quite well on his own.


Agreed, much like his decision to vote for the $87 Billion for our troops when he needed to show that he was strong on the war and then voting against the $87 Billion for our troops when he needed an anti-war vote to beat Howard Dean in the presidential primary.

sonicfrog said...

I think Gore has a real shot. His position on the war has been much more consistent than most other Dem, even if it's only because he was not in office and didn't have to vote on the resolution. Plus throw in his long term concern / obsession with the environment.

Anti-war plus environment scores points with the Kossacks and Hard Progressives and can translate into a win in the primaries.

He was VP during the 90's and presided over a tremendous economic boom. Never mind that it was built on an illusionary business model, the Dot Com's, and that the Clinton administration put the pin to the tech bubble when the DOJ sued Micro$oft in '98. And I mean really, when government officials start talking about how they may have beaten the economic cycle - buy bonds.

Anyway, presidential administrations generally get too much credit / blame for good / bad economic times, but Gore was VP and can be associated with the good economy of the '90s.
Plus, they, both Dem president AND Republican congress, managed to accidentally run the government with a surplus, though the actual size of it was grossly exaggerated by combining the ten year projection with principles of ceteris paribus (should be against the law the government to do that, and for me to use the term ceteris paribus).

"It was a simpler time!" (I'm quoting this from someone, and even though I don't know who, I don't want to be accused of plagiarism, so I give that person credit for the line, who ever it is). Times were good, for the most part, during Gore's tenure, and compared to the current terrorist threat the nation now faces, the '90s do seem like a simpler time, though the threat was there and the administration just chose to pass the hard decisions to the next guys. Regardless, if Gore plays his cards right, (left-of-center actually), he could foster a '90s nostalgia of sorts to appeal to the centrist vote.

'90s nostalgia = Popular AND electoral win for presidency, IF he can win his home state of Tennessee.

Of coarse, it all depends on who the Republicans pick as their guy. Guliani trumps Hillary, but I don't think he trumps Gore. Is Newt the ace-in-the-hole against the Big G???

Bruce Hayden said...

This is a fairly long response, because a lot of the questions were repetative, both here and in previous threads.

What do you think the mission is?

If my counting is correct, you ask this question at least three different times in your rambling diatribe. See my answer from yesterday.

Is the mission achievable?

Progressing quite well, thank you.

What is the cost of the mission? What is the expected outcome for success and failure of the mission?

See below - you repeat yourself a lot here.

What is your experience relevant to your understanding of what completing the mission would take?

What is yours?

What do acknowledged experts say? Are their views congruent with your views?

Presumably, if you are asking about acknowledged experts, you are presumably asking about the President, VP, SecDef, SecState, and their officers either commanding or serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. And, yes, they are fairly consistent about this.

What are alternative uses of the resources of the mission?

None

What are the impacts on the US for maintaining the resources necessary to complete the mission?

What are the impacts of not doing it?

Does the US have those resources?

Yes.

What does the US sacrifice by maintaining the resources necessary for the mission?

What is the danger if it aborts the mission?

What is the mission?

This is getting boring.

Has the mission evolved over time? If so, why? How has the mission evolved over time?

Yes, because we didn't fully understand the dynamics, overestimated the resistance, and thus ultimately underestimated the resources left over.

How do you measure the mission's achievements and progress? What do those measurements say in the period of time the mission has been going forward?

Primarily by how many provinces, cities, etc. have had their security turned over to the Iraqis.

How do the American people feel about our completing the mission? What do the American people want? Should the American people's representatives stay firm and complete the mission if the American people feel otherwise?

Don't really care about this.

What are the risks of not completing the mission?

Catastrophic.

What are the risks of staying to complete the mission?

Significantly less.

What are the expected outcomes of each?

Staying the course: significant positive impact on the WoT. Cutting and running: significantly emboldened Islamofascism.

What has been the track record to date of the leaders that want us to complete the mission?

Good.Have they been doing a good job or a bad job?

Mostly good.

Have they made good decisions or bad decisions?

Mostly good.

Have they taken responsibility for any mistakes they have made?

BDS throwaway.

Have they successfully managed the outcome so far?

