June 20, 2008

"Just try to imagine Mister Rogers playing the agent Ari in 'Entourage' and it all falls into place."

David Brooks explains Barack Obama. Supposedly, there are 2 sides to Barack Obama — the familiar idealistic guy and the "the promise-breaking, tough-minded Chicago pol who’d throw you under the truck for votes." Brooks gives a few examples, but the heart of the column is the turnaround on public financing:
Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue.... He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system.

But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.
It's fine with me. I don't like the campaign finance scheme. And I like a practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances. It's good news that he's not an ideologue. I don't think he's going to lose the people who fell in love with him as a vision of idealism. I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader.

ADDED: Here's the video of Obama justifying his decision and making it sound as though McCain is slimy for staying in the system. Here's FactCheck's analysis:
Obama: We face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.

To say that either the McCain campaign or the RNC are "fueled" by money from lobbyists and PACs is an overstatement, to say the least. Such funds make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain's presidential campaign receipts and 1.1 percent of the RNC's income.

McCain – As of the end of April, the McCain campaign had reported receiving $655,576 from lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That is less than seven-tenths of 1 percent of his total receipts of $96,654,783. His campaign also took in $960,990 from PACs, amounting to just under 1 percent of total receipts. The two sources combined make up less than 1.7 percent of his total.

RNC – The Republican National Committee has raised $143,298,225, of which only $135,000 has been come from lobbyists, according to the CRP. That's less than one-tenth of 1 percent. It also took in about 1 percent of its receipts from PACs, CRP said. Taken together, that's about 1.1 percent from PACs and lobbyists.

247 comments:

1 – 200 of 247   Newer›   Newest»
LarsPorsena said...

What are his ideals?

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

This is what happens when a candidate that wanted to just get his name out there this go-around, was very surprisingly and quite prematurely thrust forward by the crowd as the next messiah.

I feel sorry for him. He's been mistreated by the passions of those that desperately need a savior.

Now he is bouncing back and forth between his promising but green instincts, and the script his handlers give him to "clean up the mess" that his uncalculating instincts cause.

I hope he is happy. Because he is starting to look and feel like a promising young rocker that had a few good tunes in the bar, and lots of raw talent and future promise, but got sucked into cutting a record and hailed as the next Mick Jagger, "before his time" as the old wine commercial used to say.

Let's hope he has more tunes in him than the one's we've loved, chewed up, and are sick of hearing.

BillHall said...

This is one of those situations that you have to ask, 'What's the reason for the rule (or law)" --
Simplified, my understanding is that the campaign finance reform law that Obama is opting out of was meant to limit the influence of big, rich, lobbiest type donors. Well, Obama has raised tons of money from small donors, so that he doesn't need to rely on the public finance money...he has in effect replaced big money donors with small, thereby addressing directly the reason for the campaign finance reform laws in the first place...

George said...

Practical, sensible, effective. Not an ideologue.

Sounds like Sen. Obama wants to be more like Sen. McCain.

P. Rich said...

I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader.

Only if said moderates choose to ignore all the evidence. Good grief, Althouse. There is absolutely nothing to suggest Obama is, or could ever be, an effective, sensible leader. Pasting moderate labels on him is not going to change what he is no matter how much you or any other moderate might wish it so.

rightwingprof said...

Sensible? Cite your evidence.

Simon said...

I'm struggling to understand, Ann. It is a plus in your book that he has demonstrated that he will renege on any promise if that promise is no longer of any use to him?

Sloanasaurus said...

And I like a practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances. ...I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader.

This is dangerous rationalization, and a sad analysis by Althouse. Just because one considers themselves indepedent does not mean they don't have personal ethic and principles. It is one thing to be pragmatic on a policy position, it is another to be pragmatic about personal ethics. Ethics rules and guidelines exist not because of bad people but precisely because of ethical pragmitism. We need training in ethics to know why it is important to be ethical and principled. Morality requires that ethics be principled and not pragmatic. One can not operate a civilized society if there is no basic and unterstandable truths to the conduct of the people in the society.

Obama's flip on campaign financing is different than a mere policy flip due to changing circumstances. He defended public campaign financing as part of his personal ethics and character. He said that we need public financing as a principle to weed out special interests and lobbying. This ethics is at the core of Obama's public persona. Then he made a public promise to take public financing and John McCain accepted that promise.

Supporting public financing does not make one more ethical. I actually think public financing is a bad idea. However, the policy part of public financing is whether or not you believe private financiang makes one more corrupt. I don't think it does, but Obama has stated over and over again the he believes in his heart that private financing causes corruption.

Obama now threw out this principle for the only reason that he feels he can raise more money. He didn't do it because he was proven wrong on the ethics front or that he changed his mind about the ethics, he did it because he felt he will more likely win the election with more money. By rejecting public funding, Obama in the front of all of us violated his own personal sacred honor.

This is a pattern with Obama. He did the same thing with Reverend Wright. Wright was his friend and spiritual mentor for 20 years. Obama even gave a speech about how his own sense of personal honor would not allow him to abandon his friend. Then when Obama found out that his Church's theology was unpopular with mainstream America, Obama abandoned his friend and publicy denounced him.

This is a character trait with Obama that he will take to the Presidency. Our allies should take heed with dealing with America with Obama at the helm. They should recognize that Obama is likely to abandon them at the moment a tide shifts even if the principle underlying the tide has not. If Obama is elected, he may continue to draw love from mobs who are drawn to his leftist ideology, but Obama's America will have no real friends because he will have no honor.

Imagine if Lincoln abandoned his principles when he was at the edge of despair. Leadership requires strong character. It looks as though Obama won't be much of a leader.

Trevor Jackson said...

Simon, if you're going to repeat yourself than I will too. There's no broken promise here. There's McCain refusing to hold up his end of the bargain.

former law student said...

Hey, David. Partisan much?

But favored candidates don't go in for unscripted free-range conversations. Fast Eddie Obama threw the new-politics mantra under the truck.

Obama should squander his advantages and play away from his strengths? For what? "Every basketball coach will tell you the way to win games is to 'get the other team out of its game, and make them play your game.'"

a candidate that wanted to just get his name out there this go-around

Huh? Only losers play to lose, and Obama is no loser. Obama is the Tiger Woods of politics -- prepared, organized, focused on task.

There is absolutely nothing to suggest Obama is, or could ever be, an effective, sensible leader.

He cut his teeth as a community organizer, where you find out what people want and empower them to get it. This is a subtle kind of leadership because the people get the kudos and acclaim, not the leader.

He persuaded warring factions on the Harvard Law Review to select him EIC because he would be fair to all. And, oh yes, he used his organizational and leadership skills to beat the inevitable candidate who was supposed to have wrapped the nomination up February 5.

The Deacon said...

Listen, oh listen, to the tired conservative hens clucking away. *yawn*
Did none of you notice McCain's turnaround on torture? Didn't he author a bill on campain finance reform? As noted above, Obama has collected his money from the folks, not the corps like McCain. Next outrage, please.

Paul Snively said...

Add me to the list of those wondering what Obama's appeal is, apart from flowery rhetoric as long as he has his TelePrompter in front of him. He has no legislative track record. His policy proposals range from naïve to dangerous. His personal history belies every social ideal he claims. I genuinely don't see how anyone could consider voting for this man unless they were already at least inclined to be a hard leftist of the type we've seen hang Che Guevara flags in local campaign headquarters. We know that's not Althouse. So what gives?

former law student said...

Obama's America will have no real friends because he will have no honor.

Thank god the Reps didn't nominate a flip-flopper like Romney, then.

His personal history belies every social ideal he claims.

I'd be interested in seeing a reference to that. And as to Che, half the 20-somethings I know have a Che t-shirt in their wardrobe. I can't figure the appeal, myself.

Christy said...

Bravo! Sloan

Sloanasaurus said...

Simplified, my understanding is that the campaign finance reform law that Obama is opting out of was meant to limit the influence of big, rich, lobbiest type donors. Well, Obama has raised tons of money from small donors, so that he doesn't need to rely on the public finance money...he has in effect replaced big money donors with small, thereby addressing directly the reason for the campaign finance reform laws in the first place...

Obama raises plenty of money from large investors, he just happens to raise more money from smaller investors than mccain (so far at least). Moreover the small donations are not jsut random people sending in money, much of it comes from organizing groups. Therefore, Obama will be "indebted" to the special interests who are the leaders or organizers of such groups.

This decision will haunt Obama. McCain will raise campaign finance issues from the day after the convention to the election. He will nit pick every financing error that is made. McCain can do it because Obama won't be able to counter criticise.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm glad Obama's got a truck now. There's no room left under the bus.

Fritz said...

Ann,
You are so enamored with this cad, you have thrown out your common sense. Repeat after me, "Chief Justice John Roberts."

bearbee said...

I think he's going to gain moderate people like me...

I thpught you had already bonded with him during the Wisconsin primary?

Richard Dolan said...

Performance art seems to have the upper hand today. Ann says: "I like a practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances. It's good news that he's not an ideologue."

Team O! is not "adjust[ing] to changing circumstances." It's just that political self-interest trumps the principles that the candidate supposedly stands for. To boot, the "change" of position is announced is a laughably cynical way. To offer this episode as proof that Obama is "not an ideologue" is even more of a hoot in this context.

Ann again: "I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader." Compromising some ideological principle because it generates a better practical result for the public should appeal to "moderate people." But that's the opposite of what Obama is doing here. Team O!'s latest flip isn't a display of "effective, sensible leader[ship]." It's just the usual political self-interest of the moment trumping principle, wrapped in the usual political double-talk. It's all about him, as it always is. (Brooks' point about Obama's doctrinaire and intensely political positions on drilling and ethanol, and his dismissal of McCain's (very slight) bow to reality, makes Ann's "effective, sensible leader" point even more risible.)

When Clinton and his supporters trashed feminist principle for political self-advantage during Bill's serial sex-and-groping scandals in just this way, Ann was not singing the same song about an "effective, sensible leader" doing his thing. Quite the opposite. So it's just a matter of which principles are in play. Brooks' point about Obama is that pretty much any principle that needs to be in play in order to win is fair game.

Brooks thinks that Obama runs circles around Clinton, in that Team O! has managed to keep selling his "new politics" stuff while playing the crassest kind of old politics all along. Ann's effort to turn Team O!'s latest exercise in self-interest trumping principle into a display of "effective, sensible leader[ship]" is an equally bravura performance. But only if you think the selection of a president is just a theatrical exercise.

Is there anyone paying the slightest bit of attention who doesn't know by now that Obama is not the kind of politician who will ever buck the lefty interest groups? There isn't a single orthodox, doctrinaire position proposed by the lefties that he doesn't embrace. Brooks suggests that Obama's motive is as much political self-interest as anything else. If that's your idea of an "effective, sensible leader," then he's definitely your kind of guy.

Back to you, Ann.

Pogo said...

a practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances

The difference between pragmatism and mere narcissism is the reliance on core principles in the former and their lack in the latter.

Ann, you do not like the campaign finance scheme. But Obama "spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing". Still, he quickly abandons that "belief" for cash.

Either it was a belief, thrown under the bus when it affected him adversely, or it was no belief at all, just a flag to fly for the moment in order to get ahead. Didn't matter which flag, just the "current liberal meme" flag.

This doesn't strike me as principled pragmatism. As former law student said, "only losers play to lose, and Obama is no loser." So Brooks is right; Obama is the same old Clinton wine in a new skin.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"Simon, if you're going to repeat yourself than I will too. There's no broken promise here. There's McCain refusing to hold up his end of the bargain."

