August 1, 2007

"Clinton is from the traumatized generation; Obama isn't."

Andrew Sullivan has this elaborate generational analysis:
One difference between Obama and Clinton does not seem to me to have been stressed enough. They are of different Democratic generations. Clinton is from the traumatized generation; Obama isn't.
Realizing that I am from Clinton's generation, and Sullivan is from Obama's, I am instantly skeptical. Traumatized? He sees the older "generation" as suffering from a mental disorder?

I put "generation" in quotes because I think a 20-year span is needed for a generation. Calling a 10-year span a "generation" exaggerates for dramatic effect, but it does express something of the emotional distance felt (or sought). I've always felt distant from the era inhabited by my sister, who, like Hillary, is four years older than I am. Why not call that a "generation"? Then I could extricate myself from that post-traumatic stress disorder that plagues Clinton.

Back to Sullivan:
Clinton has internalized to her bones the 1990s sense that conservatism is ascendant, that what she really believes is unpopular, that the Republicans have structural, latent power of having a majority of Americans on their side. Hence the fact that she reeks of fear, of calculation, of focus groups, of triangulation.
Do we know what she "really believes"? And does she really believe something? Even if we assume she has liberal instincts, why can't she also believe that it is good to work through a process of accommodating those first thoughts to the world she encounters? I give a politician credit for pragmatism -- when it is done well. Why is "belief" so wonderful? Ideologues make terrible mistakes. Sullivan doesn't appreciate George Bush's commitment to his beliefs, so why is ideological purity suddenly so valuable?
She might once have had ideals keenly felt; she might once have actually relished fighting for them and arguing in thier [sic] defense. But she has not been like that for a very long time. She has political post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ah! The diagnosis. I feel averse to her, so I detect illness in her.
Obama is different. He wasn't mugged by the 1980s and 1990s as Clinton was.
Obama was 17 in 1980. Nothing has a greater impact on you than the way things are when you are 17. (I was 17 in 1968.) You could say that Vietnam and Nixon didn't affect him, but he was a young man in the 1980s and 1990s. That era must have affected him deeply. Did it not affect his age-mate Sullivan?
[Obama] doesn't carry within him the liberal self-hatred and self-doubt that Clinton does. The traumatized Democrats fear the majority of Americans are bigoted, know-nothing, racist rubes from whom they need to conceal their true feelings and views. The non-traumatized Democrats are able to say what they think, make their case to potential supporters and act, well, like Republicans acted in the 1980s and 1990s.
There may well be those two types of Democrats, but you haven't convinced me that they slot into two generations or that one type is healthy and the other diseased -- a theory that deserves to be called ageist. Nor am I convinced that it is unrealistic fear that motivates some liberals politicians to tone down their views in order to make themselves more appealing to voters.

By the same token, I don't believe that Obama's positions are pure expressions of true belief. He has to have thought through how to make himself appealing to voters. If he seems to be more idealistic, it may be that he's figured out that this stance works for him. Obviously, it does.

Since it's a good, pragmatic choice, there's no way to conclude he seems idealistic and proud of his liberalism because he's unafraid and untainted by the diseased thoughts of those a few years older than he is. How do you know he's not fearful of seeming less purely optimistic? One could just as well say that he's learned his lessons from the 80s and 90s. Reagan taught him the great value of getting people to think that you embody optimism. Maybe he avoids seeming to calculate and triangulate in order to distance himself from Bill Clinton (and Hillary).
The choice between Clinton and Obama is the choice between a defensive crouch and a confident engagement. It is the choice between someone who lost their beliefs in a welter of fear; and someone who has faith that his worldview can persuade a majority.

In my view, the call is not a close one.
Sullivan effuses. He loves Obama and feels aversion to Clinton. So do many others. This isn't an argument that Obama would make a better President than Clinton, but it's not a mere outburst of emotion either. He's saying that Obama will make a better candidate than Clinton, because he will -- by his faith -- inspire belief. That sounds rather dangerous, evocative of the worst things that can happen in politics. We need analysis and reason too, and I think Obama can only go so far exciting people with "the audacity of hope." The debate the other night showed how he can fall short, going for the hopeful, inspiring idea when Clinton comes forward with the more seasoned, mature, realistic analysis.

And which approach, in fact, betrays more fear that Americans are "know-nothing" "rubes"? I think the simplistic talk of hope, playing on the emotions of the listener, shows less respect for the intelligence and sophistication of the voters than a more complex, realistic presentation of the issues.

But in 2004, the Democrats lost with their dull, nuanced character, and the Republicans won with simplistic, emotional hope. Sullivan ought to consider whether -- if Hillary was "mugged by the 1980s and 1990s," Obama was mugged by the 00s.

135 comments:

shadow said...

In 2004, it wasn't hope that won for the Republicans. It was fear.

Synova said...

True. Kerry was scary.

I'd say that Reagan won on hope, however.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

Yes, I agree with Synova, the American people were scared shitless of John Kerry being president.

As for Sullivan, what a lame attempt to pass the pseudo-psychological language of an Oprah program as political analysis. Sullivan is good at clouding any issue he writes about, like a block of dry ice steaming away to gas in a puddle of warm water.

There's nothing so off-putting as sincere, hopeful, non-traumatized people who believe.

vet66 said...

I prefer a combination of fear and hope: robust pragmatism.

Projection of power has never been the strong suit of the Democrats. The Democrats are extremely uncomfortable with the truth that the U.S. is the sole superpower remaining on the world stage. Shrinking from that undeniable truth speaks to their weakness on foreign policy and the leadership it requires.

The angst the Democrats suffer from regarding their hatred of the military is manifest in their relationship with Kerry, Murtha, retired politicized Generals, and a left-leaning Security apparatus.

Obama is in over his head. Clinton, like her husband, will be good at signalling a cruise missile attack to the terrorists as she takes out a nomad's tent for the 6 o'clock news. All sound and no fury!

Most Americans remember well the school yard bully from early education. A bully is a bully is a terrorist. The only difference is in the degree of harm.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Ann Althouse,

Do you regret voting for Bush in 2004? I ask because after reading your analysis of the Sullivan piece, I wonder how anyone with your POV could still vote for Bush if given a second chance.

vet66 said...

Palladian;

Colorful, as usual...and correct! Love the gas analogy!

EnigmatiCore said...

I too agree with Synova. Despite the massive failures of Bush this term, I still think we made the right choice as a nation in 2004.

Given how successful Dean has been at turning around the fortunes of the Democratic party, I think he would have been a much better candidate than Kerry and would likely have won.

As for the whole Andrew Sullivan thing, I see no reason to believe that Sullivan has any great insight into the way liberals think, moderates think, or conservatives think. And I think it is closer to say that Clinton is from the traumatizing generation. The apple cart was upturned quite a bit during the 60s.

Palladian said...

"Do you regret voting for Bush in 2004? I ask because after reading your analysis of the Sullivan piece, I wonder how anyone with your POV could still vote for Bush if given a second chance."

Well, we're not voting for Bush now, or ever again, are we? Circumstances are different now than they were in 2004 and given our abysmal choices back then, Bush was the correct vote. There has been no indication that a Kerry administration would have done (or been able to do) anything significantly different regarding Iraq.

Stop living in the past. We're talking about hope here, we're talking about the future.

cyrus pinkerton said...

vet66 wrote:

The angst the Democrats suffer from regarding their hatred of the military ...

Sorry vet66, I have to call your bluff on this bit of idiotic babbling.

vet66 said...

Cyrus,

I will field that one with Palladian.

The terrorists fear and respect Bush. He guarantees that they will be met on the battlefield and dispatched forthwith to the Nether regions. Bush made mistakes but bringing the battle to the bad guys was not one of them.

