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October 06, 2006

Comments

Perhps, encouraging people to influence the outcomes of elections in other states is all right, but I would consider it highly partisan. Then is this all right? I realize that there have been quite a few exhortations for the Democrats to take the gloves off. Well that has happened. On this blog, I mean of course, both the exhortations and the taking off of the gloves.

I realize that members of both parties, all parties, want to meddle in the affairs of different states than which they live. That's a new problem with elections, that Jes hasn't addressed. You see, the elections of Rrepresentatives and Senators of the various states should be the concern primarily of the voters of those various states.

I think that hilzoy is saying that all elections should be national elections, and that all elections should be based on straight-ticket voting, and national party politics. This I believe is an ill-conceived idea, and it robs people of individual choice. This is similar to a plan where collective US states agree to cast their electoral votes as a region regardless of the outcome of the elections in the individual states.

I think it is a really bad idea for outsiders to try and throw a state's election one way or another. Not to mention foreignors, Jes.

Of course that has been happening for a while now, possibly since the begining of the country, but I think that it is wrong in some way. Perhaps that is why Iowa and New Hampshire are so tough on Presidential candidates as some kind of revenge.

DaveC,
you do realize that the national committees of the parties pour money that is accumulated from other places? Why is that ok, but it's not ok for little old blog commentors to send money to places? Also, say you are in a location that is red, and you want your money to have some impact. Should that person say 'no, my money has to stay right here.' Or should someone from DC be prohibited from supporting candidates? How about me, who lives overseas, and so doesn't really have a representative or a senator? Am I shut out of the process?

"Musgrove's opponent, Angie Paccione, looks good to me; unless the Colorado contingent here tells me something bad about her, I'll be sending her money shortly."

I did write about her here, and on my blog. You may have missed it.

Y'know, mentioning that she's on the Red-To-Blue program, and was endorsed by Wes Clark the other week, and stuff.

The only thing I have against her is a mediocre hair-do.

Musgrave is so odious, I'd probably support a crabcake against her.

I watched Perlmutter, O'Donnell, and the Green, Libertarian, and some other guy, debate for an hour on Sunday, by the way. Thought Perlmutter was fine; I probably shouldn't admit that O'Donnell came off as reasonable, but he still should be crushed like a bug.

My own Rep. is Mark Udall, of The Udall family (Mo's nephew: remember Mo?), and his opponent is a joke high school teacher, and Udall will probably carry the district somewhere around 80-20, so I got nuthin' to do locally.

And John Salazar's is more competitive, but still cruising to a win. Colorado: bluer every day. But everyone should tell whomever to send the damned national Convention to Denver, and give folks in the west more of a clue that Democrats care, and You Will Be Rewarded, I believe. The West is all bluer every day, too.

Ripe. Pluck.

"I realize that members of both parties, all parties, want to meddle in the affairs of different states than which they live. That's a new problem with elections, that Jes hasn't addressed."

WTF?

"This I believe is an ill-conceived idea, and it robs people of individual choice."

WTF?

Yes, indeed: free speech -- very evil.

DaveC, I look forward to your denouncing President Bush for going into various districts and states and voicing opinions about who should vote for whom. And the same for all Republicans doing that. Veep Cheney shouldn't interfere, right?

And for all Republican Senators and Congressional Representatives for donating to, and endorsing, and visiting, other districts and States.

Really looking forward to that. You've been doing that, right?

In fact, I'm sure you're on RedState, right now, explaining why no one should interfere in anyone else's district or state, right?

Right?

DaveC: Perhps, encouraging people to influence the outcomes of elections in other states is all right, but I would consider it highly partisan.

So it is. Both parties do it, however.

What is actually illegal (or so I was told in 2004, when on a friend's request I donated an item for an auction to raise funds support Kerry) is for a non-US citizen to support any US candidate with any financial donations. It's also inappropriate, I decided after I'd thought about it: I'd reacted as to "request from friend" rather than thinking it through politically.

I'm not a Democratic party member or supporter: the Democratic party in the US is politically equivalent to the Conservative party in the UK, and I'd vote for almost any other candidate before I voted Conservative.

But, it's clear to all the world that the current administration of the US needs to go, and the Republicans in the Senate have just chosen to identify themselves as the party that supports legalizing torture and the party that repealed habeas corpus. Just as (though not a Marxist) it was clear to me in the 1980s that the Sandinistas were a better party for Nicaragua than the Somozans or the contras, so (though not a Conservative) it is clear to me that the Democratic party is a better party for the US than the Republicans are.

And, since in my country it's legal and appropriate to express an opinion on an election anywhere in my country or indeed anywhere in the world, so I do.

Specifically, I urged people to donate to State Rep. Angie Paccione, and otherwise wrote about Colorado politics here, I mention via insomnia.

