November 2, 2006

Is Kerry obsolete yet?

Anything anyone makes says something about the person who made it, I said in the previous post. And that includes John Kerry's dreadful "stuck in Iraq" line. He said what he said, and it means something that he said it, whether it was what he originally meant to say or whether it was a slip up from something else. The mistakes you happen to make mean something, perhaps more than the stuff you plan out in advance or have composed for you. They way people take your statement and spin it says something about them. I, for example, have expressed my belief that Kerry meant what he originally said, and you ought to judge me for that.

We see something about Kerry in what he said after he heard how badly his original remark was received. His choice to go on the attack rather than to apologize strongly and clearly and his willingness to hog the public stage so close to the election say a lot about him. His "botched joke" explanation also means something, as does my own assertion that it was an outrageous lie. You can sharpen your thinking skills on all of that material -- though thinking about the actual candidates right now is probably a better use of your time.

Well, you can sharpen your thinking skills figuring out why your own attention is drawn to one thing and not another. When it's important to think about who should get your vote, why are you -- why are so many of us -- distracted by the Kerry story? Is it that we really want to get past next Tuesday and all these congressional races and talk about what really excites us, the next presidential election? Or is the fall of John Kerry an event of historic grandeur that commands us to stop and stare?

Let's see what Rich Lowry has to say:
Kerry embodies the old saw about the Bourbons, "They learned nothing and forgot nothing." He hasn't forgotten the Swift Boat attacks on him from 2004, but also has learned nothing of use from them - except the mistaken lesson that he should respond venomously to any and all criticisms.

Hence, his initial rant in response to the controversy, personally insulting Tony Snow ("a stuffed shirt") and Rush Limbaugh ("doughy") and lambasting his critics generally as "crazy" chicken-hawks.

Markos Moulitsas, the leader of the left-wing blogosphere from his perch at Daily Kos, pronounced himself much pleased: "Kerry responded perfectly."...
That's so wrong it's funny, but my judgment of Kos is that he was using his power to try to get people to think what he thought it would be useful to think. But, of course, he was wrong to think that.
Now, it is entirely plausible that Kerry was trying to make a joke about President Bush, for two reasons. One, typically of the humorless Kerry, it wouldn't have been funny. Two, typically of the arrogant Kerry, it would have reversed the usual convention, wherein politicians tell jokes at their own expense in their opening remarks. (Someone needs to take Kerry aside and tell him, "It's the hauteur, stupid.")

But Kerry's statement was also plausibly interpreted by people of good faith as a slam against the military. After all, he never mentioned the name Bush. And the fact that a lot of the Left believes exactly what Kerry seemed to be saying - that members of the military are cannon-fodder and boobs gulled into signing up because they have no other options in life.
Lowry's bottom line is a warning that the attitude Kerry "seemed to be" expressing really does represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party and that voters shouldn't fall for the moderate Democratic candidates because they are a device to leverage that Party into the majority. But what if you would like to see the Democratic Party renewed? I'd like to see a more moderate Democratic Party that is committed to national security. The only way for that to happen is if these attractive, new candidates win. They may have been put forward as a device to gain majority power, but once there, are they going to let themselves be treated as mere devices? Won't they hold great power from the center? Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry?

146 comments:

Goesh said...

Well said. I think many of us long for a viable 3rd party in America. Elitist arrogance and raw corporate bullying - we grow weary of it coming from both camps.

Shanna said...

Interesting. I'll answer one of your questions.

When it's important to think about who should get your vote, why are you -- why are so many of us -- distracted by the Kerry story?

I know who my congressman is going to be already and he is a Democrat in a completely safe seat. I don't need to think about who I'm going to vote for. Furthermore, I'm resigned to the Democrat's taking the house and hopeful that it will result in some welcome gridlock. I also think the Republicans have done a horrible job with power and they deserve a reality check, in hopes that they come back the next election cycle with something stronger.

Thus, I am completely free to think about Kerry and the Dem's in general and where the party is going.

Gahrie said...

To answer your question: They may have been put forward as a device to gain majority power, but once there, are they going to let themselves be treated as mere devices?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Many of them are putting on a false front in order to win the election. They are smart enough to know that it is easier to win as a moderate than as a leftist, and are counting on the power of incumbancy to help them keep their seasts once they reveal their true stripes. Then those that are true moderates will find themselves powerless, as the rest of the caucus, and the leadership, browbeat them into submission.

AllenS said...

"Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry."

Listen to his speech again where he says "stuck in Iraq", notice people in attendance DO laugh. There are a lot of people who believe what Kerry said. They got the joke, and it was funny.

Freder Frederson said...

Lowry's bottom line is a warning that the attitude Kerry "seemed to be" expressing really does represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party

I am really tired of the vicious smear of this imaginary "mainstream of the Democratic Party" that believes "that members of the military are cannon-fodder and boobs gulled into signing up because they have no other options in life." This characterization of Democrats is especially galling coming from a bunch of rightwing pundits who are strong supporters of the war in Iraq but apparently have more important things to do than join the military and administration officials who "had other priorities" during Vietnam, eventhough they were strong supporters of that war.

Rich Lowry is only 38 years old. The military needs bright young men like him. Is he just too damn smart to join the Army and go to Iraq? My wife has been to Kuwait twice in the last three years and it looks like she will be going to either Afghanistan or Iraq next summer. She would sure like a break.

So just fuck all of you who want to paint "mainstream" Democrats (and I don't even consider myself mainstream--I am pretty far left) as considering military members as "boobs" and "cannon-fodder". If anything, that is how the Republican elite treats them.

Pogo said...

Re: "But what if you would like to see the Democratic Party renewed? "

The prescription for the Democrats to become more moderate, and committed to national security is not for these attractive, new candidates win.

It would be instructive for Democrats to review the history of the conservatives' attempt to reshape Republican party. This is richly (and humorously) detailed in W.F. Buckley's book about his run for mayor of NY city in 1965, The Unmaking of a Mayor.

In 1964, the Right Wing of the Republican Party was smashed when Barry Goldwater ran for President after JFK's assassination, and lost badly. The Northeastern liberal camp of the GOP saw this as evidence that the party was not liberal enough. They chose RINO John Lindsay to campaign for mayor of New York (a sure bet for victory at the time), perhaps as a stepping stone to the White House.

Irritated, William F. Buckley undertook one of the seminal events in GOP history. Buckley asserted that it was more important that actual conseervative views prevail than any false victory. He ran, and lost. but the campaign eviscerated Lindsay, who never recovered his golden boy image. WFB's tactic, to draw enough conservatives away from Lindsay to make the GOP lose was meant to stimulate the party to reaffirm old values.

But it succeeded elsewhere, and set the stage for Reagan to win in 1980.

The Democrats should do the same. My old party will see no reason to change if it keeps winning. Not when the far left can get Pelosi in charge merely for adopting a few blue dogs.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that Kerry is a true narcissist, and think he was thrilled to be enmeshed in a controversy where he could portray his (snort) toughness in the face of attack. The fact that he looked like a complete idiot was lost on him.

Kerry is, now, I hope to God, blessedly obsolete. If this causes the branch of the Democratic Party that looks down on the Military to wither and die, that will be great for both the Democratic Party and the Country as a whole.

Pogo said...

freder said "So just fuck all of you who want to paint "mainstream" Democrats... as considering military members as "boobs" and "cannon-fodder"."

From sfgate.com yesterday (*:
Amy Altschul, Oakland
Why should a person apologize for telling the truth? The truth is, for those who are not educated, the military is one of their only outlets. This does not mean the people are stupid, it means they are uneducated. Their lack of education often means the military, which currently means Iraq."


From JFKerry's 1972 House run:
""I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown," Kerry wrote. "We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply 'doing its job.'"

The Drill SGT said...

MM,

You're on a roll with me.

To answer your question: They may have been put forward as a device to gain majority power, but once there, are they going to let themselves be treated as mere devices?


I think you'll see the moderates being used rather quickly. The house is very authoritarian, much more so than the Senate. Which leaders are these moderates going to rally around? I think the first acts of a Pelosi Speakership, put in place by these moderate new Dems will be to purge moderate voices in the Dem Leadership, starting with Hoyer (#2) and Harman(Intel). In their place Murtha and Hastings.

George said...

The Sandanistas are poised to retake control of Nicaragua in today's elections there.

Hezbollah is smuggling its members across the Rio Grande, according to a Houston newspaper report last week.

Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are conspiring to overthrow the government of Lebanon, says the White House.

Housing prices have fallen about 20 percent in many parts of the country, and many experts believe they will slump further, possibly pushing the economy into recession.

Detroit looks like the set of a George Romero movie.

And what's this about John Kerry?

gj said...

Is Kerry obsolete yet?

Yes.

Democrats were so disgusted by his 2004 run that he never had a serious shot at the 2008 nomination. In 2004 he made it clear that he couldn't communicate his way out of a paper bag. He may stand for something in his heart of hearts, but the political consultants he hired somehow didn't help him figure out what that was.

The difference that the last few days have made is that now he may not even bother to run. That would be ashame, because it could mean that we'd be stuck having him around as a Senator.

If you want to talk about Democratic leaders look at Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. They are the leaders that the members of Congress have chosen, and represent the values of the Democratic congressional team.

But of course, it's understandable why some people want to spend so much time talking about Kerry. It's much easier than talking about the war in Iraq that the Bush administration is in the process of losing. It's much easier than talking about the American soldier that we just abandonded to Sadr, or the wedding couple who were blown up (along with nine children and many guests) in the violence that we unleashed and then failed to control. It's much easier than trying to understand why our President just pledged to keep Rumsfeld on board for the remainder of his presidency.

knoxgirl said...

Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry?

God, I wish it would. Unfortunately, the Democrats seem to get all their energy from the "netroots"--and look at Kos's reaction to Kerry's gaffe. Totally politically stupid, and worse, the opposite of the appropriate response.

I just think they can't resist playing to that crowd, and these days most democrats really do have that same tone-deaf rage that creates situations like this one. I mean, how many democrats have jumped on here in the last few days actually defending him? A lot.

I don't think they could be moderate if they tried. But for a few exceptions, they just don't have it in them.

Internet Ronin said...

To the extent that the tools do not realize that they actually have the power to determine whether or not those in power continue to exercise power, they are useful.

If there are enough of them, they can form a large enough bloc to influence such decisions as removing Jane Harmon and replacing her with Alcee Hastings. After all, they want to be re-elected and they won't be if the new House leadership looks like a GOP stereotype of the "Cindy Sheehan-Code Pink-DailyKos" wing of the Democratic Party.

Look, for example, at the two seats in play in California, CA-04 and CA-11. These two are in play only because of the unique atmosphere this year, and the personal baggage of the incumbent Republicans. A liberal Democrat cannot possibly keep those seats in the next election, but a moderate might possibly survive (at great expense). A moderate forced to defend non-stop impeachment hearings, an impeached former judge heading the intelligence committee and any number of other shenanigans has no hope of a second term.