Yes.

Have they been truthful to the people?

Yes. Much more so than the opposition which ignores repeated statements of what the mission is in Iraq to blindly repeat the mantra of "what is the mission?"

Do they show an understanding of what it would take to complete the mission and the upsides and the downsides that we have just discussed above?

Yes.

Is their understanding of the mission the same as your understanding of the mission?

Yes.

What is the mission, and what is successful completion of the mission?

I have gotten bored answering this for you.

One of us is being very murky here in her thinking.

One of us is parroting BDS and liberal fabrications.

Internet Ronin said...

One can't help but wonder if the debate the Senate Democrats are demanding now will turn out to be as helpful to them as the last major debate on Iraq the Senate Democrats demanded, at just about the same time of year in the run-up to the 2002 elections. Only time will tell. It will be interesting to watch the results.

Randy Rogers

kmg4 said...

The Senate just voted 93-6 to keep troops in Iraq, after voting 77-23 to invade Iraq in the first place, in 2003.

The 'anti-war' position is a guaranteed one, for loss. John Kerry, by being one of just 6 asking for immediate withdrawal, has destroyed his Presidential chances.

Matt said...

A few notes:

1. Markos and the rest of the Kos community adore Schweitzer. He's top 5 on the list of "adored politicians." Indeed, many have said they want him to run for POTUS in 2008.

2. Many folks at Kos do say that the only acceptable candidate from Congress would be one who voted "No" in 2003 and "No" on yesterday's vote. There's also a substantial contingent of "No more Senators!" folks, who demand, um...a governor who's voiciferiously anti-war. It's the same thing that drew people to Dean--they want a "no!" candidate.

3. Gore's not running. Period. I saw his movie, and what fascinated me about it is that Gore was 10X more animated when talking about the problems with global warming than he was when talking about his personal life. That seems to me to be a problem.

Ken said...

jForeign policy has become poisonous for the Democrats. Every time international issues dominate a campaign, the Republicans win. The only effective Democratic foreign policy campaign was Kennedy's "missle gap", which was a lie. Only in a campaign in which foreign policy is a minimal issue can the Democrats win.

Any Democrat who has a reasonable stand on international issues will drive the Party's base and its fund raising out. Any Democrat whose foreign policy is acceptable to the base will be unable to appeal to anyone outside of it. Democrats have to campaign on domestic issues to win nationally.

Paul Brinkley said...

I'll repeat what I said on :

If I had to pick something that would make me go for a Democratic approach to Iraq, it would be an incentive program to get more American investment over there to develop Iraq’s infrastructure, while also putting a higher profile the development that has already been done by the US Army. While several things drive Iraqis to violence, economic hardship is one motivator over which I think America could exert the most leverage.

Meanwhile, keep the criteria for withdrawal that Bush advocates: we can leave when Iraq’s government and security are stable.

You think a Democrat would do that?

John Althouse Cohen said...

I saw his movie, and what fascinated me about it is that Gore was 10X more animated when talking about the problems with global warming than he was when talking about his personal life. That seems to me to be a problem.

It's a problem that he was most animated about the topic that was the entire focus of the movie? You expected him to be more upbeat about, say, the death of his sister or the near-death of his son?

GM Roper said...

AA: "Gore?"

Oh, yes please. That's the ticket. Heh.

Matt said...

It's not an "upbeat." It's just that he showed genuine emotion and passion when talking about global warming and pretty much nothing else. I'm not expecting him to say "My sister died! Ain't that great!" (That would be disconcerting, in any event.) But there should be some show of emotion.

Ricardo said...

"I think Gore has a real shot."

Yes. And why doesn't he patch up his differences with his old buddy, and bring Bill Clinton in as the VP candidate? It may not do much for Bill's marriage (could Hillary get over "this"?) but it may be the winning ticket for 2008.

Any of you Conlaw people want to venture an opinion on whether Bill can run for VP? Is it clear, or a little murky, and how would the 12th and 22nd amendments play out in this case? Who would have to make the final decision as to eligibility?

JazzBass said...

