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October 18, 2004

Comments

So Buchanon is Lafitte in his similitude?

I suppose an extra-territorial slave-trader isn't the worst comparison.

You're an evil bastard, Moe. No wonder I like you :)

Today's lesson: Never cross Moe Lane! (pulling back fingers from keyboard re-reading machete threat)

off topic a bit but did anyone read the NY Times on the Supreme Court under a 2nd Bush term? And i was pretty appalled at Buchanan's McLaughlin appearance yesterday playing cleanup for all those he's been dissing lately.

You can keep Zell Miller, too.

I'd put a smiley face on that, but welcoming Buchanan's vote back from the wilderness, even with all of the absolutely true qualifiers, doesn't put me a smiley mood.

I hope Nader votes for Bush, too. Then just about everyone will have chosen sides.

Sometimes a metaphorical machete is just a metaphorical machete. ;?)

Buchanan went the Reform route, did he?

Here in the UK, my knowledge of him is pretty much limited to recalling news footage from 1988 of Bush Sr supporters and Buchanan supporters trying to outdo each other in saying their candidate's name.

"George Bush for President!"

"Pat Buchanan!"

And on and on and on. Saying a name isn't a terribly convincing or illuminating argument.

Ingrate. You owe the Bush presidency to Buchanan, in a way...though I suppose if he hadn't run Palm Beach County would've been a "stronghold"* for the Socialist or Natural Law party candidate instead.

*actual Ari Fleischer quote

"Ingrate. You owe the Bush presidency to Buchanan, in a way..."

Given that he cost the Republicans the election in 1992 with that disaster of a convention speech, hey, kharma's endlessly patient.

Pat Buchanan's unlooked-for and generally undesired endorsement of President George W Bush's re-election ...

First, this is incredibly short-sighted and smacks of the small-tent ideology you seem to accuse Buchanan of fostering. Buchanan's endorsement will bring George Bush votes. We can joke all we want about Florida, but Buchanan has a loyal base in both Ohio and Pennsylvania -- where hundreds of votes may make the difference.

Second, you're belief in the revisionist view of the 1992 election is astounding. I don't know how closely you followed that convention, but Republicans emerged from Buchanan's speech invigorated -- which is saying something given that Bush 41 was a horrible president by Republican standards. It was complete MSM spin (which sadly you have bought into) that told us that Buchanan's speech was "mean."

The truth is that Bush 41 cost himself that election.

Given what the GOP leadership is turning the party into, this is entirely appropriate: I'm sure Pat Buchanan is a lot happier now the Texan Republicans are safely running the party.

Never mind, Moe: you guys should have 16 years or so under President Kerry and President Edwards to decide whether you want the GOP to be the American Hezbollah, God's Own Party.... or the party of Lincoln.

At the moment the God's Own Party element is decidedly on top, but with any luck losing four Presidential elections in a row will eventually knock them out of power again.

:-p

"First, this is incredibly short-sighted and smacks of the small-tent ideology you seem to accuse Buchanan of fostering."

I'm sorry, did that come out as seeming? My mistake, let me be explicit about it: Pat Buchanan fosters a small-tent, nativist ideology which has been rightfully rejected by mainstream Republican thought. If he wants try to crawl back, that's his kink, but I'm not particularly worried about the outcome of this election absent his support - and I'm not influential enough to have to be circumspect in my language.

As for the 1992 election... (shrug) Just out of college and unemployed, so I had a pretty good look at the convention, thanks. Saw the speech, even: but thank you for telling me what I'm really thinking.

"Never mind, Moe: you guys should have 16 years or so under President Kerry and President Edwards to decide whether you want the GOP to be the American Hezbollah, God's Own Party.... or the party of Lincoln. "

I will not tolerate the equating (whether explicit or insinuation) of any mainstream political party (including Reform, the Libertarians and/or the Greens) with a terrorist organization dedicated to the massacre of innocents. This includes my own party. Jesurgislac, you may either retract this, or you can give up your commenting privileges: your choice.

