November 17, 2008

"Let's call John Kerry's loss in 2004 what it is: the luckiest thing to happen to Democrats in 40 years."

Writes David W. Rohde in TNR:
[Kerry] would have faced a Republican Congress substantially weighted against him and hell-bent on disrupting his legislative agenda....

[T]he Bush administration survived, and the public grew increasingly disenchanted with its performance and the Republican brand....

It is difficult to predict precisely how events would have unfolded. For example, opinions of Bush suffered greatly from his handling of Hurricane Katrina; perhaps Kerry's approach would have been a big boost. Also, the situation in Iraq might have been very different, and that could have affected election results and governance....
The situation in Iraq? You mean the war John Kerry was hell-bent on losing for us? Can we have a little detail on that point? Rodhe is so hot to promote the Democratic Party that he paradoxically must abandon his best argument that Kerry's loss was a lucky thing for the party: most likely, Kerry would have lost the war, and the "situation" in Iraq in 2008 would have been chaotic and ugly, leading American voters to lurch toward the Republicans.

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade said:
Heheheh...she said lurch.

Ha ha:

60 comments:

Simon said...

From the story:
"Those 1964 [Democratic] victories made possible the passage of a long list of legislation backed by northern Democrats, including federal aid to education, Medicare, and the Voting Rights Act."

Ah, yes, because it was the GOP that was the stumbling block to passing the Voting Rights Act, a stumbling block finally overcome by the 1964 Democratic victory. Funny, then, that of the 92 votes against its passage, all but 21 came from Democrats despite 162 GOP votes on the roll call. Yep, it must have been Democrats who made that act possible...

Honestly, could we get some honesty?

Meade said...

Heheheh...she said lurch.

zeek said...

Kerry would have Lost the war? How do you ever win this thing, Archie? The military accomplished everything it set out to do:
- Get rid of weapons of mass destruction that will be used against us. There weren't any. Check.
- Get rid of Saddam Hussein. Check.
- Get rid of his government. Check.
- Install a government we approve of. Check.
- Have free elections. Check.
How much more "won" can this war be? That they don't want want we forced on them is not our fault. Oh, actually, it is. This old fashioned notion of "winning" wars should have gone out with WWII.

The author has a point. Allowed to retain power longer, the Republicans have painfully illustrated their policies and philosophies DO NO WORK.

Pogo said...

Can we say goodbye to the business term "the brand" applied to nonbusinesses? It's so godawful simplistic and lacks any meaningful content.

Are people so stupid as to change political brands like they shop for soda and coffee?

Well, waitaminnit.
Obama is President, based all on packaging and the promise of free prizes in every box. Dear Lord, Rohde's actually right. Politics has effectively been reduced to "the most successful adverts win". And Captain Crunch is now our leader.

Ann, you just made me even more depressed. I'd be suicidal, but I can't afford the burial just now.

Ann Althouse said...

Meade, your link failed. But I know what you mean, but see my front-page.

Lem said...

It was the worst keapt secret.

I have a confession:
Gary Kamiya wrote on salon.com after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings.

http://tinyurl.com/6kzevz

SteveR said...

Don't speak too soon.

John said...

As the quote above illustrates, most "right thinking people" in 2003 and 2004 fervently prayed for a US defeat in Iraq. They actively propegandized for the other side. They constantly played up the bad. The idea that Iraq was unwinnable, the worst strategic blunder in history and so forth became an article of faith among them. Their behavior the last seven years of being out of power has been nothing short of disgracful.

Now that their guy is in power, the media will admit the obvious in Iraq (that is it over and we won), admit the obvious about counter terror policy (that many of the things Bush did were difficult choices that had to be made and not an attempt to revise Nazi Germany), and admit the obvious about foreign policy (that the US does have to act in its own interest and will rarely go to war with UNSC blessing).

For people like this, politics is always about their personal identity and self worth. When Bush was in office, he must have been the worst ever and the incarnation of evil as a way to lift his opponents. Now that Bush is gone and supporting the personality cult of Obama provides these people their self worth, Bush can be rehabilitated. Pathetic really.

