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September 27, 2004

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Any suggestions on how to go and then escape around 9:00?

Set the alarm on your phone to go off Very Loudly at 8:55. (With any luck the whole party will hear.) Take your phone out of your pocket, look at it with an expression of alarm and despondency, find your hostess and apologize for having to leave Right Now, and then run for the door.

Or, you know, tell the truth. ;-)

As soon as you see the Birthday Girl tell her you had other plans for the night but you wanted to make sure you saw her to wish her Happy Birthday.

That won't work carsick...she's been talking of nothing else for months. If I had other plans I whould have told her long ago.

Fortunately her boyfriend will most likely want to watch the debate as well, so maybe he and I can find TV in the kitchen of the restaurant.

Four years from now you will not recognize the United States of America if he gets back in. Environmental regulations will have been neutered, social programs will have been decimated, industry will actually set policy, courts will be landmined, civil liberties will be under constant attack, and media will no longer even pretend to serve the public.

And the stars will be blotted out, and one third of the oceans will turn to blood, and cats and dogs will be living together... Jeebus, Edward, we hear all of this* about the Republican candidate every four years. I thought that it was my side that liked to be traditional about stuff. ;)

Moe

*And, yes, every four years we get to hear about how useless the Democratic candidate is when it comes to national defense and how he wants to give away this country to the 'special interest groups' (for the record, I am merely repeating the traditional accusations). It's all about as original as Kabuki theater.

A discreet earpiece?
Of course your occassional groaning and guffawing will probably not go unnoticed yet an earpiece may - hence, you will be viewed as drunk or perhaps having late onset Tourette's.

As for getting out of the party, I recommend a good, nonspecific illness. Twisting one's ankle is always good; nausea used to be, but that starts up rumor mills these days.

Personally, I'm unconvinced the majority of Bush supporters really like Bush. But they've spent so much time defending him (and lambasting his critics), in kneejerk fashion, that it's difficult to admit he's been a disaster.

The notion of 'Bush hatred' is merely a bit of GOP political judo. Very few on the left hate Bush; we may hate his policies or be continually embarrassed by his lack of intellectual curiosity but we don't hate Bush. We just happen to think he'd do a better job working the plumbing supplies aisle at Home Depot. Once more, 'Bush Hatred' is just an excuse to allow the right to feel justified in voting for Bush, despite their misgivings.

TIVO?

It's all about as original as Kabuki theater.

Ahh...my diabolical plan worked. I've drawn Moe out of hibernation.

Just kidding. It's a slow news day...whadda want?

for the record, I am merely repeating the traditional accusations

I think the traditional fears stem from profound philosophical differences actually. I see Bush appointing an industry insider to head an agency that's meant to protect workers, for example, and it seems totally criminal to me. Others see it and think, Finally, we'll get some sense out of this agency.

I still think the left feels so jilted by Clinton's failed presidency and the total collapse of Gore as a candidate that if God Almighty Himself had been elected He'd have felt the wrath from the liberal fringe. (I just know I'm going to regret this argument) And besides, environmental regulations need moderated, and social programs need liposuction, and industry should be involved in policy (jobs anyone?), and courts need to be appointed the way our founders intended, and the media better figure out how to serve the public - that's their problem.

"For those who already know they're voting for Kerry it must seem incomprehensible that anyone could look at the administration's record and want four more years of the same.

Again, vote for Kerry because he's not Bush. Good Grief!


Americans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Bush's, to him I say, that Praktike's love to Bush
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Praktike voted against Bush, this is my answer:
–Not that I loved Bush less, but that I loved
America more. Had you rather Bush win the election and
die all slaves, than that Bush lost, to live
all free men? As Bush loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
voted against him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and political death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be an American? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

Well, JadeGold, it's shorter to say "I hate Bush - he's a disaster-area President" than to explain in detail why the Bush/Cheney administration has been bad for the Republicans, for the US, and for the world: but it's true, most of the time I don't feel enough about Bush to hate him. The Bush administration has been a disaster from start to finish. For all decent, good-hearted Republicans like Moe Lane want to believe that the criticism Bush attracts is no different from the criticism any other Republican candidate would attract, a short investigation would show them otherwise. But at this stage, Edward's right: Bush supporters will continue to support Bush, against reason or dignity or even honor.

I don't consider myself to be a Kerry supporter. I've never voted for a Democratic candidate in my life, as it happens. (And yes, I've voted in every national election since I turned 18.) But I do think that Bush has to go for the sake of everything that matters - and I would not be sitting here writing that if (for example) the Republicans had fielded McCain as their Presidential candidate. I disagree with McCain and with Kerry on so many issues you wouldn't believe it if I listed them - but they both come from a tradition of public service and honor, rather than the profit-first power-first Bush administration: the administration that apparently believes spinning the facts will somehow change reality.

And the Republican party has to do some serious internal rethinking and self-criticism: there's a major split in publicly professed values between - for example - Republicans like Moe Lane and the Texas Republican party platform, and so far, the Texas Republicans seem to be winning. That some Republicans, who plainly don't agree with any the values of the Bush administration, nevertheless still support it on the grounds that it's Republican, can make them look hypocritical, or make them look naive: but it is, ultimately, untenable.

I just know I'm going to regret this argument

Yeah...I suspect that's true.

There is one element of the left's anger you're leaving out in your assessment though blogbudsman. With the tenuous way Bush finally secured the White House, it really behooved him to follow up on his promise to try and unite the nation. Some of his very first actions, however, were incredibly divisive (rolling back the Clinton EPA plans, defunding international organizations that provide abortions or abortion counseling to poor women, etc.).