He stinks, period. He couldn't even win Tennessee. Enough people can spot and are tired of his patrician ways and "I know what's best for you" poo poo. Plus I do believe many Americans remember his racist and devisive campaign rehetoric of class warfare. Did you like Donna Brazille? I think many of us did not, therefore, why hire the guy that would hire her? Like Kerry, he stands for nothing. Why else marginalize Lieberman during this election cycle?

Thorley Winston said...

I saw his movie, and what fascinated me about it is that Gore was 10X more animated when talking about the problems with global warming than he was when talking about his personal life. That seems to me to be a problem.


Far be it from me to defend the former Vice-President or his latest work of fiction but I don’t necessarily think that being more animated when talking about what one believes to be a serious problem (and reasonable people can certainly disagree on whether global climate change is a problem, the seriousness of it relative to other problems, and the costs-benefits of proposed “solutions”) than in making small talk about the family is a bad thing.

exhelodrvr said...

me,
"he still sighs loudly"

So sighs matter?

exhelodrvr said...

Richard Dolan,
"I certainly agree that "successful completion" is critical. But the problem with framing the issue in these terms is that the real policy choices get lost in an exercise in retrospection -- if we knew then what we have learned by living through the last 3 years, things would have been done differently. Of course -- but that is a truism about all of life, and is unhelpful in coming up with national security policies to deal unknown and unknowable contingencies."

I agree; to be a responsible party, the Democrats need to come up with a reasonable plan on how they will win the current war in Iraq, and on what they would do in the future with the struggle against Islamo-Fascists. Specifically how to handle the types of situations that Bill Clinton and George Bush faced over the past 14 years. What have they learned from that?
The problem, though, is that they realize that that "a reasonable plan" as I described will be pretty much exactly what this administration has been doing since 9/11.

James Stephenson said...

I agree. There are several platforms that are serious losers.

1. Second Amendment, leave it alone let people own their weapons.

2. Gay Marriage, even though I voted against the amendment here in Georgia, everywhere it has been put to vote it has gotten 70% + people voting against it. That is a lot of Democrats voting against Gay Marriage.

3. America is not the root of all evil.

I mentioned these things on my own blog, which well nobody reads, so don't go there.

Ann Althouse said...

What's wrong with Donna Brazile? (I like her as a Sunday morning news talk guest.)

ignacio said...

I was all for Clinton resigning in 1998, thus allowing Pres. Gore to run as an incumbent with all the advantages this would have entailed. Clinton meanwhile would have enjoyed tremendous sympathy for his unselfishness.

Internet Ronin said...

What's wrong with Donna Brazile?

I'm glad you asked that because I was wondering the same thing myself. I have found her to be one of the few people "inside the beltway" willing to engage in an actual conversation instead sticking to the "talking points" du jour. Considering her partisan bona fides, I think she is refreshing. And somewhat unpredicatable, unlike so many in both parties who have held positions such as hers and insist that day is night despite all evidence to the contrary just because it is the official party position of that particular day.

ignacio said...

Yeah, Donna Brazile's okay. As compared to, uh, well, Susan Estrich comes to mind.

(And by the way, I should that although I for quite some time anticipated and even rooted for Bill Clinton to resign and give us a President Gore, my opinion of both men has since dramatically plummeted. And by the way, Gore is not even supporting Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary against an anti-war opponent.)

Mark T said...

1. The mission, if there is one, seems to be "drive back and forth for no apparent purpose, until we get shot at or bombed with an IED." If there is a mission beyond that, it is not obvious to the casual observer.

2. When 9/11 occurred, the mission was to bring the perpetrators of that attack -- Al Qaeda -- and any nations who willingly harbored them, to justice. Within days, the Pentagon and Vice President's office had shifted considerable attention and resources into connecting Saddam Hussein into the 9/11 attacks, and planning for war with Iraq. Cheney and Rumsfeld set up a shadow intelligence service at the Pentagon that was largely responsible for the use of discredited intelligence in the administration's selling of the war to Congress, the public and the UN. Given those facts, and they are facts, it seems to me that fidelity with the "mission" is a head fake, one that owes its genesis to giving more wieght to the more attractive objective of defeating terrorists who are trying to destroy us, over the less attractive objective of displacing a weakened petty tyrant as part of a unilateral nation building program of the very type that GWB specifically rejected and ran against in the 2000 campaign.

