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December 15, 2003

Comments

You've got a typo in the opening: Iraq/Iran. If you fix it go ahead and delete this post. It'll be our secret. ;-)

Actually, it's a bad choice of word as far as "dangers" but those are the three countries I worry most about. Obviously for different reasons. Iran's next, but I think what happens there depends heavily on what happens in Iraq.

OK, ignore my post. My oops. Sorry.

It's going to be interesting to see how Dean (and the Democrats in general) fare over the coming months. A lot of people, yesterday, were saying the capture of Saddam left Dean & the Democrats dead in the water. I'm not convinced it's going to be quite the blow in the long term that some are postulating.

I was amazed by the things that he alludes to that would be GIGANTIC changes. The DoD's "Total Force" concept probably goes out the window, and the Army gets at least four divisions back, and maybe even more. Pay raises for active-duty military. Strengthening "Asian alliances" -- a shout-out to Japan, South Korea, and Australia, and "maximize their support and strength" isn't a simple thing, by any means. Has he said anything about Taiwan yet?

"[A]lliances train together so they can function effectively with common equipment, communications, logistics, and planning." Review the French history of involvement with NATO to see just what a slap that actually is, and look at the pathetic state of the Canadian Defence Forces to see what that might imply for what he thinks other nations need to do. I think that I see the hand of Merrill McPeak in this line, but that may just be my USAF history rearing its ugly head.

"Our administration will move swiftly to build a new anti-terrorist alliance, drawing on our traditional allies and involving other partners whose assistance can make a difference." There's a shout-out for Uzbekistan!

The idea about putting some serious muscle behind funding Nunn-Lugar... I am so in favor of that. I wonder what "challenge our friends and allies to match our contributions" means, though? If he's serious about it, is he talking carrot, stick, or some combination thereof?

It's an intriguing statement of priorities, but I have no earthly idea how he's proposing to pay for all this, or get it passed through a Republican-controlled Congress. The people who might get him elected are probably hoping that DoD gets less funding, but this implies a lot more spending, and not in the sexy way that gets bipartisan support, either.

I've been saying it for months now, but the Dems refuse to listen to me...

Remember this and return to it if you get confused or start believing Bush cannot be beaten. Make it your mantra:
Wars and Bad Economies come and go. We need a president who thinks beyond his next Flight-Jacket Photo-op.

You can't effectively hold Bush responsible for either really (if you buy that Iraq is part of the WoT...and even if you don't, this too will pass), and you can't beat him on either one really.

Bush is weak on several fronts (in order of his vulnerability):

  1. The nation is bitterly divided over his presidency.
  2. He will not be able to lead this nation into another war with the full confidence of the nation or the world, regardless of how important...in other words, he has a very serious credibility problem.
  3. His posturing as a moderate has been revealed as false
  4. He's mean and his administration is a team of thugs. He is most definitely NOT a team player.
  5. He's turned genuine support after 9/11 into worldwide scorn through his arrogance.
  6. His record on the environment is nearly criminal.
  7. He's crippling research efforts in favor of ideology.

Any Democrat who can offer a more attractive alternative to Bush on these issues (especially #1), can win.
I know, these are not as sexy as national defense, but remember the mantra...

That deficit isn't going anywhere, either. I hope people can be convinced to care about that.

Edward, evidence of your seven points of Bush weakness is lacking.

1. IMHO, only the dem. "dead-enders" are bitter over Bush's Current Term.

2. Lets see, Two successful invasions in two tries. Yep, no credibility on the military front. LOL.

3. Campains on Education reform, Tax cut, Medicare reform, SS reform; gets Teddy K to buy Education bill, passes tax cut, gets Medicare drug benefit. The hard right/Libertarians are furious at how much is spent, the hard left is furious at not enough is spent. IMHO, attempts to portray Bush as "immoderate" only play on both fringes, not the middle.

4. IMHO, you will not convince the electorate that Bush is "mean." Is the Admin more thuggish than Daschle, Schumer, Dean, or any of their staffers?

5. Sorry, all three predicates are false: no "genuine support", no "worldwide scorn" (well nothing new, simply typical worldwide leftist/elitist scorn at any conservative/Republican US admin), and no "arrogance" (see 3 and 4 above). Come on, the US electorate like the fact that the President is making the hard choices in the face of Frog and Kraut and Russkie dithering.

6. Pure BS, and the sierra club types will never vote Republican (despite Nixon's and Ford's and Bush 41's dreams that passing liberal legislation will sway the environmental lobby in their favor).

7. Pure BS, and completely uninteresting to the voters.

6. Pure BS, and the sierra club types will never vote Republican (despite Nixon's and Ford's and Bush 41's dreams that passing liberal legislation will sway the environmental lobby in their favor).