In my opinion, he blew it.

He could have used his 100-day honeymoon period to demonstrate that he realized he did not have a mandate, that he had lost the popular vote, that many considered the Florida recount a fiasco, etc. He could have left these divisive measures alone until the nation had had time to heal a bit. Instead he poured lemon juice on the wounds. He charged ahead with highly offensive actions as if he had won in a landslide and there was no time to lose.

He immediately sent a message that he had no interest in uniting the nation.

Ahh...my diabolical plan worked. I've drawn Moe out of hibernation.

Are there berries? I was led to expect that there would be berries... or maybe some tasty salmon. Mmmm, salmon.

Moe

PS: praktike gets extra cool points for the Shakespeare rewrite. Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene II, I believe?

Moe: Are there berries? I was led to expect that there would be berries... or maybe some tasty salmon. Mmmm, salmon.

Sometimes you're very bear-able! ;-)

Good work there, Moe.

Although the proper response, of course, would be to work up a version of Mark Antony's rebuttal, which, of course, actually carried the day.

And that, I fear, is what will happen: Bush will win despite the fact that John Kerry and I are honorable men.

Jes, differing political opinions is one thing, but bad puns... well, let's just say that if this keeps up there'll be trouble bruin'.

Moe

Moe, I shall bear your reproach with dignity. Far be it for me to panda to the lowest form of wit.

Jesurgislac
As someone who became a democrat to vote in the primaries, I'm curious about folk's observations.
I know more people who can no longer support the president than folks who now support him but didn't in 2000. If Bush lost the general election last time and he has a net loss of supporters how can he conceivably win in 2004?
What ratio of people you know would you guess have changed their minds about how they voted in 2000?

"With the tenuous way Bush finally secured the White House, it really behooved him to follow up on his promise to try and unite the nation. Some of his very first actions, however, were incredibly divisive (rolling back the Clinton EPA plans, defunding international organizations that provide abortions or abortion counseling to poor women, etc.)."

I'll avoid a conversation about 'secured' because it would be tiresome. But basically you wanted him to pretend to be Gore because it was close. That seems silly. Would Gore have pretended to be Bush if he had won? Maybe shut down international abortion funding in the spirit of appealing to fundamentalist Christians? (There are a lot of them, best to be a uniter dontcha know?) Perhaps abstain from any new business-damaging environmental measures?

Sounds a bit funny when you put it like that, doesn't it?

"Far be it for me to panda to the lowest form of wit."

Probably best; this sort of thing can get a bit grizzly...


(sound, offstage, of running steps and flying tackle; there is a number of crashing and tinkling sounds, culminating with a humorous boiinnng sound)

Nothing to see here, citizens. Move along, please.

Clinton's was not a failed presidency. A disappointment, yes, because of his tremendous potential. But a success by all other metrics.

blogbudsman: since you didn't know me, you'll just have to take my word that I wasn't like this about previous Republican candidates. For what it's worth, I was furious at Clinton for the whole Lewinsky thing, but think that the idea that he had a "failed Presidency" is a bit much; and if Gore had really imploded, he would hardly have won the popular vote. But I don't direct an lingering frustration about these things at Bush, but at their proper objects: Clinton in one case, and five justices on the Supreme Court on the other.

Bush terrifies me for the simple reason that in several decades of following politics closely I have never seen a successful candidate who was such a complete disaster as a President on so many levels. I would have hoped that if the various long "Why I Won't Vote For Bush" posts had done nothing else, they might have convinced some people that some of us have reasons for thinking this, whether you agree with them or not. He has tried to gut key provisions of the Constitution. He has terrifyingly (to me) dropped the ball in the War on Terror. He has led us into an unnecessary war, and then conducted it so ineptly that more or less everyone except Bush now thinks that the best we can hope for is to avoid having created a failed state. He has racked up enormous amounts of debt that we have no way to pay for, and set this country on a path that is fiscally disastrous. He has failed to respond to the deficit with anything resembling intelligent programs. He has sat back and allowed North Korea to get nuclear weapons, and may be doing the same with Iran. He has alienated almost all of our allies. He has done nothing to speak of to advance the Middle East peace process, or at least to prevent it from going to hell in a handbasket, at a time when American leadership was desperately needed. He has gutted key environmental regulations, and completely failed to take any steps to help us become less dependent on Saudi oil. I could, of course, go on, but you get the idea.

Worse still, he has, as best I can tell, no capacity for self-criticism, nor does he seem to be capable of recognizing when things need changing, and taking the necessary steps. Nor does he seem capable of firing people when they need to be fired: there is no previous administration that I can think of, Democrat or Republican, in which a cabinet official could have made mistakes as serious as those made by Donald Rumsfeld and kept his job. Finally, he is a terrible manager: he has allowed conflicts among his foreign policy principles to go unresolved for most of his administration, with very bad effects, and he does not seem to be interested in asking tough questions of his subordinates, like: what's the plan of your assumptions about Iraq turn out to be too optimistic?

And finally, I have never seen any administration, Republican or Democrat, that seemed to me to be so completely concerned with winning, at the expense of the country and its future, and even of American lives. Ask yourself why, exactly, we are not going to try to retake Fallujah until after the election. Is it because it's good military strategy to give your opponents time to prepare? I don't think so.

This has nothing to do with the 2000 election. I got over that very quickly, and gave Bush the benefit of the doubt, since he was, after all, our President. Saying that that's all that motivates his opponents is just an easy way to dismiss what we have to say.