Many of the seats currently in play nationwide, such as in Ohio, will most likely revert to their norm in the next election if Pelosi and company veer too far from the mainstream, as they are typically heavily GOP districts.

drew said...

I understand your point, Prof. Althouse, regarding the divrsion of our attention to items not directly involved in the upcoming elections; however, the commenters before me have also highlighted the reason why the inclinations of the Democratic "leadership" are very important to this election cycle. If/when the Democrats regain a majority in one electoral body or the other, it is/will be this "leadership" that will have the power to appoint committee chairs and determine overall direction for the House/Senate.

And those "leaders" are ***not*** the moderates; in fact, they view the moderate "wing" of their party as a means to an end, not a rejuvenating force for the party's future. Just look at how many of the "leadership" undertook to criticize Sen. Kerry's remarks.

From my perspective (admmittedly, somewhat biased), the only "senior" democrats that had anything negative to say about Senator Kerry's brain fart were those that had something to gain both politically and personnally.

When Senator Kerry went on the offensive (and that term can be viewed in a number of contexts here...) after his remarks, stating that he was "never" going to apologize, many Democrats said that he was right in so doing and saying.

What a difference a day makes. One day later, Senator Kerry realizes that he has made a tragic (both politically and personally) mistake, and apologizes (sort of). A written non-apology like the one on his website, not driven home by a on camera appearance in the same vein, is hollow comfort indeed. He's not sorry he said what he did; he's sorry that he was stupid enough to think that his comments would be met with the usual Democratic closed ranks support. When the support crumbled, the Viet Nam veteran stopped "reporting for duty" and realized that he had "reported some doody".

Now he's marginalized himself, damaged his party, and caused a lot of people (where I'm from, they're called "voters") think about just what a Democratic majority might entail. It would appear that many are viewing that prospect a with increased concern, because fools like Kerry are treated like Democratic superstars, and potentially "rewarded" with chairmanships and other leadership positions in the party.

In the style of Mr. T, "I pity the fool who runs out of feet every time he opens his mouth."

Ann Althouse said...

AllenS: "Listen to his speech again where he says "stuck in Iraq", notice people in attendance DO laugh. There are a lot of people who believe what Kerry said. They got the joke, and it was funny."

I did that this morning, before I read your challenge, and I thought it was a very clear "underlaugh." That is, they were big supporters and they recognized that he was delivering a laugh line, and yet they hardly laughed. Compare it to the reaction to the previous couple of jokes.

But anyway, the thing he says he didn't mean is also a joke, meant to get a laugh. Maybe some of that laughing was from people who actually think it's funny to say the military is full of dumb people who got tricked into joining.

So you're falling over yourself on this one here.

I've tried to see it from the other perspective, but I stand by my original reaction, which was reached before the fuss was made. And my reaction to the "botched joke" explanation was also unassisted by anyone else offering spin -- I instantly laughed at how unbelievable it was.

Fritz said...

Ann,
Look no further than Obama. He promised me that if elected, he would work with President Bush. I was one of a million Illinois Bush voters that voted for him. I'm still waiting for that evidence you are promising. Obama had a real opportunity to change the partisan tone in Washington, but instead joined the Kos. All he had to do, was denounce Boxer's protest of the Ohio Electors. In 2005, a united Congress that stood with one voice, Iraqi insurgency, it will not work. We are going to stay in Iraq until the people are free of your tactics of violence. Instead, they were fed a steady stream of doubt of our resolve, provided to them by the Democratic Party.

Internet Ronin said...

My reaction to the spin remains the same: If it wasn't what he meant to say, it was what he thought - which is why he botched it. Classic Feudian slip.

Sloanasaurus said...

This characterization of Democrats is especially galling coming from a bunch of rightwing pundits who are strong supporters of the war in Iraq but apparently have more important things to do than join the military

Sorry Freder, but I am afraid it is so. Most liberal democrats I know generally despise the type of people who join the military - especially those who join the military because the want to fight for America (not just for a job). This cultural difference is not new, it runs deep back into American history. For example, the South has always had a greater military tradition than the NE. Most of our great military leaders have come from the South or West or are from prominent Southern families (Washington, Jackson, R.E. Lee, Macarthur, John J. Pershing, George Patton, Omar Bradley, Eisenhower) Grant and Sherman were both from Ohio.

In contrast, the North East has always been against American wars and has little if any military tradition.

Sloanasaurus said...

The AP ran a story this morning on Kerry's 1972 comments:

In 1972, as he ran for the House, he was less apologetic in his comments about the merits of a volunteer army. He declared in the questionnaire that he opposed the draft but considered a volunteer army "a greater anathema."

"I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown,"

jeff_d said...

Ann:

I think these are all really interesting points. I think the continuing interest in Kerry despite his irrelevance to the '06 races (and now most likely to the '08 races) is due more to his celebrity status as an ex-candidate and vocal Bush critic than anything else. He is newsworthy in the way that Al Sharpton or Jimmy Carter is newsworthy--not because his opinions are representative of any but a small sliver of Democrats but because he's so consistently shrill and nasty that he's turned into a cult favorite of the far left and to the rest of us he's a spectacle.

I personally think it's slightly more likely than not that he meant to joke about Bush and did indeed "botch" the joke. But to me the interesting and most damning thing is the absurdly bellicose reaction to the criticism. The critics were of course not spinning or parsing anything--absent his explanation, the only way to interpret his comment was the way his critics interpreted it.

His reaction was vintage John Kerry--arrogant, mean-spirited and delusional. This is the same mindset that produced the notion that the ridiculous "reporting for duty" shtick at the convention was appropriate but subsequent scrutiny of his military service wasn't. With the Democrats' savvy selection of candidates and message in '06, we've sort of missed the self-destructive bluster that Kerry and others in his party so regularly entertained us with in the last election.

Of course he's responsible for his public statements, whether or not they're what he meant to say. No one in Kerry's party gave Trent Lott or George Allen the benefit of the doubt, and Kerry isn't entitled to expect it either, particularly in light of his history of intemperate comments about the military. But I think Lowry is wrong about the significance of Kerry's comments as reflecting his party generally, and I don't think voters next week will pay any attention to this.

w_boodle said...

But what if you would like to see the Democratic Party renewed?

I want to see the Democratic party renewed. I want to hear them speak the truth about what they believe -- and be willing to take the lumps. Any attempt to win a majority by tossing a few moderates into the mix isn't renewal. It's deception.

bearing said...

All the clips I've heard of the "botched joke" end there.

Has anyone heard a longer one? What was the audience's reaction?

Wickedpinto said...

Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry?

Obama and Ford ran, are running as moderates, but in the safety of non-election years, they are caving into the seniority of the likes of kerry and kennedy.

tjl said...

"If you want to talk about Democratic leaders look at Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. They are the leaders that the members of Congress have chosen, and represent the values of the Democratic congressional team."

There it is in a nutshell. No matter how moderate the newly elected Dems may be, they will be compelled by party discipline to follow the leadership. This is particularly true in the House, where a freshman who fails to do the Speaker's bidding will have no chance to accomplish anything.

Even assuming that the new Dems' moderation is sincere, the end result will be to empower Pelosi, Conyers, Rangel, and - worst of all - Hastings. And of course the Dems' first obligation will be to repay the base who supported them when they were out of power -- the public employee unions, the teachers, the racial grievance industry, and the Kossites. A few moderate freshmen won't slow the juggernaut.

Robert Burnham said...

My own view is that the Democratic Party ran out of intellectual gas a couple decades ago, and it desperately needs to rethink what it's really about.

I disagree with nearly everything Bush says and does, and I dislike what they Republicans are doing to enlarge the size of governement. (Socially, I'm liberal, fiscally I'm conservative.)

But the Republicans are the only credible party on national security.

Let me put it this way. I used to vote straightline Democrat. But for me, until Islamic fanaticism and every regime that supports it has been destroyed, all national elections will be about security.

Regarding Democrat renewal, I was very stuck by a comment made by (rightie) Hugh Hewitt in his interview with (leftie) Mark Halperin the other day. The gist of it was that the left-leaning media (fully acknowledged as such by Halperin) created such a cozy environment for Democrat group-think that the Dems have lost their ability to argue their case, instead of trying to impose it judicially.

The Dems have gotten sloppy mentally, and as a party, I think they need a time in the wilderness to sort out what they have to offer the country.

Gerry said...

The mistakes you happen to make mean something,

Probably true. However, I think that in a large percentage of mistakes, figuring out the meaning is impossible for the casual observer.

It is not every mistake where we can look back at a history of anti-military comments by, and can look at the political circles of, the one making the mistake.

Fenrisulven said...

But of course, it's understandable why some people want to spend so much time talking about Kerry.

Kerry's remarks bracket similar comments by Clinton, Durbin, Murtha, and Kennedy. They assume the worst of our troops and put those assumptions out on international news to be consumed by terrorists and their sympathizers. Careless remarks that the troops rape and pillage only serve to fuel the insurgency. One of Saddam's talking points was not to fear the lethality of American troops because they are the bottom-feeders of Anmerican society. Where do you think he got that line from?

It fits the pattern we've seen over the last 3 years - democrats/liberals in government/intell/media doing and saying things that appear only to hamstring the administration and weaken our efforts. The suspicion that the Left wants to sabotage our efforts in Iraq for political gain is not unreasonable.

It's much easier than talking about the war in Iraq that the Bush administration is in the process of losing.

Now all of a sudden Dems want to talk about Iraq? Can you do so honestly without baseless assertions that your political opponent is in the process of losing the war? Can you support your allegations with evidence and fact instead of distortions?

It's much easier than talking about the American soldier that we just abandonded to Sadr

I'm curious where this talking point originates from. Kos? I've seen it three times in the last two days, and the left has never raised the issue of missing troops before. What evidence do you have that we have abandoned him? Aren't you simply distorting information to score political points? FOX had a story on him this AM and all info indicated we were still looking for him.

Republicans have been willing to talk about Iraq [and the war on terror] for the last three years. Welcome to the party. If you have specific supported evidence of mistakes uncorrected by CentCom, we'd love to discuss them. Maybe you can help provide solutions that will win the war in Iraq sooner.

Qualifier: You DO want to win in Iraq, right? Regardless of whether Bush gets credit for it?

Freder Frederson said...

He promised me that if elected, he would work with President Bush. I was one of a million Illinois Bush voters that voted for him.

Have you ever considered that Bush and the Republican dominated Congress has shown absolutely no interest in working with the Democrats, even the moderate ones? This do-nothing congress has completely shut the Democrats out and run the country as a one-party state, even ignoring the voices of moderation in its own party. Just look at how Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chaffe or Arlen Specter are treated--almost like traitors. What are they called, RINOs?

TMink said...

Kerry is the Bob Barker of the Democratic party. You hear he is retiring and ask yourself "Bob Barker is still around?" Kerry remains upright, but has been irrevelent for some time. Now he only serves as a welcome target for the Republicans.