Moe

Moe, I apologise.

The entire comment was intended to be a joke: a joke, I do realize, in poor taste. I confess I was thinking of a comment made by the Iowa Republican caucus (which I'd written about here that the Republican party was "God's Own Party" - which is, in fact, the literal translation of "hezbollah".

I do not believe that the Republican party is in any way equivalent to Hezbollah: that was, in fact, why I found it so mordantly funny that some Republicans were using the term "God's Own Party": It was, at the time, an "I bet they wouldn't if they knew" kind of humor - and evidently it was still lurking.

But it was a joke far too easily misunderstood to be safe, and I should not have made it. I apologise for giving you the trouble of correcting me.

PS: I still think Kerry's going to win in November. But when I claim to predict the future 16 years ahead, I am joking.

Moe? For the record, here is a link to the chairman of the Nebraska State Republican Party, Leon Mosley, telling his delegation at the recent National Convention that the GOP is "God's Official Party." The meaning of "Hezbollah," which you may or may not be familiar with, is "Party of God."

Perhaps you might wish to take this issue up with Leon Mosley? Is it unfair to refer to quotes from Republican State Chairs?

There's an unconnected, but faintly tangential question I've been hankering to ask you, but I've been extremely leary of asking it, because, well, frankly, and I mean this only in a friendly way, you tend to be, um, er, a bit touchy at times at what sometimes appears to be any question at all related to your political opinions.

I can certainly understand to some degree how that can come about being a Republican in Massachussets, and around a lot of the sort of folks you and I both hang out around.

So I'm sympathetic, and I'd ask that you please be gentle with me when I tentatively ask the following question, and I'll understand if you'd prefer, sick and death of this sort of topic, to just ignore it. Further, since I've missed reading most of ObWings in the past month, due to a combination of awful things going on to someone important to me, other problems on my part, and a bit of a tendency on my part to not want to get muchly pulled back into the oft-times highly enjoyable time-suck of discussions here, you've very probably answered my question many times, and I've not seen it. In which case, you might simply give such a URL, although, again, ignoring is a reasonable response.

The question is now coming. I have no trouble understanding at all your choice to be a Republican. I understand all sorts of good reasons for that.

I also understand why some and various people choose to vote for George W. Bush in this election.

My question is this two-parter: do you, however, choose to vote for Bush (which I gather you will, though if I misunderstand, it's none of my business, anyway), simply because you are a Republican, or is it because you feel that he, personally, is the superior choice over Kerry? And, if so, is it for the most common reason of trusting Bush more on terrorism, or for other reasons?

Like I indicated: apologies if you've already explained this ad nauseum, or if you're simply too weary of this sort of query.

Rather obviously, part of the reason I ask the first part is that an awful lot of lifelong, staunch Republicans, as you know, have come out against Bush for violating Republican principles.

That might work, if we can refer to the Socialist party as Nazis.

But I'm thinking probably not.

"which is, in fact, the literal translation of "hezbollah"."

(blink)
(blink)

Well, don't I feel stupid, now. And it was such a righteous head of steam, too. I counter your apology with one of my own for yelling at you; it was a disproportionate response to a legitimate joke - even one done in bad taste.

Moe

Alright, Arabic wordplay is a little highbrow.

Jesurgislac, at risk of being redundant: Nebraska, Leon Mosley, see previous cite; not Iowa, no cite.

James, if you drop "Buchanan" into the search feature on my blog, you'll turn up more than a dozen entries on him (a couple of unrelated ones). Here is and old-and-goodie. Here is a classic quote. I had a point here. On his whole ilk here. Another bizarre quote was when he defended keeping a tiger in your apartment, though not on clearly Constitutional grounds.

I've never gone after Buchanan in a comprehensive way, though; I tend to try to use him to point out to lefties who link to antiwar.com just who the damn hell they are consorting with ("neofascists" being the answer);I tend to take for granted that people are familiar with his appalling nature and history, but obviously isn't fair, but one can, of course, Google to one's heart's content if further interest exists.