"I know more people who can no longer support the president than folks who now support him but didn't in 2000. If Bush lost the general election last time and he has a net loss of supporters how can he conceivably win in 2004?
What ratio of people you know would you guess have changed their minds about how they voted in 2000?"

This is why there is that saying about anecdotes and data. Your "I know" sentence does not lead to the assumption in the next sentence which is "Bush has in fact had a net loss of supporters".

The voters I know have moved toward Bush but complained that it is awful to be forced to choose between Bush and Kerry. But that isn't data either--we obviously travel in different circles. Without a more stable reference point (or unless one of us has deep political conversations with many more people than the other) it is difficult to translate our experiences into data. This is especially true considering the likelihood that in the group of people we know who are voters, there is likely a large number of people who have not changed their views on the president (either liked him or not in 2000). So you are talking about a small subset of people who changed their mind out of a subset of people who voted (or had strong opinions in 2000) out of a small subet of people you know.

Carsick asks: What ratio of people you know would you guess have changed their minds about how they voted in 2000?

I don't believe that personal anecdote is the best way to argue this. (My personal anecdotes would support your personal anecdotes, but all they're doing is having fun and partying: I don't know enough people to make a statistical point, and obviously, those I do know are skewed politically towards the same kind of thing I believe in - which isn't to say they're all the same political party, of course.)

In 2000, the majority of the US electorate who voted, voted for Al Gore. Bush & Co have done nothing to persuade those who voted for Al Gore last time to vote for George W. Bush this time, and a good deal to convince many responsible Republicans that they should not vote for Bush/Cheney this time. I think Bush is going to lose, and lose big.

Probably best; this sort of thing can get a bit grizzly...

Yikes!

*exits, pursued by Moe Lane*

And the Republican party has to do some serious internal rethinking and self-criticism: there's a major split in publicly professed values between - for example - Republicans like Moe Lane and the Texas Republican party platform, and so far, the Texas Republicans seem to be winning.

I can't buy this. At some point, every partisan has to take responsibility for the alliances and conduct of his or her party. And we're not just talking about relatively small differences in policy such as disagreements over what the top marginal tax rate ought to be or the appropriate role of the FCC.

Instead, we're talking about party acceptance of and pandering to groups who would discriminate against or exclude whole segments of American society. I'll use an analogy.

I'm a hockey fan (long-suffering Caps fan). Having played and followed hockey for most of my life, I know full well 99% of hockey fans enjoy fighting. It's a fact. But fighting in hockey puts the sport in something of a negative light and hockey purists understand fighting only serves to equalize talent with thuggery. The NHL could easily end fighting tomorrow--and they continually make noises about how fighting is wrong and that they're cracking down on it--but, somehow, the League just doesn't see its way clear to implementing those steps which would virtually end fighting. Why? Because they know fighting puts rear ends in seats.

Bad behavior or excesses in politics (and sports) will only end when it is no longer profitable or advantageous for those parties (or leagues) to engage in them. That is, once they are no longer patronized or abetted by their patrons.

Instead, we're talking about party acceptance of and pandering to groups who would discriminate against or exclude whole segments of American society.

Yes.

Sebastian Holsclaw did an excellent post a little while ago on the perception of the Republican party as "the racist party". (If I could remember where it was I would link to it - but "somewhere on ObWing" is the best I can do.) It was honest, thoughtful, well-written, a prime piece of political blogging, much appreciated by me.

But - which I do not believe I commented at the time, because I did appreciate it for what it was - the point that Sebastian did not touch on was a major act of racism by Florida Republicans, systematically depriving thousands of black voters in Florida of the right to vote and to have their vote counted. Under Bush, no Bush supporter can acknowledge that this was profoundly wrong and profoundly racist, because on those flawed results depended Bush's lawful succession as President.

But I think Republicans need to take a long look at that - just as Democrats need to take a long look at the habit their party has of presuming they'll always have black demographic support because Republicans will always be seen as the more racist party, even though individual Republicans may be (some are) less racist than individual Democrats.

Individual party members who stand up for the right thing as individuals can't change how their party is perceived: there has to be a mass effort to change the party itself, from within. Which is, of course, one reason why all my life I have steadily resisted joining any political party. ;-)

Jesurgislac - "Bush & Co have done nothing to persuade those who voted for Al Gore last time to vote for George W. Bush this time,..."

I'm not so sure. There seems to be a wavering of bobble head voting from minorities, union influence over their minions has weakened, women are wondering and young voters shaking the assistant professors hold.

"and a good deal to convince many responsible Republicans that they should not vote for Bush/Cheney this time."

Yeah, but us irresponsible Republicans are holding fast.

"I think Bush is going to lose, and lose big."

I'll argue after the debates when the world gets to see if the real John Kerry stands up and bares himself.


whew! over the top from the left and the right.

the likelihood that the republic will look radically different in four years for most americans if bush is re-elected is small. the economy will, likely, start generating some job growth, and the chinese and japanese central banks will keep buying our govt debt. social security reform will fail, as will any significant entitlement reform. life will suck more for people at the margins -- housing vouchers cut, limits on recovery for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) in tort suits, lack of access to family planning services, no expansion of the EITC, increased environmental degradation especially in poor communities and in the oceans.

but i'll bet that none of the people reading this blog exist at the margin of society. [to crank up the snark, at least one poster here believes that being poor ain't so bad anymore, because you have tv and air conditioning and a car and microwave and stuff. so even the poor won't suffer.] so we will see very little difference in our day-to-day lives.