Remember High Noon with Gary Cooper? Who would you choose to watch your "6"; The Marlboro Man or a soy latte slurping metro sexual?

SteveR said...

I don't think the differnce between HRC and Obama is generational. Political experience especially running for president for the third time explains a lot, but its really a difference in personality, not age.

MadisonMan said...

Bad metaphor alert: A puddle of water in which a block of dry ice is sitting will not be warm.

EnigmatiCore said...

"He loves Obama and feels aversion to Clinton. So do many others. This isn't an argument that Obama would make a better President than Clinton"

I have decided I much prefer Sen. Clinton to Sen. Obama, but I think this is an incorrect assertion.

If people feel 'love' for one candidate and an aversion to another, that most certainly is an argument that the former would make a better President than the latter. Other arguments may (and should!) hold sway as being more important, but the affinity the public has for a leader is significantly important for the leader to be able to rally the public behind his or her initiatives. A hated President cannot get much done (see Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and now Bush). A loved President can (see Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan).

cyrus pinkerton said...

palladian wrote:

Well, we're not voting for Bush now, or ever again, are we? Circumstances are different now than they were in 2004 and given our abysmal choices back then, Bush was the correct vote. There has been no indication that a Kerry administration would have done (or been able to do) anything significantly different regarding Iraq.

Okay, I'll mark you down as a slow learner. Thanks for the feedback.

Palladian said...

Also, it's amusing to hear Andrew Sullivan, the Costa Diva of them all, call someone else emotionally traumatized. His entire tempestuous philosophical progress from one hair-tearing extreme to the next seems explicable only by resorting to a pop-psychological diagnosis of trauma, doesn't it? Reading him is like eagerly awaiting the soprano's next aria, from coy summer love to weeping fire and tossing herself off a parapet all in the space of a few hours.

vet66 said...

Cyrus;

Don't play Texas Hold 'em with me. I never bluff and I don't draw to an inside straight. Everytime the democrats get power they raise taxes and gut the military.

If you would like to argue details, history will immediately point to Carter's peanut farmer mentality regarding force projection.

cyrus pinkerton said...

vet66 wrote:

The terrorists fear and respect Bush. He guarantees that they will be met on the battlefield and dispatched forthwith to the Nether regions.

Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Just out of curiousity, what's your source for the claim that "the terrorists respect Bush?"

Palladian said...

" Bad metaphor alert: A puddle of water in which a block of dry ice is sitting will not be warm."

If the puddle is big enough it will be. Use your imagination, MM.

"Okay, I'll mark you down as a slow learner. Thanks for the feedback."

Well that's fine, because I've already marked you down as an idiot unwilling to have a reasonable conversation.

Meade said...

The events that traumatized "Hillary's generation" were not Nixon and Vietnam but the assassinations of 1963 and 1968. I think there truly is a divide among Americans of all ages along a line of how one reacted and adjusted to those events.

I don't know about diseased, but many people (particularly on the Left) continue to show signs of psychological disorder stemming, I believe, from unresolved conflicts over and reactions to the murders of JFK, MLK, and RFK.

Balfegor said...

Obama is different. He wasn't mugged by the 1980s and 1990s as Clinton was.

I don't think she was mugged by the 1980s and 1990s. She was mugged by the 1994 elections, no? After all, prior to the 1994 election, liberals controlled the House and Congress, and she and her husband had proceeded on their merry way attempting to inflict Hillarycare and other liberal policies on the body politic. And the body politic rewarded them by handing their party its biggest defeat in a generation.

Afterwards, Clinton II retreated into the shadows, to resurface only as Clinton I's stand-in or fall-guy in various scandals -- using the FBI for oppo research, siccing the IRS on political opponents, concealing evidence from a congressional subpoena, etc. Clinton I, meanwhile, tacked hard right (comparatively) on both social and economic issues.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Madisonman,

I still haven't figured out why Palladian felt the need to put the dry ice in a puddle of water. On the other hand, maybe he's using a temperature controlled water bath for the puddle. Or, maybe the puddle is enormous compared to the block of dry ice and it therefore stays warm.

Balfegor said...

Re: vet66

Everytime the democrats get power they raise taxes and gut the military.

Not every time! Remember Kennedy? Elected on a program of tax cuts and massive military buildup!

And if the Democrats shift further towards their 2006 candidates, like Sen. Webb, we might get a Democratic party like that again. Recall that Webb quit the Reagan administration, because Reagan's military buildup wasn't big enough -- he wanted a 600 ship navy (about twice as many as we have in service today).

Bilby said...

Sullivan: Clinton has internalized to her bones the 1990s sense that conservatism is ascendant, that what she really believes is unpopular, that the Republicans have structural, latent power of having a majority of Americans on their side.

Translation: Hillary might not run away from DOMA and "Don't ask, don't tell" as fast as Obama.

vet66 said...

Balfegor;

Unfortunately, his dithering brought us to the brink of nuclear war with the Bay of Pigs invasion and Cuban Missile Crisis. But your point is well taken.

MadisonMan said...

If the puddle is big enough it will be. Use your imagination, MM.

Puddles of that size are called ponds. :)

cyrus pinkerton said...

Palladian,

To be fair to you, I'll go through the illogic of your response. Then you'll understand my reply.

You responded to my question to Ann (Do you regret voting for Bush in 2004?) this way:

Well, we're not voting for Bush now, or ever again, are we?

Relevance? My question asks about regret, not about present or future action. Do you understand this?

Circumstances are different now than they were in 2004 and given our abysmal choices back then, Bush was the correct vote.

Yes, I'm allowing Ann to use hindsight, if that's okay with you. Also, presidential choices are not intelligently described as "correct" or "incorrect;" they'd best be termed "better" or "worse." (Or, if you allow the possibility of voting for third party candidates, which for some reason many commenters here don't understand, the terms "best" or "worst" can be used.)

There has been no indication that a Kerry administration would have done (or been able to do) anything significantly different regarding Iraq.

This isn't an argument. There's no indication that a Kerry administration wouldn't have done things very differently regarding Iraq. Also, Iraq isn't the only issue of concern to the electorate. In other words, the "rationalization" you offer for supporting Bush is illogical and incomplete.

Stop living in the past. We're talking about hope here, we're talking about the future.

Well, I can certainly understand why you don't want to talk about Bush. I wouldn't want to try to defend him either. But I was asking about regret, which is not a question about the future.

Anyway, thanks for your unsolicited response. For now I'll keep you on the slow learner list for wanting to repeat a past mistake. However I give you credit for understanding that, if you make the puddle big enough, it can stay warm. But explain to me, please, why you needed the puddle in your image?

Synova said...

cyrus, to try to be fair... it's maybe not the Democrats as a whole but there is this really strange belief system about the military and those who serve in it that I encounter almost exclusively from liberals. It could be an off-hand remark from the teen-aged daughter of my liberal-vegetarian-PETA member friend, or it could be in the body of a screen-play that I'm supposed to critique or the response to my attempt at a screenplay that those same people respond to.

I come across enough obviously intelligent people who simply *can not* manage to portray soldiers as human in fiction, and every one of those with that problem are liberals, to think that there isn't something real going on. What's more, I point out the problem and they still can't see it.

I did a practice "pitch" once and ended up with all four other people at the table leaning forward with fascination telling me that the most interesting aspect of what I'd said was why would the girl want to join the Marines? While I figured that was an unexceptional thing for a 17 year old girl to want to do I was the only (only!) person at the table that thought so.

Hate? Maybe not. But there are a whole lot of people who simply can not comprehend military service and who, in their minds, populate the military with stick figures.

Fen said...

This isn't an argument. There's no indication that a Kerry administration wouldn't have done things very differently regarding Iraq

Wrong. Kerry was an advocate of soft power - another 12 years of feckless UN resoltions. His "secret plan" that would save thousands of American lives was the betrayal of Israel to curry favor with radical Islam.