Kind of like Ted Kennedy without the alcohol.

But I know SOME of the left despise and look down upon those in military because I once was one of that camp and did indeed look down on the military and police. It shames me, but I thought they were too stupid to do anything else. I am not I was not alone in the early 80s, and I bet I would not be alone now. Thankfully, I graduated from college, started paying taxes, and grew up.

Trey

Gerry said...

"The only way for that to happen is if these attractive, new candidates win. They may have been put forward as a device to gain majority power, but once there, are they going to let themselves be treated as mere devices?"

I disagree on it being "the only way."

Further, you are assuming that the moderates are as moderate as they claim, and that being a part of the left-caucus will not bring around a change.

I am pretty sure you will find that the new faces will turn out to be not nearly as centrist as they are campaigning to be, and your hope that 20 or so new faces will cause an overhaul of the 200 member caucus will be shown to be a false one. And in the interim, we will have Charlie Rangle as head of Weighs and Means, and John Conyers as head of the judiciary. And a newly emboldened netroots claiming victory, and many in the Democratic caucus believing them, with the 2008 Presidential candidate wanna-bes all moving to them.

I'll bet you a bottle of wine that this is what happens, should Democrats win the House. Similar results will happen if they win the Senate.

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisulven said . . . What evidence do you have that we have abandoned him?

I don't think the U.S. military has abandoned looking for him. They are, however, constrained to looking for him in ways that are not offensive to Moqtada al-Sadr.

Goesh said...

Hard on the troops, soft on terrorists, eh Freder? You see, I'm still stock in the Republik of Suth Vit Name myself, waiting for an apology from Kerry for being labeled a baby killer and rapist. I realize I'm a dumb veteran forced into military service, even though I enlisted, but I do know that most Dems want killing to be done by popular decree alone, but it simply does not work that way. The Dems are silent on the killing in Afghanistan for instance. Say! Weren't 80 kids just wasted in that theatre of operations? Fundamentalists in the wire!! Get the napalm!! Right, Feder? We are all equally culpable for the gore and once we withdrew from Kosovo, Somalia and Haiti with few of our deaths, all was well and nicely forgotten by the media and Democrats. But it's not and you know it. I wonder how the ethnic killing in Kosovo compares to Iraq for instance? Been any drive-by killings in Bosnia do you suppose? I hear the old Tontons Macoutes, the hideous secret police of Papa Doc Duvalier, are now called the Office of Cultural Equity in Haiti - luv the way they used drills on shin bones to faciliate cooperation with interrogation. No Sir! The voters are not so stupid as to think the Dems will make it all well and lovely in Iraq once attaining political power. Kerry's so-called apology hoodwinks nobody and as a former candidate for President in a close election, his attitude towards the military and shape-shifting on Iraq does represent much of the Democratic party. Lo and behold! The dumb military and the dumb Republicans and many dumb Americans who can't cut it in college but can cut it in factories regard with strong suspicion anyone who vehemently opposes a fight but claims to love the fighters. I give you no cigar for your moral high ground and enchant me with a plan for stabalizing Iraq if you would please.

Henry said...

When it's important to think about who should get your vote, why are you -- why are so many of us -- distracted by the Kerry story?

To pick up where Shanna left off -- I decided who I was voting for in my local races months ago; the toughest decisions I have to make are on ballot initiatives.

Going beyond that, I personally see politics as a comic affair. It's often black comedy, of course, as exemplified by the rueful choice between incompetence and cluelessness in our last presidential election. But I'd rather laugh than cry about it.

And just as often as not (especially now that John Kerry isn't running for an executive office) the comedy is farce. Why not enjoy the show?

Finally, let me take issue with Ann's premise. Getting a laugh out of Kerry's travails is not a distraction from nobler concerns. There's enough time in the day to think about politics and watch some TV or go fishing. What, do we all go home at night, turn on CSPAN and read the Daily Worker with a highlighter?

Okay, well maybe Freder does, and our friendly commentators who complain about Ann's Project Runway posts. But most people don't need or want to spend that time in sackcloth and ashes.

Freder Frederson said...

Can you do so honestly without baseless assertions that your political opponent is in the process of losing the war? Can you support your allegations with evidence and fact instead of distortions?

My God man, by what possible measure can you say we are winning this war? What metric are you looking at that supports your baseless assertion we are succeeding? Certainly not violent death rate among Iraqi civilians, or our soldiers or Iraqi police or military. Certainly not by our ability to draw down the number of troops in Iraq. Certainly not by the stability of the Iraqi government. Ethnic cleansing is rampant. Certainly not by any rational measure of economic progress in Iraq. Unemployment is through the roof, electricity generation and oil production remains below pre-war levels and the country with the second-largest oil reserves in the world has to import refined products.

So how exactly are you measuring progress in Iraq?

AllenS said...

"and yet they hardly laughed", but some did laugh.

I tried to look up "underlaugh" in my Webster's College Dictionary, but could not find the word underlaugh. But then again, I didn't go to college. As a matter of fact, I was so stoopid back in 1966, that I was drafted into the armie. But, I get your point, and Kerry's.

TMink said...

"Certainly not violent death rate among Iraqi civilians, or our soldiers or Iraqi police or military."

The violent death per 100,000 citizens rate for Irag is lower than New Orleans. And Washington DC. And Houston.

You need a different criteria, one that supports your point.

Trey

David said...

Pelosi gave it away when she referred to Kerry's remarks as "inappropriate." It appears that they were not suitable because they were spoken in front of a camera. What we have here is a freudian slip that speaks to a stealth plank in the democratic party.

It does not take much of a leap of faith to suspect that Kerry was using inflammatory language to incite increased violence in Baghdad before an election.

knoxgirl said...

But I know SOME of the left despise and look down upon those in military because I once was one of that camp and did indeed look down on the military and police.

Yes. There's no question this is pervasive on the left. I find there is no shame in mocking and outright hating the cops among many leftists I know and have known throughout the years. They tend to be more, oh, I don't know, sociological about the military; the whole poor and dumb and underprivileged thing. Still boils down to a condescending lack of respect. And, as we see in Iraq, the refusal to acknowledge any of their accomplishments.

Freder Frederson said...

I give you no cigar for your moral high ground and enchant me with a plan for stabalizing Iraq if you would please.

For all of you who keep claiming the Democrats have no plan for stabilizing Iraq, I would really like to know what the president's plan is, because it is abundantly clear that the current one is a complete failure and eventhough he claims he has never been "stay the course", that seems to be exactly what the plan is.

Hard on the troops, soft on terrorists, eh Freder?

Where was I being hard on the troops. And if the president had been harder on the terrorists and pursued them aggressively in Afghanistan instead of taking his eyes off the ball and being distracted by the irrelevant threat of Iraq, we would be in a lot better shape, and have succeeded in one country instead of failing in two.

Too Many Jims said...

If one were to want to support centrist Democrats this is the time to do it. If the Dems were to win the House, the legislation coming out of that body will be quite moderate for the next two years. Even if they could get the more extreme legislation out of that body and through the Senate, President Bush still gets to veto legislation. You think Rahm Emanuel and others remember how a President can embarass Congress in such matters?

Of course, given President Bush's reluctance to use the veto and fondness for "signing statements" maybe he will just sign the liberal legislation but refuse to enforce it.

Melinda said...

As someone who never reads Kos and used to write jokes, I perceived Kerry's comment as exactly what he said it was: A slam against Bush, and a botched joke.

Kerry's always needed a new gag writer. What his gag writers should have written was "you get us stuck in Iraq."

I perceived the "if you don't do well in school" reference as a slam against Bush, who had been a "C" student at Yale.

And me, I'm just someone posing as a moderate until the Democrats take control of the House, so that I can then rip off my disguise and reveal myself as what I truly am: A moderate.

Ann Althouse said...

"Underlaugh" is in quotes to indicate it's a coinage. I think it's a good one. C'mon, it's Seinfeldian. You should use it.

Fritz said...

The Freder double standard: Have you ever considered that Bush and the Republican dominated Congress has shown absolutely no interest in working with the Democrats, even the moderate ones?

A) Prove it, give me examples of cooperation by the minority leadership?

Nancy Pelosi told members of her Party not to work with the other side of the aisle. As the WoPo called it, scorched earth.

Protest of Ohio Electors, is that the new benchmark of American democracy? Minority leader of the Senate calling the President a loser, is that the tone of Bush?

RINO's? Spector held good hearings for Roberts & Alito, both of whom should have been unanimously approved. Where was that Democrat cooperation with that RINO? The leftist Democrats can't even work with a RINO. Chafee voted 50% of the time with the President, that is higher than any Democrat.

By your standards, if Pelosi is the majority, she has to do what ever Bush wants to be bipartisan.

Gerry said...

Melinda said... "What his gag writers should have written was "you get us stuck in Iraq."

Which 1) would have implied that if one does not study, one gets to be President, and 2) would have implied that since Kerry voted for the war, he qualifies as being an example of what not to do.

Melinda also said... I perceived the "if you don't do well in school" reference as a slam against Bush, who had been a "C" student at Yale.

Which would be funny if not for the fact that, as mediocre as Bush's Yale grades were, they were still better than Kerry's. And would be funny if not for the fact that Kerry stupidly flubbed a joke about how Bush is supposedly stupid.

AllenS said...

Ok. When someone tells a not so funny, I'll use it.

shimmy said...

Things I'm tired of, at 34:

- Folks who seem to think that, because the liberal position on some topics are eminently worthy, every un-worked-out and emotional lefty reaction should be treated with equal gravity. I hate it when I get caught up in that B.S. attitude.

- Pro-war folks who are still fighting the Vietnam War Homefront. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, where WAR is the captor. People here actually use the term "anti-war" as an insult!

Obama is right. The Baby Boomer's iconoclast vs. reactionary psychodrama is a huge problem on both sides, and it's tired.

(The core of it is timeless and valid... but it's not hard to tell when folks' eyes are crusted over with the scars of the 60's and 70's. Often, this site is nothing but crust.)

J. Peden said...

"Won't they [the 'devices'] hold great power from the center? Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry?" Ann A.

0] The Left, and its Party, the Democrat Party, must be defeated *now*.

1] The Democrat Party refuses to look at what is wrong with itself. See what's happened to the DLC. Other people have been trying to warn the Democrat Party of its failing course for quite some time, to no avail.

Analysis of reality is just not in the Democrat Playbook. What is the basis for hope that it will be? The magical transformation of "devices", like

2] Howard Dean? Even Barak Obama has noted, then succumbed to intra-Party pressure to conform with anti-rational Party dogma. Useful tools seem to be the proven outcome of the Democrat rules. See also Joe Lieberman.

3] In practice, the Democrat Party appears to be [possibly] influenceable only by outside forces - events of reality, and outside political pressure, like defeats.

4] The Democrat Party can do what it wants, but joining its Reservation, even in a spirit of good will, appears to be an unproductive tactic or hope, if not a fatal move.