Trevor, spin all you like - but the fact will remain that Obama was asked before Iowa if he would participate in presidential public financing system and he said yes. He said yes, moreover, before launching into a soliloquy on the virtues of the system he now claims is too broken for him to participate in. In a febrile effort to bluff his way out of having to either stick with what he said or being candid for his reasons for not doing so, he and his surrogates are complaining that Obama has to do this because McCain won't do something that he has no power to do.

Yet we are told that this makes him a "practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances," and that this makes him more palatable to those who want an "effective, sensible leader." I have no idea what to make of this. I find it incomprehensible.

A member of the House Armed Forces Committee publicly conducts a war on members taking bribes from the arms industry; on being transferred to the Agriculture Committee, he then starts taking bribes from the farming lobby. It is not bad English, I suppose, to say that such a man is a "practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances," and I suppose that if one happens to be a farmer, one might honestly describe such a man as an "effective, sensible leader." But what that man's appeal would be to an intelligent, moderate, pragmatic, cruelly neutral voter, I simply cannot conceive.

William said...

Obama is not an idealogue when the ideals involved violate his own self interest. Or perhaps, like the Clintons, he has the vision to see that the ascension of his interests is the highest ideal of the Republic...In this context, it is fitting and sweet to note McCain's history. Given the choice between torture and malnutrition or the betrayal of an oath, he chose torture and malnutrition. Obama was given the choice between financial advantage or honoring a pledge. He chose his own advantage...Obama is well formed, well spoken and energetic--more so than McCain. Obama looks brave and idealistic, but in his life, and certainly in this campaign, he has done nothing admirable.

MadisonMan said...

Sloan, it's my recollection that McCain has a little campaign finance problem of his own. The scale might differ -- I don't know -- but I don't think it profits McCain to harp on campaign finance.

And he probably won't, although I'm sure 527 groups will. And you thought the primary campaign season was long and ad-filled!

Moose said...

What Ann says here is perfectly reasonable if you view Obama as Brooks does, as a hard minded practical pol.

Now, if you buy his marketing campaign (Yes You Can!), then you've a bit of a surprise coming when/if Obama comes to power.

Obama is showing all the hallmarks of the a conventional presidental candidate - using PR firms to remake his and his wife's image, isolating himself from the press, etc, etc.

Showing that he is a cynical, triangulating candidate now puts him in the realm of a beleivable candidate, but takes him out of the idealistic, magical, paradigm breaking newcomer.

The more his supporters are forced to rationalize his newfound bare knuckled politics will cause pretty intense cognitive dissonance and will start alienating the more perceptive of his followers the closer he gets to the general election.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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

BillHall,
That would be a facile enough spin even if it didn't rest on a fictitious premise.

Paul Zrimsek said...

And I like a practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances.

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

sean said...

I don't much like sexual harassment law, but it had never occurred to me to valorize Gloria Steinem and the other feminists who abandoned every principle they had ever advocated to shill for Bill Clinton as "sensible, effective leaders."

MPorcius said...

Ann likes that Obama has betrayed a pledge about or changed his mind about campaign financing because Ann doesn't want to give up on the war effort in Iraq. Ann wants to believe that Obama will change his mind about Iraq (or that he has been lying the whole time) and when Obama pulls something like this, Ann is encouraged.

Seven Machos said...

Obama is all sizzle and no steak. We all know that. At best, he's an average demagogue. At worst, he's Bill Clinton without the actual ability to govern.

One thing to remember, though, people: run-of-the-mill voters just don't care about campaign finance. We've seen this time and time again, as politicians and pundits try to run with the issue and voters ignore it. Unlike, say, guns and abortion, which politicians and pundits try to ignore as much as possible while millions of voters base their votes purely on these issues.

Trevor Jackson said...

Simon: "McCain won't do something that he has no power to do."

And yet somehow Obama has proven able to do this. What does that say about McCain, who wanted public financing until it would limit his primary spending.

Obama's also managed to produce a campaign that is in reality more "publicly financed" than the version he turned down. But, by all means, let's grasp at some more straws to confirm what we so desperately need to believe.

Sloanasaurus said...

Sloan, it's my recollection that McCain has a little campaign finance problem of his own. The scale might differ -- I don't know -- but I don't think it profits McCain to harp on campaign finance.

There are two thing McCain can "harp" on. One is Obama's disregard for his own personal ethics regarding campaing finance.

Second will be Obama's fund raising during the fall campaign. McCain will be able to nit pick everything Obama does, because McCain will have clean hands during the fall campaign with regards to fund raising.

Moose said...

Also forgot to point out that Ann's mini-endorsement is something of a backhanded compliment given Obama's projected persona - that of a reformer.

Good going Ann!

Seven Machos said...

This is actually very good for McCain because it makes the issue a wash. It also proves that the campaign finance reforms that both McCain and Obama have lauded are tyrannical bullshit. If it doesn't apply to you two hacks, why should it apply to anyone else running for office?

Incidentally, it's wonderfully freeing to basically dislike both candidates. I recommend it, not for the future of the country, but for your own mental health.

gophermomeh said...

SM - I'd agree. Campaign finance is too "inside baseball" for most people.

birdie bob said...

Ann,
I thought you voted for Bush in 2004 because 9/11 had changed your focus to national security. How would you be able to support Obama and his plans to immediately withdraw (declare defeat) from Iraq with that priority? Or do you think he's being disengenuous when he says we're bugging out?

Seven Machos said...

Obama disingenuous? What evidence do you have that he has ever flip-flopped on a position?

Ha! Gotcha! It's a trick question. Obama has no position.

LarsPorsena said...

Seven:
"Incidentally, it's wonderfully freeing to basically dislike both candidates. I recommend it, not for the future of the country, but for your own mental health."

I'm getting a warm fuzzy feeling
from that too.

ricpic said...

What's he gonna do about $4 gas?!

Fritz said...

This is an act of desperation. He didn't put Hillary away and he is scared of an even stronger opponent. Campaigns are won with ideas, this was a bad one.

AJ Lynch said...

The only folks he has betrayed are the MSM idiotors & talking heads who mistakenly believe public financing of campaigns will eliminate corruption.

Seven Machos said...

Gasoline? That's easy. Obama is going to take water and change it into biodegradable premium unleaded at a rally. And then he's going to tell us some really deep stories.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

So Michelle is Mrs. Ari?


Now it makes sense.

rhhardin said...

``Under the truck'' is very annoying. He's remembering the wrong vehicle in being hip to the modern terms.

``Throw him under the truck'' gets four, 4, google hits.

Bus gets 27,000.

Mortimer Brezny said...

It is a plus in your book that he has demonstrated that he will renege on any promise if that promise is no longer of any use to him?

That's what heads of state do.

rhhardin said...

Promising to take public financing may have been something McCain then relied on, so is unfair in a way that McCain, Mr. Personal Honor, would find offensive.

Sloanasaurus said...

What's he gonna do about $4 gas?!

Nothing. He supports $4 gas. He said so in a recent speech. His only caveat was that he was sad it did not increase more slowly over time.

The real question is why do Democrats support $4 gas?

gophermomeh said...

Support alternate fuel sources and lifestyle changes, would be a good place to start.

Seven Machos said...

Lifestyle changes will only come with alternative fuel sources.

MadisonMan said...

The real question is why do Democrats support $4 gas?

Because it's the free market at work!

It's unfortunate that President Bush didn't follow policies that would promote a strong dollar. A stronger dollar would mean gas -- through rising in price -- wouldn't rise quite so quickly.

P. Rich said...

Simon said: Yet we are told that this makes him a "practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances," and that this makes him more palatable to those who want an "effective, sensible leader." I have no idea what to make of this. I find it incomprehensible.

Me too. Only thing I can figure, maybe dastardly cad slipped a stoopid pill into the Althouse vitamin bottle early this morning. Luckily, the effects are not likely to be permanent.

Mugger said...

Face it republicans. Dems have the better candidate regardless of what kind of hysteria you conjure up. McCain supporters and the GOP will be eating dust for years.

Yachira said...

Ann's infatuation with Obama cannot be explained by hypothesizing that she's easily duped, as that is unlikely.

The only reasonable explanation for her wilful blindness to his lack of credentials, experience, and in-your-face hypocricy is that she finds him sexually attractive. I saw this will my female colleagues and Clinton. They went to see him speak at a local fundraiser and, to the individual, they remarked on how cute he was when they returned. I don't believe there's any male equivalent to this type of voting behavior. And it is, in my mind, the strongest argument there is for the repeal of the 19th Amendment.

Seven Machos said...

Madison -- A strong dollar would also mean high interest rates, which would make it impossible to fight recession with monetary policy, which is what this country has done very successfully since about 1980.

As Harry Truman said, "Give me a one-handed economist..."

Richard Dolan said...

"It is a plus in your book that he has demonstrated that he will renege on any promise if that promise is no longer of any use to him?"

Mort's answer: That's what heads of state do.

No. There's a world of difference between "no longer of any use to him" (that's Team O!) and "no longer of any use to the country" (that's a leader).

Seven Machos said...

Mugger -- That would have been kind of interesting had you intended irony, or in fact any sort of subtlety whatsoever.

In the future, please bring your A-game to the comments here. Thank you.

rcocean said...

Spare me the canned outrage. Pols change their minds on minor issues all the time. And Campaign finance is just political fine print for most people. And when have the Republicans been against the rich donating money?

As Althouse states, this is good news for Democrats. Its shows Obama will change position to achieve a larger goal. A practical man, not an idealoge.

Seven Machos said...

So, Althouse, you've been put squarely on the spot: do you have the hots for Obama or don't you?

Well?

After all, there are no other reasons why you wouldn't vote for McCain.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann has a blind spot re Obama right now. Be interesting to see if her blind spot shrinks as it gets closer and closer to November?

Ben (The Tiger) said...

The case for (and against) Obama is about the same as the one for Romney.

Althouse likes Romney.

The Drill SGT said...

Trevor Jackson said...
Simon: "McCain won't do something that he has no power to do."

TJ,

I think Simon was referring to the Obama claims that he was being forced to go back on his word because of McCain's Evil 527 excesses, when in fact:

- in 2000 and 2004, the bulk of the 527 spending was done by Dem groups lie Moveon.org, ACT, and Unions.
- McCain has complained already about GOP 527's in SC as I recall. I have never heard Obama critize a Dem 527.
- 527's of course are independent. Simon's point is that McCain can't stop GOP 527's and Obama knows this, but is raising a BS excuse to cover his hypocrisy and broken promises.

I had no choice but to break my promises, McCain made me do it

Mugger said...

Hey 7, next time bring a better, smarter candidate than McCain...

Ann Althouse said...

birdie bob said..."I thought you voted for Bush in 2004 because 9/11 had changed your focus to national security. How would you be able to support Obama and his plans to immediately withdraw (declare defeat) from Iraq with that priority? Or do you think he's being disengenuous when he says we're bugging out?"

mporcius said..."Ann likes that Obama has betrayed a pledge about or changed his mind about campaign financing because Ann doesn't want to give up on the war effort in Iraq. Ann wants to believe that Obama will change his mind about Iraq (or that he has been lying the whole time) and when Obama pulls something like this, Ann is encouraged."

That's basically the answer. In fact, I think Obama may be a better bet than McCain on Iraq.

My number 1 concern about Obama is that he won't check the Democratic Congress. But I'm not confident that McCain will either.

Look, you can't trust either man completely. You can't trust anyone running for President. Remember when George Bush assured us that he opposed nation building?

Seven Machos said...

McCain is also dumb now? Has there ever been a smart Republican candidate?

Mugger -- Really. Go post at the junior high school blog.

Moose said...