Bush was not the best choice for President, but Kerry was worse.

Synova said...

I don't regret voting for Bush because I *still* think that Kerry would have been worse.

In 2004 people, a whole lot of them, sincerely wanted an alternative to Bush. They weren't offered one. They were offered Kerry. I really don't know if it's possible to get this across. Many of those who voted for Bush WANTED to vote for someone else.

Questioning the choice to vote for Bush is only relevant if it's presented with the actual choices that people had at the time. Which was no choice at all.

It makes more sense to regret not being given a choice than it makes to regret one's vote.

MadisonMan said...

Kerry was an advocate of soft power

Bush was against nation-building, and was a compassionate conservative. Look what happened once he got into office. The office and circumstance shape the policies the man implements.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Fen wrote:

Wrong.

No, Fen. Although I don't agree with your speculation, you're actually giving an example of the point I was making, i.e., there's no reason to believe that Kerry and Bush would have handled Iraq identically.

Why do you tell me I'm wrong when you are agreeing with me?

cyrus pinkerton said...

vet66 wrote:

Don't play Texas Hold 'em with me. I never bluff...

Oh great, let's play sometime! I never ever bluff either. Never. Trust me.

EnigmatiCore said...

"In 2004 people, a whole lot of them, sincerely wanted an alternative to Bush. They weren't offered one. They were offered Kerry. I really don't know if it's possible to get this across. Many of those who voted for Bush WANTED to vote for someone else."

I think it is quite possible that Kerry was about the only Democrat who ran for the nomination in 2004, excepting Kucinich, who would have lost.

And deservedly so.

vet66 said...

Cyrus;

In answer to your question as to how to know if the terrorists respect (fear) Bush; you must think like a terrorist. Get in touch with your inner terrorist and ask yourself which party you would play for a propaganda tool and which party would decrease your terrorist work pool.

That is called analysis in preparation for PROPER force projection and protection. Of course, onerous ROE can mitigate the effects of force projection and success. It is also referred to as the politicization of the war effort as collateral damage takes precedence over force protection.

Lenin referred to these types as "Useful Idiots" who would rather see their own die as negotiation becomes an end in itself.

vet66 said...

Cyrus;

In answer to your question as to how to know if the terrorists respect (fear) Bush; you must think like a terrorist. Get in touch with your inner terrorist and ask yourself which party you would play for a propaganda tool and which party would decrease your terrorist work pool.

That is called analysis in preparation for PROPER force projection and protection. Of course, onerous ROE can mitigate the effects of force projection and success. It is also referred to as the politicization of the war effort as collateral damage takes precedence over force protection.

Lenin referred to these types as "Useful Idiots" who would rather see their own die as negotiation becomes an end in itself.

Roger said...

I am in agreement with Madison Man; events shape the Presidency more than the President shapes events IMO. I think we ascribe too much power to the president--It remains as Richard Neustadt said 40 years ago, primarily the power to persuade. It would have been interesting, for example, to see how President Clinton would have responded to 9/11. (and I have absolutely no idea how he would have responded)

SteveR said...

I could be bluffing, call me.

Fen said...

Cyrus: there's no reason to believe that Kerry and Bush would have handled Iraq identically. Why do you tell me I'm wrong when you are agreeing with me?

Typo on your part? You said:

There's no indication that a Kerry administration wouldn't have done things very differently regarding Iraq

Synova said...

I agree with Madison Man and Roger.

But it's a crap shoot to do something like elect Kerry and hope that he changes in ways that are useful when he does so many truly clueless things.

Remember him announcing that Allawi was a "puppet?" He used the word "puppet" and we're supposed to hope that he has the native common sense necessary to take foreign policy seriously? What? By thinking it doesn't *matter* to undermine Iraqi leaders when we're trying to encourage a stable democracy there?

Now Obama is saying that we should leave Iraq but could move operations to Pakistan if the president there cooperates or not. Never mind how that might utterly destabilize Pakistan.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Obama will say, according to speech excerpts provided to ABC News by his campaign, "but let me make this clear..."

What is clear is that he doesn't give a sh*t about Musharraf's own challenges. Screw him.

But acting tough by vowing to go after Osama plays well at home. Never mind that leaders in other countries make decisions that involve what they believe that the US will do and what they believe about how the US will react.

Screw Musharraf and his petty "challenges".

Do we really want to hope that getting elected president suddenly turns Obama into a grown-up?

Synova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

From http://abcnews.go.com/Politics


"In many ways, the speech is counterintuitive; Obama, one of the more liberal candidates in the race, is proposing a geopolitical posture that is more aggressive than that of President Bush."

danny said...

"Do we really want to hope that getting elected president suddenly turns Obama into a grown-up?"

There was the argument against voting for Bush, twice. It was as plain then as it is now. But you dummies thought he was the Marlboro Man and look what you got.

Roger said...

The fact that Obama suggested Pakistan tell me that he doesnt understand that the bad guys are in Saudi Arabia--If we go into anywhere else, I would start with the Saudis--in addition, we would make the rest of the Arab world (secretly) very happy. The Saudis are thought of as arrogant and ignorant in the arab world.

Synova said...

So Danny. Why'd you give us Kerry to vote for?

People WANTED to vote for someone other than Bush and *you* gave us Kerry.

And now you're trying to give us Obama. No?

Why blame us for choices that we were never given?

Synova said...

He's talking about Pakistan because Osama is there.

Probably in a grave since the last video released seems to have been flimed a year or so ago. The man was known to have medical issues.

But talking tough about going after Osama plays well to the right crowd, the crowd that simply doesn't *care* what happens to Pakistan internally and who never stop to think that their righteous indignation is wasted on a boogy-man who, even if not murdered in his sleep, has been rendered effectively null.

He's the magic pill that will make it all go away.

danny said...

*I* didn't give you Kerry. But please, as if Howard Dean was the candidate--you would have voted for him? Ha! No matter who it was you would be saying the same thing. And you know it.

Obama, right now, is a better candidate than Bush was in 2004, let alone 2000. We'd be lucky to have him as the candidate.

Synova said...

Why is he a better candidate?

Because he's vowing to violate Pakistani sovereignty if Pakistan doesn't cooperate with us?

Synova said...

Or I know! It's because he said he'd meet, in his first year, with all the bad guys in the world.

That must be it.

Zeb Quinn said...

Recall that Webb quit the Reagan administration, because Reagan's military buildup wasn't big enough -- he wanted a 600 ship navy (about twice as many as we have in service today).

Webb wasn't a Democrat in those days. He was still in his conservative Republican phase.

Balfegor said...

Re: Roger:

The fact that Obama suggested Pakistan tell me that he doesnt understand that the bad guys are in Saudi Arabia--If we go into anywhere else, I would start with the Saudis--in addition, we would make the rest of the Arab world (secretly) very happy. The Saudis are thought of as arrogant and ignorant in the arab world.

Oh yes. Let's go lay siege to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina! Then they'll love us. Mmm.

I do think the Bush family is personally friendly with the Saudi royal house in a way that may have led us to coddle Saudi Arabia more than is warranted. But going into Saudi Arabia would be unwise. We should continue to pressure the royal family to crack down ruthlessly on dissidents like Bin Laden.

With Pakistan, too, I think the better course would be to talk with the Chinese. After all, we've spent the past few years asking Pakistan to crack down on militants and so forth to little effect. A few Chinese citizens get abducted and killed, China sends Pakistan a strongly worded message, and suddenly Pakistan has hauled out the big guns and laid siege to Lal Masjid. Partly this is because China's alliance with Pakistan (countering the Cold War India-USSR alliance) is considerably older and more substantial than our alliance with Pakistan. If I recall correctly, the Chinese may have provided Pakistan with some of the pieces of their nuclear program, for example. And we've been so atypically friendly with India, under Bush II, that it is only natural for Pakistan to doubt the sincerety of our intentions towards them. But part of the calculation must surely be that China is far more terrible than we could ever be.

