September 23, 2006

"Do you really think that's the place for a thousand words of pitchfork-waving, tax-cut-hating, populist agit-prop?"

Howard Dean is asked by Kevin Drum, who reminds him "Dude. You were writing in the fucking Wall Street Journal." Quite aside from what one ought to say in the Wall Street Journal, Drum is anguished that the Dems seem to be turning away from the idea of making national security their central issue. Liberal bloggers seem to be freaking out about it.

46 comments:

Doyle said...

The Dean op-ed was terrible, and a very worrisome sign that the Roll Call article was accurate.

Also supporting the theory that Democrats will avoid national security is their wallflower approach to the detainee legislation.

I had hoped that they were going to let the Republicans fight and then come out against the "compromise" that still legalizes torture. But a somewhat better-sourced article in the NYT suggested that's not the case. It says something like: Most Democrats will stand behind McCain.

Putting aside the moral and legal issues, isn't this just a terrible place for Democrats to be politically? Hiding behind John McCain because they are so scared of being labeled Soft on Terror (or even pro-Terrorist)?

The longer the American people see the middle ground as being between Bush and McCain, the worse off the Democrats will be.

Fenrisulven said...

The longer the American people see the middle ground as being between Bush and McCain, the worse off the Democrats will be.

And the worse off the country will be. If the Left is absent, the Righ will stagnate.

Doyle said...

Fenris -

That's interesting. Is there really that line of thinking on the right? That if the Democrats are just completely inept, Republicans will sort of lose their edge?

It seems like looking a gift horse in the mouth, ya know? They seem to be more about the winning than the mastery of the craft.

Clearly, their craft is on another level than the Dems, though.

tjl said...

Doyle asks,
"Is there really that line of thinking on the right? That if the Democrats are just completely inept, Republicans will sort of lose their edge?"

Believe it or not, Doyle, there actually are people on the right who care about the future of the country -- and think that an effective and sane opposition is necessary for the health of our system of government.

Scott W. Somerville said...

On the two hot topics--immigration and defense--Republicans are debating while Democrats sit it out without a plan. If gas prices were rising, they might get away with this. But with gas prices falling (and the stock market rising), all Democrats have to talk about is Wal-Mart.

And their voters shop at Wal-Mart.

I voted for Jimmy Carter twice. Where is the party of my youth?

CB said...

doyle,

I agree, in theory, with what I think fen is saying. As a conservative, I am happy to see the Republicans in power. However, I would like to have the Democrats as a competent opposition party to keep the Republicans in check. However, the biggest problem I have with the REpublicans these days is not that they're too conservative, but that they're too liberal in the areas that matter to me (spending, federalism, etc.) so I'm not sure that in the current climate, a Democratic party that has its act together would bring anything good.

CB said...

...tjl beat me to it.

George said...

I unfamiliar with Mr. Drum and his works, but I would suspect that the use of the word "f*cking" in a piece of political commentary complaining about how the chairman of the Democratic Party is driving away voters will only serve speed their rightward departure.

I'd say that Mr. Drum needs a copy editor.

Fenrisulven said...

That's interesting. Is there really that line of thinking on the right? That if the Democrats are just completely inept, Republicans will sort of lose their edge

Yup. Many of us tend to look at it like a marriage - both sides have strengths that compliment the other's weaknesses. Think of how healthy relationships have improved your quality of life. Forced you to compete, adapt, and identify your flaws for correction.

The problems this Nation faces cannot be solved by one ideology alone.

AJ Lynch said...

I skimmed the Chairmn's WSJ oped. He tried to give the impression Americans are in the pit of long econmic depression.

You know the MSM overplays negative economic reports and downplays the psitive. For instance, did any of you know that median household credit card debt is Zero?

Donald Douglas said...

Notice how Dean really didn't address the terror issue in his piece, in contrast to Mehlman's essay? It's an economic attack on the GOP, but wasn't too compelling, as unemployment's still low, gas prices are coming down, etc. Makes for good class warfare, in any case.

Burkean Reflections

Fenrisulven said...

Know your audience. This is Persuasion 101. Can't anybody play this game anymore?

Persuasion from "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for" Dean?

[snicker]

Dean is heading the DNC because of his fund-raising and netroots skills. As usual the Democrat's wounds are self-inflicted [waves to Kerry].

knoxgirl said...