unless: the housing bubble collapses, driving consumer spending way down and leading to a recession. Or foreign banks start insisting on higher interest rates. Or the veterans coming home start rallying to end the war, leading to mass marches and public turmoil. Or Israel attacks Iran, leading to a massive middle east war.

but honestly, the likelihood of a major recession is pretty slim and the likelihood of the remaining parade of horribles is even slimmer.

but unlike the 90+% of americans who live day-to-day and honestly don't care about the deficit unless ross perot tells them to, our leaders [and thoughtful people like us] are supposed to look down the road a little and try to make the world a better place for our children.

and measuring the amount of long-term harm that 8 years of a bush admin will do takes some effort. let's add up a few:

1. massive explosion in religious fundamentalism.
2. massive explosion in recruiting for anti-west terrorism.
3. massive explosion in govt-issued debt.
4. utter failure to address collapsing system of paying for health care in this country.
5. utter failure to address global climate change.
6. utter failure to address looming collapse of world-wide fisheries.
7. utter failure to manage web of alliances.
8. establishment of really frightening precedent in the practice of government.

[gotta go to work . . . i'll add more later. of course, i entertain thoughtful disagreement, bearly. don't pelt me with insults or i'll go into hibernation.]

Francis

p.s. fresh berries, very lightly sauteed with some wine, make a lovely topping for salmon.

Do I dare link to this grotesque masterpiece?

I dare.

jesurgislac - "the point that Sebastian did not touch on was a major act of racism by Florida Republicans, systematically depriving thousands of black voters in Florida of the right to vote and to have their vote counted."

I get rightfully spanked for my unwillingness to link. All my reading indicates this situation was investigated seriously and generally debunked. Okay, hit me when you see an opening. I'll read 'em.

Sebastian, another strawman.

No one expected GWB to behave as if Gore had won. There may well be people who would have expected a few things to have been done differently however.

(1). "United not a divider" surely amounts to a repudiation of wedge politics. I haven't seen much in the way of evidence that the President has instructed his aide Mr. Rove to look for opportunities to effectuate that policy. Oh yeah, 9/11 changed everything.

(2). Supporters of the Pres in 2000 could reasonably have expected that when confronted with possible wrongdoing in the Admin., they wouldn't be hearing Admin people talk about how there's no controlling legal authority barring their conduct, or arguing about how it all depends on what the meaning of is is. Again, I suppose we can blame both Osama and Clinton for this.

(3). Supporters from 2000 could be taken aback by the embrace of the greatest nation-building project in 50 years -- greater in some ways than any that our society has ever attempted. Osama? Sure. But the war against AQ can have been conducted in a much narrower way, and it used to be the essence of conservatism that one should involve the state in projects that are only as large as necessary, because the unintended consequences of the big projects often overwhelm the benefits.

(4). A Bush supporter could have expected that tax cuts, once it was clear that the surplus was gone, would be tailored for their short-term stimulative effect.

All my reading indicates this situation was investigated seriously and generally debunked. Okay, hit me when you see an opening. I'll read 'em.

Okay. All my reading indicates that this situation was investigated seriously, and proved to the hilt - no debunking was possible. Go read.

All my reading indicates that this situation was investigated seriously, and proved to the hilt - no debunking was possible.

It's my understanding that it is a fact that the felon list had way too many blacks and not nearly enough hispanics, and next to no whites - which does not correlate at all with Florida's felon population demographics. That's the start of a big story, as far as I'm concerned. But Greg Palast is a good way to make it completely non-credible.

But - which I do not believe I commented at the time, because I did appreciate it for what it was - the point that Sebastian did not touch on was a major act of racism by Florida Republicans, systematically depriving thousands of black voters in Florida of the right to vote and to have their vote counted. Under Bush, no Bush supporter can acknowledge that this was profoundly wrong and profoundly racist, because on those flawed results depended Bush's lawful succession as President.

Argh. That is because despite a massive effort by the NAACP to suggest such a conspiracy, they were never able to come up with anything. The black voter in Florida 2000 charge has to be one of the most investigated political charges in recent history. It came up with things like police cars on a freeway within a few miles of black neighborhoods and a few people whose provisional ballots were later counted. It came up with tens of felons who were able to cast provisional ballots and have them counted when appropriate. And you don't even mention (did you know?) that most of the most awful charges took place under the direct supervision of Democrats who were running the elections at the county level.

"No one expected GWB to behave as if Gore had won."

Then quit the whining about Bush doing things like stopping US funding of international abortions. That is divisive only if you think that the world has a God-given right to have the US pay for international abortions.

"United not a divider" surely amounts to a repudiation of wedge politics."

Give me a break. I submit that 'wedge politics' in this context means 'something which convinces previous Democratic Party voters to vote for a Republican'. So sorry for trying to convince those voters who clearly are your property to vote for someone from another party. They aren't slaves. They are voters.

And hey, Edward just mentioned one of Democrats' favorite wedge issues against Repulicans. So long as Democrats pretend that even looking at late-term abortions is the same as trying to ban all abortions, it is worth a couple thousand votes for them. I wonder why they keep doing that.

So long as Reps insist in sponsoring bills they know will not pass, but designed to "score points" [flag burning, pledge of allegiance, etc.] or insist on passing abortion statutes that will not pass constitutional muster -- for the purpose of making courts strike them down -- I'll point out that an explicit promise from your guy is being explicitly and knowingly broken. A promise that I believe he had no intention of honoring when he made it.

I could write a statute that would ban very nearly all of what the public understands to be "partial-birth" abortions and pass constitutional muster in any court in half an hour, and so could you. And you know exactly why they don't do it.