I agree. These folks are more likely to jump ship and vote Green than support Bush. And they wonder why Bush doesn't listen to them . . . .

But they'll never vote Bush because his environmental record is horrendous--which I hope you don't deny von, though I'd never expect Steve to do otherwise. How are they supposed to respond to that?

It's not as if only the Sierra Club cares about the environment. Lots of voters do; stronger environmental laws poll very well indeed. But they've decided on a "fool most of the people most of the time strategy" and it's worked. (The issue has also been overshadowed by the war & unemployment.)

But they'll never vote Bush because his environmental record is horrendous--which I hope you don't deny von, though I'd never expect Steve to do otherwise.

All I'm suggesting is that it's a chicken-and-egg thing. Voters whose number one priority is the environment tend to out-left the Democrats, and therefore have no say with the Republicans. It hasn't always been this way.

It isn't that way still in a number of places where the environment is in-your-face, so to speak. My hometown area in the Adirondacks, for example, is filled with people who have deep conservative values and love for the environment -- you can't throw a stone without hitting people who voted for Bush and soon regretted it due to his environmental record being even worse than expected.

New England Republicans tend to be pretty strong environmentally, and I think it's one of the things--along with social issues like abortion, gay rights, etc.--that's making many of the wealthy coastal states solidly democratic.

Working more effectively with the UN, other institutions, and our friends and allies would have been a far better approach to the situation in Iraq.

Some how I believe that the British, Australians, Spanards, Poles, Italians et al just might be offended by Dean's aforementioned comment.

But, I am more than happy to have the next election rest on the security implications of letting the French have a veto over American Foreign Policy.

But they'll never vote Bush because his environmental record is horrendous--

Oh I’m sure that ideological/partisan groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and the NRDC who are in the business of scaring people to raise funds and to slant the issue in favor of their particular candidate won’t like it but there is nothing particularly “horrendous” about his environmental policies.

Bush is actually pushing a more pragmatic environmental policy which has continued the progress towards cleaner air and water, while making some common-sense reforms (such as the changes to new source review which are probably going to end up being more effective than the old ones when you figure the older, higher standards by discouraging repairs contributed to pollution) that are more results-oriented, continuing a multiple-use policy on public lands (just like TR), and rightfully opposing some of the more disastrous policies (Kyoto, motorist-killing CAFÉ standards, and the arsenic debacle) which no one really wanted to see implemented – they just wanted the issue to hang over his head.


There needs to be some sort of smiley face or macro for "my silence is because you'd never listen to any argument no matter how well supported, not because I can't respond."

I don't think it would be disastrous or motorist killing for fuel efficiency to stay the same or God forbid improve instead of declining, for example. To the extent that it led to smaller cars it would make many motorists safer. And anyone who makes those arguments just has so little credibility that there's no point.

I fear, Katherine, that all people are going to remember from that speech is the "Capturing Saddam hasn't made America safer" line. It may be true. But to the electorate just getting to meet Dean? It's gonna sound looney. He should have just stayed away from it other than saying the world is a better place with Hussein under arrest.

New England Republicans tend to be pretty strong environmentally

I don't disagree with that. (Heck, my father's side of the family has summered* in Maine since the early 60s -- a state with two Republican Senators, both with pretty good environmental records.) But that ain't the norm.

*"Summered" sounds better than "bought a cheap ass cottage along the coast and watched the world grow up around them." Or, well, maybe not.

Katherine wrote:

There needs to be some sort of smiley face or macro for "my silence is because you'd never listen to any argument no matter how well supported, not because I can't respond."

Are you suggesting that I should have used such a macro when you started out by saying Bush’s “environmental record is so horrible” when there really is not much in the way of objective evidence supporting that contention?

I don't think it would be disastrous or motorist killing for fuel efficiency to stay the same or God forbid improve instead of declining, for example. To the extent that it led to smaller cars it would make many motorists safer. And anyone who makes those arguments just has so little credibility that there's no point.

The National Academy of Scientists seems to disagree with you (click on my name for the report). They concluded that the CAFÉ standards enacted in the 1970’s probably result in net increase of 1300-2300 annual traffic fatalities because fuel efficiency standards often lead to vehicles being made with lighter and weaker materials that are less safe for the occupants.

I guess though they have lost all “credibility” since they offered a contrary opinion and there is “no point” in debating with someone who only has facts to offer which might call into question someone's political talking points about Bush’s supposedly “horrible” environmental record.

IMNSHO though the only people who have lost credibility are those that try to pretend that there are not any trade offs for environmental regulations including the unintended consequences. Fortunately Bush seems to be more “results oriented” which is why despite being vilified by the true believers for some of his environmental policies, they probably will on the aggregate end up making us better off than the alternative.