L. E. Lee said...

Simon wrote,
"Ah, yes, because it was the GOP that was the stumbling block to passing the Voting Rights Act, a stumbling block finally overcome by the 1964 Democratic victory. Funny, then, that of the 92 votes against its passage, all but 21 came from Democrats despite 162 GOP votes on the roll call. Yep, it must have been Democrats who made that act possible..."

You are right Simon. All of those Democrat representatives that vote against the Voting Rights Act later either became Republicans (i.e. Strom Thurmond) or the districts they represented became Republican. Likewise, many of those Republicans who voted for the law represented districts that later became Democrat.

It might turn out that the "southern strategy" that Republicans used for so many years could end up hurting them for the same number of years. It has now to a great extent isolated them from the rest of the country.

Simon said...

zeek said...
"The author has a point. Allowed to retain power longer, the Republicans have painfully illustrated their policies and philosophies DO NO[T] WORK."

The problem with your theory is that it falsely assumes that the policies enacted during the last eight years represent conservative (or at least, Republican) "policies and philosophies." Not so.

Meade said...

Sheesh! I can be such a linktard .

Ron said...

I hope this scenario doesn't make Bill and Hillary, Gomez and Morticia!

Those last two...they got the big love!

Maybe James Carvelle as Uncle Fester?

Cousin It? The mind boggles...

zeek said...

The problem with your theory is that it falsely assumes that the policies enacted during the last eight years represent conservative (or at least, Republican) "policies and philosophies." Not so.

Funny how the Republicans and conservatives were 100% behind Bush the whole time and only recently some have tried to distance themselves for PR purposes.

L. E. Lee said...

Simon wrote,
"The problem with your theory is that it falsely assumes that the policies enacted during the last eight years represent conservative (or at least, Republican) "policies and philosophies." Not so."

While I realize that this has become the new conservative talking point I don't think it will work. Given that there has been a Republican president and a conservative Republican congress over the past eight years (six for congress) it will be an uphill battle to convince people that they really weren't conservatives after all. You might believe it but most will reject it on its face as being weaselly.

SteveR said...

L.B. Lee, So when did Robert Byrd become a Republican?

L. E. Lee said...

Stever,

While Byrd might be the "exception to the rule" you do not dispute my over all point do you?

L. E. Lee said...

Oh, it must also be pointed out that for most americans George W. Bush is the face of conservatism. I don't know how Republicans shake that.

Pogo said...

"you do not dispute my over all point do you?"

That Simon was correct, that it was Democrats who filibustered against civil rights, but that seceretly they were really really latent closet clandestine nascent Republicans?

If that makes you feel better about the damning historical record, go righrt ahead.

L. E. Lee said...

Don't go hystric Pogo.

But it is a fact that those southern Democrats who could not stomach the Voting Rights Act left and became Republicans. That is also part of the "historical record."

SteveR said...

What Pogo said. As to GWB being the face of conservatism, obviously you, and whoever thinks that, doesn't know much about conservatism or GWB. I've never though of him as conservative since I used to watch him sitting behind the dugout at Ranger games.

I will admit he's a Republican though.

MadisonMan said...

Simon, you can't have it both ways. Democrats blocked the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and Republicans have overseen the meltdown of the Economy and the explosion in the size of the Government over the past 8 years. You cannot come back now and say Oh, but they weren't REALLY Republicans any more than you can say the Democrats in 1964 weren't really Democrats.

L. E. Lee said...

Stever,
I wrote "for most americans George W. Bush is the face of conservatism." Do you disagree with that?

SteveR said...

When you say "most Americans", I assume you are talking about non-conservatives who listen to NPR, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, and who read the NYT, like my sister. He has never done anything more than placate conservatives. Appealing to poltical ignorance, does not enhance your arguement.

I'll see your Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms and raise you George Wallace, John Stennis, Richard Russell, Jr. and James Eastland.

Hoosier Daddy said...

MM said You cannot come back now and say Oh, but they weren't REALLY Republicans any more than you can say the Democrats in 1964 weren't really Democrats.

I think Simon was stating that they weren't acting or more appropriately governing as conservatives. Rather than govern on fiscal responsibility and small government, they instead governed as Democrats with out of control spending and an expanded Federal government.

Quite frankly I don't see much change with the incoming administration and Congress despite the Obama change meme. I see even more spending and government in my life. In other words: The new boss is same as the old boss.

integrity said...