Sebastion, I'm not saying that wedge politics are immoral. (Although I'm not pleased with that use of the limited legislative calendar.) It's a completely different thing, though, when the candidate promises he's not going to engage in it, and makes that promise because campaign consultants figure out that sokme small slice of voters wants that message.

I feel the same way about "no controlling legal authority." I say those words for a living. Nothing immoral about them. However, isn't it even just the least bit hypocritical to campaign on how you're never going to resort to nuanced defenses, and then, at every opportunity, employ that defense whenever it is available?

I'm not saying that wedge politics are immoral

Some are. One that shall remain nameless, but whose initials are F.M.A., springs to mind.

"Then quit the whining about Bush doing things like stopping US funding of international abortions. That is divisive only if you think that the world has a God-given right to have the US pay for international abortions."

The problem with the global gag rule is not that it prevents us from paying for abortions in other countries. It's that it prevents US funding from going to any group that performs abortions, whether or not any of our money is actually used for abortions, thereby ruling out as potential aid recipients a lot of very good family planning groups who do good work in e.g. AIDS prevention.

That is divisive only if you think that the world has a God-given right to have the US pay for international abortions.

Reason has left the building.

Here is why it is hard to debate you Sebastian:

I said:"I know more people who can no longer support the president than folks who now support him but didn't in 2000.If Bush lost the general election last time and he has a net loss of supporters how can he conceivably win in 2004?"

You replied: "Your "I know" sentence does not lead to the assumption in the next sentence which is "Bush has in fact had a net loss of supporters".

First of all you ignored the "if" in the if/then statement. Secondly you misquoted me. I was taking the micro and conjecturing it into the macro. I gave a clue to my conjecture by starting the statement with an "if".

This reminds me of when you claimed "Kerry said he would pull the troops out in 2005."

Stop making stuff up and you'll have a better possibility of convincing people you are actually arguing on the merits.

"It's that it prevents US funding from going to any group that performs abortions, whether or not any of our money is actually used for abortions, thereby ruling out as potential aid recipients a lot of very good family planning groups who do good work in e.g. AIDS prevention."

Money is fungible. That is why I can't buy the 'whether or not' explanation.

It is common international politics not to directly aid things which are against your policy.

See for example decades-long European resistance to helping prosecutions which could lead to the death penalty.

and another thing: yasser hamdi. or, given the way i feel about this issue: YASSER HAMDI!!!!!!!!!! (who is, apparently, going home today.)

so, adding to the earlier post:

9: CONTEMPT FOR THE RULE OF LAW!!

anyone want to talk about internments, and Malkin's defense thereof?

Francis

And on abortion overseas:
"OVERSEAS MILITARY ABORTION BAN UPHELD Congress rejected efforts to overturn a ban on abortions at US. military hospitals overseas. The ban affects military women deployed overseas as well as female dependents who have accompanied a servicemember on overseas deployment. It restricts military hospitals from performing the procedure even if the woman pays for it herself Abortion rights advocates say the ban forces women to search for help among the local health care providers or to travel long distances for the procedure. Legislation to overturn the ban was defeated 51-48 in the Senate and 227-201 in the House. It was offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2004."

First of all you ignored the "if" in the if/then statement. Secondly you misquoted me. I was taking the micro and conjecturing it into the macro. I gave a clue to my conjecture by starting the statement with an "if".

(Text in question: I know more people who can no longer support the president than folks who now support him but didn't in 2000. If Bush lost the general election last time and he has a net loss of supporters how can he conceivably win in 2004?)

Actually, he didn't misquote you: to be blunt, you badly expressed yourself. The way that you wrote it, the best way to parse your statements were that Bush might have lost the popular vote but definitely has suffered a net loss of voters since then. As far as I'm aware, that's precisely backwards: the consensus is that Bush lost the popular vote and that it's not established that he's suffered a net loss of voters since. If you didn't want to express it the way that you did, you should have moved the if to the second statement.

(No longer smiling)

So, given that all of this is based on bad grammar on your part, why are you accusing one of my cobloggers of making things up?

*exits, pursued by Moe Lane*

Unbearably beautiful, anarch.

Italics flee, pursued by... no, wait, already done.

Italics Begone!

Oh lord!
Moe,
I wasn't expressing an "if/but/then" statement. In logic it is usually assumed if this and this then that". I will make sure to use "if" in front of every assumptive phrase next time if it offends you so.

How do you defend Sebastian adding words to what I said inside quotation marks?
"Bush has in fact had a net loss of supporters".
I said no such thing. I was conjecturing. (bad grammar and all)


I most certainly had a debate with Sebastian where he was claiming Kerry said he would pull "the troops" out in 2005. Would you like to ban me ("no longer smiling") for showing contradictions and misleading arguments by another poster?

Will this clear it up?
"If Bush has a net loss of supporters and he lost the general election in 2000..."

"Would you like to ban me ("no longer smiling") for showing contradictions and misleading arguments by another poster?"

If I was going to ban you for this, you'd be banned already. carsick, the fact remains that you didn't express yourself well; it happens to us all, from time to time. What is less excusable is being rude about being called on it - which is what you did then and are doing now. Not that being rude is particularly banworthy behavior, either - but part of the price of coming here and freeloading on my bandwidth is that you have to listen to me when I emulate Ms. Manners.

Blipping crossed posts... and, yes, carsick, your sentence rewrite clears it up.