The key takeaway from all this is that as we move closer to the general election, the differences between the 2 candidates will narrow, and in particular the moniker of "outsider" or "rebel" will be eroded by the particulars of how campaigning works.

McCain has weathered a number of downturns in his public profile as a rebel, and is experienced in handling it.

However, since Obama's public profile is bound to the concept of his seperation from the "system", his ongoing embracing of it will only erode his popular support amongst anyone who was initially attracted to his promises of "no more business as usual".

Let's remember, Obama is a Chicago Democrat. If you don't understand what that means, just look it up.

dbp said...

This is sort of like dating after your spouse dies of unknown causes: One shouldn't do it too soon.

Only the left really gives a crap about public finance, so it was only a useful position to have as long as the Democratic nomination was still in play.

Now the general election is the game. Obama knows, as well as we do, that lefty fans of public financing may feel betrayed, but they were never going to vote for the GOP anyway. They have served their purpose (getting big O the nomination) and now they are baggage.

al said...

What's he gonna do about $4 gas?!

From an interview on CNBC when talking about the high price of gasoline and the pace of the increase:

BARACK OBAMA: "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment."

He never says anything about it being too much - just that the price went up to fast.

Mugger said...

Really 7, is that all you've got??? Then it's no wonder Obama's campaign has got you all ruffled. Because you're in the same place as your presumptive candidate, the home for the bewildered.

rcocean said...

"McCain is also dumb now? Has there ever been a smart Republican candidate?"

Yes. Nixon, Dewey and Hoover were very smart. But they were evil - just like Rove and Lee Atwater.

Seven Machos said...

Republicans are all rich and all dumb asses.

Trevor Jackson said...

Drill Sgt, I know what Simon's point was. Mine is that Obama has instructed 527 groups to direct their fundraising to his campaign and the DNC in order to control the message. And they are complying. You will see far less "outside" advertising from the left than you will the right this fall.

McCain "criticized" the SC ad, but certainly as the de facto leader of the RNC could have exerted pressure to stop the ad. It ran anyway. So which is it? Is he weak or does he not really support the idea of running a clean publicly financed campaign?

dbp said...

Ann said: "That's basically the answer. In fact, I think Obama may be a better bet than McCain on Iraq."

McCain will have no trouble vetoing "get out of Iraq now" bills, will Obama be willing to alienate his whole party?

He has only shown himself willing to be pragmatic when he gains a political benefit from it.

McCain advocated the surge back when even many Republicans were going wobbly on the war.

Sloanasaurus said...

That's basically the answer. In fact, I think Obama may be a better bet than McCain on Iraq.

Gasp! I hate to use Nazi comparisons, but it was the rationalization of the German business class that Hitler really didn't mean what he said regarding the Jews that allowed them to support the Nazis.

Don't be surprised if Obama does what he said he would. Pull out immediatly and bomb Pakistan.

Bissage said...

And as it is truly written, it came to pass that Maab had become aligned with the Klingon from the sky while Teer Akaar would yet hear the Federation from the sky offer things of value for the rocks of Planet Capella IV.

And it thus came to pass that Maab did slay Teer Akaar and then become Teer in accordance with the ancient law; and that the Klingon Kras did implore Teer Maab to destroy the Human Kirk for his wickedness; and that the Human Kirk did challenge the Klingon Kras so all could hear; and that Teer Maab did see fear in the Klingon eye.

And Teer Maab did proclaim thus: “Perhaps to be a teer is to see in new ways.”

The Klingon Kras did protest for all to hear that the honor of the old order did stand at jeopardy for there was a solemn covenant between them.

And Teer Maab did decree his rebuke: “That too may change, Klingon.”

rcocean said...

"Republicans are all rich and all dumb asses."

So when did you become a Republican?

Seven Machos said...

It's one thing to alienate your party. It's another thing altogether to alienate the Pentagon.

Ultimately, if foreign policy is your trump, you vote McCain. That means you, too, Althouse.

And, rc, incidentally, I became a Republican at the exact time when I had to fend for myself in the bad, mean world.

MadisonMan said...

Ultimately, if foreign policy is your trump, you vote McCain.

And that, I think, is the box McCain is in. Foreign policy is tied up with the war in Iraq at the moment. If the war is going well, then people's concern will be the economy, which isn't going swimmingly. If the war isn't going well, then McCain's support for the surge didn't turn out so well after all. In either case, why vote McCain?

A reason to vote for McCain, I think, is to block the excesses of a Democratic Congress. If Obama is seen as willing to be pragmatic, then a vote for him might not actually be a vote for Democratic Congressional excess -- because he would block Democratic Congress initiatives that are stupid -- which excess is just as horrible for this country as the Republican Excess of 2001-2007.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Huh? Only losers play to lose, and Obama is no loser. Obama is the Tiger Woods of politics -- prepared, organized, focused on task.

So the mask comes off. In other words he's just like every other politician who will say whatever it takes to win. That's fine. Just stop patronizing me about how much Bambi is going to change the culture of Washington DC.

Change and Hope we can Believe in my ass.

AJ Lynch said...

Trevor said:
"Mine is that Obama has instructed 527 groups to direct their fundraising to his campaign and the DNC in order to control the message. "

Trevor- you do know that if Obama actually did this, he would be committing a crime?

Seven Machos said...

Madison -- Sadly, I think your first theory could be largely correct based on what happened to George H. W. Bush. Alternatively, Bill Clinton received something like 43 percent of the vote in 1992. Perot screwed up everything. What percentage of Perot and Bush voters combined will vote for Obama? Also, what percentage of Hillary's working-class voters will vote for Obama? The Connecticut senate vote which Lieberman won is instructive. Lieberman lost the Democratic nomination but won the centrist voters in the actual election.

Your second idea is also good. I just wonder how many people actually think like that.

montana urban legend said...

It's kind of funny watching these brittle "pops" from the right. Like the criticism that Obama has no ability to govern - evidence of the degree to which an authoritarian approach to governing has become doctrinaire on the right. Obama having no principles... So regaining the confidence and enthusiasm of millions of voters - nope, no principle to that? I know each side wants to claim it's an assault on democracy when people speak contemptuously of the power of their base. So stop being so jealous of how broadly Obama's happened to expand his own base. We know you would do the same - if you could.

For righties to whine about public financing - as if the whole point of that was something other than to allow a broader slice of the country to feel that they have an actual say in the financing of elections - is rich. At some point democracy is actually about numbers, you know, which Obama just happened to harness to a greater extent than before with small donations using the power of the internet. You don't have to embrace that, but don't pretend others won't see through how anti-democratic a stance it is that you don't.

And Ann's completely right. He's a "practical politician who adjusts to changing circumstances," and who will "gain moderate people...who want an effective, sensible leader." Just because you either can't, don't or pretend not to understand his values doesn't mean that your caricatures of them do anything other than to turn off the much broader and growing coalition of voters that he attracts. But I think some of you must know that. The desperation's incredibly evident.

Seven Machos said...

It's okay for Obama and leftist 527s to collude because they believe in goodness and change.

Seven Machos said...

Montana -- Love the straw man. You really pummeled it.

Presidents who have not been governors or military leaders have largely been something in between unsuccessful and fiascoes. Executive experience helps when you have a complex job as an executive.

It's a bummer that neither of these candidates has executive experience. Obama has no experience whatsoever at anything except editing law journals and doing some community projects on the South Side.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Apparently some of you held Obama to higher standards than I (a reluctant supporter) ever did. All this feigned outrage over --gasp-- a politician changing his mind about the way he wants to win an election is just another example of Obama detractors making something out of (practically) nothing. Earth to Althouse commenters: Politicians don't always keep their word. Things change.

He probably had intended to rely on public financing until he realized how much money he was bringing in and until he realized that the McCain surrogates would be unleashing attacks ads.

I'd call this a pretty strategic and deft move on his part...both of which are great qualities for a president to have.

Seven Machos said...

Zachary -- I think the issue here is that Obama is presenting himself as someone different and fresh and new. Someone uncorrupted. When you do the same, stale, old things everyone else does, it makes you look corrupted, and you lose the entire reason for your existence.

I don't this is the kind of change! people thought they'd see.

montana urban legend said...

Straw man now, huh? Of course, claiming that just because prior executive experience is usually helpful to a president, Obama will be either unsuccessful or a fiasco - that wouldn't be an example of any sort of logical fallacy now, would it?

And of course, our first president with a Master of Business Administration was such a stunning example of executive success that you make me wonder if either our conception of executive success is what needs to be re-worked or how we train people for it.

Seven Machos said...

1. Presidents without prior executive experience are usually either unsuccessful or fiascoes.

2. Obama has no executive experience.

3. Obama is likely to be either unsuccessful or a fiasco.

If I recall, Montana, you hold yourself out as highly intelligent and educated. So perhaps you will be so generous as to stoop down and explain the logical fallacy here.

montana urban legend said...

What's fresh and new is appealing to certain democratic impulses and interests long since forgotten about by, well, whoever is it that you'd prefer to claim is the more noteworthy politician?

LonewackoDotCom said...

When visiting this site, I have never once not asked myself, "she's a law professor?"

Unfortunately, there are a lot of "moderate people" like Althouse out there. Thankfully, the way this works is that after enough lies they start dropping out until only the diehard KoolAid drinkers remain.

To help that along, BHO recently admitted being deceptive, and here's a lie from last month.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Apparently some of you held Obama to higher standards than I (a reluctant supporter) ever did.

No, just holding him to the standards he set for himself. CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN? Again, if he's doing what a 'practical politician' does to win then there really isn't any change now is there?

I don't give a shit about McCain's flip flops because he's not running on change and hope and how different things are going to be once he gets in office. Bambi's entire base is supporting him because he is promising change and not more of the same Washington we have had.

montana urban legend said...

First off, I wouldn't claim that Obama has "no" executive experience. Successfully organizing communities might not be a praiseworthy accomplishment in your book, but just because it doesn't come with the title of a political office or a management degree does not mean that he wasn't leading people to successfully "execute" their interests.

Second, if you want to argue with such obvious qualifiers such as "usually" or "likely" and shy away from implying direct causation, then you've already undercut the strength of your own argument. No need for me to stoop down and explain anything.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I think the issue here is that Obama is presenting himself as someone different and fresh and new.

To an extent, true. But come on, anyone running for office has to tout themselves as having the ability to bring something new to the table, to be fresh.

Anyway, I was never attracted to Obama because of his "change" mantra, it's because his policies are closely aligned with mine.

Seven Machos said...

You! A law professor! Not supporting my candidate!

Seven Machos said...

Sorry I wasn't able to get to the level of deduction for you, Watson.

montana urban legend said...

Hoosier, he never claimed to want to do everything in an unconventional way. I'm sure he ties his shoes in the morning just like everyone else, too. It's those who attack with the "messiah" theme who are let down (or who feel vindicated) by Obama ever following a convention every now and then. It's they who make all or nothing false dichotomies out of everything. Not Obama. Not his supporters.

John Stodder said...

Campaign finance reform has always been about putting limits...on them. Every candidate thinks the other candidate has an unfair advantage and wants to use the force of law to take away that advantage. Democrats loved campaign reform when they assumed their positions would cause campaign dollars to flow to the Republicans. Now, it's a big meh.

What Obama's going to find out, though, is that running for president is very different from running in a state, where it is possible to buy yourself an election by swamping your opponent's expenditures. Ultimately, he'll win or lose on the merits of his candidacy. McCain can't win unless by the end of the election, a substantial number of voters currently leaning Obama decide to shift away from him based on concerns about his ideology or capabilities.

No amount of money is going to affect those evaluations. He can't buy a new resume, and his awkward attempts to change positions since winning the nomination show that the famed Democratic "pivot" is harder to do now in our no-secrets environment.