5] So hoping for the Democrat Party to reform itself, no matter how, is not realistic, imo. "If, then", is only a hope: "If the Queen had balls, then she'd be King."

6] Imo, the Republican Party *is* the rational center. The Republican Party. went through about two decades of reformation, starting with looking at itself realistically - itself compared to reality as opposed to perception, especially its wishful perception of itself.
[Or at least that's the way I viewed it.]

shimmy said...

Oh, and I'm tired of Kerry. You can guess who else.

Sloanasaurus said...

My God man, by what possible measure can you say we are winning this war? What metric are you looking at that supports your baseless assertion we are succeeding?

We are winning. You just like to concentrate on the negative.

1) Iraq is no longer ruled by a totalitarian dictator who had total consolidated power over the people and the resources and was using that power to bad ends such as funding terrorists and the development of nuclear weapons.

2) The current Iraq government is controlled by democrats (little "d") who have total control over 95% of the country's natural resources including oil and the agriculture regions, 15 of 18 provinces, 60% of the people, almost all of the army and police force, and all of the army's heavy equipment.

That is success.

J. Peden said...

Why focus upon Kerry instead of "real" issues?

Say hey, it's called taking the opportunity to play the brilliant Democrat strategists' own game.

J. Peden said...

"That is success."

Shhhh, sloanasaurus, if you don't hear about it, it didn't happen.

MadisonMan said...

That is success.

That's a pretty low benchmark. Can a citizen walk down the street in Baghdad and be certain they'll get to their destination? Are the lights on all day long? Can people celebrate benchmarks in life -- births, marriages, deaths -- without looking over their shoulders?

Pay no mind to the totalitarian dictator who had total consolidated power over the people and the resources and is using that power to bad ends such as funding terrorists and the development of nuclear weapons. You know -- the one next door in Iran, whom we have helped immeasurably by removing an enemy.

You might call this focusing on the negative -- I'll call it realism

Freder Frederson said...

The violent death per 100,000 citizens rate for Irag is lower than New Orleans. And Washington DC. And Houston.

Can you provide a link to your statistics, because I simply don't believe you. I know a couple months back that some statistician said the murder rate in Phildelphia was higher than the death rate of soldiers in Iraq, which of course is a bogus comparison.

I live in New Orleans. It looks like we will have around 120 murders this year with a population of 250,000 people for a shockingly high murder rate of .48 per 100,000. I doubt there are accurate figures for all of Iraq but if you just look at bodies delivered to the Baghdad morgue, which everyone admits is just a portion of the deaths there, 1500 violent deaths a month is probably a good estimate for this year. That makes the violent death rate in Baghdad for this year somewhere around 3.6 per 100,000. And that is just bodies officially recorded at the morgue.

Gerry said...

"Can a citizen walk down the street in Baghdad and be certain they'll get to their destination? Are the lights on all day long? Can people celebrate benchmarks in life -- births, marriages, deaths -- without looking over their shoulders?"

Could they before?

Could they in Kurdish regions?

And if we pull out, would the situation become less like you described, or more?

Internet Ronin said...

J. Peden:

Imo, the Republican Party *is* the rational center. The Republican Party. went through about two decades of reformation, starting with looking at itself realistically - itself compared to reality as opposed to perception, especially its wishful perception of itself.

Can you honestly say that is true today? The party of balanced budgets and fiscal reponsibility? The party of "that government which governs best governs least?" The party of federalism? The party of individual responsibilty? The party of lower taxes by not spending money on frivolous projects designed only to gain votes? The party of moral values exemplified by its leadership and unwillingness to look the other way?

(Don't misinterpret my remarks to mean that I approve of Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean or that lot. The GOP is in the mess it is in today precisely because it quit that self-examination, decided it would be in power forever and acted as if no one minded while it ransacked the candy store, not because of GW Bush's poorly managed war, or wholesale public affection for the KosKids platform.)

Shanna said...

Pelosi gave it away when she referred to Kerry's remarks as "inappropriate."
Gaah! The only way “inappropriate” makes sense is if she thinks the spoken words are true, but you shouldn’t talk about it. Why couldn’t she just say that factually this is not the case and Kerry misspoke. The whole reaction to this is the farce, as Henry says. It’s a trainwreck, and entertaining as hell in a “what did he just say?” kind of way.

Fritz said...

Shimmy Wrote: Pro-war folks who are still fighting the Vietnam War Homefront. It's like Stockholm Syndrome, where WAR is the captor. People here actually use the term "anti-war" as an insult!

The ONLY REASON we face an insurgency in Iraq today, because of what happened in Vietnam 30 years ago. Like Bush said on Rush yesterday, will we look back 20-30 years from now for not winning in Iraq. The Vietnam Syndrome is the undermining of US military policy to score domestic political points against the Party in power. It is sick and unpatriotic. This is not Bush's War, it is the United States War. If Clinton was lucky about more than anything else, he had Republicans in Congress as the majority not to use his military exercises against him. We supported the troops, the success of their mission. Democrats cheer on the insurgency and Iraqi civil strife, how sick.

Internet Ronin said...

RE: "Inappropriate"

Why is everyone piling on Pelosi about this? Go check the record folks. All kinds of people, left and right, used exactly that word to denounce Senator Kerry;s statement. Talk about partisanship!

SteveR said...

Shimmy: at 49, I can remember feeling the way you do but at some point I had to resign myself to a compromise.

Kerry, lots of people like to watch people doing stupid things, Cops, Wildest Police Chases, Jackass, The Surreal Life, etc.

A vote for a "moderate" democrat is a vote for Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, etc. Its not a complicated calculus.

dick said...

Freder,

You need to learn something. People vote FOR something, not just against something. The request was for you to put forth a plan to solve a problem. Your response was what did the republicans do. That is not a plan. This is an evasion but then that is the normal response lately for the dems.

Why not give the public a reason to vote for your ideas. For that to happen you have to have an idea and that seems to be in very short supply from the left lately.

As an example, the dems complained that Bush would not meet one on one with NORK. He said the meeting needed to involve the 6 countries most affected by the NORK and all the left could say was that Bush should meet one on one. Now the NORK have agreed to go back to the 6 country meetings. What do the dems and the LLL media proclaim? Thanks to the leadership of China NORK has agreed to come back to the bargaining table. If Bush had met one on one would the NORK be coming back to the bargaining table? Does the LLL give him any credit for holding out as he did and getting the result that makes the most sense? Hell, no. Would the LLL plan have given us the desired result? Hell, no.

Same with Iraq. Come up with something that might do some good - that is if the LLL has any idea of anything that might do some good - and make it a concrete recommendation and program you support. None of this I voted for it before I was against it - or even better, I never thought he would do anything about it.

If you want the people to vote for you, give them a reason to. So far I haven't heard any reason to from the LLL dems yet.
What do they actually stand for - or do they stand for anything at all.

Melinda said...

Gerry said:

and 2) would have implied that since Kerry voted for the war, he qualifies as being an example of what not to do.

Hey, as far as I'm concerned, both of 2004's Prez candidates qualify as an example of what not to do. And they make me feel not so darn bad about having gone to a humble state university instead of Harvard or Yale.

The Drill SGT said...

You can fault McCain on a lot of things, but his approach to Iraq was the same 3 years ago as it is today.

basically, it was, whether you agree or disagree about the wisdom of invading Iraq, "we're in it and we have to win it".

That I think also summarizes the position of the 2 or 3 rational Dems like Lieberman and Biden (more or less).

The only choices now available to us are to try to Win or try to Lose.

Doyle said...

Hmmm... Rangel, Conyers, Hastings... What do these three men have in common?

If you answered "They're all liberals," you get half credit.

Gerry said...

Melinda said... Hey, as far as I'm concerned, both of 2004's Prez candidates qualify as an example of what not to do

But that is not the context. You were not the one making the comment. Kerry was. And since we can safely infer that Kerry was not slamming himself, we can also safely infer that his explanation, which you have accepted, is false.


That said, if you are so anti-war that both Bush and Kerry are examples of what not to do, then odds are people would not place you in the category of 'moderate,' even if you consider yourself to be one.

Shanna said...

RE: "Inappropriate"

Why is everyone piling on Pelosi about this? Go check the record folks. All kinds of people, left and right, used exactly that word to denounce Senator Kerry;s statement. Talk about partisanship!

Because that word has become the easy word to use. In that case, it is horribly imprecise. I'm not piling on Pelosi, I just haven't heard anyone else use that word.

Gerry said...

Yeah, you would get full credit if you correctly included the modifier "extremely."

Henry said...

That's a pretty low benchmark.

Compare Iraq to Peru at the highpoint of the Shining Path. The country had been bankrupted by a socialist kleptocracy. Its civil institions were being undermined by the Fujimori dictatorship. Large portions of the country were in chaos.

Yet things have improved. The low benchmark for democracy and the rule of law that preceded Fujimori was better than nothing. Small, transitory successes can accumulate over the decades.

You're looking at Iraq in the context of a 4-year U.S. election cycle. That is the wrong timeline.

altoids1306 said...

I'd like to see a more moderate Democratic Party that is committed to national security. The only way for that to happen is if these attractive, new candidates win. They may have been put forward as a device to gain majority power, but once there, are they going to let themselves be treated as mere devices? Won't they hold great power from the center? Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry?

True, but no, I cannot vote that way. The media cannot be rewarded for their conduct on Iraq. They have steadfastly refused to portray the most important issue of our time in a balanced way, and to this day continue to willingly play into the hands of terrorists.

With much apology to deserving moderate Democratic candidates, I believe that the national interest is best served through the total demoralization and dismantlement of the old liberal media.

Freder Frederson said...

1) Iraq is no longer ruled by a totalitarian dictator who had total consolidated power over the people and the resources and was using that power to bad ends such as funding terrorists and the development of nuclear weapons.

If you recall, it turns out that neither of those reasons for going to war turned out to be true. Yes, he was sending money to the families of palestinian suicide bombers, but so does most of the rest of the Arab oil states. Are you suggesting we overthrow the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE too?

almost all of the army and police force

I think you need to recheck your figures. It was reported yesterday that 70% of the military and police have been infiltrated by militias and death squads. I think that "almost all" would at least have to be significantly more than half.

Meade said...

Damned by feint underlaugh. I like it!

J. Peden said...

ronin, basically I agree with you. But the Republican Party still has the "center". The vacuous Democrats show no ability or desire to go there, instead being obsessed with enacting their own completely destructive fantasyland.

Also, the Repubs. have shown great successes in the wot and the economy, for example.

Just imagine what the Democrats would have done and will do based upon what they say they will do.

Freder Frederson said...

I believe that the national interest is best served through the total demoralization and dismantlement of the old liberal media.

Yes, damn the media for reporting that 104 soldiers were killed in October. They should have reported on all the good news from Iraq.

Freder Frederson said...

Also, the Repubs. have shown great successes in the wot and the economy, for example.