DaveC - I'm sure you have a long and storied history of decrying Newt Gingrich's nationalizing the 1994 congressional elections and, as a result, refused to support the republicans in 1996. Right?

And ditto Gary, WTF?

"And ditto Gary, WTF?"

It's completely lunatic, I'm afraid. Like most of DaveC's comments.

Nice guy, but he rarely makes any sense. I mean, at all. And I don't mean that dismissively. It's like this example: it makes no sense. It's just weird nonsense. As if beamed in from Pluto.

Weird.

I'm not a Democratic party member or supporter: the Democratic party in the US is politically equivalent to the Conservative party in the UK, and I'd vote for almost any other candidate before I voted Conservative.

Yeah, but what does that make the Republicans? Their equivalent to our BNP? Except with real power...

(Note for non-British: the Conservative party is the furthest right of our mainstream parties, whereas the BNP are normally right-wing fringe racist bigots with tendencies to a nationalist form of socialism).

francis: Yeah, but what does that make the Republicans? Their equivalent to our BNP?

A cross between the BNP and Christian Voice, pretty much. Really, the more I find out about the Republicans, the more grateful I am that no party as far to the right as they are holds any significant power in the UK.

Gary, I wouldn't say that DaveC rarely makes sense, but this is a time when he makes no sense.

First of all, elections for Representatives and Senators ARE national elections in the sense that the winners hold a national office.

The purpose of donating to someone is to give him/her the opportunity to make the case to the people of his/her state or district.

It remains for the people of that state or district to make the choice. So I really don't know where DaveC has a problem. Would he prefer for that the electorate be uninformed on the candidates' positions?

I assume, to carry it further Dave, that you would say that people should not donate to the national party organizations, and that corporations that have offices in more than one state should not be allowed to make political contributions except for Presidential candidates.

BTW, although I know it probably won't make any difference, I did donate a small amount (beingunemployed all amounts must be small) to John Laesch who is running against Hastert. I really don't consider him to have a chance, but consider it a protest donation.

He really does seem to have a lot of positive ideas, though his web site is really bad.

It is interesting to note that the national Republican party is pouring a lot of money into districts that were considered safe just a month ago.

Per DaveC, I suppose they shouldn't be doing this.

This I believe is an ill-conceived idea, and it robs people of individual choice.

Help! Hilzoy stole my ability to choose!

DaveC, I actually thought I shouldn't "interfere" in congressional elections in other places years ago. I remember particularly getting a call from Harvey Gantt's campaign asking for a donation for his run against Jesse Helms, some years after I moved away from North Carolina. I decided it would be inappropriate to give.

Later I realized I was wrong, and not just because unilateral disarmament is suicidal. But I promise that I will stop interfering as soon as (1) I have voting representation in both houses of Congress, like other Americans, (2) which party has the majority in the House and the Senate becomes irrelevant, and (3) decisions by members of Congress from other places stop having any effect on my life. Until then I'll be interfering as much as I can, especially in places like Virginia and Connecticut where I used to live.

Hilzoy, as long as you're doing a post like this, have you thought about setting up an ActBlue page to link from it?

Slightly off-topic, I'm wondering how much of a priority redistricting reform is going to be, once/if Democrats regain power. Any ideas?

Having reviewed Claire McCaskill's Military Bill of Rights, I do hope that she plans to do more research before attempting to put a lot of her ideas into play. In particular, I hope she puts some recent veterans on her staff who can explain to her why a number of her proposals, while terrific on paper, will be much less so in practice.

I'm also curious where she plans to get the money for all her ideas.

Slarti, are you suggesting national legislation? I can't see that going anywhere, since states control their own redistricting and Congress can't meddle -- unless it's an issue as vitally important as raising the drinking age, in which case they'll find a workaround.

Otherwise, it seems that redistricting reform will continue to be pushed in individual states by whoever's currently in the minority there. I am curious about how those states that have reformed managed to do it.

Slarti, are you suggesting national legislation? I can't see that going anywhere, since states control their own redistricting and Congress can't meddle -- unless it's an issue as vitally important as raising the drinking age, in which case they'll find a workaround.

I think that this argument maps into electoral reform rather well.

I guess what I'm trying to explore, here, is whether these are all just issues of outrage expressed by the party out of power, to be thrown by the wayside when power is regained. I think that you're right, though.

Otherwise, it seems that redistricting reform will continue to be pushed in individual states by whoever's currently in the minority there.

Exactly. I agree it'd be interesting to see how anyone accomplished any reform at all.

Gary:

"As if beamed from Pluto."

I'll have you know that DaveC. is a neighbor of mine on Neptune, and other than the sickly green Valiant moldering in his driveway, he looks perfectly normal to me when he retrieves the National Review from his driveway at 11:30 in the morning.