But, by the same token, McCain could run a flawless campaign, but will probably lose. He's the safe but unsatisfactory choice for most Americans. Obama is the preferred but uneasy choice.

Sloanasaurus said...

First off, I wouldn't claim that Obama has "no" executive experience. Successfully organizing communities might not be a praiseworthy accomplishment in your book, but just because it doesn't come with the title of a political office or a management degree does not mean that he wasn't leading people to successfully "execute" their interests.

Get real. Maybe you could argue that Obama's boss at Acorn had some executive experience.

The lack of executive experience will manifest itself in the disorganization of an Obama Administration. He will have to rely much more on the management experience of his cabinet members and advisors. This can be very difficult if your advisors have competing interests, which they almost always do eventually.

Moreover, because Obama is inexperienced in policy and life in general, he will not get as much respect from his advisors who will probably all be more experienced than Obama himself.

What you will get is something akin to a 20 year old taking over daddy's company.

MadisonMan said...

[McCain]'s the safe but unsatisfactory choice for most Americans. Obama is the preferred but uneasy choice.

A very apt description.

Mugger said...

"The lack of executive experience will manifest itself in the disorganization of an Obama Administration."

Yes, and the "executive experience" and the "organization" of the Bush Administration has done wonders for the GOP...

/sacrasm

The Drill SGT said...

wow :(

That's basically the answer. In fact, I think Obama may be a better bet than McCain on Iraq.

I'm amazed that you can come to that conclusion given the fact pattern we have seen thus far.

- 2002 Obama against the war. No problem in my mind. He was running as a Dem and had basicly no opposition. McCain says Saddam is a threat, but that we should use diplomacy and build a coalition.

2003. War. McCain. we're in it, we have got to win it.

- 2004. war seemingly won. Obama then says, "his position on Iraq is pretty much the same as Bush's"

- 2005-2007. war goes south. Obama ays it was a mistake, we should pull out even if it means genocide (then of course dems always want to go back in to prevent that)

McCain says, Bush and Rummy are screwin up, we need more troops, we need more troops. In the face of declining war popularity, McCain says, we need to stick it out and send more troops. He says that He'd rather win the war than be President, so continues what seems to be a 1 man crusade to salvage our position

2007. Surge happens. Dems declare war is lost. say Petraus is lying to them about progress.

2007-2008, Obama is subcommitte chair of Foreign Relations committee having jursdication over Afghanistan. never holds a meeting to review our war there. but on the camapign trail its a different story.

2007-2008. during the primary, he's far left, though his advisors tell folks behind the scenes, he is just posturing.

2008. he slides to the center and relooks his Iraq position the day after he wins the nomination

2008. McCain consistent and right about Iraq, given the fact that we're there, premature pulling out would make things worse, not better

LarsPorsena said...

Sloan:
"Get real. Maybe you could argue that Obama's boss at Acorn had some executive experience."

You mean the same voter fraud ACORN?
That's who Mister Community Organizer
organized for?

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"That's basically the answer. In fact, I think Obama may be a better bet than McCain on Iraq."

How... Wh... I mean... I don't even know what that means, let alone how to respond to it. Are you saying that you now think surrender and retreat in Iraq is the better policy? Or are you saying that Obama is a better bet because even though he now promises surrender and retreat, he's lying, pandering to his base, and will in fact not withdraw forces from Iraq? And if it's the latter, I just don't understand, I don't even begin to comprehend how that could possibly be thought better than the candidate who will tell you that they aren't going to pull forces out.

How do you reason your way to this conclusion?

Mugger said...

This notion that we are somehow winning now is simply preposterous. I suppose one could call defense cooperation with Iran and an ever growing expansion of ties between Iraq and Iran, winning. Will we have won when Iraq and Iran become full fledged allies? This war (which has been proved to be based on manufactured hype) has been nothing short of a geopolitical disaster. Please republicans do continue running your candidate on the success of the war.

Trevor Jackson said...

Lars, Sloan is repeating a distortion, trying to play the guilt-by-association game. Obama's organizing work was not for ACORN.

Jeremy said...

Politicians don't always keep their word. Things change.

Where were you when "BUSH LIED!"?

LarsPorsena said...

Jeremy:
"Where were you when "BUSH LIED!"?

I can't recall. Where were you?

Dave S. said...

"I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader."

...who has enunciated no substantive policy positions nor had any executive experience.

The mind boggles. "Hope" and "change", indeed. The Obama supporters are hoping like a sonofagun, and they're going to get a change. Of some kind.

Chip Ahoy said...

I would like to thank David Brooks for substituting truck for bus thus avoiding the fastest phrase to become cliché in recent history, and a most personally uncomfortable visual graphic. So much better a truck than a bus. but for the sake of visualization, what kind of truck, a Ford or an eighteen-wheeler? (Criticizing this on Google hits is ridiculous) I agree with Brooks on Obama 100%. But I was more open to agreeing because I like when he uses that i with the two dots on top like a Mickey Mouse i, in the word naïve, three times in one brief article. That makes me like Brooks.

The scary thing to me about Obama is not himself so much but his followers who appear ever willing to have their preset biases played. His "fueled by lobbyists and special interests" is a sterling example. It doesn't matter how not true such a ridiculous statement is. It works for the most part. That's scary. It keeps getting back to the insidious evil of Party politics -- everything your Party's candidate comes out with is accepted whole-cloth and uncritically, all fault dismissed as minor foible, but every single utterance by the opposing camp is parsed for its vilest interpretation and extrapolation. Parties, for all they're worth to us, set us against one another unnaturally. I welcome the day we consign these parties to history, but I doubt I'll live to see that day because the rest of you are having so much fun.

I've read your comments carefully and now I wish I hadn't. Today, I'm going to hate all you mean and stupid sons of bitches.

former law student said...

Presidents who have not been governors or military leaders have largely been something in between unsuccessful and fiascoes.

I'm not seeing the correlation between these criteria and success on the job:

Presidents who have been governors or military leaders:
FDR
Eisenhower
Carter
Reagan
Clinton
W.

Presidents who led a small group into combat:
Truman
JFK
GHW Bush

Presidents who have been neither governors nor military leaders:
LBJ
Nixon
Ford

AllenS said...

Every once in a while, I think that the lack of schooling hasn't hurt me much at all. I'm smarter than Ann Althouse.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"Drill Sgt, I know what Simon's point was. Mine is that Obama has instructed 527 groups to direct their fundraising to his campaign and the DNC in order to control the message. And they are complying."

In other words, he hasn't controlled them - he asked and they complied. McCain has asked, which is as much as Obama did; if they don't comply, Obama is in no position to criticize.


"You will see far less 'outside' advertising from the left than you will the right this fall."

This is the most disingenuous point that you've made yet, Trevor. Of course you're going to see more “outside” advertising on the left than the right. Obama guaranteed that by opting out of the public finance system. Both candidates and their backers have finite financial resources that they want to allocate to media buys efficiently – i.e., to squeeze the most value to the campaign out of each dollar. The optimal way to do this resource allocation is to have the campaigns themselves manage the funds directly. McCain is in the public funding system, however, and so there is a limit on how much he can spend on “inside” advertising. That limit is less than the total amount of financial resources nationwide to be allocated in support of McCain. Money that could flow into the McCain camp, and thus into “inside” advertising if he were not limited by the public finance system, will obviously go to “outside” advertising. To do otherwise would be to waste scarce resources. By contrast, Obama is not bound by spending limits. He can spend freely, up to the total amount of resources available to him. Thus, money that might otherwise be directed to “outside” advertising will flow into and through the Obama camp as “inside” advertising.

P. Rich said...
"Luckily, the effects are not likely to be permanent."

They may last at least four years, and the hangover will last a lot longer. I fear for the future if this man is elected. We're going to see catastrophic and potentially irreparable damage to the courts, to foreign policy, to federalism, to the economy, just across the board.

dick said...

Trevor,

Are you saying that Obama is lying when he claims he was working for ACORN?

Jeremy,

Interesting that when the Senate document is analyzed, Bush did not lie at all based on the information available at the time. In fact, it was the senators who lied since they had the same briefings that Bush did and prior to the invasion of Iraq reached the same conclusions he did. It was only after the invasion started and the previous administration was shown to have done nothing that the senators changed their tune. Also changed it back when the surge started working, except for Harry Reid who still claims that nothing has changed.

It will be interesting to see what Obama has to say after his trip to Iraq, if he ever does go. So many have gone and then admitted that it was far better than they had thought before and the surge is working.

Trevor Jackson said...

Dick asks, "Are you saying that Obama is lying when he claims he was working for ACORN?"

I've been trying to find evidence that he has said so and have come up short. He's praised ACORN. He's worked with ACORN, he's even defended them in court, but not FOR them as an employee, as Sloan claimed upthread.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann,

this Post Editorial is a must read on the topic. I'd put it in a update.

you wont like what they have to say of course. Those nasty right wingnuts at WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/19/AR2008061903026.html


They think your Messiah is a lying hypocrite :)

LarsPorsena said...

After looking at FLS's riposte to Seven ,I've concluded the the Office of the President doesn't require any experience, just a slick campaign.

In fact any first term legislator can handle it.

Fritz said...

Obama better than McCain on Iraq? Ann you need to seek immediate mental health treatment. This empty suit cares more about the feelings of European socialists than wether or not our enemies fear US. I can understand your liberal white guilt tendencies to romance about Obama, but Iraq & SCOTUS are too important. Say it "CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS."

Salamandyr said...

Personally, I'm very happy to see Obama coming around to the Republican way of thinking on campaign finance. I understand he has also recently embraced the Repbublican position on the positive good of free trade. I think it's great to see a young politician maturing in office, embracing sensible policy positions, and abandoning the radical, ill-thought positions of youth.

scinfinity said...

So, since Obama controls all of the advertising --- he is to blame for the incredibly misleading Moveon.org ad attacking McCain by, yet again, misrepresenting what he said?

Ben (The Tiger) said...

I don't think Althouse is wrong to believe that Obama won't cut and run from Iraq. Conventional wisdom is now that the surge has succeeded, and if it's true, he won't go against it. He's pragmatic.

The issue is more that when times were tough in March/April '07 and a decision needed to be made, Obama picked the wrong side.

Pragmatism isn't necessarily a virtue in those cases. (Call it taking the easy way out.)

Simon said...

Ben said...
"I don't think Althouse is wrong to believe that Obama won't cut and run from Iraq. Conventional wisdom is now that the surge has succeeded, and if it's true, he won't go against it. He's pragmatic."

There's pragmatism and there's opportunism, Ben, but even if we stipulate that you're correct, that he won't pull troops out, I fail to see how it is rational to say that Obama is preferable on Iraq to McCain. Obama has been wrong about Iraq since day one; McCain has consistently been right. Obama opposed the surge and said it wouldn't work; McCain was its strongest advocate.

Moreover -- and this is the part that really makes my head hurt trying to understand what Ann could possibly be thinking -- the hope that McCain will not precipitously withdraw troops from Iraq amounts to the hope that McCain is honest and will do what he says, whereas the hope that Obama will not precipitously withdraw troops from Iraq amoubts to the hope that he's lying to us now, and has been lying for the entirety of the campaign so far. The idea that the latter is somehow better than the former is baffling, flummoxing.

Trying to understand Althouse's thinking is familiar enough territory for me, but usually it's from the standpoint of trying to better understand the implications of something - and someone - that I admire, not trying to comprehend something that strikes the eye as not just wrong, but borderline incoherent.