IF we all know that Bush lost the general election and we can assume that that is not conjectured THEN the "if" in the sentence may pertain to both statements together being true.

or

If these two things are true...

or more rudimentary

If X and Y then Z.

or more elementary

"Let's assume" X and Y then Z

I've never seen it X and if Y then Z. Maybe - If X and if Y then Z ... but really...

I don't mind Ms Manners but I take exception to strawmen built around what I see as calculated misrepresentations.

CARSICK! There were no strawmen, no misrepresentations; your language was clumsy and you got called on it. Accept it and move on.

carsick, what were you trying to say with that post exactly? 'Cause it sounded to me like you were saying that since you knew people who moved from Bush to Kerry but not vice versa, you wondered how Bush could possible win.

As a simple logical postulate, your question was trivial -- IF Bush has a net loss of supporters from 2000, then everyone would admit that he's extremely unlikely to win. So what? The real question is whether the premise is true, not whether the conclusion follows from it.

Will this clear it up?
"If Bush has a net loss of supporters and he lost the general election in 2000..."

Yup, that would clear it up a lot.

If Bush has a net loss of supporters it is unlikely that he will win since the 2000 election was so close. (Barring strange distributions in that loss combined with gains is states which were close but went for Gore.)

But "If Bush has a net loss of supporters" is quite a big if.

A cynical European friend at lunch said (based on some documentary about the debate commission) that the debate questions have all been presubmitted to the candidates; that the town hall format questioners will be cut off if they ask something different than they submitted; that there won't be (at least at the first one) actual debate between the candidates. Should I further despair about our democracy or can I go tell him that's total Quatsch?

speaking of manners, I hate to do this on two threads at once, but what exactly is "bobble head voting from minorities"?

[Walking past the donnybrook above while looking away and whistling]

As to Carsick's original observation that a bunch of his republican friends are moving away from Bush, I would like to actually second that, without addressing any national trends. My father and his peer group, staunch fiscal conservatives and 2000 Bush voters all (and my most dependable source of perspective from the other side), are pretty much 75-25 against Bush at this point.

The irony is that these guys are the most ABB people I have met. They don't like Kerry AT ALL. They just think that GWB is a disaster. Most of the lefties I know (myself included) have done the work necessary to pull together a couple of points in our guys favor when called upon to do so. But these guys haven't bothered - they think Kerry is a tool, but they figure the Republican congress will hold his excesses in check, while he maybe figures a way to get our asses some cover in the middle east.

I know a bunch of people, of a bunch of political stripes, and I don't know anybody who is more in favor of (i.e. likely to vote for) GWB than he was in 2000. Unless the polls are way off, this observation is not reflective of the nation (or even the state of Maryland, where all these guys live), but what carsick said struck a nerve with me individually, at least.

Sebastian, at absolute (and I do mean absolute minimum) an acknowledged, basic, irrefutable fact is:

The best claim Bush has for winning Florida was a margin of 537 votes.

No one denies that 57,746 voters were banned from voting. Nor that, disproportionately, the voters who were banned were black or Hispanic Democrats. Nor that 8000 voters (also, disproportionately, black or Hispanic Democrats) who were claimed to have been convicted of a felony in Texas - and whether or not they were ex-felons, they were fully entitled to vote in Florida - were also banned from voting.

In summary, Sebastian, Bush got to be President by 537 votes after his brother a scheme which banned a number of voters at least two orders of magnitude larger than his claimed margin of victory - and curiously enough, those voters who were banned were those who were demographically likely to vote against Bush.

Now, obviously, it is necessary for Bush supporters to claim that all of that is just meaningless coincidence. But long before I read The Best Democracy Money Can Buy I'd been noting that the only defense against malfeasance in Florida is to presume that the 537-vote margin in Florida was nothing but the end result of a series of "it just happened that way" coincidences. Greg Palast just summarized it all into one convenient website. ;-)

Now, you can believe that the whole thing was the end result of a series of "it just happened that way" coincidences. I can't prove otherwise. But the fact remains: Bush got to be President because thousands of black voters in Florida were illegally removed from the electoral rolls. Now, you can argue as hard as you like that there was absolutely no racist intent in the policies that disproportionally banned so many black voters... but you have to admit, a President whose only claim to being elected derives from black voters not being allowed to vote doesn't do anything to make the Republicans look the less racist party.

Marguerite wrote: "speaking of manners, I hate to do this on two threads at once, but what exactly is "bobble head voting from minorities"?"

I had completely missed that one; and since, for a change, it is not about me, I feel perfectly confident saying that that is out of bounds.

I am sure that there are some people in this country who vote in a "bobble head" way. I am also sure that most, if not all, ethnic groups include at least one bobble head voter. But I am also fairly confident that blogbudsman has not been reading surveys of completely mindless voting among whichever minority group he had in mind, but something more like: that group having an overwhelming preference for one party. Calling that voting pattern wrong or conformist, without considering the possibility that it reflects an informed preference, would be merely dumb. But calling it "bobble head voting" is out of bounds.

Blogbudsman: read the rules again. This is twice in one day. Don't push us.

kenb
It was a minor if/then statement working toward asking whether people knew any former Gore supporters who moved to Bush and if so what ratio to those going the other toward Kerry now.

What's funny is that Sebastian and Moe are acting as though in a speculative statement like "If A and B then C" that the "A" has to the speculative postulate and the "B" needs to be true because it isn't next to the "if". Sebastian acted as though he saw no "if" and Moe is acting as though order has sokmething to do with it.

If the sky is blue and blue is red then the sky is red.

But not according to some at ObWi.