"My question is this two-parter: do you, however, choose to vote for Bush (which I gather you will, though if I misunderstand, it's none of my business, anyway), simply because you are a Republican, or is it because you feel that he, personally, is the superior choice over Kerry? And, if so, is it for the most common reason of trusting Bush more on terrorism, or for other reasons?"

Voting for Bush because I think that he's a better choice; Lieberman would've tempted me. And, yes, it's for natsec reasons. Nothing against the junior Senator from MA, but I don't feel like waiting the six months or so it would take for him to realize that current policy was correct after all. I won't run away to the hills screaming if he gets elected, but I've kept up with the situation as well as I can without a security clearance, and right now I'm going with the incumbent. With my eyes open.

Moe

PS: I don't get testy from being asked my opinion. I get testy from being asked my opinion when it has the subtext "You're a bright person, so why are you being such an idiot by supporting the guy?" attached to it. It grates, you know? - particularly since I do try to at least make the effort not to do that to other people.

Oops: I should note that I did not feel testy in response to Gary's question. Also, Katherine's in MA; I'm in DC/Maryland. Not much of a difference in terms of dominant political party, to be sure. :)

I still think Kerry's going to win in November.

I think it'll be December...but then I'm a pessimist...and I'm up to my eyebrows in antihistamines, so just ignore all such rantings until further notice...not that I'll stop offering them, mind you...

"I get testy from being asked my opinion when it has the subtext 'You're a bright person, so why are you being such an idiot by supporting the guy?' attached to it. It grates, you know?"

Sure I do, which is why I tried to do what I could to attempt to not do that, even uninentionally.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. (We'll obviously have to agree to disagree, but I won't try to argue with you; I doubt there's much I'd have to say or point to you've not more or less already seen/heard, and I even have a slannish enough Immense Brain to kinda understand people making the choice you're making; let's hope that whichever of us is making the better choice, the better choice wins, for all our sake's.)

(The other thing I hope for, of course, is that we actually have a clear win for someone on November 3rd, not weeks or months or ambiguity, although I will, of course, miss Alan Keyes.)

we actually have a clear win for someone on November 3rd, not weeks or months or ambiguity

Ahhh, what's the fun in that...it's not over until the SCOTUS signs..

or sings even...

Oh, almost forgot: Katherine's the one in Massachusetts: I'm in DC.

"Oh, almost forgot: Katherine's the one in Massachusetts: I'm in DC."

Thanks for reminding me; I got confuzzled. Possibly doubles my point, though. :-)

I'm definitely hoping for a clear win. In my opinion, worse than a Kerry win, would be a Kerry win by a thin margin in a state with major fraud questions. I think my hierarchy of outcomes is ordered with a 'dangerous to America score' scaled 1-100 (with 100 being catastrophe almost unavoidable.)

1. Clear Bush Win Score--45 he makes lots of mistakes and isn't well liked by other nations--his tactical sense isn't great but his strategic sense is good, so he gets a high score even though he is my choice. While his tactical sense isn't great, his strategic sense is good
2. Clear Kerry Win--60 he doesn't understand the war on terrorism and has a history of political actions which if followed will embolden our enemies. But he only scores over half on the scale instead of higher, because I can hope he'll get it later (the Andrew Sullivan--of course Kerry will have to become hawkish once he gets power theory). His strategic sense is awful. His religious reliance on diplomacy is awful. But maybe a few bad burns will teach him. Hopefully they wouldn't be too costly and hopefully he would learn from them.
3. Disputed Bush Win. 75--all the problems of choice 1, with a badly divided country fighting him all the way. The Democratic Party is unlikely to do anything other than obstruct for 4 years--which isn't what we need.
4. Disputed Kerry Win. 80--allthe problems of choice 2, with the added disadvantage of the fact that even if Kerry got things right, he would face horrific opposition from those Republicans who couldn't stand him.

For future reference, I would prefer to have all my choices land in the under-20 range.