I think Sean had the best counterpoint on this thread so far: "I don't much like sexual harassment law, but it had never occurred to me to valorize Gloria Steinem and the other feminists who abandoned every principle they had ever advocated to shill for Bill Clinton as "sensible, effective leaders." Respectfully, I'd like to know how Ann answers and/or distinguishes that.

Fritz said...

Ben (TT),
It is ideology that will guide him to allow disaster in Iraq. At Obama's core is his leftist ideology that the US military is evil. Like his inability to vote for Chief Justice Roberts, he will not allow the US military a victory.

tweedburst said...

"I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader."

...An-n-n-d the real nature and quality of Ann Althouse's values is revealed. Pretty much what I'd suspected for a long time. Oh well, I could do with one less blog to read anyway.

Anthony said...

Just one question, Ann: If Obama had instead come out and said that he was going to honor his pledge and accept public financing, would you now be singing his praises for doing so?

Simon said...

Fritz has left a new comment on the post ""Just try to imagine Mister Rogers playing the age...":
"It is ideology that will guide him to allow disaster in Iraq. At Obama's core is his leftist ideology that the US military is evil. Like his inability to vote for Chief Justice Roberts, he will not allow the US military a victory."

Perhaps. But I think that's needlessly inflammatory, and we don't need to reach that point. It suffices to note that it is important to look at people's incentives in predicting their likely behavior. Having staked so much on the argument that Iraq is a disaster, a quagmire, a war that we cannot win, democrats generally and Obama specifically have an extremely strong incentive to prevent (or at least, to do nothing that makes more likely) success in Iraq. Such a success would show that they were wrong. To believe that Obama will seek success in Iraq is to believe that he will pursue a policy designed to show that he has been wrong for the last four years. Do people with those incentives generally work hard?

Some might say that his flip-flop on public funding shows that he is willing to change his mind, but I think that is unconvincing. For one thing, Obama does not claim to have changed his mind on the issue of public financing (that's the different between pragmatism and opportunism alluded to above); he has said only that he doesn't see that system as best serving his interests. It's hard to see how that maps to Iraq. For another thing, even to the extent the flip flop is a "change of mind," it shows only that Obama will change his mind to serve his interests. To extrapolate from that precedent a willingness to change his mind in ways that not only do not serve his interests, but in fact hurt them, is a tough row to hoe.

Simon said...

tweedburst has left a new comment on the post ""Just try to imagine tweedburst said...
"...An-n-n-d the real nature and quality of Ann Althouse's values is revealed. Pretty much what I'd suspected for a long time. Oh well, I could do with one less blog to read anyway."

Well, gee, what a loss that is. If you don't agree with her, try to engage, and do so with respect. Otherwise - fuck off.

rhhardin said...

I don't think he's going to lose the people who fell in love with him as a vision of idealism. I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader.

Silliness is the feminine failing, according to Vicki Hearne, corresponding to male skepticism.

former law student said...

Lars, I simply couldn't believe that any Althouse commenter would rank ex Governors Carter and Clinton among the best Presidents of the past 80 years. Whatever makes a good President, I'm pretty sure having been a governor isn't it.

Different subject: Given the way the thread has bent, can someone define for me "Success in Iraq" and tell me in what way "the Surge has worked"? Because people are still getting killed in Iraq every day, I'd like to know the yardstick being used.

LarsPorsena said...

FLS:
"Lars, I simply couldn't believe that any Althouse commenter would rank ex Governors Carter and Clinton among the best Presidents of the past 80 years. Whatever makes a good President, I'm pretty sure having been a governor isn't it"

I'm sorry I must have been napping.
Where did I make any statement re
Carter/Clinton?

xavierlarry said...

Ann, I don't understand your willingness to believe ANYTHING this guy says or does. You spent many words talking about what BHO did NOT say about the Guantanamo decision. But you seemed to be bending over backwards not to simply call him what he appears to be: a charlatan consisting of smoke and mirrors, or worse yet, a Bill Clointon clone whose every sentenced must be parsed through the lens of a pathological liar. Today, to ignore the dripping cynicism implicit in his "the system is broken" b.s is too much. It's getting harder and harder to believe you when you say you're unconvinced about who to support. Too bad.

Bruce Hayden said...

This notion that we are somehow winning now is simply preposterous. I suppose one could call defense cooperation with Iran and an ever growing expansion of ties between Iraq and Iran, winning. Will we have won when Iraq and Iran become full fledged allies? This war (which has been proved to be based on manufactured hype) has been nothing short of a geopolitical disaster. Please republicans do continue running your candidate on the success of the war.

Wishful thinking, but silly talking points, nevertheless.

I find it interesting though that the success of the war in Iraq is a moving target for those opposing it. When the casualties are up, the concentration is on them. But when they drop dramatically, like they have over the last year, the focus moves to political solutions. But as the Iraqis meet those benchmarks, the focus now moves to some imaginative Iranian problem.

Simon said...

Larry, your suggestion of bad faith is unnecessary, ill-supported, and (I think) should be withdrawn. You don't have to question someone's sincerity to disagree with their conclusions or dispute their reasoning.

Sloanasaurus said...

Different subject: Given the way the thread has bent, can someone define for me "Success in Iraq" and tell me in what way "the Surge has worked"? Because people are still getting killed in Iraq every day, I'd like to know the yardstick being used.

I will oblige as always.

Success in Iraq at it was planned in 2002 was removing Saddam Hussein. Removing Saddam Hussein has made the world far safer than it was in 2002. As of 2002 Saddam Hussein's Iraq was the most dangerous and evil regime on the planet. Today the Iraqi government spends over $100 billion per year in oil revenues on themsleves and fightng our enemies rather than causing trouble in the world.

Following Saddam's removal, Al Qaeda and other islamist groups chose to take their stand against us in Iraq rather than Afghanistan so essentially we are now fighting that war. Part of Al Qaeda's strategy was to fement civil war. The surge was the strategy designed to counter Al Qaeda and it has been successful.

Success in Iraq means leaving an Iraq that is relatively peaceful, that does not threaten its neighbors, that does not support terrorism, and does not proliferate nuclear weapons. Although Iraqi democracy was always a reach, that now also looks more attainable than ever before. One beneficial outcome of the long war has been to institutionalize Iraq's new army under the guidance of the U.S. which was built from scratch. This army could become the foundation of arab democracy as it was in Turkey.

montana urban legend said...

I love how Sloanasaurus says "What you will get is something akin to a 20 year old taking over daddy's company." Cause, I mean, how old was W. when he took over his "daddy's" job? And with all the intervening years of experience and perspective gained between the two administrations from which to learn - of managing a presidential administration, a state and a baseball team. And yes, I know, he learned by watching from afar about how to emulate Clinton's hubris, but not much about the other, and more successful aspects of his immediate predecessor's approach to executive management.

You guys are like the "dad" on The Graduate who counsels Dustin Hoffman's character to go into plastics. What a tired old guard with not much to offer in the way of anything constructive.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

You guys are like the "dad" on The Graduate who counsels Dustin Hoffman's character to go into plastics. What a tired old guard with not much to offer in the way of anything constructive.

Actually, wasn't that the most constructive advice he was offered that day? (I see a lot of things made of plastic around here...) It sure beat Mr. Robinson's advice to sow his wild oats...

Anyway. What I meant above was that Obama might not pull out defeat from the jaws of victory, but that that isn't the point. The point is that when the times were tough and he had a decision to make, he made the easy & expedient one. This is part of a consistent pattern with the junior senator from Illinois, and it isn't the case with the senior senator from Arizona.

That's the case for moderates for John McCain.

PatCA said...

Well, I'm a little late to the discussion but here is how I read his actions:

"It's good news that he's not an ideologue." He doesn't have any principles.

"I don't think he's going to lose the people who fell in love with him as a vision of idealism." He will lose them because they are fatally idealistic. (See this Poll informal as it is.)

"I think he's going to gain moderate people like me who want an effective, sensible leader." Changing his decision to benefit his rise to power shows me he's an opportunist, not a sensible leader.

Mugger said...

"silly talking points"

You guys live in a fantasyland. The "imaginative Iranian problem" is alive and well, but I guess only when it's convenient for you.

Re: Boosting defense cooperation:
http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-GCA-iraq/idUSL0925785720080609

Re: That security agreement with the US that's not going as team Bush expected:
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g4Sx1RDO6xF-Ggz2GsqBY6y0vq6AD91DC1TG1

Republicans had the support of practically the entire US after 9/11 and they've failed the country time and time again. Why would anyone consider voting for the same failed republican policies?

Simon said...

Mugger said...
"Republicans had the support of practically the entire US after 9/11 and they've failed the country time and time again."

After 9/11, majorities of both parties supported Bush because Democrats took it for granted that Bush would now deep six the conservative agenda and govern as a liberal, while Republicans took it for granted that Bush would govern as a conservative. Between 9/11 and 2004, liberal support collapsed because it had become apparent that their assumption was wrong, and between 2004 and 2008, conservative support collapsed because it became apparent that their assumption was wrong, too. Thus, Bush's numbers have reached the point that they have by alienating virtually everyone - the administration alienated liberals by being too conservative (e.g. domestic surveillance; faith-based initiatives), conservatives by being too liberal (e.g. immigration; spending), and everyone with its basic, fundamental and systemic incompetence (e.g. Katrina; Iraq).

Nevertheless, it's important to note that Bush has not governed as a conservative - not any kind of conservative, including the "compassionate conservative" he announced in advance. To note the failure of the administration and then wonder why anyone would vote for the "same failed Republican policies" is flawed because its predicate assumes that the administration followed Republican policies that failed. The administration failed precisely because it did not follow conservative principles. The challenge for McCain is to articulate that point.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

This notion amongst most of you that Obama supporters see him as the "Messiah" and are looking to him to change their lives is tired. Get a new one, guys.

Just because the media has sensationalized him and just because there is absolutely nothing exciting about McCain doesn't mean that average voters aren't supporting Obama simply because they think he's a reasonable choice.

If anyone is putting too much stock in Obama, it's you.

Seven Machos said...

Mugger -- Sunni Iraq and Shia Iran will never, ever form a coalition together. Was eighth grade graduation yesterday?

FLS -- Your list is a little screwy, particularly given that there is overlap that you did not account for and that the vice presidency is definitively an executive position. Also, let's leave W. off the list. His two-term presidency is ongoing. That's only fair. I support him. You don't. We all are ready for him to leave.

Presidents with executive/military experience.

FDR -- success.
Eisenhower -- success.
Carter -- failure.
Reagan -- success.
Clinton -- success.

That's 80 percent.

Vice presidents

Truman -- success.
Nixon -- not a failure.
GHW Bush -- not a failure.

That's 100 percent.

Presidents without executive experience.

JFK -- incomplete.
Ford -- incomplete.
LBJ -- failure.

That's zero percent. If you want to call JFK a success, fine. You still haven't got much.

Salamandyr said...

Simon the problem McCain has is, in the places where Bush is least conservative, McCain is right there with him.

Simon said...

Zach said...
"This notion amongst most of you that Obama supporters see him as the 'Messiah' and are looking to him to change their lives is tired."

Gee, where could we have got that impression from?

Seven Machos said...

Mugger -- on edit: Sunni and Kurd Iraq.

Seven Machos said...

Yeah, conservatism is a loser in this country. All those Republican senators and representatives who lost recently did so because they weren't voting for enough pork and hadn't sold out enough to lobbyists.

Simon said...

Salamandyr, I think I know what you're getting at, but could you elaborate? What do you have in mind, other than immigration (that one's a bit of a wash in this election)?

AJ Lynch said...

Montana:

Would you share your Top Ten or Five reasons why Bush has been a bad prez?

montana urban legend said...