All that said, Pakistan is and should be a key concern of ours in the war on terror, not so much because they are spreading radical Islam and anti-Americanism, or because Bin Laden was last seen there, but because we know now that throughout the 90s, Pakistan was the premier proliferator of nuclear technology throughout the world. A.Q. Khan confessed in 2004 that in the late 80s and early 90s, he provided nuclear weapons technology and expertise to Iran, and that between 1991 and 1997, he provided nuclear weapons technology and expertise to North Korea. He was also involved in the Libyan program until that ended in 2003 or so. There has been speculation that Khan was simply the fall-guy, and that the ISS or other groups in Pakistan continue to export nuclear weapons technology.

danny said...

Go to youtube and look up "Obama prewar" (I know you Republicans know how to use youtube, even if you're afraid of it). What you will see and hear is Barack Obama laying out a pre-war assessment of Iraq that, if executed, would have been light years ahead of where Bush led us.

This was in 2002.

It is intelligent foreign policy, and this is one very big reason why he was, and is, a better candidate than Bush, or Mrs. Clinton, in my opinion.

Zeb Quinn said...

Even with Bush's poll numbers being what they are, if the 2004 election were run today, Bush against Kerry, Bush still would win.

Since 1992 the Democrats have shown a recurring penchant for identifying the biggest political grifter amongst their slate of primary candidates, and selecting that person to be their nominee. If polls hold up they're going to do it again in 2008 with Hillary. Although Osama, oops, I mean Obama might also qualify, because I don't know how else to account for one turning making law review into being the main attribute for serious contention for the presidency. If he can do it, he's good.

EnigmatiCore said...

"But please, as if Howard Dean was the candidate--you would have voted for him? Ha! No matter who it was you would be saying the same thing. And you know it."

You are suggesting that the set of all people who would have voted for Dean but would not have voted for Kerry is the empty set?

You are mistaken.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Fen,

No, there's no typo. I think you need to reread what I wrote in context to understand it. Palladian wrote this:

There has been no indication that a Kerry administration would have done (or been able to do) anything significantly different regarding Iraq.

That is, he's arguing that, as far as he can tell, Kerry would have handled Iraq much the same as Bush. I'm suggesting that there's no indication that Kerry wouldn't have handled it differently.

Fen, I think you're just annoyed that we might agree on something for once. :)

cyrus pinkerton said...

vet66 wrote:

In answer to your question as to how to know if the terrorists respect (fear) Bush; you must think like a terrorist. Get in touch with your inner terrorist and ask yourself which party you would play for a propaganda tool and which party would decrease your terrorist work pool.

Sorry vet66, I don't have an inner terrorist to consult. However, as a general principle, I don't fear or respect opponents who I consider incompetent and foolish.

I'm afraid you'll need real evidence to convince me that terrorists respect Bush.

Roger said...

Balfegor: point about the holy sites in KSA is well taken. The way to deal with that is turn governship of the holy sites over to some transnational muslim group effectivly making the international sites. The arab world does not regard the Saudis as "protectors of the holy sites," because they know it is really the US that makes them such.

EnigmatiCore said...

I'm thinking that there should be a flag on the play for excessive use of double negatives.

I think it is clear that Kerry would have handled Iraq differently than Bush has. I also think it is extremely likely that Kerry's approach would have been just as disasterous and even more embarrassing.

EnigmatiCore said...

"However, as a general principle, I don't fear or respect opponents who I consider incompetent and foolish. "

So which is it-- do you think that AQ is competent or wise, or do you fear and respect them, or are you not adhering to the general principle when it comes to them?

Synova said...

Zeb, I'd be surprised if Hillary gets the nomination.

But if she does, I've said for quite a while that if nothing else I trust her dedication to her own self-interest. That's comforting after a fashion because I also trust that she isn't *stupid*.

Not that I'd vote for her over any of the Republican front runners (barring unforseen future events) but I wouldn't be cast into an abyss of depression if she won either.

Balfegor said...

Re: Cyrus

I don't fear or respect opponents who I consider incompetent and foolish.

Uh . . . not even when they command the most powerful military machine in all of history? And have nuclear weapons? Cor. That's kind of stupid. You'd think you'd at least fear them more in that case. They might destroy you and everything you hold dear by accident, when trying to hit something else entirely.

Freeman Hunt said...

Reading him is like eagerly awaiting the soprano's next aria, from coy summer love to weeping fire and tossing herself off a parapet all in the space of a few hours.

Best description of Sullivan's writing I've yet read.

Synova said...

Danny, prewar is nice, looking back and all, but what if anything about the declaration that he'd violate Pakistani sovereignty equates to "intelligent foreign policy?"

You know, the thing that scares me most about Democrats controlling the military isn't that they'd *not* fight, it's that they'd over-react.

Maybe that sounds counter-intuitive, but that was why I was glad that Gore wasn't president on 9-11. I don't think that most Democrats *like* the military and so they don't think about it much and don't think how to use it properly. Bush took quite some time to move, really, and was criticized for it in Michael Moore's film. And the biggest mistake in Iraq seems to have been Bush's insistence that we try for as small a footprint as possible in order not to offend Iraqis.

Using the military as a "last resort" would Gore have responded militarily the same way as an anti-spanker goes overboard when they start hitting their kid?

And here we have Obama criticizing Bush for deciding not to violate Pakistan's sovereignty and declaring that he would do so despite the challenges Musharraf faces.

Drop some bombs or something.

How does this equate to intelligent foreign policy?

Revenant said...

But in 2004, the Democrats lost with their dull, nuanced character

Kerry wasn't nuanced, he was just incoherent. His strategy -- which, it should be noted, would have worked if he'd tried it a few months later -- was to represent a vague alternative to a disliked incumbent. That turned out not to be good enough, particularly given that we're at war.

chickenlittle said...

Speaking as someone approximately the same age as Sullivan and Obama, I think OUR problem as tail-end boomers has been one of originality. We are defined by the older members of our generation, the more so we have older siblings. Obama, being the oldest in his family, and having lived overseas as a child may well not identify with those boomers born between say 1945 and 1965 plus or minus a few years. Ditto for Sullivan, subject to a different dynamic as a child. It's important to realize that they represent a transition between generations at the very least.
While the potential for orginality is there, I'm not hearing it yet.

danny said...

synove, There's no bigger over-reaction than pre-emptive war.

Yes, Democrats like Bill Clinton did not know how to handle the military, so much so that he waged an intervention war that resulted in no loss of life for our soldiers.

The "Dems hate the military" is so silly of an argument, I can't believe I just answered you. Why are so many more Democrats military vets than Republicans?

Obama, 2002:

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Synova,

Who cares about Pakistani sovereignty? The reason Obama's a dolt for suggesting an invasion of Pakistan is that Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

You can't invade a country that has nukes -- not unless you think nuclear war's a good idea.

Zeb Quinn said...

I'd be surprised if Hillary gets the nomination.

If not her, then who?

danny said...

By the way, "prewar is nice and all" is quite a flippant comment for a crowd that likes to act so vigilant about their national security.

Here you have someone who assessed the war, before the war, and basically, laid out what will happen, and what to prepare for. And he said this as an argument against the war.

But hey, forget what he would have done, what's he gonna do?!?

Of course, your argument against Kerry was the opposite. You can't say what he would have done, but you have a pretty good idea that he would have messed it up. As if anyone would have made it worse than Bush has!