Ann Althouse said...
"One of the things I expect from Obama is that he will inspire us to rise above our parochial needs and achieve something as a nation."

Like overthrow 2 evil dictatorships? Something like that?




Look, the Professor can drop acid and blog at the same time. LMAO. You wish. The simpleton nature of this quote is beyond laughable.

John Kerry's loss did end up being a blessing in disguise. Not because of Iraq, but because we got OBAMA. The only reason it was a blessing.

The above delusional weekend quote has really made my job today much easier, as I have been stressing all weekend. By 3:30PM I have to lay off 8 employees, I will now be presuming that all of the 8 have a similar P.O.V. to Professor Althouse. And will now enjoy laying off every single one of them, by pretending they are Althouse. You see that, a few ignorant words from the Professor and my day of tragedy has been turned into high comedy and pure unadulterated revenge. Thank you Professor, you made my day. Now I can't wait to lay these pathetic right-wing assholes off.

I'm not even gonna let them work the whole day, I just moved up the layoffs to 9:30AM so I can enjoy the rest of my day. Thanks again. Right-wing ignorance is such a clarifier for me. Really cuts through all my bleeding heart liberal stuff, how could I ever have empathy or sympathy for a right-winger? You have reminded me why I don't.

Let the layoffs begin!

EDH said...

All of those Democrat representatives that vote against the Voting Rights Act later either became Republicans (i.e. Strom Thurmond) or the districts they represented became Republican. Likewise, many of those Republicans who voted for the law represented districts that later became Democrat...

While Byrd might be the "exception to the rule" you do not dispute my over all point do you?


The insinuation here, of course, is that the Republicans became the party of opposition to civil rights.

It's an insinuation because history does not show the GOP took up opposition to civil rights. Instead, once the issue of civil rights was taken off the table for both parties, the realignment that took place had more the leftward move of Democrat Party on economic and national security issue. The GOP became the logical destination for conservative Democrats.

It does seem that in the "Southern Strategy" myth-making department, there can be no redemption for past opposition to federal civil rights legislation, that is if you became a Republican afterward.

Jon said...

For all the hype about the "historic" nature of Obama's victory, it's likely that the 2004 election was actually a lot more important.

First, a Kerry victory would have meant the near extinction of the conservative/strict constructionist bloc on the Supreme Court. Instead of 4 conservatives, 4 liberals, and Kennedy, there would be only 2 conservatives (Scalia and Thomas), 6 liberals, and Kennedy.

And second, of course, we'd have lost in Iraq. Our bugout in 2005 is followed by all-out sectarian civil war, genocide and sectarian cleansing on a scale several times worse than what actually happened. Hundreds of thousands die, Baghdad becomes 99% Shia, the country breaks apart into 3 pieces. Damage to US credibility lasts for decades.

L. E. Lee said...

Stever, I am not making an "argument," instead I am just making an obvious observation. Bush, for better or worse, is the face of conservative. You can slag average Americans as being ignorant but the problem for conservatives still exist.
--------------
On the other point-
George Wallace ran against the Democrats for president in 1968 and 72. The politcal descendants of John Stennis, Richard Russell, Jr. and James Eastland became Republicans.

While there was a political price to be paid, I am glad the worse elements of the old Democratic coalition left the party. This element is now isolating the Republican party. This element is now obsessed with immigration and gays.

Pogo said...

L. E. Lee exhibits the usual efforts of leftists to rewrite or whitewash history, eliminating their ugliness, and ascribing all evil to the opposition.

Typical bullshit ahistoricality, not unlike the USSR deleting people from photographs.

Same old tricks from the left.

MadisonMan said...

I agree Hoosier Daddy, up to a point, the point where Simon said it falsely assumes that the policies enacted during the last eight years represent conservative (or at least, Republican) "policies and philosophies.".

I added the emphasis to be ever so helpful.

Pogo said...

For all leftists, Bush is the face of conservatism. He is a conservative in things military, for the most part.

For all else, he is a Kennedy or Truman big government Democrat.

Darcy said...

Something tells me that your delighting in your layoff duties will be a blessing eventually for those employees, integrity. Well done.

If you really are an asshole boss - be up front about it! Own it. Wear that label with pride! Your former employees will thank you for it.