3. Russ Feingold is your Harry Truman, a man of conviction and absolute integrity who speaks with a very plainspoken, midwestern cadence. The attempts to paint him as some left wing crazy could not be more wrong. His record is one of moderation, intelligence and fidelity to his constituents.

Jim,MtnView,CA said...

"So sighs matter?"
Well, no. But in a non-literal sense, when Dems nominate elitists (Kerry, Gore) they lose. When they nominate candidates that are closer to real people (Carter, Clinton), they have a shot at winning.

tcd said...

Mark T,
Links to those facts you so readily state would be helpful.

Also, I don't think it's the style or the delivery of the Democrat's message that voters have responded unfavorably to, it's the message itself. Seems Feingold will need more than a midwestern cadence to win a national election.

Simon said...

Ken said:
"Only in a campaign in which foreign policy is a minimal issue can the Democrats win."

Either that's absolutely true, or it's just a staggering coincidence that the only two Democrats to win the White House since the '60s did so at a time when foreign affairs were low on the agenda: Carter (height of detente, and in any event, mainly attributable as a reaction to Watergate) and Clinton (Soviet Union dead, terrorism not yet percieved as a threat).

Harrison Bergeron said...
"There are several platforms that are serious losers . . . Gay Marriage, even though I voted against the amendment here in Georgia, everywhere it has been put to vote it has gotten 70% + people voting against it. That is a lot of Democrats voting against Gay Marriage."

Crunching the numbers on the Alabama referendum here, I demonstrated that somewhere in the vicinity of half of the Democratic primary voters voted for the amendment, and I would be far from surprised if those numbers were not reflected throughout the country. This fall is going to be interesting; no ban on homosexual marriage put to the general public has ever failed, nor even come close to failing. The big challenge for proponents is basically to make sure that the public doesn't get any say in the matter, which is certainly a familiar position for liberals, but it's not one that they like to think of themselves as defending in such explicit terms.

Simon said...

SF:
"Of coarse, it all depends on who the Republicans pick as their guy. Guliani trumps Hillary, but I don't think he trumps Gore. Is Newt the ace-in-the-hole against the Big G???"

You know what, I would love Newt to run, I think he will run, and if he does, I could very easily see myself voting for him. But Newt comes with some serious baggage, and he faces the serious problem that a lot of the base is going to want a candidate who will lead from the front on the sanctity of marriage, and frankly, a man with Newt Gingrich's personal history isn't someone who can be taken seriously if he opens his mouth about the sanctity of marriage. I also worry that there are a lot of people in this country who remember the 1990s, and remember the stuff that Newt did in the 1990s, and have a very low opinion of that conduct. But FWIW, I think he is, and should be, a very serious contender for the nominee, and if nothing else, I think running for the Presidency will get broader exposure for some of the ideas he's been trailing in the last few years, and will make the primary a much more rigorous and interesting process. Anyone who runs against Newt is going to have to relaly, really work for it, particularly in any prospective debates.

SteveR said...

Donna Brazile? I hardly ever agree with her, but I like her. No way she gets any real blame for Gore 2000.

As for the Democrat's strategy, it seems pretty clear. From the end of the Cold War until 9/11 everyone was asleep. After 9/11 GWB said this is how I want to handle this problem (and it is a problem).

Ok so now there is plenty to criticize but unless the Dems come up with a reasonable alternative, they will have a hard time winning a national election. There is a not a day going by that we are not reminded of what these people will do to us. I don't always agree with this president but I am pretty certain I know what he wants to do. Did we ever know what Kerry wanted to do, Gore, etc.? Maybe, kinda sort of...

Simon said...

Matt - I'm pleased if the Kossacks could get behind any nominee that I don't think would be a disaster for America; I wouldn't vote for Schweitzer, but I'd like to be able to vote against someone while knowing that even if they win, they aren't going to be a complete disaster.

Mike said...

but I'd like to be able to vote against someone while knowing that even if they win, they aren't going to be a complete disaster.