I remember hearing that over at kos they were completely ignoring the whole Israel/Hezbollah conflict when it was going on. How committed can they really be to national security issues either? It's just seems like the only consistent message from the democrats is, whatever they think they can say to get back in office. So they'll pick up or drop issues as the winds change. That's why they can't ever seem to come up with any real comprehensive, comprehensible plan on Iraq.

And god no, I don't want my only option to be to vote for republicans. But no one on the democrat side has taken that "Persuasion 101" course yet, as far as I can tell. Most especially hothead Dean.

Doyle said...

Bush's plan in action

mrsizer said...

There is some slow, vast change taking place in the electorate. It's been going on for most of my voting life. I'm not politically, sociologically, or demographicly savvy enough to understand what's happening, but it's fairly clear SOMETHING is going on.

My guess: The Left won on almost all fronts. The United States is as socialized as its culture will allow. The problem is that they don't know or realize that they won and they keep pushing Leftward. This has created a large group of people who view them as nutty and vote against them rather than for the Right.

Because the Left won, even the Right is pretty Left (think government spending and "compassionate conservative"). This makes the Right acceptable to the middle but annoys the "true conservatives", whatever that means.

There are legions of people who don't want to vote for either party but are stuck. So far, the galvanizing issue for replacing one of the two parties with a third (our system does not support three viable parties) has not emerged. It's not clear which party will be replaced, either.

The Greens keep pulling at Democratic voters. It is vaguely possible that the far Left will get sucked into the Green party and the Democratic party will regain some sense.

The Reform party is pretty much dead, but something like it could suck all the Libertarian, fiscally conservative, socially liberal types out of the Republican party (and what few remain in the Democratic party).

Anyway, there will not be a vacuum for long. Something will happen and viable political competition will arise. When, what, and the basis of competition is unclear to me. I'm very much hoping it is not the detonation of a nuke in America.

Fenrisulven said...

A stark assessment has found that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Because if we hadn't gone into the ME, the overall terrorist threat would have been reduced?

County commisionar claims gang violence surge caused by police efforts to arrest gangs

knoxgirl said...

Yeah, that whole article smacks of, don't do anything, you'll piss them off. Yeah, they're already pissed off, but it'll get Even Worse!

Doyle said...

The administration has repeatedly claimed that we are safer now than we were on 9/11/01.

Bush's grand plan to defeat terror with freedom hinged on the successful installation of a democracy in Iraq.

While Iraq does have a Democratically elected government, it is weak as a kitten and sectarian violence is out of control.

The threat that the invasion was supposed to eliminate (a Saddam-controlled nuke) never existed, and the threat that did exist (terrorist attack) has gotten worse.

So the heightened risk of terror attack means we're winning? Grand.

Doyle said...

Yeah, that whole article smacks of, don't do anything, you'll piss them off.

OMFG.

If "doing something" in this case didn't actually make America any safer, but made us less safe, and cost thousands of American lives and billions of dollars, then what possible rationale could there be for having engaged in it?

knoxgirl said...

wow, not just OMG but OMFG

Fenrisulven said...

While Iraq does have a Democratically elected government, it is weak as a kitten and sectarian violence is out of control.

Patience padawan - nation building is not like jiffy-pop. The effort will take several years, perhaps a decade. We declared indpendence in 1776, drafted a constitution in 1783.

The threat that the invasion was supposed to eliminate (a Saddam-controlled nuke) never existed, and the threat that did exist (terrorist attack) has gotten worse.

The threat did indeed exist. Every report claims that, whether or not WMDs existed at the time we invaded, Saddam was prepared to reconstitute his WMD program once sanctions were lifted [which is what France and Russia were pushing for].

Doyle said...

Patience padawan - nation building is not like jiffy-pop.

No, the explosions are slightly less frequent.

Saddam was prepared to reconstitute his WMD program once sanctions were lifted [which is what France and Russia were pushing for].

Lowest threshold for "imminent threat" ever, and clearly not the one the administration claimed.

Palladian said...

Feindoyle:

Clinton and his legions of fans turned scarlet over being "blamed" for letting 9/11 happen, yet all you seem to do is want to blame, blame, blame. I know the reality-based community dreams of time travel, but you can't actually go back and stop the Iraq war. The question facing you and those that languish in your area of the political Venn diagram is what do we do now? What do we do in the future. Yes, yes, we know you think it was wrong, a lie, a war crime, a floor wax, a dessert topping, whatever. You've chanted that at us and to us many, many times. But what will you do about Iraq, about security, about Iran, about the swaggering, Chomsky-promoting little homunculus that rules Venezuela? Do you have any ideas or do you just point fingers?