Someone could beam him a new bathrobe, however.

I do notice his kids leaving in a huff fairly often.

Andrew:

"I'm also curious where she is going to get the money for all her ideas."

Taxes.

Still, on Neptune he'd at least need something like this.

Or, even in Upper Michigan, which is nearly as cold.

I'll have you know that DaveC. is a neighbor of mine on Neptune

Quite right, no one could live on Pluto, it's not even a real planet anyway.

I am deeply honored to have been helpful in your race shopping! Trauner is an amazing value, and Grant is very promising as well.

Andrew: which parts of McCaskill's veterans' proposals won't work? (Just curious: I am deferring to superior knowledge here, since I didn't get past the 'terrific on paper' part.)

"buying the house has ruled out my previous carpet-bombing strategy"

you mean you could have bought the House, and instead you bought a house?

poor planning, I'd say.

No, she could have bombed the House, but she bought the house. Some might still suggest it was bad planning, though.

Good grief -- all these jokes about Neptune and Pluto, and no one makes the hanging curveball jokes about the next planet in?

I think it depends on the carpet. If her house has an avocado shag, for example, then bombing might be appropriate.

Been done, and done to excess.

Someday, though, men will land on Uranus.

Gary and John, I don't reside on Uranus, but in Illinois. Because most of the races are not close, I am not subjected to the relentless commercials and phone call, etc. The difference was quite noticeable between IL, and how annoying things were MN, WI in 2004. But, the wise, wise folks in the IL Republican party decided to nationalize the Senate race that year and offer us a carpetbagger, Alan Keyes. That move was stupid and pointless. By all rights, Jim Oberweiss should have been the candidate, but he was deemed unelectable. Well, that Keyes guy, he was a mockery of a travesty of a sham, whom I hope not to see the likes of again. I suppose I'm naive, and should care more about other states' elections, and get behind Pamela Anderson to fill Foley's empty seat.

Let me second the suggestion about setting up an Act Blue page with your recommendations. I really appreciate your great work on the detainee bill, and would be happy to express that appreciation by contributing towards your candidates, but it's a little tedious doing them one by one. A single contribution to the group would be much simpler (and therefore more likely to happen)

hilzoy,

Issues I have with McCaskill's program:

Body Armor: this is a far more complicated issue than is generally explained. Yes, we could prevent more troop injuries and deaths by adding more body armor where they're not already carrying it. But body armor is extremely heavy, and troops weighed down with 60-80 pounds of body armor have a hard time actually doing their jobs. Many troops would be quite happy to eliminate some of the body armor they're required to wear, but because the issue has been demagogued so effectively, the Army will not allow anyone to leave a FOB without every last piece of body armor to avoid more political problems.

Providing our troops with the 'best available' equipment: Are we really going to investigate the entire history of procurement for the Army to determine why we didn't have uparmored HMMWVs and why we had (and still have) plenty of equipment that isn't the best available? Because that's a story that goes back a lot further than the Bush administration. I well remember parking my tanks for six months because my division's maintenance budget was cannibalized to pay for Somalia, for instance. Beyond a single example lies the bigger issue: budgets are always a matter of choosing what's most important at the time. The Army, rightly or wrongly, was built for high-intensity conflict, so most of the equipment budget went into buying HIC gear: tanks, Bradleys, artillery, etc. The fact we were poorly-equipped to fight a low-intensity conflict/counterinsurgency isn't due to some vast conspiracy or misconduct. It's due to incorrect assumptions on the part of the people who built the Army.

Ending the 'Patriot Penalty' by offering businesses $15,000 in tax breaks if they make up the difference in troops' pay or offering up to $50,000 to troops directly. This seems tailored to convince businesses not to pay the difference in their soldiers' salaries, since it guarantees that the soldiers will get the difference made up anyhow. It still might be a good idea, but I think she needs to address the question of moral hazard.

Increasing penalties for businesses that violate the SMCRA: sounds great, but the fact is that it just doesn't work. I've had soldiers who mobilized and then returned to work, and if the business doesn't live up to its responsibilities, the soldier is in a very tough spot: if he complains, he may get immediate relief, but the business isn't going to forget that he complained and makes things uncomfortable for him. I don't know that this can be solved, unfortunately.

Requiring the Department of Defense to better educate military families about their rights under the Service Members Civil Relief Act. This sounds great. Unfortunately, all it really will do is cause a lot of headaches for unit commanders. Spouses don't join the Army. Therefore, we cannot force them to attend briefings about the SMCRA or anything else. We can make the service member attend them, but there is no way to make sure that the information will get to the spouse. This is a long-running problem for military units, and one that is next-to-impossible to solve. Some spouses don't want anything to do with the Army, and will tell you that in no uncertain terms if you make the mistake of trying to contact them. Other spouses are kept in the dark by their military spouse, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. In practice, the only way we find out which is which is when there's a problem. Tell the SecDef he's got to make sure family members know about this stuff sounds great, but it founders on the fact we don't have the authority (nor should we) to make spouses sit through briefings about their rights.