The logic in this group is astounding.

Revenant said...

Why are so many more Democrats military vets than Republicans?

I'd be curious to see what your source for that is -- particularly since the Republican presidential candidate has won a majority of both the military and the veteran vote for decades now.

Bush even got 57% of the veteran vote. So even when a Republican does a lousy job of leading the country during what is widely seen as a foolish war, veterans STILL don't want to vote for Democrats. Indeed, were it not for the veteran vote, Bush would have lost in 2004 -- and, for that matter, in 2000.

danny said...

I'm not talking about the military vote, i'm talking about actual politicians who have served in the military, like John Kerry, Jack Murtha, Jim Webb, etc.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm not talking about the military vote, i'm talking about actual politicians who have served in the military, like John Kerry, Jack Murtha, Jim Webb, etc.

Because that's how them Dems try to salvage their military cred; run any Dem who's served.

EnigmatiCore said...

Don't forget Scott Beauchamp.

"I'm not talking about the military vote, i'm talking about actual politicians who have served in the military"

That is quite a bit different from what you said, which was more veterans are Democrats than Republicans. It is much different to say that more Democrat politicians are veterans than Republican politicians. The why there is pretty easy to figure-- the party made a conscious decision to solicit candidates that fit that profile in the latest elections.

I'd say that it has been a successful endeavor.

Freeman Hunt said...

them Dems

I meant "the Dems," but I guess "them Dems" has a certain homespun but off putting flavor to it.

danny said...

This is how you avoid everything I've said before this?

It's no wonder. The Republicans are cowards. That's why they so often elect entitled politicians who never served in the military.

Palladian said...

Democratic military vets tend not to be the "moonbat progressive" type of Democrats (with some exceptions), more the old-style, blue collar liberals. But the old-style Democrat is an endangered species, isn't it?

Palladian said...

Aww, sweet little danny does the "chicken hawk" bit.

I propose a new law! Only current or former active-duty military persons should be allowed to serve in elected office! Who doesn't fancy living under a military government?

danny said...

I was merely pointing out how your stupid collective argument--that "the Democrats hate the military"--is as insane as any other you make here.

I personally could care less if anyone served; I certainly haven't. But so many Republicans (or whatever you may call yourselves) think that it's useful to trot out the military argument in order to impugn the Democrats. So then I have to point out the obvious, which is that, of course, you are full of shit, because there are actually a lot more Democrats (politically) who have served than Republicans. And even John McCain is Swift-Boated when it comes to GOP politics. That's how much you respect the military, right?

And this is when you have to change the subject. Chickenhawks, anyone?

And synova makes a ridiculous statement about fearing Dems "over-reaction" in military issues, but then fails to respond to my comment, which was that there is no bigger over-reaction than pre-emptive war.

And then he also says something real stupid, in that "prewar is nice and all," a typically flippant response from a war hawk! Which leads to me back to square one, in that this is all just typical right-wing garbage, and you don't really know what you're talking about. Because if you did, you would not dismiss such an accurate and intelligent assessment by Obama.

But like I said, logic is not held so high in these parts.

Synova said...

It's not like I was sitting here refusing to reply to you!

And if pre-emptive war is bad, did you explain to me how Obama's speech isn't about being pre-emptive?

danny said...

One more time:

"I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."

Here you have someone who assessed the war, before the war, and basically, laid out what will happen, and what to prepare for. And he said this as *an argument against the war.*

Meade said...

danny said...
"[...] there is no bigger over-reaction than pre-emptive war."

How about pre-emptive surrender? Would that be over-reaction or just plain reaction?

Synova said...

Saying that McCain was "swift boated" just shows how ignorant you are. "Swift boat" might be used as a euphemism for "disagreed with" but it's a stupid way to use the word.

Nothing about McCain's service means anyone has to agree with his politics and his *service* has never been attacked.

Kerry presented his military service as the reason that we were all supposed to love him, as though four months of duty in Vietnam and three bandaids make him eligible to be CIC. All this while totally ignoring the fact that he came back here and accused his fellow soldiers of war crimes. Which the anti-war crowd was supposed to love him for, and never the two groups meet.

Can you not even *imagine* why someone might still be mad at Kerry over his post-Vietnam slanders?

No, you can't. No one who spouts off about "swiftboating" has the least clue why anyone would be the least bit upset about what Kerry did after the war, about Winter Soldier, about his testimony comparing them to Ghengis Khan.

Not. A. Clue.

Synova said...

Danny... one more time.

Pakistan.

Explain how announcing his intention to blow off the president of Pakistan and his "challenges" is "intelligent foreign policy."

danny said...

What Obama said today about Pakistan:

"As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.

I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.

And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism. As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America's commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists' program of hate is met with one of hope. And we must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair -- our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally."

Synova said...

Oh, and "war would be long, hard and expensive and piss some people off" is about the easiest prediction possible to make.

So we can assume that Obama is only going to go for short, easy and cheap wars that don't piss anyone off at all.

Ones where we drop bombs on people we never have to see up close and no Americans will ever die.

danny said...

Please, with the use of "swift-boating"! Sounds like you are intimately familiar with the term!

What, then, is the proper term for "alluding that John McCain had an illegitimate interracial daughter with a black woman"?

zzRon said...

Synova said...."No one who spouts off about "swiftboating" has the least clue why anyone would be the least bit upset about what Kerry did after the war, about Winter Soldier, about his testimony comparing them to Ghengis Khan."


I think you are right (again). Danny doesnt have a clue as to why so many people were turned off by Kerry. I was 18 years old when Kerry went before the Senate and bad mouthed our soldiers... and to this day have not forgotten what a piece of sh#t he was and IMO still is. In fact, Kerry is a major reason I walked away from the Democrat Party in 1974 and never looked back. Too Danny and others like him, "Swift Boating" is nothing more than a mean spirited and untrue accuasation. Very sad, indeed.

Palladian said...

"And even John McCain is Swift-Boated when it comes to GOP politics. That's how much you respect the military, right?"

Well, I'm not a Republican. You seem to be making a lot of assumptions.

danny said...

"Well, I'm not a Republican. You seem to be making a lot of assumptions."

And you're not a very good reader either, how's that assumption?

I said:

"But so many Republicans (or whatever you may call yourselves) think that it's useful to trot out the military argument in order to impugn the Democrats."

Remember to support the troops, everyone! You've been great!

Synova said...

It would be sort of hard for John McCain *not* to have an interracial daughter with a black woman...

Seriously... I must live under a rock because I somehow missed this accusation altogether. I thought we didn't like McCain because he was too moderate and did that McCain/Feingold thing.

chickenlittle said...

I don't have data for the 110th congress but the statistics for the 108th congress show that of those members who have served in the military, republicans outnumber democrats in both the house and senate.
source:

http://veterans.house.gov/vetlink/vetsincongress.html

Synova said...

"What, then, is the proper term for "alluding that John McCain had an illegitimate interracial daughter with a black woman"?"

Slander?

Unless it's true.

(Still trying to figure out what possible difference the race part makes.)

Synova said...

Thanks, Chickenlittle. I tried to look but since I generally can't even find stuff in the yellow-pages I didn't get very far with it.

Revenant said...

I'm not talking about the military vote, i'm talking about actual politicians who have served in the military, like John Kerry, Jack Murtha, Jim Webb, etc.

Then you should have said "Democratic Congressmen", not "Democrats". I'd like to see some support for that claim, too, by the way.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that it is true: that Democratic politicians are more likely to veterans. As I noted earlier, veterans are more likely to be Republicans. So if your claim is true, it would appear that Democrats prefer to vote for veterans, and veterans prefer to vote for Republicans. :)

Synova said...