Amen. The last two Presidential elections have been too gut-wrenching for my tastes.

Todd said...

Donna Brazile? Sure, she's alright to watch on This Week.

But let's not forget some of her more infamous moments in politics. Fired from the Dukakis campaign for saying the American people had a right to know if Barbara would be sleeping in George H.W. Bush's bed if he went to the White House. Said that Colin Powell and JC Watts were used by Republicans because they had "no program, no policy" and "no love, no joy" and would rather take pictures with black kids than feed them. (Al Gore said he was sorry Powell took that badly.) She claimed that African Americans were systematically disenfranchised in the 2000 elections, and that Republicans used guard dogs to frighten African -Americans away from the polls.

Elizabeth said...

He stinks, period. He couldn't even win Tennessee.

He won the popular vote, so it seems that more people liked him than liked Bush on that day. So, I guess Bush stinks! He couldn't win more votes!

John Althouse Cohen said...

'90s nostalgia = Popular AND electoral win for presidency, IF he can win his home state of Tennessee.

Huh? Why would he need to win Tennessee? He didn't win it last time, and he could have won if only he had had, say, a thousand more votes in Florida. I'm no expert on this, so it may well be that circumstances have changed such that winning Tennessee would be necessary in '08. But you can't just assume that that's the case based on 2000.

dick said...

I would guess that the inference about Tennessee is that the man's own home state should know him better than anyone else and if they won't even support him, then why should the rest of the country. Note also that Gore lost Arkansas as well.

Voting for Gore in hopes that you will get a second Clinton (shudder) is also not really in the cards. Clinton for all his faults at least was someone you might want to go have a beer with. Gore is someone who tags along in hopes that someone will say something nice to him.

tjl said...

Todd said:
"Donna Brazile? Sure, she's alright to watch on This Week.
But let's not forget some of her more infamous moments in politics."

Donna Brazile has actually matured quite a bit since her thankless task of working on the Gore campaign. (Can you imagine two more discordant personalities?)

When the media and the Democratic base (essentially the same group) were infatuated with Howard Dean, Brazile firmly and publicly warned that no Democrat could be elected President who was not credible on defending the nation. So strongly did she believe this, she even published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal to make the point.
Of course Peter Beinart of the New Republic later took up this theme and got much more recognition for it. But I think it took more courage for Brazile, so closely identified with Gore, to go out on a limb as she did.

Internet Ronin said...

John Althouse Cohen:

You are right: Gore doesn't have win Tennessee. That said, can you name the last President of the United States who was elected without carrying his home state?

John Althouse Cohen said...

You are right: Gore doesn't have win Tennessee. That said, can you name the last President of the United States who was elected without carrying his home state?

I don't know, but I can name the last candidate who came within a few hundred Florida votes of winning the presidency without winning his home state: Gore. And given the size of Florida, those few hundred votes are trivial for the purposes of predicting future outcomes. Rather than saying that Gore can't win because he didn't win his home state, the more logical conclusion from the 2000 results would be that one doesn't need to win one's home state to win the electoral college.

I would gladly admit to being wrong about this in the face of hard evidence. That would need to be something other than emotional appeals to the fact that "he lost his home state!!" You could just as validly have said during the 2004 race: "Bush was so pathetic that he couldn't even win an uncontroversial victory against an opponent who lost his home state; therefore, Bush will not be decisively reelected."

WhatsAPundit said...

John said:
"The only Dems who - nationally - have been consistent, are Feingold and Lieberman. Feingold will appeal to the Kossacks, but get little support from moderates and the Dems will NOT support Lieberman."

Actually, these are two of the Senators I respect most. I find Feingold's politics apalling, but I would vote for him ahead of Kerry or Gore just because I think he's got more working neurons than the other two have in toto.

I think the problem with the Democratic field (and to a lesser extent the Republicans) is the low level of respect the American public has for the candidates. Let's face it, how many people voted for Kerry and not against Bush? For almost everyone the last election was a battle of the bottom-feeders

Likeability matters (which is why Gore's animatronic aspect does come into play) but I suspect gravitas will matter more.

Internet Ronin said...