Just keep telling yourself that. Maybe one day it will be true.

Gerry said...

Ann, I just thought of another argument to make in response to you saying "They may have been put forward as a device to gain majority power, but once there, are they going to let themselves be treated as mere devices? Won't they hold great power from the center? Why wouldn't that work out quite well and hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry?"

Did you notice how many of these new faces had campaign events scheduled, since canceled, with Kerry?

How many were campaigning with Sen. Ben Nelson? Or were aligning themselves with Sen. Joe Lieberman?

If mistakes tell us something, plans tell us more. Are they going to vote with those they avoided or had nothing to do with, or will they vote with those who they relied upon to get elected?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that there are a lot of former staunch Democrats here in this forum longing to go home, and finding that they can't.

The problem is that gerrymandering (aka reapportionment) has become so scientific and partisan that most House seats are now safe for one party or another. So, here in CO, we have Dianne DeGette, who makes Pat Shroeder look like a moderate, running almost unopposed, as is Tom Tancredo. And I am stuck in a district with a Udahl enviromental wacko representing me. If his district (People's Republic of Boulder) hadn't been safe enough, in the last gerrymander, they threw in Democrat leaning Summit county, forming a slim finger west along I-70 to pick up some of the only safe Democratic counties previously left in Republican districts.

So, no surprise that there isn't a middle ground. Most of Pelosi's caucus comes from districts just as safe as hers. And, as a result, are just as liberal as she is. Ditto of course for the Republicans - except that being in power, we have seen more fractures than we have with the Democrats over the last decade.

I don't know the answer. The reapportionment process seems to be polarizing the political process, since it seems to significantly increase the number of hard core on either side of the isle. This is somewhat like nuclear technology - it is very hard to put the genie back in the jar. The knowledge of how to reapportion for political advantage, and that doing so is politically advantageous, is out now.

Bruce Hayden said...

Freder Frederson

That something has been reported doesn't make it true. The Lancet study on Iraqi deaths has been reported, but is still bogus.

Besides, this is like the figure I saw the other day, that most Iraqi vets had to be Democrats since most of the new candidates with Iraqi service were running as Democrats. Even if you accept that 70% of the Iraqi units have been infiltrated by militias, etc., that doesn't answer the question of how many of them actually belong.

To some extent, this is like arguing that 70% of U.S. military units have been infiltrated by the Aryan Brotherhood because 70% of the active divisions had at least one Aryan Brotherhood member.

Besides, you keep ignoring all the reasons that it turns out that it is good that we went into Iraq, like finally figuring out why the French and Russians were pushing so hard to lift sanctions (hint - they had been bribed by Saddam Hussein). Or that his WMD programs were set to restart within days of those those sanctions being lifted.

In short, you refuse to seriously answer the question of what the situation would have been like if we had not invaded, rather concentrating on all the reasons used to justify the invasion that turned out to be incorrect.

Gahrie said...

Hmmm... Rangel, Conyers, Hastings... What do these three men have in common?

If you answered "They're all liberals," you get half credit.


Hmm....Thomas, Connerly, Rice, Steele...what do these four have in common?

If you answered "they're all Conservatives", you get half credit.

tjl said...

"If Clinton was lucky about more than anything else, he had Republicans in Congress as the majority not to use his military exercises against him."

It pains me to have to point this out, but remember "Wag the Dog?"
Much blame for today's toxic partisanship can be laid on the Congressional Republicans' attacks on Bill Clinton. The Kossites are only taking a leaf from Tom Delay's playbook when they scream for the use of impeachment as a tool of political payback.

Bruce H. is correct in pointing out that gerrymandering has further worsened the trend toward polarization. If your district has been computer-tailored to include as many core supporters of your party as possible, there will be no reward if you reach across the aisle.

J. Peden said...

"If you recall, it turns out that neither of those reasons for going to war turned out to be true.'
freder frederson

freder, whatever we found out, how did we find it out? The U.N. inspectors did not find it out because Iraq did not comply. Bill Clinton did not find it out when he attacked Iraq in 10/98, based upon similar world-wide intelligence.

Why didn't Saddam comply, if he had nothing? Was he working for the Democrats?

Also, fyi, my stupid. uneducated 9/11 daughter just married her stupid, uneducated Marine, who recently got back from two 8 month tours of inspections and defeating terrorists, etc., in Iraq.

I stupidly told them that I was not losing a daughter, I was gaining a Marine.

Otoh, just what is the brilliant Democrat plan for anything, apart from trying to win elections by any means possible, necessarily excluding rational analysis, or course?

johnstodderinexile said...

I suppose one obvious answer as to why Kerry is relevant -- and the "duh" answer to those who claim that since Kerry is not "on the ballot" in 2006, this whole controversy is meaningless -- is that if the Democrats take the Senate, John Kerry will have more power than he does now. According to his Senate website:

John Kerry sits on the following committees:
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness
Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Coast Guard
Member, Subcommittee on Global Climate Change and Impacts
Member, Subcommittee on National Ocean Policy Study
Member, Subcommittee on Trade, Tourism, and Economic Development
Member, Senate Committee on Finance
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Long-term Growth and Debt Reduction
Member, Subcommittee on Health Care
Member, Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy
Member, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Member, Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Export and Trade Promotion
Member, Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism
Member, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs


If these assignments are carried over into the next congress, Kerry won't be the most influential senator, but he won't be a potted plant, either.

george said...

Being a Vietnam veteran, I literally cringed when I viewed John Kerry speaking before a meeting of college students. His "stuck in Iraq" comment and his defense of it as a "botched joke" was a case of political friendly fire on himself. That is unless he was performing a political parody of Robert DeNiro in The Deer Hunter using words instead of bullets.
But you cited Rich Lowry of The National Review without the adjective "right-wing" before his name then you identified Markos Moulitsas as "the left-wing leader of the blogosphere," and clearly demonstrated your political sympathy in the matter. Yet I remember how enraged you were at Glenn Greenwald for linking to you as a prime example of a right-wing blogger in one of his posts. You reminded me of Captain Renault in Casablanca, who is shocked, shocked there is gambling in Rick's Cafe then was handed a stack of bills from his bets by one of the French policemen conducting the raid there.
So to reply to your lead "Is Kerry obsolete yet?," I would ask you: "Is the search for truth obsolete as part of the human condition yet?"
Rich Lowry said about Kerry putting one of his silver feet in his mouth that like the Bourbons Kerry has learned nothing and forgot nothing.
Well, isn't that special, as Dana Carvey's church lady on Saturday Night Live might have said.
Has Rich Lowry learned nothing and forgot nothing about his enthusiastic support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq?
Has he ever served in the armed forces, or for that matter, you or your devoted readers of your blog? I doubt it. Markos did serve in the army, although he served during a time of peace, which is like being on permanent parade duty. But he did serve, and as Emerson said, facts are stubborn things. They can't be argued conveniently away whether you are from the right-wing or left-wing.
It is one thing to support war against a nation and entirely another matter to be in the army that must prosecute that war. The deep chasm between baby boomers is the continential divide in this nation between those who went away and those who stayed behind. We now live in opposing and parallel universes because of that historical fact, even factoring in the minority of Vietnam veterans that supported the Iraq War.
That is why I reluctantly endorsed the war in Afghanistan but opposed the invasion of Iraq. It is now clearly the worst foreign policy debacle since LBJ's quagmire in Vietnam. Even William F. Buckley, the founder of The National Review, penned an editorial several months ago on how the American experiment to export democracy to Iraq is an abject failure.
Of course the ideal resolution to the political issue of making war, popular or unpopular ones, would be a resumption of a national draft. So we would all be struck in the same spot, and we would all have to put our money where our mouth is. But as with the historical death of a declaration of war as defined in the Consitution, the concept of a national draft is a cutural relic from a distant era among average American citizens, whether they supported or opposed the Iraq War.
So I agree with you that Kerry made a major political faux pas, despite his assertions in a follow-up statement to the contrary. And quite frankly, I never really liked him much as a politician, though I am perhaps a living embodiment of obsolescence like he is to most civilians. Yet my tour of duty continues to inform my thoughts and feelings. I appear to have no choice; the Vietnam experience is seared into my consciousness. And everyday I am shocked, shocked to see there still is gambling, political posturing and intellectual denial in Rick's Cafe.

Mark said...

Don't you suppose that one reason - and perhaps the main reason - that there has been an uptick in US deaths in Iraq in October is because there is a US election in early November? Our enemies are very aware that when they kill our soldiers and create chaos in Iraq, they are helping US liberals to make a case for leaving Iraq, which is exactly what our enemies want.

We should do what the right thing is, regardless of what our enemies want, and certainly liberals have a right to speak up and argue against the war whether that works into the hands of our enemies or not. If is better for us not to be in Iraq, then we should leave even if our enemies celebrate.

But it is also true that our invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq threw the terrorists off-guard. They did not expect us to take the fight to them; they expected another retreat as in Somalia. There has not been another terrorist attack in the US in over five years, and recently I read that the terrorists have decided to focus on Britain instead of the US. Like Qaddafi, who is said to have told Berlusconi in a phone call that he saw what happened to Saddam and his sons and it scared him, the terrorists have seen no strategic point in new attacks on the US and are turning their attention elsewhere. And they're doing that because we hit them hard and aggressively. And they are counting on their war of terrorist attrition being enough to force us out of the Middle East. They might not consider that a workable strategy if it weren't for the continuous US liberal criticism of our war efforts in the Middle East. And don't tell me that you supported the war in Afghanistan, but not the one in Iraq...the Left was criticizing the war in Afghanistan too. Remember how a week or two into it the advance stalled and the Left immediately predicted quagmire?

Our aggressiveness in Afghanistan and Iraq has worked well. We took the fight to them on their territory. It was going to happen somewhere; better that it be there rather than here.

Freder Frederson said...

The U.N. inspectors did not find it out because Iraq did not comply.

Iraq was complying with the inspections before the war and they were finding nothing even when they were going to sites the the U.S. assured them were active weapons production facilities (based on our sterling intelligence). Don't try to rewrite history. It was becoming more and more apparent that there were no WMDs or active production programs to be found.

Anonymous said...

So just fuck all of you who want to paint "mainstream" Democrats...

Yes, it's calm and well-reasoned arguments like this example that sway me to your point of view, even more so than the oh-so-compelling chickenhawk argument that preceded it.

Garage Mahal said...

He said what he said, and it means something that he said it, whether it was what he originally meant to say or whether it was a slip up from something else.

You make absolutely no sense here. What is "originally said"? You mean what you "originally wanted to hear" more likely.

Kerry was talking college students -- that he was in Texas the day before -- that Bush used to live in that state -- but now he lives in a state of denial. The next quote "if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you can get stuck in Iraq."

Texas. State of denial. Stuck in Iraq.