Bush got to be President because thousands of black voters in Florida were illegally removed from the electoral rolls.

The purging of the voter rolls definitely riles me, but this statement is too strong. You could just as easily say that Bush got to be president because of the butterfly ballot.

Moreover, I'm sure that if the designer of that ballot had been a Republican, many people would have been ready to call foul play on that one as well; but since she was a Democrat, everyone accepts that it was just a mistake. So I don't think that the party affiliation of the person who made the decision is enough basis to say that it was malice rather than incompetence.

Now you're becoming tiresome, carsick. Which is also not a Posting Rules violation, before you ask.

"No one denies that 57,746 voters were banned from voting. Nor that, disproportionately, the voters who were banned were black or Hispanic Democrats. Nor that 8000 voters (also, disproportionately, black or Hispanic Democrats) who were claimed to have been convicted of a felony in Texas - and whether or not they were ex-felons, they were fully entitled to vote in Florida - were also banned from voting. "

You are going to have to provide a cite for this. I can't find what you are talking about. I also did a very cursory examination of Florida election law (Florida Statutes Section 98) here and I'm not sure why ex-felons from other states would be allowed to vote.


KenB, the butterfly ballot was excruciatingly bad design, but I confess that I have seen enough excruciatingly bad design errors through incompetence to generally prefer incompetence to malice. (Though the Theresa Lapore herself openly admits that the only reason she registered as a Democrat was, in fact, so that she could get the job of Palm Beach County Supervisor.....)

Sebastian: In Texas, since 1997, ex-felons can vote after doing their time. And if you arrive in a state with voting rights intact, that state has no right to remove your voting rights. In short (a) the state of Florida had no right to ask Texas for a list of ex-felons in order to purge them from the voting rolls (b) Texas had no business supplying Florida with such a list (c) Even assuming the original list of 8000 felons was accurate, which apparently it wasn't, Florida was not entitled to scrub them from the electoral rolls anyway.

Getting back to the post, I would add Abu Ghraib to the catalog of Bush disasters and outrages. I think this is, first of all, a national disgrace. Second, from a purely practical point of view, it has done huge harm to our foreign policy.

I think the climate in which it could happen was clearly established by the Administration, and I think its reaction: Rumsfeld's doing a wonderful job, it was just a few rogue soldiers, etc., worsened the stain on the country.

Prisoners were tortured in our name (those of us who are Americans), people, and the Bush Administration let it happen and condoned it afterward. That, for me, is reason enough to despise the whole crew.

Sebastian, you asked for links.

The point from the Florida rules about voters is: " A person who has had his or her mental capacity with respect to voting restored or who has had his or her right to vote restored after conviction of a felony shall be required to reregister to have his or her name restored to the registration books."

Okay. Persons convicted of a felony in Texas have had their right to vote restored once they've done their time. Florida cannot therefore legally prevent them from voting: they arrive with voting rights intact, and are entitled to register to vote in Florida. Clear?

Bernard: I think the climate in which it could happen was clearly established by the Administration, and I think its reaction: Rumsfeld's doing a wonderful job, it was just a few rogue soldiers, etc., worsened the stain on the country.

Agreed. I see the grunts who committed the crimes as victims as well as criminals - yes, they should be court-martialled, no question, since they obeyed illegal orders. But every effort should be put into finding who gave the illegal orders, and prosecuting them: all the way up to whoever sat down and wrote the mindnumbing "defense of torture" memo.

And yes, for Abu Ghraib, if for nothing else, Donald Rumsfeld ought to have resigned.

Jeg,

I believe one of the authors of the memo, Jay Bybee, is now a federal Appeals Court judge, appointed of course by Bush. Sickening.

Bernard: Yes, he is, appointed for life. On the other hand, the appointment of Willam J. Haynes, who was the General Counsel to the DoD, and from whose office some of the worst memos came, seems likely to be derailed by this, thank God. I disliked him before this came up, since he wrote a delightful brief tha I came across in my capacity as a birder:

"Readers of BushGreenwatch continue to marvel at the strange case of
William Haynes II, the Pentagon's top lawyer, who advanced the memorable
argument that when the U.S. military bombs migratory birds on an
important Pacific ocean nesting island, birdwatchers should be pleased.

Under Haynes' reasoning, he wrote in a legal brief, killing birds makes
them more scarce, and "bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare
bird than they do spotting a common one." Haynes added that bombing was
good for the birds too, since it protected them from "human
intrusion."[1]

The case stemmed from an exemption the Defense Department had won to the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The exemption enabled the Pentagon to use the
Pacific island for live-fire training exercises. The island is an
important nesting site for migratory birds, including great
frigatebirds, red-footed boobies and Pacific golden plovers.

The public interest law firm Earthjustice successfully argued in federal
court that bombing the island violated the Act. The judge in the case
rebuked Haynes and his team, writing "The Court hopes that the federal
government will refrain from making or adopting such frivolous arguments
in the future."[2]" (link)

I know a least one former Gore voter who has gone over to the Bush side of the force and I expect she's not the only one.

People who were cowed by 9/11 have gone over to Bush out of fear and the (misguided)belief that he's going to keep them safe.

I don't know how many people like her are out there and I don't know if they've been drifting back to the Dem side with Bush's terrible mishandling of the war, but they certainly exist.