For the 108 Congress I counted,

House: 72 Republicans
49 Democrats

Senate: 18 Republicans
16 Democrats


The reason for the perception that there are more Democrats in Congress with military experience may be due to a difference in how either party emphasizes the fact.

We're supposed to think that military service gives Democrats moral authority. Republicans don't tend to do that too much... viewing military status as a plus but not a pass.

Eli Blake said...

Balderdash.

In 2000, Hillary first won election to the Senate against Congressman Rick Lazio (despite the carpetbagger issue) by running commercials against him (in Liberal New York, of course) criticizing him as too conservative. And it worked, she won and it wasn't even close.

Doesn't sound to me like someone who believes that conservatism is ascendant.

Further, if she really believed that then she wouldn't have skipped this weeks convention of the DLC, the group of economically conservative Democrats who were instrumental in helping her husband get the 1992 nomination.

Revenant said...

the statistics for the 108th congress show that of those members who have served in the military, republicans outnumber democrats in both the house and senate.

Specifically, 90 Republicans vs. 65 Democrats (and 1 Independent).

Republicans made up 52% of the 108th Congress, but 58% of its veterans.

Roger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Wow--I love Palladian's comment. as a 25 year veteran I guess I have absolute moral authority, huh?
Of all of the inane, vapid, and meritless arguments war critics have put out, the chicken hawk argument has to be rock bottom. Has absolutely no logical nor moral basis.

Danny: now that your assertion that more democrats have served in the military than republicans has been demonstrated to be bogus, you can (1) refute itor (2) admit you had no idea what the facts were and were absolutely wrong.

Your call. We know you will do the right thing.

Palladian said...

"And you're not a very good reader either, how's that assumption?"

Well, I admit, I do have a little trouble focusing when the material is repetitive, inane and boring.

Synova said...

The percentages of people in Congress with military experience is probably going to change drastically in the next few years simply because the last of those affected by the draft during Vietnam will retire.

It will be interesting to see how that goes, how the numbers change. I'm sure the total will go way down but I expect that it will still be above the average for the population in general.

I'm not going to assume that those from the all volunteer military joining Congress will be majority Republican.

Roger said...

One would assume that the founders of the republic and writers of the constitution would have required military service for reps, sens and president--they DID specify requirements--how did these folks overlook that one?

I know: lets pass the Robert Heinlein Starship Troopers amendment about citizenship based on miliary service.

How about that one Danny?

cyrus pinkerton said...

enigmaticore wrote:

So which is it-- do you think that AQ is competent or wise, or do you fear and respect them, or are you not adhering to the general principle when it comes to them?

I certainly don't consider them wise, to the extent that a network can be judged wise or foolish. I don't fear them and of course I have no respect for them. Does that cover it?

cyrus pinkerton said...

balfegor wrote:

... not even when they command the most powerful military machine in all of history? And have nuclear weapons? Cor. That's kind of stupid. You'd think you'd at least fear them more in that case. They might destroy you and everything you hold dear by accident, when trying to hit something else entirely.

No, it's not stupid at all. I think they rightly believe that Bush would not use nuclear weapons against them. Moreover, upon reflection, I think you'll realize why using nuclear weapons would be a remarkably dumb thing to try in any case.

We aren't going to defeat terrorists with our military. It's time for Americans to start thinking about a longer term solution to the problem.

Balfegor said...

No, it's not stupid at all. I think they rightly believe that Bush would not use nuclear weapons against them. Moreover, upon reflection, I think you'll realize why using nuclear weapons would be a remarkably dumb thing to try in any case.

It is precisely because you trust him to do the rational sensible thing that you do not fear him. And that's generally the case -- people aren't particularly scary if you can trust them to be sensible and competent. Kim Jong Il is scary precisely because he is mad -- because his father raised him from birth to believe he was a living god. My point is that if the real Bush and the caricature Bush people like to wave around were at all similar, we'd be soiling ourselves in terror.

As it is, our enemies throughout the world can trust that Bush will be hobbled by the same considerations that have hobbled America for a generation. He can't employ "hearts and minds" in Iraq, for example, because concentration camps and poisoning the food supply would make us look evil. He can't invade Iran, because while we could easily reduce the country to rubble, there's no way we could effectively rebuild it, and we are no longer content merely to chastise our enemies; we want to fix everything while we're there too. And that robs our blandishments of most of their force. We're not even scary in the way that, say, China is scary.

Michael said...

cyrus pinkerton: vet66 wrote: The angst the Democrats suffer from regarding their hatred of the military ...

Sorry vet66, I have to call your bluff on this bit of idiotic babbling.


Excerpted from: Text of the Clinton letter to Col Holmes

"...And that is where I am now, writing to you because you have been good to me and have a right to know what I think and feel. I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men have devoted years, lifetimes, of the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no longer clear what is service and what is disservice, or if it is clear, the conclusion is likely to be illegal. Forgive the length of this letter. There was much to say. There is still a lot to be said, but it can wait. Please say hello to Colonel Jones for me. Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Bill Clinton"

'Hate', 'loathe', feel free to argue the meaning of the word 'is'.

Revenant said...

Nicely put, Balfegor.

Synova said...

"We aren't going to defeat terrorists with our military. It's time for Americans to start thinking about a longer term solution to the problem."

There is no reason to wait to start working on other aspects of the solution.

I've said this before. So many people are so invested in opposing the military that they've absolutely refused to apply any effort whatsoever to finding solutions to the problem of Islamic terrorism. Half of our team has put themselves firmly on the bench and are refusing to contribute ideas or effort for fear that the other half of the team might be seen to have been right to use the military.

Not only is half the team not contributing, it's actively working against the other half which means that the half that *is* trying to do something has even less resources to work on the problem.

So any wonder that parallel non-military efforts don't get the attention they should?

There are other things that can be done and should have been done from the start. A whole bunch of creative people should have been contributing and should have told Code Pink to sod off and shut up while they worked on solving the problem of islamic extremism and terrorism.

I appreciate that you suggest that there is a real problem that needs solving because even that admission will get some politicians in trouble with their "base."

The major point I'm trying to make, however is that we don't need a *solution*, we need *solutions*. Plural. We need efforts going on concurrent with our military efforts. We need everyone contributing.

chickenlittle said...

cyrus pinkerton said:

"We aren't going to defeat terrorists with our military. It's time for Americans to start thinking about a longer term solution to the problem."

Well we certainly aren't going to defeat them without a military either. As for your second part, I try to indirectly channel less of my money (over there) every year by using less oil and I'm teaching my kids to do the same.
I have invested considerable sums (by my standards) in coal, biofuels, and nuclear stock plays (not doing well these days).
Does that count for something?

Synova said...

I agree, nicely put Balfegor.

(Though, depending on circumstances I think we could probably bomb the jeepers out of select targets in Iran without having to occupy and rebuild.)

Invisible Man said...

Michael,

Maybe you should provide evidence from something other than, maybe a 19 year old. At that age, your President was somewhere probably drinking someone under the table with an eightball of blow in his pocket, ready to ditch his National Guard training. At that age, Reagan was a New Deal Democrat. Try again.

Roger said...

the conversation between balfegor and cyrus raises some fundamentally different approaches to fighting terrorism including those states that are involved in sponsoring terrorism. My first thought is that you cannot apply a cold war model: deterrence--in its final form mutually assured destruction) was predicated on facing a rational opponent; it seems to me we arent facing rational opponents with religious extremists--at least rational by our standards of measurement.