As for the rest, I'm still curious where all this money is going to come from. What she's proposing would require a marked increase in the military budget.

I should also note that, while I have no issue with this, the decision to turn ObWings into a partisan site dedicated to the election of Democrats in November does tend to undermine the whole 'moderate' idea.

Slarti: what I'm trying to explore, here, is whether these are all just issues of outrage expressed by the party out of power, to be thrown by the wayside when power is regained.

It's a worthwhile question to explore, but I think that redistricting, which is controlled by the states, is a poor example by which to measure federal candidates' commitment to electoral and campaign reform.

A better example IMO is the abuse of House rules and procedures by the current majority party. The minority party has expressed outrage (justified) about it, has written a report detailing examples, and has proposed legislation and revisions to House rules that would correct it. I fully expect that when they become the majority party, they will make the rule changes and pass that bill.

Could you give some more examples of electoral reform issues that Democrats have expressed outrage about?

I acknowledge that real reform is a tough sell inside each party. To take one example, Russ Feingold is currently being frozen out of access to ACT donors because of his criticism of 527s, while other presidential hopefuls are being given access.

Slarti, unfortunately I don't see a lot of support for redistricting reform now, so I don't expect to see a lot after November, regardless of the outcome.

Someone needs to figure out a way to portray the reform as being For the Children.

Could you give some more examples of electoral reform issues that Democrats have expressed outrage about?

Balloting fraud/inaccuracy, for one (or two, depending on how you're counting). Balloting methodology, which is sort of related.

So, this is the sort of thing you agree ought to be relegated to the state legislatures? I don't see that that's materially different to my own statements to that effect. I truly have no idea, though, to what extent the RNC and DNC influence state legislatures.

KCinDC has it sewn up neatly for us.

Also worth a mention: Jerry McNerney, running against the thoroughly odious Richard Pombo (I think it's CA-11). The CQ report just downgraded Pombo from 'likely' to 'leans', and McNerney's internal polls show him just about even. Pombo is, without exaggeration, one of the 5 or 10 worst representatives in the House, and taking him down would be a huge service to America.

I should also note that, while I have no issue with this, the decision to turn ObWings into a partisan site dedicated to the election of Democrats in November does tend to undermine the whole 'moderate' idea.

On the contrary, I intend to divert all of my donations that would normally have gone to Republicans to Democrats.

Slarti, your 10:26 comment seems to imply you'd favor national reform (which surprised me), but at 12:17 you seem to be saying it should be left to the states. Was I reading too much into your 10:26?

"I should also note that, while I have no issue with this, the decision to turn ObWings into a partisan site dedicated to the election of Democrats in November does tend to undermine the whole 'moderate' idea."

I think hil is speaking for herself here. We've always talked up individual candidates and races. See these two endorsements by me in 2004, for instance.

The main difference, I think, is that no one wants to endorse Republicans right now (partly because they would be set upon by an angry mob in comments, partly because now that Charles is on hiatus I don't know that anyone who posts here much feels like donating to Republican candidates anyway. Could be wrong about the latter.)

I can understand the perception, since Hilzoy has been the main poster here for a while now, but several posts by Hilzoy aren't ObWi as a whole. There are no "Donate to Democrats" links in the sidebar, and I think it's quite a way from becoming Eschaton or the Daily Kos.

is that no one wants to endorse Republicans right now (partly because they would be set upon by an angry mob in comments

I'll endorse the Republicans right now.

DaveC.:

Hey, neighbor, I don't know that you noticed, but divulging my residence on Neptune was just a way of expressing a little personal solidarity with you to counteract various earthly deprecations, not that earthlings are so bad themselves.

"and get behind Pamela Anderson to fill Foley's empty seat."

Every sentence about Foley sounds naughty to me now.


Was I reading too much into your 10:26?

Yes: I think these issues are both state issues. Which is not to say that I'm not open to reasonable compromise, if anyone has any to suggest.

Slarti: Which is not to say that I'm not open to reasonable compromise, if anyone has any to suggest.

I don't see how there can be any reasonable compromise between a state governor determined to rig a federal election for the benefit of his brother, and state voters who would rather have their electoral college cast their votes for the candidate the majority of the voters voted for. Without federal regulation, as we see, the state governor wins the argument every time: and that's not the way a democracy is supposed to work.

Which is why I think the US ought to have federal regulation of elections by a neutral body: to make sure all the votes are counted, each election. There have been enough dodgy results in the past six years that I'd think any voter in the US would want that: anyone in general support of the basic principle of democracy - all votes cast shall be counted, and the election shall be determined by the vote count - would prefer that to the current meh system.