Fenrisulven said...

knoxgirl: Yeah, that whole article smacks of, don't do anything, you'll piss them off

"If we don't offend Hitler, he will leave us alone" - Europe 1938

Fenrisulven said...

Doyle: Lowest threshold for "imminent threat" ever, and clearly not the one the administration claimed.

Can you source that? Because I distinctly recall Bush saying the opposite: "We cannot afford to wait until Iraq becomes an imminent threat"

I think someone has been feeding you with a shovel.

Fenrisulven said...

Patience padawan - nation building is not like jiffy-pop.

No, the explosions are slightly less frequent.

Okay, I missed that. Very clever rejoinder :)

Goatwhacker said...

wow, not just OMG but OMFG

Just a step away from the dreaded OMFGROFL.

Doyle said...

What do we do in the future.

Well, maybe elect people who recognize (as opposed to make a glib, dated joke about) what a disaster the Iraq War has been, and reject the tragically stupid neocon agenda in toto.

Its remaining defenders should be run out of both parties.

AJ Lynch said...

Yes Knoxgirl:
That is a great way to describe the average Dem-they really believe you can avoid the bully in the schoolyard forever.

They just don't get that sooner or later you have to tell your kid to smack the bully in the mouth.

And Howard Dean is a former wrestler (I believe) so he should know that.

Fenrisulven said...

Doyle: elect people who recognize what a disaster the Iraq War has been, and reject the tragically stupid neocon agenda in toto.

And after that, what? Retreat behind thick walls and turn America into a police state? Static defenses are so yummy.

Doyle said...

Well one thing I think we should do is take the money we're spending on ballistic missile defense and spend it on the threat that has actually materialized. North Korea is the closest to being able to hit us w/ an ICBM and their most successful missile landed in the Sea of Japan.

We also don't really need to be coming up with new fighter planes for air-to-air combat. The Islamic terrorists are short on MIGs.

Too much money is being poured into high-tech R&D, while the return on investment would be much higher if we incentivized college students to learn Arabic. We could offer massive signing bonuses to Arabic-speaking CIA analysts with a fraction of the money that gets squandered in the military-industrial complex.

I'm no military expert, but I feel like there are some military experts in the Democratic Party.

But really, why is the onus on the Democrats to prove they're "good" at national security when mere competence would be a huge improvement from what we've been seeing?

Gahrie said...

Well one thing I think we should do is take the money we're spending on ballistic missile defense and spend it on the threat that has actually materialized. North Korea is the closest to being able to hit us w/ an ICBM and their most successful missile landed in the Sea of Japan.

This may be the dumbest thing I've read on the internet this month.

Doyle said...

Gahrie's entire blog post from Monday:

The funniest TV I have seen in months was the 2 minute intro to the season premire of Two and a Half Men that just played.

Fenrisulven said...

LOL Doyle. You have to admit though, defunding SDI to free up dollars to counter a N Korean launch threat seems counter-intuitive.

Doyle said...

Fenris I thought this would be your wheelhouse :-)

I'm not talking about SDI. I'm talking about the hit-to-kill interceptor system which they just had the very first successful test of.

I took class with William Perry that dealt extensively with this issue. Sec. Perry is by no means soft on N. Korea (he recommended blowing up the recently fired Taepodong II on the launchpad).

There are many reasons, from the sheer improbability of an ICBM attack, to the technological challenges of distinguishing decoys, etc., to the thin record of success in testing, that this is a waste of money.

All the more so when you consider how many obviously helpful military expenses (body armor, for example) are going underfunded.

Henry said...

If the political choice is between incompetence and incoherence, I'll take incompetence. The incompetent can improve.

If the Dems offered a commitment to any plan at all -- even the GWOT as police matter with an acturial acceptance of the cost of limiting the government's power to act -- I could be convinced.

But know one knows what the Dems would do if in charge. Requisition more body armor? Oh come on. That doesn't tell us when they plan to pull out of Iraq. Right away? Or next Tuesday? Would they secure our borders? Yes. But not with a fence, heavens no. It's a promise of half-measures and cringing equivocation, parsed out by politicians with no constituency for action.