I believe that there can be no military solution to terrorism--the best a military response can do is gain time for political (and developmental) responses to take effect. That doesnt mean we should make nice--in fact we should use every "black" tactic available to us to include those that may may flout the conventional rules of war. But ultimately a war against terrorism is not a war in any conventional sense. And right now, IMO, we are doing what is necessary (a military response) but not doing what is sufficient (adopting a more comprehensive political strategy) to complete the campaign.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

Like Obama, I was a teenager in the early 1980s, so I can understand the generational difference. Hillary, like her husband, represents the generation whose dreams were destroyed by the JFK assassination and Vietnam. 9-11 and the subsequent war in Iraq, however, have emboldened post-baby boomers on both sides of the aisle to declare themselves as being more independent from the Boomer points of view. This is why Sullivan can, as a conservative, criticize Bush without feeling as if he's betraying somebody. Bush and Clinton are of our parents' generation in attitude and temperment; Obama, and to some extent, Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul, despite their ages, are seen as more in tune with the next generation of voters, whose numbers are larger than those of the baby boom generation and whom would-be presidents will ignore at their own peril.

Synova said...

Invisible man... the fact that some people grow out of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

There are a lot of 19 year olds in this country.

Synova said...

I think that Obama is a couple years older than I am (if I'm remembering his age correctly.)

I don't really see it.

What seemed "defining" to me about the time I graduated high school was having my generation criticized for being too self-centered (ie. abandoning activism).

Revenant said...

Maybe you should provide evidence from something other than, maybe a 19 year old. At that age, your President was somewhere probably drinking someone under the table with an eightball of blow in his pocket, ready to ditch his National Guard training.

It is amusing that you seem to think loathing the military is better than being a National Guardsman with a drinking problem.

But your overall point -- that people's views can change between early and later adulthood -- is a fair one. We should ask Clinton if he still loathes the military and, if not, when and why he stopped doing so. We already know when and why Bush stopped drinking and Reagan stopped being a New Deal Democrat; we're not sure when or if Clinton grew to tolerate the military.

Revenant said...

Oh, and one minor point: when Reagan was 19, the New Deal didn't exist yet. :)

dave in boca said...

I'll agree with Sullivan if he means that Obama's lack of trauma means he's from a vacuous, vapid, empty-headed generation that also spawned baby-Andy.

Let's see. He'll talk without preconditions to such dependable friendly types as Ahmadildojihad, Lil' Kim, the bearded dictator south of Key West, Chubby Hugo.

But he'll invade Pakistan, an ally with nuclear weapons whose leader is barely hanging onto power versus whack-job nutso jihadists, to show he knows more about foreign policy than any other presidential candidate.

Am I missing something? Or much as I hate to say it, is Chillary right when she says that on foreign policy, this Obama dude is dumber than dirt?

EnigmatiCore said...

"I certainly don't consider them wise, to the extent that a network can be judged wise or foolish. I don't fear them and of course I have no respect for them. Does that cover it?"

Leaving aside that any collection of people (including a network) can, collectively, be wise or foolish...

The fact that you neither fear nor respect those who have declared war upon us certainly explains why you seem unconcerned with fighting them. Something one neither fears nor respects is not a threat.

History is littered with the corpses of those who did not sufficiently fear or respect their adversaries.

I don't respect their beliefs, and I loathe their actions. However, I respect what they have shown they can do with their violence, and as such refuse to underestimate their capabilities.

chickenlittle said...

WVA Rebel:
"whose numbers are larger than those of the baby boom generation and whom would-be presidents will ignore at their own peril."

Take a look at the chart in Exhibit 1 here. That population "lump" moving behind the boomers is real but it's not bigger. And I'd even wager it's not the echo boomers. It's the demographic future of our country, the kind that any politician should be eager to court.

Mark said...

In 2000 and 2004, we had a choice between awful and even-worse. In 2000, I was a neophyte who really had not paid real attention to politics ... I instinctively opposed GWB's religiosity and was planning on voting for Gore ... then I saw the debates and Gore's disconnection from facts and I voted against Gore. Yes, I voted for GWB (in Florida :} ) ... but my hope was to get Gore and the people he would choose out of the White House.

I honestly look back on that vote with relief. And ditto in 2004, when GWB was demonstrably not the religious nut that I had feared and Kerry was perhaps the worst candidate ever put forth by the socialists/pacifists that I can recall.

The 2008 election is (again) shaping up to be a vote-against election ...

I self-identify as a (sane)-libertarian ... a (non-sane) isolationist-nihilist libertarian is running and if Ron Paul wins the Republican/Neocon/Theocon nomination, I'll probably be forced to vote for Hillary ... because I honestly believe that she is more likely to be serious in the GWOT than Paul is.

The most important issue to me at this point is that we beat/slaughter aQ and the Jihadis. I believe that HRC will take a break from implementing rabid idiotic socialism to do so. I believe that Paul is likely to be too busy deconstructing our domestic government to care about genocide abroad.

And the real issue is coming at us like a fleet of cloaked warbirds ... in a SMALL number of years ... within the next presidential term certainly ... homegrown biowarfare super-virii will be creatable by anyone with access to the internet and a PCR machine.

Every biochem grad student NOW has all the skills necessary to take the freely-downloadable genome for smallpox variola, add a few specific and easy genetic tweaks for hijacking or bypassing DELETED-PROTEIN-NAME (that you can learn easily) and let your PCR machine churn for a few days.

Australian researchers accidentally did this some years back with mousepox and every mouse in their lab died despite best efforts as their mousepox suddenly became simultaneously airborne-contagious and immune-bypassing ... in order to save the mouse population of the country, they incinerated the building.

To quote Tim Oren, commenting at
http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/005478.php
- The polymerase chain reaction (PCR), key to all manner of genotyping and other biotech activities, was invented in 1983. At the time it was a laboratory tour de force.
- As of today, you can buy a cookbook kit to perform PCR in a school laboratory. That learning curve took 20 years, more or less, from high science to triviality.
- In 2002, bio-entrepreneur Craig Venter's team synthesized a virus from raw genomic material.
You can do the math as well as I.
(his original comment has supporting links.)

If aQ is now recruiting doctors to blow up partying girls and airport terminals, why do you think they would not borrow an AQKhan to build them some superbugs?

Luckily, with the muslim anti-science problems (science and the Koran do not mix well (to be a true believer, you MUST believe that the sun goes around the earth and sets in a mud puddle)) the first superbug will probably fizzle.

The next president will very likely have to decide whether to merely put an infinite-embargo, internment, and quarantine on muslims everywhere or if we have to eliminate the potential for harm altogether.
(while figuring out how to cope with the likely loss of millions of dead Americans.)

If you can tolerate the consequences of understanding all out WMD warfare against an ideology with no home address and a huge population to hide in ... go read http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2003/09/three-conjectures-pew-poll-finds-40-of.html

And frankly, we are all facing a presidential election field that if none-of-the-above ran in either a primary or general election, that choice would win handily.

Oh ... and there are weaponizable technologies coming that are far more dangerous than fission/fusion or viral warfare. I hope we no longer have a Jihadi problem by the time those are declassified or independantly rediscovered.

Dan said...

Synova said:
I'm not going to assume that those from the all volunteer military joining Congress will be majority Republican.

Okay, so let's try figuring out which ones might have joined voluntarily. We can filter out anyone who was in the military while the draft was active (i.e. count only the members who joined or re-enlisted after the draft was ended).

In that case, we find that in the house, 12 Republicans joined the military or re-enlisted in the military after the draft was over. Only 2 Democrats did so.

In the Senate, it's tied. 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats. This number is so small for both sides because it's typically hard to become a senator if you are young enough to have enlisted in the Army after 1973.

The conclusion: The overall numbers of military veterans are slightly higher for Republicans and Democrats. However, if you look at the subset of House members who joined the military after 1973, you find that Republicans overwhelmingly dominate. The other thing you find, however, is that very few of the younger generation of politicians have voluntarily joined the military.