I don't see how there can be any reasonable compromise

This is an almost-perfect summation of everything I despite about modern politics.

Andrew: This is an almost-perfect summation of everything I despise about modern politics.

That some people take political positions with which there is no reasonable compromise? If so, I agree.

That some people take political positions with which there is no reasonable compromise?

That the vast majority of people on both sides are convinced that the other side is so horrible that no compromise is possible. Such beliefs will lead to bloodshed, sooner or later.

Andrew: I should have made it clearer that I was only speaking for myself. However, it's part of a tradition in which, back in the day, most of us (separately) endorsed (different) candidates for President, etc.

Actually, I'll update the post to make this clearer.

Thanks for clarifying the military stuff. I would hope that pledging to make sure people have good equipment would not involve a massive investigation into all past mistakes, but simply a resolve to do it better from now on. I also think there's going to have to be an increase in the military budget for equipment, at least if all those generals and analysts who say that we are burning through equipment at an alarming rate and not doing nearly enough to replace it are correct.

"Balloting fraud/inaccuracy, for one (or two, depending on how you're counting)."

Balloting fraud largely seems to be a Republican fraud, I'm afraid, insofar as they talk about it a lot, and write laws designed to suppress the Democratic vote, while only very rarely being able to point to any actual fraud. ("Well, it could be a problem, so let's rewrite the law, and it's purely coincidental that it will make it very hard for very poor people to vote" isn't a good argument.)

Could you offer, say, five, or so, examples of major and significant voter fraud in recent years, perhaps, please, so we have evidence it's an actual problem? I'm perfectly willing to believe I'm underinformed.

Three examples, even?

JFTR, balloting laws are made by the legistlature, not the governor.

hilzoy,

If we intend to truly redesign the military to make it effective for the kinds of conflicts we now face, it's going to be hideously expensive. Therefore, I predict we will do no such thing. COIN will get lip service until we leave Iraq, and then the focus will be off and we'll make do with whatever we haven't burned out in Iraq and Afghanistan because the alternative is too damn expensive to contemplate.

Andrew: That the vast majority of people on both sides are convinced that the other side is so horrible that no compromise is possible.

So, if I've got this right: you despise modern politics because you feel that the vast majority of people opposed to the current Republican party in power are convinced that (for example) politicians who would vote for legalizing torture and repealing habeas corpus are so horrible that no compromise is possible.

I really don't see what compromise is possible, and I was honestly under the impression that you also agreed that compromise is not possible: torture is horrible. Legalizing torture is horrible. Don't tell me that you are "sure thre must be" a compromise: if you despise people who are sure there isn't, what compromise can you come up with?

It's just something I see getting referred to quite a lot, Gary, by people who maintain that Republicans have rigged elections. If it truly doesn't exist, these people don't know what they're talking about, do they?

"If we intend to truly redesign the military to make it effective for the kinds of conflicts we now face, it's going to be hideously expensive."

Just using that as an excuse, I'll note that I linked to the draft new counter-insurgency manual here, back in July, but that Michael Gordon has what seems to me to be a good story on the new focus here.

[...] “The Army will use this manual to change its entire culture as it transitions to irregular warfare,” said Jack Keane, a retired four-star general who served in 2003 as the acting chief of staff of the Army.

I'd like to see the return, the reinvigoration of the arsenals. The Army and Navy used, before WWII, to try to make as much as possible of their needed equipment, specifically to try to minimize the granting of private interests a stake in procurement decisions, and military policy generally. The Rock Island Arsenal here in Illinois is a prime example. Many items, some still in use, were designed and manufactured there.

I should also note that, while I have no issue with this, the decision to turn ObWings into a partisan site dedicated to the election of Democrats in November does tend to undermine the whole 'moderate' idea.

Obsidian Wings has never been a moderate site, and if anyone has ever believed that they've been deluding themselves. A collection of posters from across the political spectrum does not make a blog "moderate," any more than putting one Republican next to one Democrat makes two Independents. This is a smorgasbord of conservatives and liberals. The last time I read a piece by the original "voice of moderation," Moe Lane, he was over on Red State making fun of liberals for fussing over a piece of legislation that suspended habeas corpus and legalized torture.

This post, like every other post by Hilzoy, appeared with Hilzoy's byline on it. Hilzoy didn't attempt to speak for Andrew or Charles or Von or anyone else, nor has she ever done so, and nor, to my knowledge, have any of those posters mistaken her for attempting to do so. I'm not sure why they would do so now. So please, let's not see any crocodile tears about this post doing damage to ObWi's "moderate" reputation.