John Althouse Cohen:

Mine was just an interjection of why people consistently mention Tennessee, John. I hadn't intended to take part in the debate as to whether Gore is electable in 2008.(The answer to my question is "Zero," BTW. There will be a first time, and it was almost 2000, but "close" only counts in horseshoes. :-)

But, if you insist, some of the reasons Al Gore is unelectable in 2008 might include the fact that he had all the power and prestige of incumbency when he ran in 2000, a unified party, one of the longest peace-time economic growth records in modern history, stock market growth that appeared to defy gravity (the bubble actually started bursting early in 2000 but not that many paid attention), the lowest unemployment rates ever post-World War II, no visible signs of major foreign wars or problems, apparent success in defusing the Korean nuclear problem (the truth came out later), apparent success in stopping the slaughter of innocents in Bosnia and Kosovo, and yet Al Gore couldn't do much more than tie an opponent whose inept public speaking style was the subject of ridicule, an opponent whose debating skills were limited, one who was generally derided by mainstream media and opinion-makers.

There's a reason for you John, based on hard facts, that Al Gore can't be elected in 2008. He was a lousy candidate then, probably the most inept since John Dewey threw his sure thing away by playing it safe in 1948. Finally, Al Gore has moved to the left since 2000 and the public hasn't.

altoids1306 said...

quxxo: One of us is being very murky here in her thinking. I think that is a bad idea and I recommend use of the internet to help determine the facts and answers to these questions. Atrios, Hullabaloo, Talking Points Memo, Talk Left, Media Matters, Glenn Greenwald, Brad Delong, Crooks and Liars. All of these are excellent sources. If you care to go to radio, I would highly recommend the Al Franken show, The Thom Hartman show, Peter Werbe, and of course, Terri Gross.

Explains a lot.

sabinal said...

Russ Feingold is your Harry Truman, a man of conviction and absolute integrity who speaks with a very plainspoken, midwestern cadence. The attempts to paint him as some left wing crazy could not be more wrong. His record is one of moderation, intelligence and fidelity to his constituents.

I love when people romanticize dead Presidents. They tend to forget their problems - like Korea. He may have been moderate and integretous (sp) but losing 38,000 in three years fresh after WWII did not make him Mr Popular.

Jacques Cuze said...

Since you want some mission of yours completed, you may wish to check in at the NYTimes to see if your mission is the same as the President's. (Apparently the Prez thinks we need to stay in Iraq in order to win in 06 and 08).

If it still is, and since you think that the Army should be able to come on campus to recruit, I think you should offer the Army some free advertising on your site. They just raised the max age to join to 42 and they could use the ad space as well as your exhortations to your students and readers to join up. Illudium-Q36, DTL, MadisonMan, VD Studs, Marburg, The Anchor Chick, you could have your own platoon! (we all know the sloanbot would not pass the basic fitness test much less the turing test.) Many many others too.

The Althouse Platoon! Sign up here.

Mark T said...

TCD - The Frontline that was on PBS Tuesday night hit all of these issues much more effectively than I can. The DoD intelligence function was set up under Doug Feith. Cheney has continued to this day to refer to and repeat so-called "intelligence" that CIA analysts and others have proven to be false (yellowcake in Niger, aluminum tubes, Atta in Prague, etc.). The proof is in the pudding - there was no connection between Saddam and 9/11, no WMDs, no US troops being greeted as liberators, no oil profits to pay for it, no real democracy, and we've created a hotbed of terrorism where one did not previously exist. No, we are neck deep in an all out civil war that is likely to lead to a radical Islamist government before it is through, brought to that war under false pretenses (at worst, deliberately so, at best, grossly negligent), underarmored, undermanned and without a clear sense of what the mission is or when it will be completed. Remember, 95% or more of the US casualties have occurred after Bush proclaimed that the mission had been accomplished and that combat was over. Killing Zarqawi is like killing one big fat cockraoch in an apartment infested with them. It's a great thing, but it hardly represents a turning point in the process.