The two Democrats who joined or re-enlisted after 1973 are 'Bud' Cramer and Robert Tanner. Both of them would be considered to be Democratic 'Hawks'. For example, when the Democrats tried to write legislation preventing the U.S. from taking action against Iran, both Tanner and Cramer voted against their party. Both are 'blue dog Democrats', with reasonably conservative fiscal policies and strong pro-military voting records.

Of the younger liberal members of the house, not a single one is a veteran.

Synova said...

"Of the younger liberal members of the house, not a single one is a veteran."

I know there is at least one female Democrat Iraq vet who was elected in 2006. I forget her name but she flew helicopters and was injured.

It might just be her though.

Synova said...

Oh, were any of those before 1973 female, because they wouldn't have been drafted.

Dan said...

I couldn't find any female vets. Looking at pre-1973 numbers is kind of iffy anyway, for a couple of reasons:

1. Pre-Vietnam, the parties were very different.

2. Just because you joined pre-1973 doesn't mean you were drafted.

I think the most interesting question today is how many post-Vietnam Democrats vs Republicans in the House and Senate are veterans. The answer is not encouraging - Aside from the numbers I mentioned showing Republicans having a 6-1 advantage in Veteran status, the current military is overwhelmingly made up of Republicans, and I'll bet that it's getting worse as the 'Vietnam Syndrome' seems to be coming back in full force. There was a lot of patriotic enlistment immediately after 9/11, but even so, Republicans outnumber Democrats in the current military by more than 2-1. I'll bet if you looked at today's recruits (say, recruits in the past two years), you'd find that the ratio of Republicans to Democrats is even higher as Democrats have soured on the war in higher percentages.

This means that in the future, it's going to be increasingly the case that people with military experience (and especially combat experience) will be overwhelmingly on the Republican side of the aisle as the pre-Vietnam generations retire or die off. How that's going to affect the relationship between the two parties will be very interesting to see.

LoafingOaf said...

The debate the other night showed how he can fall short

Althouse can link to herself to "prove" Hillary won the debate, but the data I saw suggests most people who watched the debate thought Obama won.

Althouse's analysis of that one question she found all-important in the debate rests on her not quoting the entire question, which was about Anwar Sadat. Then she says Hillary is oh-so "sophisticated" for pointing out she'd send lower level envoys to lay groundwork before any meetings with leaders of rigue states. That is stating the obvious. We all know Obama would do that, too. Obama answered the question that was asked and did just fine with it.

We already know what Clinton foreign policy is like. We had 8 years of it. Nukes profiferated to some of the worst regimes on earth. Some of the worst genocides occurred. Al Quaeda specifically - and Islamic Jihad terrorism in general - grew to become a major world threat. The Twin Towers were knocked down. The Pentagon was hit. On and on and on.

I'd say it's time for new blood in the White House. I'll pass on another Clinton, a name I couldn't be more sick to death of unless it were that other last name we need to run away from: Bush.

LoafingOaf said...

But he'll invade Pakistan, an ally with nuclear weapons whose leader is barely hanging onto power versus whack-job nutso jihadists, to show he knows more about foreign policy than any other presidential candidate.

You can consider the dictator of Pakistan an "ally" of yourself if you like, but I sure don't consider that piece of sh*it a U.S. or Free World ally. I think he plays ball to some extent in order to preserve power, but is as shady as can be. And check out the Indian press for all the terrorism against civilians still coming straight out of Pakistan, where BTW Bin Laden has a haven safe and sound.

Daryl said...

Did it not affect his age-mate Sullivan?

Of course it did. Sullivan used to go on and on about how, as a teenager, Reagan represented all sorts of warm fuzzy things for him.

Michael said...

Invisible Man: Maybe you should provide evidence from something other than, maybe a 19 year old. At that age, your President...

You mean former president.

...was somewhere probably drinking someone under the table with an eightball of blow in his pocket...

Well, Hot Springs police did videotape Roger Clinton during a cocaine transaction saying, "Got to get some for my brother. He's got a nose like a vacuum cleaner." So you're probably somewhat right - someone other than Hillary was probably under the table giving Bill a Monica, and Bill had coke in his pocket.

...ready to ditch his National Guard training. At that age, Reagan was a New Deal Democrat. Try again.

You mean actually evading the draft and skipping the country to avoid fulfilling his ROTC commitment.

The Democrats electing - TWICE - to the highest office in the land someone who's negative feelings toward the military were so well known is to be indicative of the party in general in regards to the military.

James of England said...

To be fair, it is possible that, although the 80s and 90s affected Obama, Obama was in a different place.

If you spent the 90s in the political sphere, the Contract with America was a huge deal.

If you spent it in school and/or college, you could easily feel that Democratic ideals were dominant. School is very different to the outside world and Obama could have been protected by that. I still think that Sullivan was engaging in flabby psuedo-psych, but it was silly rather than as facially absurd as you suggest.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think that there is a good point here. There is a generational difference here, and it really has nothing to do with the length of the generation.

Early to mid Baby Boomers came to age during Vietnam, Nixon, the Kennedy and King assassinations, Civil Rights, etc. Vietnam was esp. searing. Lives were being wasted for what? And we were the fodder. Part of my memory of college was that all the guys wrestled with how to avoid service or how to get the best service. I tried dropping out and skiing for a semester, and was back in school w/i a couple days when my draft board was immediately informed of that, and I was (temporarily) classified 1-A.

In the end, Vietnam continue to be the dominant influence over the international and military debates of my generation. You have the Kerrys and Clintons whose primary lesson seems to have been that the U.S. shouldn't try to exert hard power internationally, and then you have a lot of others, likely including the current President Bush believing that the problem in Vietnam was cutting and running.

It is hard for us to fathom these matters other than through that lens. But all most of the younger generations know about Vietnam, etc. they learned in text books, and if they attended public school, probably not very accurately or very much. So, when we keep coming back to Vietnam, they go huh?

What would be interesting to me if Obama won, would be that the huge Baby Boomer generation would have been mostly skipped over at the presidential level, only contributing two very early Boomers (and both are only marginally Boomers as far as when they were born).

As a corollary, the Baby Boomers are starting to retire. That means that we are getting old. And all of a sudden, we aren't being listened to as we expect we should be. But there are now so many adults younger than us, that our influence is waning, at least a little. And that is I think scaring some.

Bruce Hayden said...

In figuring out who in Congress, etc., chose to be in the military, it is much too simplistic to eliminate all those who served during the Vietnam era.

The classic counter-example is Sen. McCain. He was the son and grandson of Admirals, and probably thought in high school of following them, and that is why he went to Annapolis. In the end, I think he turned out to be too much of a maverick to ever make flag rank, and so got out when he could (and after serving serious time in the Hanoi Hilton).

Revenant said...

You can consider the dictator of Pakistan an "ally" of yourself if you like, but I sure don't consider that piece of sh*it a U.S. or Free World ally.

We called the Stalinist USSR an ally during WW2, and there has arguably never BEEN a bigger threat to the free world than Joe Stalin.

Like Stalin, Musharraf is a dictator and former ally of our enemies (he helped the North Koreans get nukes). But these days he's helping us kill terrorists, which makes him an ally. Remember, "ally" doesn't mean "friend that you like".

Rich Rostrom said...

Sullivan is goofy. Clinton was born and raised in the era of perpetual Democrat control of Congress. She was 34 when the GOP won the Senate for the first time since she was 6; when she was 47, the GOP won the House for the time in over 40 years. In her adult life, Democrats held Congress 22 of 37 years, and for 29 of the previous 33 years.

Obama's first election was 1980, when the GOP finally broke the Democrats' 26-year lock on Congress by winning the Senate. In the following 28 years, Republicans
controlled Congress for 12 years, Democrats for 10 years.

So which of these two figures should be "traumatized" by Republican victories?