Christmas, I absolutely agree with you on the "moderate" thing; but given that Andrew explicitly led off with "while I have no issue with this," I'm not sure why you're reacting as if his comment were an attack. Given the subtitle at the top of the site, his confusion over the purpose of this place is understandable.

I've occasionally lobbied over the last few years to have that line removed or changed. My facetious suggestion (which I mentioned at Taking It Outside a while back, sorry for the repetition) is a line adapted from a recent Dilbert:

There's no point in listening to other people -- they're always either agreeing with you or saying stupid stuff.

given that Andrew explicitly led off with "while I have no issue with this," I'm not sure why you're reacting as if his comment were an attack.

But that just makes Andrew's post make even less sense, since what follows after "while I have no issue with this" certainly seems to take the form of a complaint. And I really don't understand the complaint itself, any more than I understand DaveC's complaint. Did anyone complain about Hilzoy's (or was it Katherine's?) urge to call our senators about the detainee bill? How is one call to action different from another?

Given the subtitle at the top of the site, his confusion over the purpose of this place is understandable.

Is the purpose plainly partisan fundraising? It's the "playing political operative/strategist" aspect of many blogs that turns me off; and this is a small step in that direction, which isn't that big of a deal but slightly troubling to me.

Christmas, I think some people do feel there's a difference between supporting one side of an issue (or supporting or opposing a particular piece of legislation) and supporting one political party. And if I'm not mistaken, that distinction is reflected in some of the US laws regarding some types of nonprofits and other organizations (not that those laws are relevant to this case).

"Moe Lane, he was over on Red State making fun of liberals for fussing over a piece of legislation that suspended habeas corpus and legalized torture."

Link for convenience, please? (I'm not in the least surprised; I'd just like to know the damage, which has been typical in the last couple of years: sigh and alas. A shame Moe doesn't want to confront differing opinions any more. He used to be better.)

Christmas, I think some people do feel there's a difference between supporting one side of an issue (or supporting or opposing a particular piece of legislation) and supporting one political party.

This is ridiculous. We can pretend that the Democratic Party might be just as bad as the GOP on torture, or on the environment, or on a host of other issues that we might care about, but only if we had never actually paid attention to how these parties have voted or conducted themselves over the past several years. I don't have to make the argument that a call for partisan action can be a call for ideological action, because in fact Hilzoy has already made it for me. Nobody's forcing you to contribute to the candidates Hilzoy linked to, and you're free to object to those candidates or endorse your own. But to object to the very notion of endorsing candidates at all is the height of absurdity. Candidates and parties stand for causes; if we care about those causes it's our right and duty to support the parties who will defend them.

"It's the 'playing political operative/strategist' aspect of many blogs that turns me off; and this is a small step in that direction, which isn't that big of a deal but slightly troubling to me."

The blog posters are individuals, Jonas. It's that simple. Any are free to speak up for Republican candidates, advocate for them, link to them, etc.

There's a current search for more Republican/right posters. Are you interested?

It was not my intent to be insulting; if I managed that, I apologize. My point, such as it is, was that if there is a desire to draw commenters from the right side of the great political divide, those kind of posts are unlikely to help. I didn't realize that would be such a controversial observation. I shall refrain from such comments in the future.

"It's just something I see getting referred to quite a lot, Gary, by people who maintain that Republicans have rigged elections. If it truly doesn't exist, these people don't know what they're talking about, do they?"

Translation: Jesurgislac. Her proof is as extant as that of Republicans claiming otherwise, yes.

I have something of a more open mind regarding allegations about Diebold, but I wouldn't go further than that, myself. I'm not big about taking allegations into conclusions, wacky me. I try to avoid Jesurgislacing threads.

"My point, such as it is, was that if there is a desire to draw commenters from the right side of the great political divide, those kind of posts are unlikely to help."

Myself, I'd strongly advocate that the independence of each blogger here, from each other, should be clear to all, and that that's a good thing, and that therefore each person's right to make independent endorsements is a fine thing, and something likely to help the site.

Otherwise, Andrew, you'd be advocating that the site is a collective, rather than a collection of individuals. I'm sure you wouldn't want to argue for the former over the latter, would you? ;-)

Link for convenience,please?

I suspect it was this post.

To be clear: becaus only a commie would do that.

;-)

"I suspect it was this post."

Interesting; thanks. I wonder what it would take to move Moe back from the dark side.

He seems to be on board with torture.

Sad.

I wonder what it would take to move Moe back from the dark side.

A lightsaber duel with his long lost son?

Gary,

I do not object to voluntary collectives, only imposed ones.

As to the suggestion, by all means. As I said, I am extremely sorry I commented on the issue at all.

Andrew: why be sorry?

Link for convenience, please?

Here, unless he wrote another one rather similar to it that I can't find at the moment.

It was not my intent to be insulting; if I managed that, I apologize.