Wow, Simon. I never realized that Bush's promise to make good on his past bipartisan successes and to govern as a "uniter not a divider" were part of the "conservative agenda" he is apparently now seen to have run on.

Obviously, it's Rove whose "conservative agenda" defined the direction of the Bush administration, but let's not let facts get in the way or anything.

Seven Machos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

Top Reasons Why Bush Has Been a Terrible President, by Seven Machos, subbing for leftists all over

1. There is nearly a recession. Almost.

2. There is a correction in the housing market. How are you supposed to get a four-bedroom prairie house in Evanston if you can't sell at a tidy profit?

3. Soldiers have died in a war the left stopped supporting.

4. Osama bin Laden is, ostensibly, still alive.

5. Prisoners of war are not getting the same complement of rights that white collar criminals get.

6. Oil prices are high. This used to something the left wanted, until it happened.

7. The dollar is weak. This makes in harder to vacation abroad during sabbaticals.

8. Bush has pushed for prayer in public schools, the criminality of abortion, vast restrictions on immigration, and huge budget cuts for youth programs.

9. Bush failed to work with Democrats on his signature legislation, No Child Left Behind.

10. Bush continues to support ridiculous free trade policies that no Democratic president would ever champion.

montana urban legend said...

It's not exactly my personal opinion that matters all that much, aj. You see, in a democracy, some might say it matters to have a greater than 20% approval rating. Perhaps you disagree. But his party sure seems to resent him for that.

The other issue is one of competence - which, noting his disregard for his own job approval rating, might skew his views (and yours) on that score as well.

If Bush didn't give a damn about the standing of his presidency, his party or the handling of the Iraq war, then it's not my problem if the democracy he claims to govern so effectively turns around and punishes him and his party for it. But perhaps you identify with his philosophy of government too. Whether he means it or not, combining a nearly authoritarian sense of intellectual rigidity (mimicked in many places) with a sell-out of conservative values doesn't seem to make the case for his success on many other scales either.

It must be lonely defending Bush or demanding evidence of his plainly evident failures when so few conservatives even feel that they can manage to meaningfully do so.

blake said...

Simon--

Katrina? I know that Bush's (numerous) enemies want to paint that as an administration failure--and I guess there's no arguing that, like a lot of things in this administration, it was a massive PR failure--but in terms of actual response, it was "by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history".

Not voting for O! Not voting for Mc.

Didn't vote for Bush, but the tarring he's taken makes me feel sorry for the guy.

montana urban legend said...

Ben, maybe McCain's problem is that he sets himself up to be in difficult fixes. Or maybe he's just unlucky. Sure he's had success in his life. And even politically. But having Rove/Bush wrench his chances at the presidency in 2000 couldn't have been good. And now his chances at winning are even worse. His time is past. All this must make a man, as aware as he must be of where he would have governed more effectively than Bush, more bitter than he will let on.

Seven Machos said...

Presidencies are not art. Nobody cares how Bush makes you feel. Nobody's asking you how popular he is.

What policy issues do you disagree with?

Seven Machos said...

Blake -- I hope you realize that thousands of Iowans will be living in motels in Topeka and Peoria for the next several years. That's Bush's fault, too.

Also, let's try a different question: what are you sure that Obama is going to do when he gets in office except raise taxes?

blake said...

You see, in a democracy, some might say it matters to have a greater than 20% approval rating. Perhaps you disagree.

I'll disagree. First of all, we don't have a democracy--a point that I would normally regard as nitpicking, except that in this case, the Republic is so constructed so that the country doesn't drift with the whims of the mob.

The other issue is one of competence - which, noting his disregard for his own job approval rating, might skew his views (and yours) on that score as well.

He's staggeringly bad at PR. But then those involved in generating the bad PR are not operating in good faith.

If Bush didn't give a damn about the standing of his presidency, his party or the handling of the Iraq war, then it's not my problem if the democracy he claims to govern so effectively turns around and punishes him and his party for it.

It must be confessed that he's unlikely to win a third term.

But perhaps you identify with his philosophy of government too.

Not even a little bit.

Whether he means it or not, combining a nearly authoritarian sense of intellectual rigidity

I'm sure someone else can explain what that means.

with a sell-out of conservative values doesn't seem to make the case for his success on many other scales either.

I think he said he didn't go with small-government type policies because he didn't think anyone wanted them.

It really doesn't matter what he did. As you note, he sold out "conservative values", but that didn't make the libs happy.

Much of what he did was what Clinton and Gore said they would do, and had Gore won in 2000, the same people (on both sides) would be arguing the exact opposite points.

It must be lonely defending Bush

Oh, it is. I didn't vote for him. I disagree with him on almost everything. But he is Our President, and he's getting a bum rap.

or demanding evidence of his plainly evident failures when so few conservatives even feel that they can manage to meaningfully do so.

It'd be okay with me if people pointed out his failures. Actually, Republicans do a pretty good job of that.

Democrats, on the other hand, start in the morning with, "Well, first thing he did wrong was wake up...."

montana urban legend said...

"like a lot of things in this administration", Blake? Just to what degree was the administration's failure merely one of PR? And again, in a democracy, the electorate actually is your boss. When your boss says he's done hiring people like you can you really chalk something like that up to a "PR" problem? Can you really say that you didn't make your case as effectively as you should have under circumstances like that? For the party that positions itself as championing capitalism, it's downright laughably ridiculous to hear the contortionist apologetics that Bush so fantastically garners. Especially while they ridicule Obama's supporters as following the "messiah"!

I mean, the Bush apologetics are starting to remind me of the gang in Animal House or some other prankster movie after they get reamed out. It's time for Republican apologists to admit that they had a fun go of it for the time, but the success they envision from those antics is either a Hollywood fiction at this point, or something that is not going to pay off any time soon.

blake said...

Also, let's try a different question: what are you sure that Obama is going to do when he gets in office except raise taxes?

Increase regulation, coddle terrorists--there can be no doubt about this, can there?--and I'm not 100% sure, but I'll bet there's gonna be some ennui.

Still can't vote for McCain. First amendment and all that.

blake said...

I hope you realize that thousands of Iowans will be living in motels in Topeka and Peoria for the next several years. That's Bush's fault, too.

To which I can only say...

Oh, there's nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all

There's an Iowa kind of special
Chip-on-the-shoulder attitude
We've never been without
That we recall

We can be cold
As our falling thermometers in December
If you ask about our weather in July

And we're so by God stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye

But what the heck
You're welcome
Join us at the picnic
You can eat your fill
Of all the food you bring yourself

You really ought to give Iowa a try
Provided you are contrary

We can be cold
As our falling thermometer in December
If you ask about our weather in July
And we're so by God stubborn
We can stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye

But we'll give you our shirt
And a back to go with it
If your crops should happen to die

So, what the heck, you're welcome,
Glad to have you with us.
Even though we may not ever mention it again.
You really ought to give Iowa

Hawkeye Iowa
Dubuque Des Moines Davenport, Marshalltown Mason City Keokuk, Ames Clear Lake

Ought to give Iowa a try!

montana urban legend said...

My bad, Blake. If you're not defending him from a partisan standpoint - and I'm not attacking him from one either - then I think the take-home point is that while the Democrats might start every morning pointing out his failures, what matters is that now independents are punishing him (and by extension, his party) because of it.

Anyways, the point to keep in mind is competence. The other side wouldn't care if he wasn't conservative enough to keep the government less bloated either. But to balloon the debt at the same time shows that this is no longer a partisan issue. It's an issue of how much of a non-adherent to a partisan principle can you be while simultaneously not giving a damn about a pretty solidly moderate principle that could at least be said to offset that: staying out of increasingly pointless levels of debt?

Seven Machos said...

So, Montana, about those policies you disagree with...

montana urban legend said...

Energy, for one.

montana urban legend said...

Wait a minute. I'm responding to someone who thinks that elections and how one governs is meaningless. My bad. Sorry if anyone took that to mean that I thought there was anything worth discussing with Machos.

buster said...

Lincoln wasn't a governor or military leader.

buster said...

Lincoln wasn't a governor or military leader.

AJ Lynch said...

Montana:

Listed one area that Bush failed. Montana listed "energy".

Then Montana stopped. What do you mean that Bush did not give you the personal energy to list more than one failure?

You are a typical liberal. If you don't like or agree with Bush just say that. And admit you don't know a policy from your ass.

That 's OK - you can vote with your emotion like most of Obama's fans.

Last question- was Clinton blamed for the tech bubble and was he blamed when it burst?

montana urban legend said...

Right aj. You've got me pegged.

I "stopped" because "Machos", much like yourself, isn't worth having a conversation with. Also, I understand that energy policy is just an abstraction to conservatives, or whatever you call yourself (p.s. someone who votes regardless of party is called an "independent", not that anyone's counting, right?), but can anyone honestly say that it's not a big part of so many other policy concerns?

Balancing budgets should be done irrespective of economic prosperity or recessions. But as an "evil librul until proven otherwise" I guess you wouldn't have assumed I'd take such a radical position. Stop thinking your political enemies are lurking around every corner. You're starting to sound like Nixon. It's not winning your side adherents. It's also bad, uh, "PR".

Given the direction in which the thread's turned, the current standstill is reminding me of a Borat episode - the one where he goes looking for a job. His prospective employer asks him what his previous boss would say about him. To which Borat responds, "He will say bad things, but that is because he is a liar."

This perfectly captures the current state of Republican apologia that condemn the voters as stupid and focused on trivial concerns (or the newest one - based purely on "emotion") while they have the arrogance to think they should win elections. But at least their approach isn't authoritarian!

Right.

montana urban legend said...

Oh, and just for kicks, one other policy I disagree with: Outing CIA operatives because their husband went to Niger and wrote a piece critical of your case for WMDs in Iraq. Yeah. I disagree with that policy. Big Time.

Must mean I'm a hard-core partisan to strongly oppose that policy. Surely I'll wind up on some internet troll's enemies list for that.

blake said...

My bad, Blake. If you're not defending him from a partisan standpoint

I'm not.

- and I'm not attacking him from one either

I'm less sure of that than you are, obviously. :-)

then I think the take-home point is that while the Democrats might start every morning pointing out his failures, what matters is that now independents are punishing him (and by extension, his party) because of it.

Part of that is bad, horribly bad, monstrously bad PR. How the @#$(* did this guy win the Presidency?

Good lord, on the one hand we have otherwise reasonable people here who will actually bring up Jeff freakin' Gannon as though it were some huge gotcha! I've read the fever dreams of those on the left who imagine a gay prostitution ring being run out of the White House!

Remind anyone of the Clintons' murderous, drug-running ways? Mena? 94 unexplained corpses?

Those are PR battles one doesn't try to win. The ears they're meant for don't believe you anyway.

But stuff about the war? The greatest (in both senses of the word) thing this administration has done, and they just let the accusations and propaganda float by. Haditha, Abu Grahib, Fallujah, "Bush Lied!", etc. etc. etc.

It has to be considered a cataclysmic failure that the White House wasn't out there pressing the PR war as aggressively as our troops waged the actual battles.

Anyways, the point to keep in mind is competence. The other side wouldn't care if he wasn't conservative enough to keep the government less bloated either. But to balloon the debt at the same time shows that this is no longer a partisan issue.

The debt is always--and only--an issue for the party not in power. The Dems were (and are) happy to claim Clinton created a surplus.

I'd love to see the debt eliminated, but I don't see anyone interested in that. And, truthfully, I'm not sure how big a deal it is, on the scale of things. We could eliminate the debt tomorrow and end up bankrupt because we don't do anything about ballooning social programs.

It's an issue of how much of a non-adherent to a partisan principle can you be while simultaneously not giving a damn about a pretty solidly moderate principle that could at least be said to offset that: staying out of increasingly pointless levels of debt?