Or is it more logical he would suddenly change gears and tell the students they might get stuck in Iraq? We would all love to hear how you came to the conclusion he was "outrageously lying"

Face it, you obviously hate liberals, you hate Kerry probably even more, and you jumped on this just like every other right wing hack, and can offer no reason why you came to your conclusion.

why are you -- why are so many of us -- distracted by the Kerry story?

You really have to ask this?

"Kerry" Come and get it !

johnstodderinexile said...

To answer your question, Ann:

I think some of us are compelled by Kerry as we would be compelled by a fascinating but ultimately unlikeable character in a book.

--A wealthy preppy who thought it would make him more "manly" if he enlisted in the military unlike most of his peers, but then connived through seemingly questionable means to get out when his post became dangerous.

--A young man who was willing to blood-libel hundreds of thousands of soldiers with exaggerated and concocted claims of officially sanctioned atrocities who then, as an older man, wants the respect accorded to all soldiers, and is shocked when he doesn't get it -- while we the readers are shocked that he thinks he can avoid the consequences of his youthful misdeeds.

--A man who goes into a presidential campaign against a man whose intelligence he deeply disrespects, and is outplayed by him.

--A man who serially marries wealthy women and uses their fortunes to advance his -- and doesn't seem to have any sense of irony about it.

Some of those narrative strands come together in this little incident, and they have renewed our grim fascination with this uniquely American character, re-raising all the questions we have about how he manages to live and thrive with so little self-knowledge and blindness as to his effect on others.

There are only a few characters in American politics as interesting to follow as John Kerry. Bush is one of them, Hilary's another, and Bill, of course. Gore, maybe. Guiliani. But Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi? Dennis Hastert? Zzzz.

MadisonMan said...

Re: gerrymandering. It seems like math should be able to save us. Require the sum of the perimeter of all districts in a state to be as small as possible. Choose the center of the districts -- I suppose it could be a stronghold -- and then let your computer drawing program go to work. It would take 5 minutes. Of course, the impetus to do this must come from the people, as the parties would have nothing to do with it.

Otherwise, you get the government you have.

MadisonMan said...

mark, if you think the terrorists are going to wake up on November 8 and think "Well, no need to kill Americans today, the election is over!" -- well, I think that's very delustional thinking.

As I mentioned in a comment a couple days ago when fenrisulven made the very same point you do, it's plausible. But do criminals really need a reason for what they do?

The assertion that there has not been a terrorist attack in the US since 9/11 is completely false.

johnstodderinexile said...

Iraq was complying with the inspections before the war...

That is simply untrue. It's not even what Hans Blix said. Unless you're trying to be clever and using the word complying to equate to "partially complying."

If a cop pulled me over with a search warrant, and I let him search my jacket but not my pants, I suppose you would argue that I was "complying" with the search warrant. But I would still be arrested. Saddam was not "fully complying" with the UN mandates, and had not fully complied since the end of the first Gulf War. That's the rationale Clinton used when he was in the process of preparing to invade Iraq in, I believe, '98.

Internet Ronin said...

Be careful, John! Any more doses of reality like your last two and you will be tarred as a Republican ;-)

Internet Ronin said...

Guide to possibly preventing political gerrymandering (practical version):

Method 1: Make sure that each house of the legislature is controlled by the opposite party after the census-year election.

Method 2: Make sure the Governor is not a member of the party that controls both houses of the legislature. (It also helps if a majority of the state supreme court are not members of the same party as the one controlling the state legislature.)

Shanna said...

Re: gerrymandering. It seems like math should be able to save us. Require the sum of the perimeter of all districts in a state to be as small as possible. Choose the center of the districts -- I suppose it could be a stronghold -- and then let your computer drawing program go to work. It would take 5 minutes. Of course, the impetus to do this must come from the people, as the parties would have nothing to do with it.

I think it's Iowa (?) that has computerized drawing. Two state house districts in one state senate district, it's all very nice and neat. I would absolutely be all for it, I think Gerrymandering is ruining our democracy. But it has to be done at the state level. And the last person to try that was Schwartzenager...and that didn't pass, although I think the Dem's in the state promised to do it and they haven't yet that I've heard.

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't refer to Kos as a left-winger. That was inside the quote.

SteveR said...

"Hmmm... Rangel, Conyers, Hastings... What do these three men have in common?"

Yep Doyle, you caught me..

What was that line about "content of their character"... just doesn't help some people try to make a point

paul a'barge said...

"hasten the obsolescence of guys like Kerry"

Guys like Kerry constitute an awfully large fraction of the Democrat party, so it's quite the challenge to run them off.

You make a great point though. How to accomplish this? My take is that the Democrat party must be motivated. If they win even one house in the '06 election, I think it will be more difficult to run off the Move On / Kos / Hamsher types that make it impossible for the Democrat party to be seriously competitive.

However, a purge in the Democrat party is what is needed, that is certain. I wish them well. There certainly are big-government, big-spending types entrenched in the Republican party that need to be purged as well.

Coco said...

Dick: "You need to learn something. People vote FOR something, not just against something."

Accepting the other part of this construct as true -- that the Democrats have little in the way of ideas or "plans" or reasons why people should vote for them, other than they are not Bush's GOP, what would a resounding Democrat victory on Tuesday tell us? Either that the first part of your construct is false or that the majority of Americans think "nothing" is better than the the status quo. If this happens (and who knows if it will), I think both conclusions would be warranted.

I actually think the first part of your construct is false - most people vote against things as its a lot easier to know what you don't like than to decide what you want specifically. Indeed, this thread provides ample examples of such behavior..." the GOP sucks but I'm voting against Pelosi." If I recall correctly, Ann's vote for Bush in 2004 was really a vote against Kerry. Moreover, if its really true that people don't only vote against something, how do you explain the behavior of Democrats, the left, liberals (whatever label you choose) whose alleged sole position is anti-Bush?

PatCA said...

"They learned nothing and forgot nothing."

How apt, as we watch the self-destruction of another enfeebled aristo class.

shimmy said...

How many of the middle-aged folks here feel personally let down (and so, betrayed) by the counterculture? And are taking it out on the Democratic Party? When on many of these actual issues you could go either way, and even have, depending on influence?

One may not always be the best judge of oneself on things like this.

Sloanasaurus said...

That's a pretty low benchmark. Can a citizen walk down the street in Baghdad and be certain they'll get to their destination? Are the lights on all day long? Can people celebrate benchmarks in life -- births, marriages, deaths -- without looking over their shoulders?

They are obviously doing this in 15 of 18 provinces.

Anyway, you describe in interesting measure for success. I have never heard such benchmarks to describe victory.

Our goal in Iraq is to have a stable country run by democrats (little "d"). That is going to take longer than a stable country run by dictators. We are not at 100% yet, but we are getting there. We should stick it out rather than give up if we believe that freedom and democracy is better than dictatorship.

America is in a sense an empire and we have imperialist ideals of spreading freedom. As long was we continue to try spreading freedom we will continue to grow as a civilization. When we stop, then something else, i.e. radical islam, will start growing our direction.

Frankly, I don't think liberals in the U.S. care about democracy in Iraq or anywhere else in the world. They would prefer Bush fail.

TMink said...

Freder wrote: "Can you provide a link to your statistics, because I simply don't believe you."

Fair point, but I imagine that you doubt the statistic more than you doubt me. I mean, I hope that you doubt the accuracy of my statement more than you would think I am bullshitting.

I SHOULD have posted it originally, sorry, my bad. Here is the news story link http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/5/29/132706.shtml

and here is an article which discusses how the statistics of violent death are calculated: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5526a1.htm?s_cid=mm5526a1_e

and here is another take on the data that uses a higher estimation: http://www.prospect.org/weblog/2006/06/post_495.html

The key controversy as I read these and other articles is in how you select the areas to compare. Do you compare Irag vs the US in general, or Bagdad vs. New Orleans, etc.

And I hope that my post did not read like a slam again Nawlins. I love that area, visit there several times a year, married a Yat, and my family live in the area. So any slam against New Orleans was absolutly unintended.

Trey

Sloanasaurus said...

Iraq was complying with the inspections before the war and they were finding nothing even when they were going to sites the the U.S. assured them were active weapons production facilities (based on our sterling intelligence). Don't try to rewrite history. It was becoming more and more apparent that there were no WMDs or active production programs to be found.

Actually, Iraq refused to fully comply with the inspections. They refused to allow interviews with their scientists without minders. You are the one trying to rewrite history. The question was, why would saddam try to stifle the inspections if he had nothing to hide? If you are 80% sure he has WMD, how do you get completely sure - demand 100% inspections and see if he complies. Imagine if Bush was 80% sure, Saddam didn't comply with inspections, we didn't invade and then Saddam nuked the oil fields in Kuwait raising gas prices to $5 per gallon.. Hmm.... How about impeachment.

It is also true that more than 700 munitions with chemical warheads have been found since the invasion.

The finding or not finding WMD is really a red herring. The real goal was to get rid of Saddam himself so that he could not use the resources of Iraq to produce nukes, as North Korea and Iran are doing today.

Imagine if Saddam fully complied with inspections. We found nothing, withdrew our troops and went home and all the sanctions against iraq collapsed. Then evidence leaked out that Saddam had restarted his weapons program. Do you think the democrats would be blasting Bush....Because that is what would have happened and everyone knows it.

Prior to the Iraq war, 4 aggressive and dangerous dictatorships desired and pursued nuclear weapons: Today, only two remain, North Korea and Iran.

That is success.

TMink said...

Ronin wrote: The party of balanced budgets and fiscal reponsibility? The party of "that government which governs best governs least?" The party of federalism? The party of individual responsibilty? The party of lower taxes by not spending money on frivolous projects designed only to gain votes? The party of moral values exemplified by its leadership and unwillingness to look the other way?

That party does not exist today. I would vote for that party with my nose wide open and taking deep breaths as opposed to how I voted for this election.

But I have hope. I saw a headline that mentioned a racial slur and calls for resignations. "Oh great, another macaca piece of crap" I thought. More posturing, more name calling, blah blah blah.

Turns out it was about a state Republican elected official calling on his Repulican colleague to resign after the colleague got drunk and used racist language on a phone message. Damn straight! That was good news! So I have a small flame of hope in these dreary, wet, and windy days of politics.

Trey

shimmy said...

Stever - In your response to my first post: I'm not sure I know what you've compromised between.

Fritz - You really think "the only reason we face an insurgency in Iraq today" is because American forces stopped fighting in Vietnam? Wow. Harkening back to my first post: That's very scar-encrusted. I pray someone pays your ransom.

Sloanasaurus said...

It is now clearly the worst foreign policy debacle since LBJ's quagmire in Vietnam. Even William F. Buckley, the founder of The National Review, penned an editorial several months ago on how the American experiment to export democracy to Iraq is an abject failure.

Funny, because people were saying this about Korea during the Korean war. After 30,000 killed, support for the war dipped to 20%. Yet today more than 70% believe it was the right thing to do because they can now see the difference between communism in the north and freedom in the south.