MadisonMan said...

Or did I mis-read that. Darn it!

I will say that the vast majority of Americans think George Bush is a Republican. I think they are correct. He is a Republican. He ran as a Compassionate Conservative. That's right, George Bush is a Compassionate Conservative.

Maybe the Republican Party needs better vetting for its candidates. However, you cannot retroactively decide he's not a Republican. (Well, you can, but then you can't tell Democrats they're wrong when they retroactively decide anti-Voting Rights Act Democrats weren't Democrats). Well, yes, you can tell them they're wrong, but then you're exposing yourself to a charge of hypocrisy.

I think I've mangled enough english sentences for one comment.

Pogo said...

"Let the layoffs begin!"

Sounds like the motto for the Obama administration.

Hoosier Daddy said...

represent conservative (or at least, Republican) "policies and philosophies.".

Republican policies being based largely on conservative principles of course.

Hoosier Daddy said...

He is a Republican. He ran as a Compassionate Conservative.

And conservatives still are scratching their heads trying to make sense of what that means.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Maybe the Republican Party needs better vetting for its candidates.

Can't argue with that. A conservative candidate needs to be able to run on fiscal responsibility, smaller government and encourage self-reliance. If that scares off the electorate then I'll just assume that the majority want a nanny-state and cradle to grave benefits paid for by the taxpayer.

I heard an Obama voter after the election gush that now she doesn't have to worry about putting food on the table or gas in the car. I can only hope that she isn't indicative of the nation.

jdeeripper said...

Obama's momma had a bit of the Kerry/Lurch in her.

Are integrity and downtownlad the same person?

I thought Maxine was Titus but Titus is Bissage?

Obama's momma's daddy wanted a son and named his daughter Stanley.

Amazing how Obama looks nothing like his African father yet looks so much like his White maternal grandfather .

Simon said...

MM, I don't think that's what I'm trying to do. My first comment merely disputed Rohde's claim that the Voting Rights Act was only made possible by a Democratic victory in '64, a claim that amounts to a false insinuation that if it took a Democratic victory to overcome the obstacle, the obstacle must have been the GOP.

On the other side, I'm not claiming that the axis of avarice weren't Republicans, I'm claiming that they didn't enact conservative policies. Apart from tax cuts (tax cuts, I might add, that weren't offset by spending cuts) and a slight lowering of the wall between church and state, I'd really struggle to name a conservative policy advanced in the last eight years, and many of those policies advanced in the last eight years are actively in tension with what we said we'd do in 1994 and what Bush said he'd do in 2000.

TMink said...

Simon wrote: "Funny, then, that of the 92 votes against its passage, all but 21 came from Democrats despite 162 GOP votes on the roll call. Yep, it must have been Democrats who made that act possible...

Honestly, could we get some honesty?"

Apparently not brother. I have read you posting that several times over the last few years, it is a factual post, and it does not dent the myth of the racist Republicans or the "savior" Democrats.

It reminds me of a song.

Brave Sir Robin ran away.
("No!")
Bravely ran away away.
("I didn't!")
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
("no!")
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
("I didn't!")
And gallantly he chickened out.

Keep at it Simon, but don't expect the myth of the brave Democrats to die easily.

Trey

Simon said...

I agree with Tim Pawlenty, by the way: the party needs to become a national party again, able to compete in New England and the pacific northwest. That means that we have to determine what our core values are and accept "tolerable diversity"; we're going to spend a long time in the wilderness if we the club for growth running a pogrom against Olympia Snowe or the social conservatives insisting that you have to be pro-life to be a Republican candidate. I think we have to look realistically at the political landscape. (On that note, I've also informally floated the idea that the party should consider learning to live with amnesty and same-sex marriage, because both are going to happen in the next four years whether we like it or not. I'm not necessarily advocating either, so much as I'm suggesting that we have to recognize political realities.)

MadisonMan said...

Trey, if you say that, you ought to post this.

Alas, I've lost the hint from last week on how to embed to the right spot. It's at the end.

MadisonMan said...

Let's try it: here.

Oh, that is cool.

L. E. Lee said...

First the Voting Rights Act is from 1965. I believe people are thinking of The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The 1964 GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was against both laws. BTW, Ronald Reagan was also against them.