I wasn't insulted, just confused and, I'll admit, mildly upset, because I think this sort of thing is important right now. Six years of one-party Republican rule have wreaked havok on this country and everything I love about it, so when I see a post like this I'm grateful for some advice on what to do with what little I have at my disposal. No one wants this blog to turn into Daily Kos, but I don't think anyone expects it to, either, especially at the rate of one or two endorsement posts per election cycle.

I suspect it was this post.

Ah, wait, no, it was that one. I recognize the part where he spits in my face for caring about basic human decency right before tearing out my heart for mourning the soul of my country. That and the Chimpy McHalliburton reference.

hilzoy: Because I upset people to no good purpose. [Insert 'What else is new' here to taste.] The comment did no good and at least some harm. It's bad math, if nothing else.

Gary,

The blog posters are individuals, Jonas. It's that simple. Any are free to speak up for Republican candidates, advocate for them, link to them, etc.

Of course everyone is free to speak up for candidates, fundraise, whatever. I've merely noticed that when regular people start taking on the role of dedicated political operatives for their team, discourse suffers. I'm not agitating for any sort of rules, or lamenting the eminent demise of the site - I am merely making a casual statement of concern.

There's a current search for more Republican/right posters. Are you interested?

That's quite flattering of you, Gary, but given I'm neither Republican nor right, I don't think I'd be helping things much.

I wonder what it would take to move Moe back from the dark side.

"Back"? Re-read this thread and tell me how his attitudes have changed. (It's particularly amusing, in a rather bleak way, to see just how accurately Katherine predicted Moe's response, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.)

However, it's part of a tradition in which, back in the day, most of us (separately) endorsed (different) candidates for President, etc.

As noted above, I hereby, with 100 percent confidence in my decision, in the interests of the country, and, dare I say, the world, wholeheartedly and unreservedly endorse the Republican party in this 2006 election. The choice is an obvious one, but for those who dare not venture into the revelatory land of Bizarro World, I will explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up.

Let us think back to the summer of 2000. The Nasdaq, Dow and S&P 500 had recently reached all time highs, people were making fortunes off of well thought out ventures, such as drkoop.com, enabling Ferrari salesmen in Silicon Valley to become millionaires, and many, many, many, people had jobs. There is only one word to describe this state of affairs: boring.

I mean, god knows no one really wants to work for a living, and you can only get so much entertainment out of looking at the hockey stick growth of your investment portfolios, plus the Ferrari spent most of the time in the shop anyways (and only produced speeding tickets, not Christie Brinkley, when it wasn't).

Enter George W. Bush and his merry band of mischief makers to provide what this country really and truly needs over all other things: entertainment.

And that is what Bush & Co. and their brownshirts in congress have provided ever since. Starting with the 2000 election spectacle, moving onto the U.S.-China standoff over our crashed surveillance plane, tragedy on 9/11, pyrrhic victory in Afghanistan, shock and awe in Iraq, swift boats in 2004, non-stop terrorist attacks around the globe, molested pages, gigantic deficits, tax cuts for the rich, $3/gallon gas, etc. etc. etc.

Sweet. Glorious. F*cking. Entertainment.

I want more. Vote Republican in 2006.

Ugh, you're a sick, sick man.

Andrew: clarifying stuff is always a good thing, and I don't think you managed to upset that many people. Plus, I suspect they'll live, she cackled sadistically.

Or, in other words: yikes, how boring it would be if we all censored ourselves too much.

JakeB - You are probably too young to remember the drudgery of the year 2000. There was only one party that could save us from the tedium of everlasting economic security, balanced budgets, high-flying stock markets, low gas prices, sane foreign policy, and peace.

That party is The Republican Party, or more specifically, the Modern Republican Party, dedicated to corruption, thievery, war, king-like presidential power, and scare-mongering. Not the party of Lincoln that was into mundane things like ending slavery and saving the Union -- yawn. Plus there's no money in that stuff.

hilzoy: I will go out on a limb and suggest that being boring is yet to be the problem I bring to ObWings.

Andrew, I second hilzoy's comment. Nothing to apologize for. If anybody was upset then they need to look at themselves a little closer.

And, this brought a conversation to the fore that I think is important in terms of how this blog should or should not be viewed.

BTW, I agree this is not the voice of moderation, but more than most it does give a good perspective on to the thinking that goes on throughout the political spectrum.

Andrew: I agree, but only because, imho, "the problem you bring to Obsidian Wings" is a description without a referent. As my logic prof would have said.

Hilzoy, thanks for providing the recommendations. This is the first year in which I've had both the motivation and the spare cash to make some campaign contributions, and you've saved me some significant time doing research.

As far as the proper roll of ObWi in general, I wouldn't mind seeing the candidate endorsements of the other posters, including the more right-leaning ones.