Holy repetitive clauses. Note to self--don't cut and paste to move a thought without making sure you get the whole clause.

In re translations (though in the case I'm about to describe, translations the parties involved should have been able to make themselves, unlike Moe and Hezbollah): When I was in South Africa, I was in a group of people many of whom were Afrikaaner, and some of them were getting very upset about the fact that someone, I forget who, had referred to them as 'Africans' (on the grounds that they had been born there.) I burst out laughing, and could not get them to see the what was so funny about objecting to being called African in English when they so proudly identified themselves as African in (the original) Dutch. Very odd.

Moe, for heaven's sake, don't waste a perfectly good apology!

It was a stupid joke to make, because (a) it was too easily misunderstood (b) the potential for offense was enormous if misunderstood, and (c) I had no reason to believe that any regular poster on ObWing would know what the literal translation of "hezbollah" is - I know only by one of those random chances of the blogosphere.

I welcome your correction, at no matter what head of steam: making jokes like that is like dropping a match in the woods on a dry day in summer and walking away without making sure it's gone out. Maybe it has, or maybe a flamewar will start that burns out three thousand acres of prime woodland.

I am, most improbably, going to spend November 3 at the Department of Justice. I will have to do my best to conceal my glee if Kerry wins, my sense of doom if Bush wins, and the dark circles under my eyes and (potential) hangover in any case. We had just BETTER have a clear winner or my head may explode .

It was bad enough in 2000, not being able to check the news at my office & relying on updates from my boss (who had decided to vote for Bush after narrowing it down to him and Nader, and also I'm pretty sure the only Jew in America to count a G. Gordon Liddy autograph as one of his prized possessions) and his wife (who was deciding between Gore and Buchanan, and hence found it quite plausible that Palm Beach County was a Buchanan stronghold.)

Katherine: last time I had an election party, and at 2am told everyone that they were welcome to stay until the winner was known, since I wouldn't go to sleep until then. For weeks friends of mine were kidding me about it. ('Hey, gotten any sleep lately, ha ha ha?')

One of the reasons I'm pretty depressed about the state of our polity, and our near future for the next eight years or so (very possibly more, conceivably less), Sebastian, is that I don't see a ton of hope that even if something happens so that either candidate wins in a blowout in both the Electoral College and popular vote, a plurality in either opposing party won't continue to regard the winner as A Grave Danger To The Nation, and act accordingly.

This, as should be obvious, is, whatever the merits or demerits of the actual case, Very Very Not Good.

But one side believes -- and I'm going to lay off my own opinions for the moment -- that Bush is, essentially, a close-minded, incompentent, insecure, war-mongering, partisan-when-he-could-have-brought-us-together, corporate-owned, leader willing to change our Constitution to suit his political bases' desires and unwilling to listen to "reason" or ever change his mind; most of his decisions are mistakes or attacks on the other half of America.

The other side believes, to some large degree, that John Kerry is an opportunistic, traitorous, untrustworthy, wimpish, "doesn't get it," amoral, God-hating, willing-to-do-anything-to-be-elected, Bible-violating, foreign-pandering, KGB-dupish, military-slandering, fool, and, in the words of Lynne Cheney, Bad Man.

It doesn't seem likely that Bush in his second term would suddenly start acting so dramatically differently as to change his opposition's opinion greatly.

It doesn't seem likely to me that John Kerry is going to do much that will convince much of his opposition to change their opinions dramatically.

So I don't see much cheer, and I see much to truly fear, in the next few years, and absent truly dramatic (and possibly horrific, such as a-city-nuked sort of thing, not that I'm saying that would likely lead to a "better" political outcome -- not hardly) events to change these trends, I don't see a lot of cause right now as to why this polarization is likely to change dramatically in 2008, either, or even particularly 2012.

The cultural/political divergence in our country seems essentially generational, and only a good amount of time, such as 12, 16, 20, 30 years, seems likely to me to bring dramatic change.

I, of course, hope that I'm wildly wrong, and am merely being wildly, wildly, depressive and negative.