There is no doubt that there were many moderate Republican legislators from the north, like Gerald Ford, that supported both.
But it was a Democratic president and party that ultimately got it passed and then took the political hit for doing so.

Now I am sure that in thirty years when we have just elected a president who happens to be gay or lesbian and we all look back and wonder how descrimination could have been tolerated at the turn of this century you will all be denying that the Republicans were the anti equal rights party. This time it will be much more clear cut.

Finally, I am glad to see that Simon and Pogo would like to see the Republicans return back to being the moderate party that it was before 1965.

Jon said...

Simon said: "On that note, I've also informally floated the idea that the party should consider learning to live with amnesty and same-sex marriage, because both are going to happen in the next four years whether we like it or not."

Actually, the prospects for amnesty might not be so bright under Obama, at least not in his first term (would have had a much better chance of passing under McCain). See recent kausfiles posts on the subject.

Quoting Kaus quoting Krikorian:

To the chagrin of hard-left activists, [incoming chief of staff Rahm] Emanuel has said of immigration that "For the American people, and therefore all of us, it's emerged as the third rail of American politics. And anyone who doesn't realize that isn't with the American people.” Last year Emanuel told a Hispanic activist that “there is no way this legislation [“comprehensive immigration reform”] is happening in the Democratic House, in the Democratic Senate, in the Democratic presidency, in the first term.”

Hoosier Daddy said...

That means that we have to determine what our core values are and accept "tolerable diversity"; we're going to spend a long time in the wilderness if we the club for growth running a pogrom against Olympia Snowe or the social conservatives insisting that you have to be pro-life to be a Republican candidate.

In other words we become Libertarians.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I've also informally floated the idea that the party should consider learning to live with amnesty and same-sex marriage, because both are going to happen in the next four years whether we like it or not.

Personally I could care less if gays want to get married. I find it interesting though that you would think that it's going to be a certainty in four years when it was crushed at the ballot in liberal California. I think we may see a few states go for it but I am not seeing many state legislatures having any burning desire to get this one the agenda.

Simon said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
"In other words we become Libertarians."

No; in other words, we tolerate moderates and libertarians within the party so long as they subscribe to our core values and so long as they can live with elements of the party platform they disagree with. Snowe, for example, is pro-choice, but evidently doesn't find the issue so overridingly important that she can't live with being in a generally pro-life party.

"I find it interesting though that you would think that [gay marriage is] going to be a certainty in four years when it was crushed at the ballot in liberal California"

You're right that the states aren't going to do it. The Supreme Court is.

Simon said...

L. E. Lee said...
"Finally, I am glad to see that Simon and Pogo would like to see the Republicans return back to being the moderate party that it was before 1965."

Although I'd probably be characterized as a moderate myself (I'd like to think of myself as a conservative, but I know several conservatives who would find that suggestion laughable), I'm not interested in us being a moderate party, per se. I'm interested in us having a big tent and tolerating some diversity of viewpoint, because that's how you build a coalition that shuts out the left.

Even in a big tent, however, there has to be a central pole. And I think the central pole of the GOP's big tent has to be limited government and constitutionalism, which includes federalism. If the GOP is going to recover, it must stand for what Reagan said in his first inaugural address: it must again be our "intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government." We should not seek "to do away with government[, but] ... rather, to make it work — work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it." I'm interested in working with anyone who believes in those things and will work to further them, so long as they're interested in working with us.

TMink said...

MadisonMan, you are completely correct sir.

Oh for a smidgen of HTML knowledge. Thank you for doing that which I could not, but should!

Trey

dbp said...

Yeah, Kerry would have lost the war, but this would have only confirmed the "reality based community's" notion that it was unwinnable anyway.

Jay said...

I find interesting that no one here has mentioned the Schiavo fiasco, which in 2005 reached a head and showed just how internally fractured the Republicans can be. Personally, I look back on it now as the moment we (the Repubs) exposed our weakest point to the Left: our overbearing need to fulfill our sense of morality and our tendency to snipe at each other over moral issues.

Kerry's loss? Just gave us plenty more time to show the rest of the country that we can be a bunch of a$$holes too.

Palladian said...

I can never forget Donna Brazile talking about Kerry's "sexiness" back in 2004. Retch.