I mean: if anyone should have not done anything, maybe I should not have written the whole post. But that way lies madness.

For what it's worth: I don't think of myself as a political operative at all; and under normal circumstances I would be interested in who takes control of Congress, but not the way I am now. That's because I regard the present Republican Congressional (and Executive) leadership as something unprecedented in my lifetime, and worth fighting. -- I mean, a thought like 'if we want there to be any Congressional oversight of the Executive at all, then Party X must lose power' has never been true at any other point in my lifetime. Never at all.

Nonetheless, my basic assumption has always been: here we all are, devoted to some sort of experiment along the lines of: can people who feel strongly about political questions, and want to argue them with all the passion they have in them, do so in a civil and respectful way? And that my mission, should I choose to accept it, which I do, is not to mute my own views, or to refrain from expressing them, but to express them without going hostile on the people who disagree, and to hope that the other posters do the same.

Besides, I love it when other people bring candidates I had never heard of to my attention. And honestly, isn't Trauner's website worth it?

I third hilzoy's comment. Besides, the interweb makes everyone cry at times.

Your most recent comment, Andrew, in particular the "yet", gave me a vision of you personally directing (through fearsome psionic powers, no doubt) some dwarf-planet-sized hunk of rock still beyond the Oort Cloud towards the Earth, increasing its speed as it falls in towards the sun. But maybe it just means I should go get some dinner.

Ugh--
it is unkind of you to remind me of my age, as it is difficult enough to type with these infant hands. Let me offer you, though, a quote from a 1989 WSJ article:

'President Bush insists it [the line-item veto] would be a great tool for curbing the budget deficit and slicing the lard out of government programs.
He wants it now.

Not so fast, says Rep. Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, a fellow Republican. "I consider it one of the stupidest ideas of the 20th century," he says.'

Doesn't the infighting of the past few days take you back?

Josh: Back"? Re-read this thread and tell me how his attitudes have changed.

Before the 2004 election, he claimed he wouldn't believe Bush guilty of condoning torture without hard evidence.

Two years later, with hard evidence that Bush condones torture, he's on board with torture.

I'd say that's a pretty damn substantial attitude change, and I'm profoundly sorry for it, because I used to like him.

Before the 2004 election, he claimed he wouldn't believe Bush guilty of condoning torture without hard evidence.

Two years later, with hard evidence that Bush condones torture, he's on board with torture.

I'd say that's a pretty damn substantial attitude change

That's a fairly generous interpretation, Jes. A less generous interpretation would be that he had decided to vote for Bush well before the torture scandals broke, and that his defense of Bush - whether on the basis of Bush's repudiation of torture or on the basis of Bush's justified use of it - was based on his political alignment from the beginning.

I cannot join in Hilzoy's recommendations, although I would shed no tears if Ms. Musgrave was defeated. (One of the several issues on which I differ with my party is gay marriage, and I cannot possibly endorse Ms. Musgrave bid to deny friends -- some friends of the family since well before my birth -- the opportunity to marry whom they choose.)

(And from my birth is more than 32 years.)

(Perhaps I shall wear my trousers rolled.)

(Points for citing the source of that last quote.)

(Although, I must mention, I oppose reinterpreting the Constituion to find such a right.)

(But I digress.)

I will be providing donations to no one at this stage, save perhaps Senator Lugar, who retains my nearly-unqualified support.

On other matters: My trial goes well.

Slarti, if you're in Orlando and want to grab a lunch, let me know. I have a good amount of time tomorrow before my flight to London. (Don't ask; it's more depression.)

Best to y'all.

Young JakeB - 1989 was ancient history, back then there was a thing known simply as "Congress," rather than the modern usage that I mention above, "brownshirt Congress." In yesteryear, "Congress" was capable of functioning independent of the Executive, asserting itself under an ancient doctrine known as "separation of powers." Now, I know that's hard to believe, some days I hardly believe myself, but trust me, "Congress" was even sometimes referred to as a "co-equal branch of Government." Don't laugh! It's true.

Indeed, as recently as the late 1990s, still before your time, of course, Congress dared to try remove the President under an ancient (and pagan) ritual known as "impeachment and conviction". This was only used for the most grave offenses an executive could commit agains the nation and the U.S. Constitution, like getting a blow job from an intern. Fortunately, today's congress has forgotten about such rituals, and has focused on more important things, such as which shade of brown projects power and strength, and yet doesn't make you look like a sh!tbag.

I have to go now Young JakeB, but maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about the War Power Acts and Youngstown Steel, and the near destruction of the One Ring.

I do not object to voluntary collectives, only imposed ones.

I second Andrew.

And Hilzoy's post, with qualifiers, is perfectly appropriate.

The War Powers Act even.

Christmas: That's a fairly generous interpretation, Jes.

Yes, but as I say, I used to like him.

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