Thorley,

I'm sure the environment looks reasonable safe through your Rose(bush)-colored glasses, but there's no denying that Bush is favoring Business over the environment in all but a few cases.

Personally, I think he's playing a clever game here. Say you want to drill in the Arctic, and the moderates will be relieved when you simply deforest countless acres. Say you want to drop all the EPA cases pending, and the moderates will be relieved when you enact a clean air reform.

Lower expecations, and anything you do can be celebrated as moving forward.

The problem is, the environment does not have naturally fluctuating cycles like the stock market. You can't have it both ways...you must keep moving forward.

If a forest is paved over...it's gone. If crude oil spills out of a pipeline...that eco-system will be contaminated for years...if a country is not vigilant about protecting its natural wilderness, it won't have one worth protecting.

To pretend otherwise is to sell out your great grandchildren. That is shameful.

Edward,

Thank you supporting my thesis that so many in the environmental movement are rather immune to facts about what is actually going on in the way of results when it gets in the way of their talking points. Although I am rather disappointed that you seem to have little other than strawman and appeals to emotion to contribute to the discussion, I cannot say based on your past performance that this is surprising.

As far as Bush’s record goes:

With regards to the “big business” line, first it does not follow what the interests of “big business” are nor that they are necessarily uniform nor that what might be in the interests on one “big business” is necessarily good or bad for the interests of something which is not “big business” (whatever that is). Enron for example and the natural gas industry (who contributed far more money to Bush’s campaign that the petroleum industry) were big supporters of the Kyoto Protocols which Bush rightfully withdrew from.

With regards to petroleum exploration in the ANWAR, good for him! The people in Alaska who are closest to the area and would be the most affected by any real or perceived environmental problems overwhelmingly support exploration, the technology has improved to be safer and much more reliable (and will no doubt continue to do so by the time we’ve completed exploration and debate whether or not to allow drilling), and at least one pipeline has been shown to be beneficial to the local caribou population.

With regards to allowing logging on federal lands. There is ample evidence that proper logging is a beneficial part of proper forest management as well as useful for dealing preventing forest fires (something which the previous Interior Department seemed rather oblivious to). The ideal solution IMNSHO would be to either turn them over to private ownership or to the control of the States in which they reside as the best of way of seeing that they are used properly. Since neither option is likely to occur, allowing multiple-use (something that Teddy Roosevelt would have approved of when he created them in the first place) seems a prudent course. That does not mean that there should not be concerns about issues of biodiversity, run off from forest roads (although this needs to be balanced against the additional safety considerations of not building those roads), spillage from the logging (which may also be a fire hazard), and allowing some fires as a means of replenishing the soil’s mineral content. If you or anyone else has any evidence showing that the Bush administration has not adequately addressed these latter concerns or have a better method of multiple-use that would address these concerns, please present it for our consideration.


Breathtaking ad hom opening Thorley...well done.

You score considerably fewer points for comprehension of what's at stake, however.

ANWAR

You write (cite please?):

The people in Alaska who are closest to the area and would be the most affected by any real or perceived environmental problems overwhelmingly support exploration,

I suspect, if that's true, it has more to do with the actual distance from any major population area to ANWAR and this bit of data:

Alaska’s unemployment rate remained at 6.8 percent in October as both employment and unemployment numbers fell slightly. The comparable national rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6 percent.

But what are we really talking about here? It's become fashionable among rightwingers lately to refer to ANWAR as an "arctic wasteland" (suggesting it's already destroyed, so why not drill there)...the truth is...

In the far northeast corner of Alaska lies one of America’s great natural treasures, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Its 19 million acres comprise one of the last places on earth where an intact expanse of arctic and subarctic lands remain protected. It is considered the crown jewel of America’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

So, you're willing to risk the crown jewel in our National Wildlife Refuge System...for what?

According to a study updated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2000, using the newest data available, there is a 95% chance of finding only 1.9 billion barrels (BBO) of economically recoverable oil and a 50% chance of finding 5.3 billion barrels of oil. This sounds like a lot, until you consider that Americans use 19 million barrels of oil each day, or 7 billion barrels of oil per year. The USGS concluded that -- given America’s current rate of usage -- there is in all likelihood a 180-day (6-month) supply of oil lying beneath the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain.

Do the math Thorley...there's no justification for ANWAR...it's a red herring, so Bush's secret energy committee can sneak other atrocities through while we're all in horror over his stated goal of drilling through the crown jewel of our refuge system.

The problem is, the environment does not have naturally fluctuating cycles like the stock market.

Which is why the whole of North America as far south as Florida is currently covered under miles of glacial ice.

If a forest is paved over...it's gone.

I was laboring under the misimpression that new trees could actually be grown. And that unused urban land is often recaptured for green use. Thanks for rescuing me from those delusions.

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