Palladian said...

"Personally, I look back on it now as the moment we (the Repubs) exposed our weakest point to the Left: our overbearing need to fulfill our sense of morality and our tendency to snipe at each other over moral issues."

Republicans need to take a page from the Democrat playbook: fuck morals, who needs 'em?! Seems to have worked for them this year.

blake said...

Did anyone vote Shiavo? Really?

No, the Reps failed because they failed. They didn't go in and cut back everything they could. They didn't scale down, they built up.

They acted like the party in power always acts. The Democrats can't fail here because that's how they're expected to act.

If you're committed to reduced government, you start by killing your darlings (apologies to Twain). Reduce it in the areas that you're perceived to benefit from so that you have the moral authority to go after the other guy's waste.

Kathy said...

Our bugout in 2005 is followed by all-out sectarian civil war, genocide and sectarian cleansing on a scale several times worse than what actually happened. Hundreds of thousands die, Baghdad becomes 99% Shia, the country breaks apart into 3 pieces. Damage to US credibility lasts for decades.

Actually, that's what happened. Except for the country breaking apart into three pieces. Other than that, everything you mentioned happened.

Jon said...

kathy said: "Actually, that's what happened. Except for the country breaking apart into three pieces. Other than that, everything you mentioned happened."

Erm, no. There was not an all-out civil war. The number of Iraqis killed was not in the hundreds of thousands. Baghdad is not 99% Shia, there are still more than a million Sunni living there. And whatever damage to US credibility there has been from Iraq, would have been vastly worse if we had given up and left the country to fall apart.

David said...

What? No label for "Lurch?"

Kathy said...

The number of Iraqis killed was not in the hundreds of thousands.

Documented number of civilians killed in Iraq since the war began is 89,079 – 97,234 (Iraq Body Count). Recent events are not included in this range, and "Gaps in recording and reporting suggest that even [IBC's] highest totals to date may be missing many civilian deaths from violence."

Given the above, we can say with a high degree of certainty that well over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed by war violence. Note, further, that this figure is NOT an estimate, that reliable estimates are hard to come by for political reasons, but that at least one other widely publicized estimate puts the number of civilian deaths from all war-related causes (i.e., not just violent incidents) in the hundreds of thousands. This report's findings are politically controversial and have been disputed, but have not been definitively discredited, and are still taken seriously by reputable sources. The high figure of 600,000 may not be accurate, but even half that would be "hundreds of thousands." At that level, it's kind of obscene to parse linguistic characterizations of numbers anyway, don't you think?

Baghdad is not 99% Shia, there are still more than a million Sunni living there.

And this figure comes from where? And if accurate, it's in comparison to what number of Sunnis were living in Baghdad before the U.S. invasion?

I could not find statistics comparing Baghdad's pre- and post-U.S. invasion Sunni population, but it is no longer open to serious question that ethnic cleansing has decimated (either through death or flight) Baghdad's majority Sunni population, and transformed Baghdad's demographics from majority Sunni to majority Shia.

And whatever damage to US credibility there has been from Iraq, would have been vastly worse if we had given up and left the country to fall apart.

This, of course, is a meaningless statement, since you're comparing the actual to the theoretical. It could just as easily (and justifiably) be said that the damage to U.S. credibility would not have occurred at all if the U.S. had not invaded Iraq for no good reason, without a plan, without understanding the political or cultural realities of the country, and then dug in to a brutal military occupation that had not been planned or foreseen and that triggered the insurgency that caused the damage to U.S. credibility in the first place.

blake said...

The high figure of 600,000 may not be accurate, but even half that would be "hundreds of thousands."

Half of bullshit is still bullshit. The point of the high-ball numbers was to derail the 2004 season.

At that level, it's kind of obscene to parse linguistic characterizations of numbers anyway, don't you think?

No, not when it's been used as a rhetorical device to try to justify something. I think it's pretty damn important to call people on their bullshit.

You can't cite one number, and then another number that's an order of magnitude higher and say, "Well, whatever it is, it's too many."

Saddam and his boys averaged murdering, what, at least 50K a year? So, best guess, had we done nothing, we could count on 250K dead.

100K looks like a bargain if that sort of calculus is your thing. 300K doesn't look so bad when you look toward a peaceful future.