BTW, Doyle, if the Democrats proposed a human-capital approach to our military -- more boots on the ground and small unit tactics as a proactive policy, not an after-the-fact criticism -- I'd be very happy to support that. Ever read Savage Wars of Peace?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I predict that Doyle's Arabic-speaking analysts are going to have an exceedingly bewildering time of it in Pyongyang.

Doyle said...

Incoherence?

War on Iraq was supposed to be necessary and security-enhancing. It was neither.

I'm not convinced immediate withdrawal is a good idea. But even if staying is now necessary, the people responsible should be voted out of office.

HaloJonesFan said...

Doyle: Where have you been reading your news? BMD has been shooting down missiles since 1990. Hit-to-kill has been successful since 2000. Do you even know what you're talking about?

Fenrisulven said...

War on Iraq was supposed to be necessary and security-enhancing. It was neither.

1) Do you think Saddam would have restarted his WMD progam after sanctions were lifted?

2) Do you think he would have handed off WMDs to a terrorist group?

3) What would be Al Queda's primary focus if they weren't fighting us in Iraq?

Steven said...

But really, why is the onus on the Democrats to prove they're "good" at national security when mere competence would be a huge improvement from what we've been seeing?

Well, let's see. Maybe because Bush's run is a huge improvement over what we saw from the last Democratic Administration?

See, after February 26th, 1993, when a plot to destory the World Trade Centers misexecuted, we didn't need CIA analysts to tell us that, in their opinions, the threat from terror was growing. The shattered husks of the Murrah Federal Building, Khobar Towers, and embassies in Kenya and Tanzania told us. The USS Cole bombing told us. And September 11th, 2001 certainly told us.

We're less safe now than before Bush's post-9/11 policies came into effect? Show me the successful terrorist attacks on the United States.

Birkel said...

Doyle wants to cut research into cutting edge military projects.

Does Doyle not understand that this research almost always yields genuinely useful civilian advances? Does Doyle realize how unaware he seems, posting on the internet for goodness sake (a military creation), when he wants to limit basic military research?

It is. To. Laugh.

Zach said...

The real irony of this is that in the wake of the detention deal, it's very apparent that Congress has real power and a real role to play in the war on terror.

Why not try to get elected by writing great legislation and making good points in the national debate and promising more of the same if you get enough votes to make it stick?

Gahrie said...

This IS the worst attempt at an ad hominem I have read on the internet this month:

Gahrie's entire blog post from Monday:

The funniest TV I have seen in months was the 2 minute intro to the season premire of Two and a Half Men that just played.



Who the hell cares what I posted on my blog you hack?

Anyone who thinks that the best course for the USA in a time of rampant terrorism and unchecked nuclear proliferation is to scrap a ballistic missile defense program is just plain nuts.

altoids1306 said...

Doyle - hmm...it sounds like you went to school at Stanford. Bill Perry's IR class?

Tim said...

Doyle perfectly illustrates the soon-to-be fatal flaws of the Democrats on defense and national security, notwithstanding his once taking a class from former Sec Def William Perry.

Dems have no sense whatsoever about the nature of this war; no sense about our enemy; no sense about what animates our enemy; no sense about how we attack our enemy; no sense as to why we should attack our enemy.

Too many Democrats don't even think we should be at war.

Since '68, the critical mass of the Democrat Party has been profoundly against material efforts to bolster U.S. national security. There isn't a defense program they haven't wanted to cut; a defense budget they haven't wanted to cut; troops they haven't wanted to draw down, ships they haven't wanted to decommission; air wings they wanted to mothball.

And when troops are deployed, as in Somalia, their first instinct is to quit the battlefield at the first sign of trouble. Such summer soldiers only encourage our enemies.

The same is true of our intelligence capabilities. They have yet to recover from the evisceration of capability inflicted upon them by Stansfield Turner and the Church Committee.

And because the mass of Democrat primary voters are anti-national security, they'll never nominate a candidate who can credibly defend America - at least not in the first term, or do so an remain a Democrat. CodePink and Cindy Sheehan wouldn't stand for it. The best they can do is a poseur like Kerry, who suggests he has the necessary resume, but everyone knows he'll just cut and run.

Democrats are to national security what cancer is to healthy body. Trusting Democrats with national security is like trusting a child molester with a daycare center.

Democrats want McClellan; Americans want Grant. McClellan dithers, preseverates, mulls, waits, finds every reason not to engage the enemy despite his superior forces and cedes the initiative to the enemy. And loses. And loses again. Grant takes the fight to the enemy, puts him back on his heals, hits him again, and again, and again, and wins.