If folks would like to give me some good reasons to think that, by all means, go for it. (Though as often, I'll pause to sniffle that hardly anyone ever comments on my blog. Sniffle. There, I'm done for now.)

Though as often, I'll pause to sniffle that hardly anyone ever comments on my blog. Sniffle. There, I'm done for now.

I'd probably comment more often, Gary, but I don't want to have to register there. I may someday get a blogspot blog, and if I do, and you still do, then I can comment. But until then... *shrug* it doesn't seem worthwhile setting up a blog account only in order to be able to comment on your blog. Sorry.

"(Though as often, I'll pause to sniffle that hardly anyone ever comments on my blog. Sniffle. There, I'm done for now.)"

That's because it requires registration. Never underestimate laziness.

I don't think the polarization is likely to change. I actually see polarization as less destructive than the blissful slumber of the Democrats before summer of 2003. And what I fear MOST about Bush is that his lack of a real policy to keep terrorists from getting nuclear weapons is going to contribute to tens of thousands of us--quite possibly including some close friends or family members of mine--getting killed. I think it's much less likely than not that such a thing would happen. But with an outcome that horrible you want it to be unthinkable and implausible, and it's neither.

Polarization makes this more likely only in that it makes Bush supporters likely to defend everything he does instead of holding his feet to the fire over what should be a nonpartisan issue.

All that "registration" on Blogger requires is that you fill out a "form" that requires no actual information, and has precisely five slots. They say it takes "three minutes."

I just put a stopwatch to my doing the process of "registering" a new "account." 29.54 seconds.

Enter "user name" (whatever you want, so long as it's not taken). Enter password. Re-enter password. Enter "display name" (whatever will be shown to identify you; whatever you want). Enter "e-mail address." (No problem with it being phony, so long as you're not worried about forgetting your password, and it's kept secret, anyway.) Hit "enter."

That's it. Over. Done.

Is that really so arduous and painful? For crissake, it frequently takes longer to wait here for something to happen after hitting "post."

(I made it "registration only" because the only other choice -- other than "no comments" -- results in their own ID display slot saying "posted by anonymous" and no matter how many dozens of times, and a permanent notice, I asked people for months to use a handle in the texts of their messages, 93% of the few comments people left then (the number has actually gone up since I switched to reg-only) were from "anonymous." And, frankly, hearing only from "anonymous" wasn't very interesting to me. S/he's a very erratic and contradictory writer. ;-)

And if it isn't clear, once one has that "Blogger account" you're "registered" for all blogs using Blogspot comments.

"I actually see polarization as less destructive than the blissful slumber of the Democrats before summer of 2003."

I understand where you come from there, Katherine, but did you feel that way from 1992-2000? (Maybe you're a little young to fully answer that?) Did you feel that way during impeachment? Will you feel that way if we do get President Kerry?

Gary -- besides the fact of having to register, it also looks, and for all I know may be. necessary to tell them you want your very own blog in order to register. Almost put me off completely; the only reason I persisted and registered was that you had put up a post in response to one of mine.

About polarization: I really think that the only thing any of us (except, maybe, for public figures) can do is not to regard this as an external phenomenon to be predicted and observed, but as something we can either choose to participate in or not, and then try to convince other people not to and get mad at politicians, especially on our own side, who exacerbate these divisions.

Is that really so arduous and painful?

Maybe the fact that several people have now made similar comments suggests that, yes, it is?

"...for all I know may be. necessary to tell them you want your very own blog in order to register."

It certainly isn't.

Josh says: "Maybe the fact that several people have now made similar comments suggests that, yes, it is?"

I take the point and input, but, as I said, the rate and number of comments, small as it is, has gone up since I went to the Blogger comment system. You may demonstrate that I'm in error in believing "I have a problem spending thirty seconds registering" is the reason people have rarely commented (comparatively speaking) for three years by reminding me that you posted a comment on my blog in the two and a half years it didn't require registration to do so, in which case I shall grovelingly apologize.