It took a good 40 years for full democracy to take effect in South Korea - 40 years. Maybe that was too long. If you were in charge we would have left in the late 50s and let Kim swallow up the south as the communists did when the Congress abandonded south vietnam in 1975.

Now you have the gall to say Iraq is a total failure after 3 1/2 years of low level war. In fact your ilk was saying it after 1 year of war. As you and other anti-war types like Congressman Murtha advocate, we should abandon the democrats (little "d") in Iraq who stuck their necks out to move Iraq into the modern era, we should abandon the 15 provinces that are stable and at peace. We should abandon the 150,000 Iraqi police who have joined their army to fight with the democrats. We should just give up because why.... Do you think we would have any allies left after such a debacle?

Your postion is the unrealistic one.

David said...

In the meantime, Iran is firing off missiles and the U.S. has three battle groups in the Eastern Med and Persian Gulf.

The Bush Administration had the mental acuity to look at a map of the world and invaded Afghanistan. Afghanistan has the strategic advantage of sharing a border with Pakistan and Iran.

Iraq is strategically located between Syria and Iran on the western front. Israel and Saudi Arabia flank Syria and Iran.

Kerry, who appears to have never studied a map of the middle east, is the ignorant one. Iran knows it is surrounded and at a strategic and tactical disadvantage.

If the democrats, including the disgraced Murtha, understand a battle plan they certainly don't display it. Iran is looking at a two front war and regime survival while Kerry is calling our troops, who know how to read a map, ignorant.

Our 'ignorant' military has set up the classic hammer and anvil on a theater-wide scale. Iran is looking back in history at the defeat it suffered under Darius during the late BC 500 as the Persians bet it all and lost it all in it's fight against the Greeks and their coalition.

History is about to repeat itself. As Iran (Persians) look down a mystic well for guidance, a disciplined western military sets up the 'phalanx' against them.

Fortunately for us, history is still taught in military schools in the west!

Melinda said...

Gerry replied:

That said, if you are so anti-war that both Bush and Kerry are examples of what not to do, then odds are people would not place you in the category of 'moderate,' even if you consider yourself to be one.

First of all, I'm laughing at the idea of my being anti-war (let alone so anti-war), since I was in favor of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since you don't know me personally, I'm concluding that you've written this because I wasn't being clear on how I considered both Bush and Kerry examples of what not to do.

I hadn't been thinking about the invasion of Iraq.

I was thinking more of how both had been a lousy choice in 2004, and did not inspire hope in voters the way Reagan had in 1980 or Clinton had in 1992.

It was more like having large segments of voters leaving the booths saying, "I held my nose and voted for ______ so the other guy doesn't get/stay in."

I'm not a lawyer or a debater, just a gagster, and sometimes I don't express myself clearly.

Gerry said...

Thanks for the clarification. I am not sure if it was you being unclear as you graciously offered. It is just as likely that I was being presumptive. I apologize for getting the wrong conclusion about from where you were coming.

Fenrisulven said...

Freder: If you recall, it turns out that neither of those reasons for going to war turned out to be true. Yes, he was sending money to the families of palestinian suicide bombers, but so does most of the rest of the Arab oil states. Are you suggesting we overthrow the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE too?

Freder, are you ignorant that Saddam was providing medical support and logistical support to terrorists? That Al Queda had a training camp in Iraq, with Saddam's knowledge and permission, before we invaded? That Al Queda fled into Iraq after we went into Afganistan?

And bringing up invading Saudi tells me you know nothing about foreign policy. Like North Korea, not all problems can be solved with force. If the Saud fall the world economy goes into a tailspin [depression in Europe, recession in America] b/c they use their reserves to keep the price of oil from flucuating wildly. Thats key - keeping the price of oil from seesawing. Do you even understand this basic point of global economics?

You don't really seem to know what you are arguing about, and also appear to be arguing in bad faith - with little "tribal" jabs at your opposition. You're an example of why we don't take the Left seriously when the criticize the war in Iraq.

Melinda said...

Apology accepted.

Perhaps equal amounts of presumption and lack of clarity have been muddling every political debate large and small for the past few years.

Doyle said...

That Al Queda had a training camp in Iraq, with Saddam's knowledge and permission

I call bullshit.

johnstodderinexile said...

That Al Queda had a training camp in Iraq, with Saddam's knowledge and permission.

I call bullshit.

Well, "manly" John Kerry would certainly be proud of you for effective deployment of fake tough-guy talk to make your point. He might even raise a glass of, oh, what is that beer the little people drink, Budweiser?, in your honor.

But the original statement happens to be true, and really isn't disputed anywhere credible.

Doyle said...

If it were true, you'd think the administration would have had an easier time connecting Iraq to 9/11. The preznit himself said that Iraq had nothing to do with it.

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisulven,

Which did more to support Al-Qaeda: House of Saud or Saddam?

vnjagvet said...

I want to second Sloan's point about Korea and add Japan to it.

According to Global Security.org:

"Prior to 2004 there were normally about 37,500 military personnel stationed in the USFK area of responsibility, including about 225 aircraft of all types. The number of troops deployed in the area does not normally fluctuate. With the 2nd Brigade Combat Team going to Iraq in August 2004, the total number of troops declined by 5,000, to a total of 32,500 military personnel."

Established 1 July 1957, U.S. Forces, Japan, with its U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps elements, consists of approximately 47,000 military personnel, 52,000 dependents, 5,500 DOD civilian employees and 23,500 Japanese workers. U.S. Forces are stationed in Japan pursuant to the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security of 1960."

The takeaway:

In these two countries alone, our military presence has been significant for over fifty years. Even now, we have more than half the number of military personnel in Korea and Japan than we have in Iraq.

Worth it? I think most of us would say it is.

johnstodderinexile said...

For about the 10,000th time, to say Hussein had "nothing to do with 9/11" is a different fact than "Hussein had dealings with Al Queda." Both statements can be true, and given the cell-like nature of radical jihad groups, it would be a shock if Hussein had been trusted with that kind of information.

Nonetheless, providing logistical support to Al Queda facilitated in some sense everything they did, including 9/11. But, more crucially, it was a harbinger of the future. Hussein clearly had no compunction about aiding terrorist groups.

My problem with the Iraq war is that it was supposed to "drain the swamp." It hasn't. I fear that no matter when we leave, tomorrow or five years from now, Iraq will perpetually be a place where terrorists will feel comfortable to prepare attacks. I still feel toppling Hussein was worthwhile, but the next step clearly was not envisioned intelligently by the Bush Administration, and the consequences of that failure seem dire to me.

Doyle said...

How are U.S. casualty rates in Korea and Japan these days?

Doyle said...

The 9/11 Commission, which was hardly unsparing in its assessments of the administration, found "contacts" but "no collaborative relationship."

I found this article as I was looking for the source of Sloan's Saddam-approved training camp bullshit (it was the Weekly Standard, of all outlets).

Freeman Hunt said...

How are U.S. casualty rates in Korea and Japan these days?

Funny you should post that. How long did we have to occupy Japan? Where did they get their Constitution? And we still maintain a large military presence in South Korea. How long did it take to reach these states of relative peace?

But of course when it comes to the Middle East, everything should be finished, bloodless, and wrapped up in a bow within a few years...

Freeman Hunt said...

The 9/11 Commission, which was hardly unsparing in its assessments of the administration, found "contacts" but "no collaborative relationship."

Note: The 9/11 Commission. As in as regards 9/11.

Doyle said...

Freeman -

The Iraq War is different than WWII and the Korean War in significant ways. A) Iraq didn't bomb Pearl Harbor; and B) Iraq wasn't considered a client state of our rival superpower.

And the 9/11 Commission was referring to the relationship between Al Qaeda and Iraq, not just within the narrow context of the 9/11 attacks (although that was the big issue, right?).

Too Many Jims said...

But of course when it comes to the Middle East, everything should be finished, bloodless, and wrapped up in a bow within a few years.

You are definitely right that this will take more than a few years. Unfortunately, from the beginning the american people have not been prepared for this by the administration. We would be better served if the administration would say "We're going to be here for at least 3(or 6) years." I understand why they won't say it, but they shouldn't be surprised if people start to get impatient.

MadisonMan said...

But of course when it comes to the Middle East, everything should be finished, bloodless, and wrapped up in a bow within a few years.

Well, that's how the current administration prepped everyone. Even now, in the face of what they've called the biggest threat to National Security, there's no call to sacrifice. If this is so important, Washington DC, where's the (for example) gas rationing? How about some tax increases to pay for it? How about some effective diplomacy to gin up support from the allies? There is a monumental disconnect between what the present administration says is happening and what they're asking of the American People. Add in the credibility issues that spring forth from the WMD debacle, and you've got a problem.

I know Bush isn't going to solve this mess. He admits that himself, and it's really congruent with his entire life of failed ventures. I hope the next Leader to emerge will be able to restore faith of most people (the non-Barretts) in the government to do the right thing. And then get the job done.

SteveR said...

Shimmy: The compromise for me was between the socially more liberal (sex, drugs, and rock n roll) and yet wanted to win the Cold War, reduces taxes and government intrusion in my life and business.

I clearly remember a precint meeting in 1988 when the Pat Robertson for president folks were trying to push crazy stuff into the Texas Party Platform. bleech

So anyway I go from voting for John Anderson in 1980 because Reagan was too radical to feeling that I had to stick with conservatives for the sake of my family, my pocketbook and my country. But that's just me. I still stay away from those Robertson type kooks.

Cedarford said...

Madison ManKerry is, now, I hope to God, blessedly obsolete. If this causes the branch of the Democratic Party that looks down on the Military to wither and die, that will be great for both the Democratic Party and the Country as a whole.

Well, as a Republican, I hope he can be recycled for another election. I hope to get a letter in the NYTimes praising the Senator from Davos and saying he is too great a man, too intelligent, too courageous not to run again for the Office that he has deserved as his due all his life. He is NOT obsolete. He is OWED the 2008 nomination!! Just ask him, he is almost too good for the country! But he may grace us anyways from his heroic side, and sense of noblisse oblige...

Sloanasaurus - In contrast, the North East has always been against American wars and has little if any military tradition.

Not true. The Northeast is where America's naval tradition is centered. Groton, Bath, Bayonne, Newport, Quincy, Portsmouth, Brooklyn, Phillie shipyard. (Much has been lost to the South and to Pacific coast activity). The Northeast is also where American military shipping and air logistics was centered, and the 10th Mountain Div is based.

(The Navy and logistics is how Americans win wars)

On top of that, the Northeast was home to some of America's top SAC air bases.

I agree that the anti-military turn of Northeast Democrats after Vietnam has badly damaged that reputation, and attrited some of our best military assets. But in the Northeast, you will find a large cohort of proud active duty and Vets with a visceral hatred for elite colleges that bar ROTC and for John Kerry.

Althouse Underlaugh" is in quotes to indicate it's a coinage. I think it's a good one. C'mon, it's Seinfeldian. You should use it.