As I said, the debt issue is always, always, always partisan. You can see from these handy charts that the percentage of the debt relative to GDP is about where it was during Clinton, when the Reps complained--but also that it was very low during the miserable '70s.

So, y'know, what's it mean?

The Reps are getting spanked--and deserving it--for not living up to their principles. A lot of internal party critics say they have, essentially, acted like Democrats.

But they've really just acted like the guys in power. What the guy with the checkbook is doing is so much less important when that guy is you.

The Dems, of course, have been no better in the last year-and-a-half. Certainly, beating the GOP to death over pork and corruption has made them no less receptive to pork and corruption themselves.

Jim C. said...

Blogger The Deacon said... Listen, oh listen, to the tired conservative hens clucking away. *yawn*
Did none of you notice McCain's turnaround on torture? Didn't he author a bill on campain finance reform? As noted above, Obama has collected his money from the folks, not the corps like McCain.


But Obama will bring us change! So far he's changing his image into that of a typical politician.

Is the change you were hoping for?

Next outrage, please.

Listen to the tired attempt of liberals trying to dismiss the obvious. Even the liberal is bored with it. I'm certain there'll be another outrage. No hope involved. And no change, either.

blake said...

Oh, and just for kicks, one other policy I disagree with: Outing CIA operatives because their husband went to Niger and wrote a piece critical of your case for WMDs in Iraq. Yeah. I disagree with that policy. Big Time.

Must mean I'm a hard-core partisan to strongly oppose that policy.


Ah, but what you've said is a pitch-perfect anti-Bsh talking point. Valerie Plame was not outed in any significant sense. Her picture ran in Vanity Fair. She went to work every day at Langley. And the NYT piece was a simple--and inaccurate--political hit piece, that assumed you had already swallowed the anti-war meme that the whole Iraq thing was about WMDs. (An idea, by the way, the NYT breezily contradicted in 2004 when trying to elect Kerry.)

So, yeah, it's a totally partisan point. You have to argue that the administration technically outed--because Novak was first, IIRC--a technically secret agent. And you have to side with the NYT which has repeatedly outed secret programs in their effort to undermine the war.

Now, it might show some really bad motives, no doubt. I'm not sure what those would be, though. Was someone going poison Plame's "#1 Spy" coffee mug on her desk at Langley. I'm more inclined to believe that it was meant to undermine her motives for having orchestrated the whole trip.

But that was no more proven than it was that Clinton bombed an aspirin/baby formula factory to distract from Monica's testimony.

C'mon, the Bush administration has done a buttload of stupid stuff, you can do better than Plame.

montana urban legend said...

Blake, if you think I'd let a Democrat president off the hook because he used recessions as an excuse for ballooning the debt, then you'd be wrong.

At some point it's a reflection of not thinking about the long-term. Same goes for our energy policies - and the suggestion that opening up a wildlife refuge so that after 10 years we can start reducing the price of gas by $0.02 per gallon is a serious proposal. In the meantime, forget the funding MidEast dictatorships meme when it comes to the role of a limited resource controlled by cartels. The fact that Dubai's becoming the next global Disneyland thanks, in part, to our shortsightedness is just as scandalous. In the same meantime, Honda's released the first hydrogen-fueled car that can be filled up in your own home and Detroit makes excuses for being just as uncompetitive as the last time they made that excuse.

At some point, a pragmatist has to look to the long-term and decide that while the right-left antagonism is just as pointless as always, there's nothing wrong with figuring out which side of the right-left divide has an actual, proven pragmatist on their hands with the maturity to emphasize the pragmatic nature of whatever ideas it will require to solve these problems.

Seven Machos said...

So you are voting for Obama because someone besides Bush in his administration may have told a reporter that someone was a desk jockey at the CIA? Really?

That may be the most simultaneously false and asinine thing I have ever heard.

That's like me voting for W. because of some minor thing Donna Shalala did. But go ahead, man. Live your dreams.

Seven Machos said...

Was Lincoln really a successful president? Most who have a civil war start on their watch aren't.

I'm just throwing this out there for discussion...

montana urban legend said...

Talking point or not, I take the Plame affair very seriously. I am personally close to people I know who have worked in intelligence. There is more than enough evidence to show that Rove was pulling some strings, and if Bush wants to use some sort of plausible but Nixonian sense of disinterested non-involvement as his excuse, he's entitled. In fact, that's the explanation I believe. But it doesn't make his reaction to it any more defensible. And it doesn't make him any less responsible.

Let's get serious Blake. I actually believe that Clinton's lack of a sense of any sort of principles is what led an otherwise "successful" presidency to fall to the opposition at its close. I would have gone w/McCain over Hillary for many of the same reasons, except exacerbated ten-fold just because I happen to believe she's that much more unprincipled than he is. But we can actually look into the characters of individuals from both parties. To deny that the Bushes hold the importance of personal and political loyalty to a fault - to the detriment of a whole bunch of legitimate concerns including but not limited to legal concerns - is just plain unrealistic.

montana urban legend said...

"So you are voting for Obama because someone besides Bush in his administration may have told a reporter that someone was a desk jockey at the CIA? Really?"

No.


"That may be the most simultaneously false and asinine thing I have ever heard."

It's also not what I said.

Does using terms like "asinine" make you feel authoritative?


"That's like me voting for W. because of some minor thing Donna Shalala did."

Not really.


"But go ahead, man. Live your dreams."

It's my intention to do so, not my dream. It's also the intention and dream of a whole bunch of people whom you misrepresent with your endless straw men.

Votes for Obama don't only occur because the Bush presidency, by nearly any historian's standard, is considered a failed one. But that's one reason for many people, undoubtedly. Just because you don't listen to what people say and have contempt for anyone who disagrees with you (not that you have the brains or intellectual honesty to ever identify what the disagreements are about) doesn't make them wrong. Or unsuccessful. Ultimately Obama will win and for you to refuse to see why is the ultimate exercise in futility. For anyone with their own mind to have a conversation with you is a complete waste of time - and to such a degree that you probably can't help but realize that and instead choose to thrive off the negative attention which can be the only thing that you could possibly get from your contributions here.

blake said...

Blake, if you think I'd let a Democrat president off the hook because he used recessions as an excuse for ballooning the debt, then you'd be wrong.

So, how do you feel about FDR?

My point is that I'm not sure it's as big an issue as the party out of power makes it. And if the electorate felt differently, we'd have had eight years of Perot.

At some point it's a reflection of not thinking about the long-term.

Sounds good. But doesn't really point to specifics.

Same goes for our energy policies - and the suggestion that opening up a wildlife refuge so that after 10 years we can start reducing the price of gas by $0.02 per gallon is a serious proposal.

You undermine your "independent" cred by quoting the "two cents in ten years" thing. Also, environmentally speaking, ANWR is about the best place to drill. It's mostly a mosquito refuge, and we're talking a tiny percentage of it.

Now, start ANWR, more in Montana and Colorado, Florida and California coasts--I think that might have an impact.

And if it takes ten years, well, we could've started this ten years ago. Or 20. And there's no reason to believe things will be any better ten years from now if we don't start doing something.

It's ridiculous to suggest that increasing the supply won't lower the price. You can argue that we can't significantly increase the supply, but I don't believe that's borne out by the geological data.

You can, of course, argue that we can do better. I'm all for it: But I want actual proof that the replacement is better. Gasoline is highly under-rated.

In the meantime, forget the funding MidEast dictatorships meme when it comes to the role of a limited resource controlled by cartels.

OK, but that's pretty much been policy for--what--ever?

The fact that Dubai's becoming the next global Disneyland thanks, in part, to our shortsightedness is just as scandalous.

Why's that? The Arab world could use some Mickey Mouse.

In the same meantime, Honda's released the first hydrogen-fueled car that can be filled up in your own home and Detroit makes excuses for being just as uncompetitive as the last time they made that excuse.

Wait, filled up with what?

Yeah, Detroit sucks. This is not a newsflash. The bastards fought seatbelts for crying out loud.

there's nothing wrong with figuring out which side of the right-left divide has an actual, proven pragmatist on their hands with the maturity to emphasize the pragmatic nature of whatever ideas it will require to solve these problems.

I have NO idea who you're talking about now. Obama? Really?

I hope you're right.

I see two guys running on their own self-righteousness. It does not make me feel warm and fuzzy about the next four years.

blake said...

Was Lincoln really a successful president? Most who have a civil war start on their watch aren't.

Meh. The Civil War started in 1619.

blake said...

There is more than enough evidence to show that Rove was pulling some strings,

But from the other side, what you're saying here is that the Bush administration has no right to defend itself.

A partisan operative sends her husband, also a partisan operative and not a qualified agent, even, to Niger. He then lies about what he saw--and contradicts his own sworn testimony--in order to damage the administration and influence the election.

Even knowing that desk-jockey Plame had "secret" status, is it your position that the administration should have sat idly by as though this were an honest report given in good faith?

Let's get serious Blake.

Oh, Lord, please, no. The only thing that makes this sort of thing bearable is the ability to laugh at it like the Kabuki it is.

Actually, that's sort of culturally insensitive. Let's call it Cirque du Soleil.

I actually believe that Clinton's lack of a sense of any sort of principles is what led an otherwise "successful" presidency to fall to the opposition at its close.

True. I think the same lack led to its successes, as well, though. Heh. Go figger. (No way was welfare reform part of the Clinton platform. But he was smart enough to back a winning horse.)

But we can actually look into the characters of individuals from both parties.

We can only judge them by their actions.

To deny that the Bushes hold the importance of personal and political loyalty to a fault - to the detriment of a whole bunch of legitimate concerns including but not limited to legal concerns - is just plain unrealistic.

And I wouldn't argue it. No doubt. But it is business as usual. Certainly with the Clintons--it could be argued that's why Hillary lost the primary. Reagan and Bush I were probably more results-oriented. Nixon had an enemies list and plenty of cronies. LBJ? Heh.

Good lord, Truman! U.S. Grant! Jefferson! Adams? Nah, not Adams. He was the last honest President we had. Heh.

AJ Lynch said...

Montana said:

"I am personally close to people I know who worked in intelligence".

That sounds like six degrees to Kevin Bacon. Majored in English did you?

We all know people in law enforcement. It is still disputed that Plame was covert! The MSM should have been the ones to unmask her husband because the Betway MSM all knew it. But they waited til Richard Armitage got the ball rolling then tried to pin it on Rove.

You know I bumped into Chris Matthews on the street a few weeks (I don't personally know him) and asked him when Karl Rove was going to be indicted because I trust you for the truth Chris! He could have crapped himself right on the spot. Speechless he was.

montana urban legend said...

"Blake, if you think I'd let a Democrat president off the hook because he used recessions as an excuse for ballooning the debt, then you'd be wrong.

So, how do you feel about FDR?"

I feel that he dealt with pressures that W. could only dream of. I also feel he took his job a bit more seriously. I also feel he had a better excuse for the debt. Like that fact that it hadn't become an entrenched "nuisance" by then.


"My point is that I'm not sure it's as big an issue as the party out of power makes it. And if the electorate felt differently, we'd have had eight years of Perot."

Sounds good to me.



"At some point it's a reflection of not thinking about the long-term.

Sounds good. But doesn't really point to specifics."

So what?



"Same goes for our energy policies - and the suggestion that opening up a wildlife refuge so that after 10 years we can start reducing the price of gas by $0.02 per gallon is a serious proposal.

You undermine your "independent" cred by quoting the "two cents in ten years" thing. Also, environmentally speaking, ANWR is about the best place to drill. It's mostly a mosquito refuge, and we're talking a tiny percentage of it."