Haynes' argument reminds me of the pro-meat argument that cows should be grateful that we eat them, since it's allowed them to succeed wildly as a species (i.e. in terms of population). Both arguments make a certain amount of sense once you've ruled out caring about the lives of the individual creatures themselves.

since the partisanship is flying thick and fast, i'll re-open a question that [for me at least] was not satisfactorily answered the last time around:

Why vote for Bush?

as best i can tell, these are the best answers:

1. the war in Iraq IS a key element of the war on terror. the US must establish, at any cost, an Arabic pro-West liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East to serve as a counterweight to the wahhibist theocracies. only bush is willing to make this commitment.

and/or

2. no matter how bad of a job bush is doing on any key issue, kerry would do worse.

Is that about right? or must we keep fighting over each other's grammar and sentence structure?

Francis

I love this line:
"Haynes added that bombing was
good for the birds too, since it protected them from "human
intrusion."[1]"


You write: "Persons convicted of a felony in Texas have had their right to vote restored once they've done their time. Florida cannot therefore legally prevent them from voting: they arrive with voting rights intact, and are entitled to register to vote in Florida. Clear?"

"Effective September 1, 1997, the legislature automatically restored voting rights to felons convicted in Texas once one fully discharges the felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completes a period of probation ordered by any court. See Texas Election Code, 11.002."
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
Please note "including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completes a period of probation ordered by any court.

Being out of jail isn't enough. Therefore it is quite possible that someone convicted of a felony in Texas could arrive in Florida without his voting rights intact. Therefore an inquiry about which people might arrive in Florida without their voting rights intact would be perfectly appropriate.

fdl
I think that's about it though folks in my neighborhood would want "He protects Life" added to the list.

I think the felon list was also challenged because Hispanic felons were left off because they are described as "white" in the penal system and that didn't match up with their marking "Hispanic" on their voter registration.

LINK


"Roberts' changes required a person's race to match across databases, even though some Division of Elections officials knew the felon database didn't offer Hispanic as a race category. That guaranteed that most Hispanics would be excluded.

The mistake could have been easily identified if someone had reviewed the list of potential felons after the state created it."

hilzoy - "Blogbudsman: read the rules again. This is twice in one day. Don't push us."

Not my intent at all. I realize I'm in your house and I'm glad to play by house rules. At least you have them. I'd like to call upon instant replay on the first of 'twice'. We were discussing the comparative dishonesty of both candidates, and in no way did I ever intend to draw you personally into the comparison. Maybe a little tort reform is in order.

As for the second. I'm inclined to write shorter responses with cleverly descriptive references. Saves me a lot of paragraphs. Obviously causes me a lot of grief. In context I was listing a string a emotionally charged situations to promote a single argument. The thread wasn't dealing with minority voting, but it would be interesting if one did. We're seeing a lot of well respected black conservatives asking similar questions - though obviously not using a term as flip as mine. I've read Ellis Cose "The Rage" and as a progressive Republican, I'd like to see the black community shake the reigns of the highly politicized NAACP leadership and come on board. I didn't mean to get off thread, and realize I brought it on myself. I can't necessarily promise to behave, but I'll abide by your judgments.


blog -- I wrote that comment before you had responded to the first, so yes, it is in fact only once in one day. Thanks.

KenB:

Yes it was the butterfly ballot. And the exclusion of some felons. And failure to count certain overvotes in Duval Co. (where the Gore box is checked and on the same ballot the "write in" box is checked, with "Gore" written in). And nearly 100,000 Floridians voting for Nader because "there's no difference between the parties." A couple thousand Moderate Republicans thinking that all that social conservative talk was just electioneering, and that once he was in it would be a centrist admin (sort of like his Dad). And a change in the legal standard for making out an equal protection claim (although this was probably harmless error, inasmuch as if the SC hadn't decided the thing, the House would have).

In sum, any one of a large number of things had to happen for Bush to win. The margin was so small, all of them had to happen together to decide the thing, and thus each of them is all by itself a "but for" causative element.

Some pretty bad luck for ol' Al. And, to agree <<>> with Blogsbud, if Gore had been a better candidate maybe it wouldn't have been so close.

Unfortunately, at this point it doesn't look like either of this year's guys is a good enough candidate to make the thing too lopsided for serendipity of this kind to rule the outcome. We ordinary folk would be humbled by that, and maybe try to govern in more of a centrist way. But the folks running for office seem to have, as a rule, outsized egos, and so a miss is as good as a mile.

blogbudsman:

if you are in fact a progressive republican, then you really should think about crossing party lines in this election. while the evangelicals have in my voting lifetime always had too much power for me to vote R, they now have more power (bush, delay) than ever before. do we really want a president who talks about our role in iraq as a crusade?

carsick: people who vote the abortion/right to life ticket cannot be persuaded to cross party lines. while your addition is a good one, i'm more interested in exploring what influences the swing vote.

Francis

Hi Francis. Crossing is not out of the question. Just not this year. I'm disappointed that the Democrats couldn't find a stronger candidate. I wonder if any of the real strong candidates didn't sit this one out. I know the rhetoric leans more toward 'evangelicals'these days, but do you think they'd really gather any real grassroots strength. There's a lot of God fear'n people that have a pretty good grasp on religion's place, and it's not running our country. When one fringe crowds the other fringe, you see a little equalibrium, pulling it back from the edge, but nowhere near the middle.

Sebastian: Therefore an inquiry about which people might arrive in Florida without their voting rights intact would be perfectly appropriate.

An enquiry, possibly. No such enquiry took place.

A blanket ban was inappropriate, and illegal.

Probably most regulars here also read Political Animal, but just in case, there's a further thread about racist attempts to interfere with voter registration in Florida... which go into more detail about the improbability of "fortunate coincidences" when you're setting up a big database search.

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Whatnot


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