Listening to the tape and looking at the faces behind him...you observe stifled laughter. They wanted to laugh at the stupid unfortunate grunts stuck in Iraq, and many did. But half the audience was either worried it was as Pelosi intimated -inappropriate to do so publicly, or confused and thinking about what he had said when the time for the laugh had come and gone.

As for the Left sneering at all things soldierly, or condescending to them...I got a big dose of that after leaving the service after the Gulf War and working on my Grad degrees. We had some local military issues, Demonstrations against Afghanistan, Iraq. BRAC impacted our local are heavily. And of course, the usual pack of Leftist undergrad ninnies were out protesting it all - and demanding the "dumb hick homophobes" not get ROTC. The flavors I got?

1. Soldiers are helpless children, duped into dying for "rich corporate types".

2. Troops are mostly Bible-thumping hicks from inbred families in the Deep South.

3. They are the losers, the dregs of society too stupid to be an English major or something similarly socially progressive and uplifting. Or, more kindly put, the black, brown, poor white trash unfortunates lacking good grades and good athletes who just missed out on athletic scholarships but can put their raw animal power to use killing people for oooiiiiillll.

4. They are evil. Abu Ghraib was typical.

On balance, the young Lefties lean more on the "stupid victims" than the "bigoted evildoers" meme.

Which explains their whacky view of war - A. The maimed and those who sacrificed in other ways don't count. B. Only the dead, count. Each death signifying we are losing the war ("good" war in Lefty la-la land is done so perfectly that no one dies). C. There are no victories - only death counts to bemoan. Americans take a city, with few losses it's all about the innocent dead brown people. Conversly, if Americans are hit by insurgents and defeat them, it's all about their "One death of any American is too high a sacrifice for any reason"...Which is followed by theatrical Lefty crocidile tears and faux mourning - to make a political statement...Any tragic loss is "unbearable", "BushHitler should die instead of babies in Army uniforms", "strains my sanity!!!" "Unbearable!!!" "We owe it to them to retreat!!"-

Ignoring of course that more troops were lost in one bad hour of the Civil War, WWI, WWII - than in 6 years of BushHitler. That this war, so far until Muslims get WMD - has been extraordinarily light in terms of casualties.

********************
But Kerry and the treasonous or near-treasonous factions of the Democrats AREN'T all Democrats.

And the Democrats are going to be coming back in power - and they deserve to.

The bitter truth is that the Republicans have spectacularly mismanaged something more important than Iraq's postwar - our nations fiscal health. They have rapidly become everything the country loathed about the Democrats in 1994. Venal, weak, rudderless, corrupt leadership. Failure to look at entitlements. K-Street feeding troughs. Moral and ethical shortcomings..Creating a bigger growth in government size, government spending than even LBJ did. And sticking our kids and grandkids with the bill so tax cuts for the wealthy can be doled out.

Continual failure to check any of Bush's more significant foreign policy blunders or forays into theocracy. The only thing they put their foot down on was Harriet Miers. There were a dozen other major Bush blunders they only cheerleaded him on and ran interference for him...

As long as the Democrat isn't in the Kerry-Pelosi camp and is clean, and not weak as a person...

This son of a Reagan Democrat will give the Dems running my vote ---

Umm, except for our very clean, independent, and competent Republican Congressman (running against a "terrorists rights and civil liberties Kerry-like woman) and the Governor in my state...

Revenant said...

Is Kerry obsolete yet?

I think the 2004 campaign demonstrated that he's been obsolete for years. He just won't stop talking and go away.

Doyle said...

I think the 2004 campaign demonstrated that he's been obsolete for years.

Yeah he only won the nomination and 48% of the popular vote!

Give it a rest already.

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

How are U.S. casualty rates in Korea and Japan these days?

You are right. 150,000+ American Servicemen died fighting the Japanese and another 30,000 fighting the Chinese/N Koreans in Korea. The South Koreans lost an additional 600,000. We also killed 5+ million chinese and Japanese soldiers and civilians in the process. We pounded them into submission.

The civilian population was at starvation (in their Island nation) when we ended up occupying Japan.

Maye we should starve out the Iraqis.

johnstodderinexile said...

So, Doyle, I guess you parse the words "contacts with" pretty narrowly. To say someone had "contacts with" someone else but did not have "a collaborative relationship" with them, is only to say that they didn't go into business together. But, again, given the secretive way in which Al Queda and most terrorist groups operate, the absence of a "collaborative relationship" is almost meaningless. To preserve deniability, terrorist groups all over the world operate on a 'need to know' basis. The IRA didn't tell Sinn Fein when they were about to blow up a bus. By your cramped definition, that would be another "contacts with/no collaborative relationship" type of connection.

Terrorist organizations generally are not seeking to collaborate formally with a leader like Hussein. They want to make sure they can count on other forms of support, of which there are hundreds of possibilities, many of them passive, such as "we won't arrest you." In Saddam's Iraq, that in itself was a major concession.

That Washington Post story you linked to was not the best way to support your case by the way. That was clearly an attempt to blow up this semantic distinction into a major hit against the Bush Administration, right in the middle of the conventions. The straw man, as always, is the specious claim that Bush "said" Hussein was responsible for 9/11. He didn't -- ever. He, too, talked about "contacts."

Revenant said...

"I think the 2004 campaign demonstrated that he's been obsolete for years."

Yeah he only won the nomination and 48% of the popular vote!

He won 48% of the vote at a time when Bush had an approval rating of 35% and a disapproval rating of 57%.

Yes, he won the nomination, thanks to the Democratic Party being run by idiots who think like you. He then went on to get beaten by a man most Americans thought was a lousy President. That's why I say he's obsolete -- the polls and voting clearly indicate that he couldn't even hold on to the "anybody but Bush" voters.

Give it a rest already.

You know, if you spend half the time actually thinking about what's best for the Democratic Party that you spend mindlessly kissing the ass of everyone in it, you might make an intelligent point about politics now and again. Then again, maybe not.

Garage Mahal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doyle said...

Easy, Rev.

I'm just saying that while losing a presidential election is a bad thing, and that he was a bad candidate and he looks French and sounds stuffy, it's not something that truly "obsolete" people get the opportunity to do.

Doyle said...

LOL George. Those are some pretty tasty predictions, it's true.

I'd love to see Allen in particular really take it on the chin, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone here.

Revenant said...

I'm just saying that while losing a presidential election is a bad thing, and that he was a bad candidate and he looks French and sounds stuffy, it's not something that truly "obsolete" people get the opportunity to do.

They do if the party they represent is dominated by people with obsolete ideas.

Fenrisulven said...

Fen: That Al Queda had a training camp in Iraq, with Saddam's knowledge and permission

Doyle: I call bullshit.

JohnStodder: the original statement happens to be true, and really isn't disputed anywhere credible.

Thanks for the back up. It amazes me that after three years of discussing this, people like freder and Dolye are still ignorant of the basic facts, while they continue to claim that Iraq was irrelevant re the war on terror.

TooManyJims: Which did more to support Al-Qaeda: House of Saud or Saddam?

House of Saud, to the nth power. I doubt anyone would dispute that. But the difference is we cannot use force to toss them out - unlike Iraq, the Saudi street swarms with Wahabbi Islam. If we moved on the Saudis right now, we would effectively be handing control of Saudi Arabia over to Al Queda.

We will settle scores with the House of Saud. The solution is the same solution that toppled the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact, and finally the Soviet Union. Iraq is the model. It is the keystone to reforming the middle east, including Saudi Arabia.

Too Many Jims said...

Fenrisulven,

I figured you would answer that and I suspect you know I agree. I think the notion that we attacked Iraq because of its ties to AlQaeda and radical Islamic terrorists is weak at best (and, quite possibly, intellectually dishonest). Of SA, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Pakistan, my sense is that Iraq was the least "Islamist" and had the fewest ties to Islamic terrorists.

Revenant said...

If we moved on the Saudis right now, we would effectively be handing control of Saudi Arabia over to Al Queda.

To say nothing of the fact that Saudi Arabia contains Mecca. I can't imagine a better recruiting tool for Islamic terrorism than the sight of American troops gunning down Muslims in the streets of Mecca.

Anonymous said...

John Kerry is evil, John Kerry hates America, John Kerry hates the troops, John Kerry is stupid, John Kerry is elitist, John Kerry is from Taxachusettes, John Ke...

Hey, wait! Lookie there! The House of Representatives just turned Democratic!

Seven Machos said...

Blue Texan -- The House and Senate will remain Republican.

Too Many Jims said...

Seven Machos (and Blue Texan),

You are measuring the drapes in the endzone before they are hatched.

Juliet said...

Hey, wait! Lookie there! The House of Representatives just turned Democratic!

Oh, it probably will.

But it'll be interesting to see how many of the Democrats who take over Republican-occupied congressional seats will have deliberately distanced themselves from Kerry.

Internet Ronin said...

I think Blue Texan has every reason to be reasonably confident about measuring for drapes. The only question appears to be how large a majority in the House of Representatives the Democratic Party will have.

SteveR said...

A "majority" in the House or Senate is often misleading. Yeah they are 55 Republican Senators, but when you factor in Chaffee, the Maine twins, Spector, DeWhiney, McCain, Graham, you are not talking about a solid majority.

As someone said here a few days ago, stalemate is not such a bad thing.

A Menken Moment said...

I suppose Anne's is one of those ink blot questions and that answers will reveal more about the politics of the responder than about Kerry's putative obsolescence, but I'll play a game of risk. When Trent Lott made an unacceptable statement in favor of Strom Thurmon and by implication offensive to blacks, there was no limit to hell's fury and the stink of sulphur from the NYT until Lott resigned from the speakership of the Senate. Kerry makes a statement that denigrates military personnel, black and otherwise, and... what price does he pay to the Gray Furies? Does the NYT condemn him or does it displace the opprobrium onto the Republicans?

Gaze well, friends, into that avernal smear, but beware the mind-torturing Gorgon with the sinister snakes. She is kin and minion to the Hildabeast that stalks 2008.

Fenrisulven said...

I think the notion that we attacked Iraq because of its ties to AlQaeda and radical Islamic terrorists is weak at best (and, quite possibly, intellectually dishonest).

I think its the combination of WMD programs & material support for terrorists that made the difference. MAD doesn't work if the perp even thinks he can get away with an anonymous WMD attack via proxy. And recall the Axis of Evil speech - Iraq, Iran, N Korea. Iraq was the only one of the three that we could resolve with force. Iran presents logistical problems [not so much though now with US bases directly east], and China won't allow us to go into Korea. But all three fall into the category of nation-states that seek nukes and use terrorist orgs as proxy troops.

Internet Ronin said...

Steve R said: A "majority" in the House or Senate is often misleading.

True. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the last decade, The Wall Street Journal repeatedly editorialized about the outsized influence of a small minority of "wet" Republicans. (Most of those particular Republicans are unlikely to survive Tuesday's election.)