That's nice. But I sure do hold up to whatever "cred" I get from a bachelor of science and doctorate by bringing this up, as well as by addressing angles that you're completely neglecting.


"Now, start ANWR, more in Montana and Colorado, Florida and California coasts--I think that might have an impact."

I seem to understand the significance of something called a "limited resource" and the signficance of carbon dioxide's low heat capacity, though.


"And if it takes ten years, well, we could've started this ten years ago. Or 20. And there's no reason to believe things will be any better ten years fromnow if we don't start doing something."

Which is a meaningless point to debate at a much more urgent time. Like now, for instance.


"It's ridiculous to suggest that increasing the supply won't lower the price. You can argue that we can't significantly increase the supply, but I don't believe that's borne out by the geological data."

Who argued that? And unless you show some kind of geologist's cred, this statement is as meaningful to me as any other argument from personal observation, ubiquitous in cyberspace and meaningless as a credible solution.


"You can, of course, argue that we can do better. I'm all for it: But I want actual proof that the replacement is better. Gasoline is highly under-rated."

Of course there are ways to do better. The first way is by discussing it in a serious manner.


"In the meantime, forget the funding MidEast dictatorships meme when it comes to the role of a limited resource controlled by cartels.

OK, but that's pretty much been policy for--what--ever?"

Again, not an argument.



"The fact that Dubai's becoming the next global Disneyland thanks, in part, to our shortsightedness is just as scandalous.

Why's that? The Arab world could use some Mickey Mouse.



In the same meantime, Honda's released the first hydrogen-fueled car that can be filled up in your own home and Detroit makes excuses for being just as uncompetitive as the last time they made that excuse.

Wait, filled up with what?"

Check out their website. Honda FCX Clarity. Or GOOGLE "Honda Hydrogen". It's really not hard. And it would improve your credentials when it comes to basic research methods.


"Yeah, Detroit sucks. This is not a newsflash. The bastards fought seatbelts for crying out loud.

there's nothing wrong with figuring out which side of the right-left divide has an actual, proven pragmatist on their hands with the maturity to emphasize the pragmatic nature of whatever ideas it will require to solve these problems.

I have NO idea who you're talking about now. Obama? Really?

I hope you're right. "

I think I am.


"I see two guys running on their own self-righteousness. It does not make me feel warm and fuzzy about the next four years."

I don't know why some people see so much of this. I'm willing to listen to why. I just don't see where they get that from. It does seem that either one of them would be more competent, though - which could surely, and not unjustifiably, correlate to self-righteousness given the comparative quality of their predecessors.

Ralph said...

The people who should be mad are other Democrats running for office. Obama will now soak up a lot of money that might have gone to them.

montana urban legend said...

Lynch, you don't know me. I wouldn't want to know you. Suffice it to say there is no reason for me to get into details about people I know personally or what their relation is to me. Especially not for your sake. Blake's capable of not questioning my sincerity, so I prefaced my remarks the way I did so that he could understand where I was coming from. But you're not even capable of that, and apparently not capable of having a serious discussion, period. So go back to your troll cave and envision partisans to hack away at and to be a hack for, and don't forget to correct the English on a blog comments section.

Oh, and get a life. It's a Friday night. People who appreciate English literature tend to actually want to experience life before writing about it.

Simon said...

Seven Machos said...
"Was Lincoln really a successful president? Most who have a civil war start on their watch aren't."

Well, in limine, did the civil war start on Lincoln's watch? The south began seceding on December 24th, 1860, formally founded the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861, and by the time that Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4th, 1861, seven states were in a state of rebellion claiming allegiance to a purportedly foreign power. True, Lincoln was President when hostilities began with the attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. But war does not begin when the first shots are fired. Germany declared war with the United States on December 11, 1941; the first confrontation between the United States and the German armies, I suppose, would have been operation Torch, nearly a year later. Were we not at war with Germany in the meantime?

montana urban legend said...

"There is more than enough evidence to show that Rove was pulling some strings,

But from the other side, what you're saying here is that the Bush administration has no right to defend itself. "

Who said that? They had their day(s) in court. As well as tons of days trying to prove that going to court was something beneath them.


"A partisan operative sends her husband, also a partisan operative and not a qualified agent, even, to Niger. He then lies about what he saw--and contradicts his own sworn testimony--in order to damage the administration and influence the election."

Plame was a partisan operative? She was a CIA agent. It's not a partisan job. And what evidence do you have for Wilson's alleged "lies"?


"Even knowing that desk-jockey Plame had "secret" status, is it your position that the administration should have sat idly by as though this were an honest report given in good faith?"

Right. They should have violated their solemn obligations, jeopardized national security, and outed her status. No other options.


"Let's get serious Blake.

Oh, Lord, please, no. The only thing that makes this sort of thing bearable is the ability to laugh at it like the Kabuki it is.

Actually, that's sort of culturally insensitive. Let's call it Cirque du Soleil."

Ok. If you aren't into objective reality, or deny it exists or that that it's not worth having discussions with that as a goal, then nothing matters - including this conversation.


"I actually believe that Clinton's lack of a sense of any sort of principles is what led an otherwise "successful" presidency to fall to the opposition at its close.

True. I think the same lack led to its successes, as well, though. Heh. Go figger. (No way was welfare reform part of the Clinton platform. But he was smart enough to back a winning horse.)

But we can actually look into the characters of individuals from both parties.

We can only judge them by their actions."

Which is certainly what I, and many others, have done.

Seven Machos said...

Montana -- I have worked with many people in the CIA. I have heard them say on more than one occasion that if it's not generally known in diplomatic circles that you are CIA by the time you leave your post then you didn't do your job.

The CIA is one of the most misunderstood and, in my opinion, dysfunctional and bad-at-its-job organizations in U.S. government.

Seven Machos said...

I think Lincoln was a great man and a great president. I think he did what was necessary to win the war and, in ending slavery here when it was so entrenched, he did something great in American and human history.

That said, I just don't think it's reasonable to call his presidency successful. That's a weird dichotomy, I know. But that's how I see it.

Anyway, that was a long time ago.

blogging cockroach said...

'speechless he was'

aj--of yoda speak excellent use
try to speak and write like yoda
everyone should
yeesssssss.

mul--
'i don't know why some people see so much of this
i'm willing to listen to why
i just don't see where they get that from
it does seem that either one of them would be more competent, though
- which could surely, and not unjustifiably, correlate
to self-righteousness
given the comparative quality of their predecessors'

yoda says--
why some people see so much of this i know not
willing to listen to why, i am
i just see not where they get that from
more competent, it does seem that either one of them would be, though
- surely, which could, and not unjustifiably,
to self-righteousness
given the comparative quality
of their predecessors correlate.

make any more sense it may not
but more entertaining this way, it is
hmmmmmm

montana urban legend said...

"Montana -- I have worked with many people in the CIA. I have heard them say on more than one occasion that if it's not generally known in diplomatic circles that you are CIA by the time you leave your post then you didn't do your job.

The CIA is one of the most misunderstood and, in my opinion, dysfunctional and bad-at-its-job organizations in U.S. government."

None of which justifies the actions of the Bush administration vis a vis Plame.

It seems there's a pest here who feels taunted by the fact that complex thoughts and complex speech eludes him.

blogging cockroach said...

definitely be carried on in yoda-speak, this thread should
it is the only way, make any sense, will it
or to read at least be entertaining enough
yeesssssss.

oh say i should say
vote for obama will i
herh herh herh

Seven Machos said...

Perhaps if Plame wanted to remain discreet in her desk jog at Langley she shouldn't have recommended her husband go to Niger and then allow her husband to criticize the administration based on his "findings" during the trip.

The CIA, you will recall, is supposed to remain apolitical.

By the way, Montana, I, too, find that whenever I try to call someone dumb in a post, I invariably make a grammatical mistake. It's one of the things that makes me believe there is a God, and that He values humility.

blogging cockroach said...

eludes not badly expressed thought
in crashing polysyllables me

me, it bores me
hmmm

montana urban legend said...

by changing the syntax, arrive at a better understanding blogging cockroach does not

meaning it is, that which eludes him, grasp complex details he cannot, and improve this mental glitch for him this effort of his will not, regardless of who becomes the next president

montana urban legend said...

The phrase that the cockroach is playing with contained no insults - insults to anyone's intelligence or otherwise. And if there is a God I'm not sure that he would condone humility as a good excuse for a bad policy, a bad idea, or a poorly constructed argument.

montana urban legend said...

So now Plame is responsible for her husband's actions? She committed the sin of being "politically" motivated (how about ethically motivated? Is that ever a possibility?) and therefore, she should pay some kind of "price" for the fact that what Joe Wilson reported wasn't flattering to the administration?

Sloanasaurus said...

Plame was a partisan operative? She was a CIA agent. It's not a partisan job. And what evidence do you have for Wilson's alleged "lies"?

Plame was part of the cabal with her husband at the CIA out to discredit the Bush Administration. You know Bush, the one who was elected by the people to run the executive branch. PLame and her husband are a disgrace to the United States of America and to the government that the people chose. She is a traitor trying to hide under the cover of her job.

Seven Machos said...

Wow, Montana. For a guy whose arguments have amounted to "Bush sucks because I don't like him," you sure do have a lot of gumption. I admire that in a preening intellectual. I really do.

Seven Machos said...

I hate to break this to you, kid, but CIA people get sent home all the time because of their spouses. It's part of the job.

Sloanasaurus said...

therefore, she should pay some kind of "price" for the fact that what Joe Wilson reported wasn't flattering to the administration?

Joe Wilson upon his return wrote a scathing report about Bush in the NY Times about his trip to Niger. Yet, when he tesitified under oath before the Senate committee he told a completely different story. Why is that?

The fact is that, Saddam did try to buy uranium from Niger. That is where Saddam got Uranium in the 1980s, and that is where the British said he was trying to buy it in the 1990s. But liberals hate facts - those pesky things.

blogging cockroach said...

bravo, amanda
yoda-speak well done it is
yesssss

now i shouldn't watch so much star wars
with tommy--he's the boy whose computer i use--
but i've gotta admit yoda-speak
clearly forces you to think in different way
it does

but i'm now off to check out that meatball
mom dropped under the stove
maybe when i get back
this thread will be in yoda-speak
french, german, spanish, latin
or some language i can understand
'cause it sure hasn't been in english

oh, and amanda--
do not confuse intolerance
of your bad writing
with mental deficiency

montana urban legend said...

"PLame and her husband are a disgrace to the United States of America and to the government that the people chose. She is a traitor trying to hide under the cover of her job."

Nice accusations. Nice excuse for breaking that law. And nice way to throw "traitor" around in this meaningless and authoritarian way that has become quite the fashion. It cheapens the actual meaning of the word in the same way that it cheapens the historical significance of Hitler to make everything that one doesn't like about Munich and Chamberlain and Nazis, etc.


"Wow, Montana. For a guy whose arguments have amounted to "Bush sucks because I don't like him," you sure do have a lot of gumption. I admire that in a preening intellectual. I really do."

Not sure what that means, but I'll just suppose it's an example of that godly humility you claim to have embraced, the kind that you think I should emulate.


"I hate to break this to you, kid, but CIA people get sent home all the time because of their spouses. It's part of the job."

It's also part of their boss's job to do it in a legal way. Identify Plame's conflict of interest? You are stretching this beyond belief. If you don't think the government should be legally obligated to do what it can to help keep the identities of intelligence agents secret, argue that. You're not though, obviously. It helps redirect the discussion onto whatever axe you seem so intent on grinding. They broke an important law. They did that as much for the sake of their own political gain. And for some reason you can't seem to accept that they had a weaker ethical case - if they ever even had one - for doing so.

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