As for links, try some of the following:

This link reflects how the Cheney/Rumsfeld network or cabal completely took over the intelligence and war related functions of the government in the aftermath of 9/11:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/pentagon/paths/

This link brings the reader to interviews discussing why the NIE in October 2002 turned out to be so wrong on so many issues:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darkside/themes/nie.html

Alternative Intelligence came through Doug Feith's office at the Pentagon (read the interview with Lt. Gen Michael DeLong in particular):

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/darkside/themes/anecdotes.html

The best thing to do if you did not watch Frontline Tuesday night is to read the raw interviews on this site, with both supporters and detractors of the war and the administration, to get a real flavor for what happened . . . . which is, in a nutshell, that Cheney wanted Rumsfeld and his own VP's office to take absolute control over the intelligence flow and the war strategy effort, which resulted in a vast degradation of the quality of information that was relied upon by government decisionmakers in the run-up to the war; they ignored doubts raised by professional intellig4ence analysts, which, as it turned out, were accurate; that instead of listening to critics of the intelligence, they marginalized them within the intelligence community; Cheney continues to this day repeating "intelligence" that has been completely debunked; and the Administration claims (falsely) that Congress had the same information and intelligence they had in attempting to distance themselves for sole responsibility for this war.

In my view, it was all about taking advantage of the crisis that 9/11 created to effectuate an unprecedented expansion of executive power - an effort to reverse the controls and "checks" that came out of Watergate -- and making sure that all players from top to bottom in the government were first and foremost loyal to the administration, as opposed to objective in interpreting raw data and making sure they spoke truth to the President, rather than telling him what he wanted to hear. This is clearly an administration that values and demands absolute loyalty over objectivity, and the end result if the quicksand we are dealing with in Iraq.

The sad reality is that this administration is led by a small cabal of men, almost all of whom failed or declined -- often in very elaborate ways -- to serve in the military, who are very full of themselves, certain in their absolute conviction that everything they think and do is right, and who are filled with utter contempt for anybody who disagrees with them. They blundered repeatedly in the run-up to the Iraqi war, were unprepared for (and grossly mismanaged) the war itself, and who are now neck deep in quicksand that will not go away through the mere invocation of patriotism and "supporting the troops." All Americans support the troops, including those of us who think this war was a mistake and that we need to undo that mistake as fast as we can do so responsibly. There are just some of us who are unwilling to tar true decorated war heroes like Murtha and Kerry simply because they have finally come around to the conclusion that thy were duped by the administration in the first place, and that catch phrases "stay the course" and "support the troops" are propaganda, not a plan.

tcd said...

Mark T,
Good to see the source for all your information comes from one television program on PBS. Sorry, but I'm a little more skeptical of the source than you seem to be.
Nice rant though; I see you managed to fit Watergate in there somewhere.

Mark T said...

TCD - Interesting that instead of going to the Frontline site and actually reading the interviews -- which encompasses copious amounts of first hand testimony by the parties, GOP and Democrat, who actually made the decisions and were in the middle of the process as it was unfolding, you choose instead to attack the messenger.

It may have been one story on Frontline, but it is backed by highly detailed, first hand accounts of the events, by Republicans and Democrats alike, and mirrors information otherwise in the public domain about the process, decisions and "factual" assumptions that led to this mess. It was a compelling documentary that was excruciating to watch, because the degree of incompetence, power-grabbing and dishonesty by Messrs. Cheney, Rumsfeld and their cabal was unbelievably high, and the outcome in terms of the permanent loss of international good will -- built up over hundreds of years by America's dedication to being a role model rather than a bully within the international arena -- is unconscionable.

You may want to read some of the material -- it might actually open your eyes to the high degree of distortion, media manipulation, and sheer incompetence by the Bush Administration which resulted in this mess. Than again, if you prefer to believe the Administration's propaganda because it suits your political perspective or sense of personal well-being and comfort level, well, nothing I could every say or link you to will change that.

Simon said...

"I love when people romanticize dead Presidents. They tend to forget their problems - [In Truman's case] like Korea. He may have been moderate and integretous (sp) but losing 38,000 in three years fresh after WWII did not make him Mr Popular."

You consider the succesfull action to keep South Korea out of Pyongyang's hands - a decision of incaculable human and economic value - to be a problem?