(Not that commenting on my blog is required, obviously; it's just clear that "I have to register" is not the overall reason for the low rate, save in a smattering of cases; I have to presume it's something about my writing, or I dunno what.)

Is that really so arduous and painful?

It is when the first screen that comes up explicitly says you have to get your own blog in order to post.

If you tell me I don't, I believe you. But that's not what blogspot says.

"I understand where you come from there, Katherine, but did you feel that way from 1992-2000? (Maybe you're a little young to fully answer that?) Did you feel that way during impeachment?"

I was actually not nearly as indignant as I should have been during Clinton's impeachment. I didn't realize the extent to which the whole Whitewater "scandal" was trumped up until much later. My attitude towards Florida in 2000 also leaned too much towards "a pox on both your houses".

"Will you feel that way if we do get President Kerry?"

Well, no. I'm a fairly partisan Democrat. I see the problem being not so much polarization per se as the extremist, corrupt, and incompetent leadership of the Republican party. I do not see John Kerry and John Edwards as being comparable to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, or whoever Kerry's campaign manager is this month as being comparable to Karl Rove, or Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert as being comprable to Nancy Pelosi, or even Bill Frist as being comparable to Tom Daschle. We have some idiots in Congress--your McKinneys, McDermotts, and Morans--and some fringe presidential candidates--your Sharptons and Kucinich's--but they are fewer and less powerful than their GOP counterparts. I will be very surprised and very upset if Kerry appoints the left wing equivalent of John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, or Gale Norton to his cabinet. I don't see Fox News as equivalent to CBS, or the NY Times as equivalent to the Washington Times, and when it comes to weblogs maybe Atrios or Kos is the equivalent of Glenn Reynolds, but I don't see a prominent left-of-center weblog that's equivalent to Little Green Footballs or a prominent right-of-center weblog that's equivalent to Josh Marshall or Kevin Drum. ANSWER is at least as objectionable as, say, the Family Research Council, and probably more so, but its influence is in no way comparable. There is no Supreme Court justice who's as far to the left of center as Thomas and Scalia are right of center--Brennan and Marshall were, but they're gone now.

Polarization IS a problem among the rank and file--far too many Democrats have decided they should also fight nasty, or have just plain flipped out, and I want absolutely no part of it. But by and large when it comes to the elected leadership of the Democratic party, their problem is not extremism or excessive partisanship. It is:
1) failure to take foreign policy seriously in too many quarters*.
2) a lack of political courage and/or an assumption that voters will not support them if they say what they really believe**.

*this critique does not include John Kerry.
**this one does.

That's what I honestly think. I am sure it reflects no small amount of my own bias, and will not convince people who do not share them--this is one of those comments that is more useful as an exercise in anthropology than as an argument (if it's useful at all--I almost deleted it before posting it). But there it is.

Leopold Stotch wrote:

First, this is incredibly short-sighted and smacks of the small-tent ideology you seem to accuse Buchanan of fostering. Buchanan's endorsement will bring George Bush votes. We can joke all we want about Florida, but Buchanan has a loyal base in both Ohio and Pennsylvania -- where hundreds of votes may make the difference.

He’s got more than a few here in Minnesota as well, although the MN GOP is solidly pro-Bush we had a Constitution Party (virtually guaranteed to siphon off votes from the GOP in pretty much any election) as a major party up until about 2002. Also being one of the few States to have to live under a conservative-sounding third party governor, we tend to be a bit bloodied and wiser for the experience which makes defection less likely amongst conservative-leaning voters. Also given issues such as “life, guns, judges, taxes, sovereignty, and defense;” I tend to think that most of Buchanan’s supporters who were going to vote were going to vote for Bush anyway. On the balance though, a net (albeit marginal) benefit to Bush.

"I do not see John Kerry and John Edwards as being comparable to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney...."

Neither do I, remotely, but that's not the problem I brought up. The problem I'm taking note of is that whomever is elected, neither side is going to be able to ignore the 48% or approximation of the other half of the country that will be horrified.

I'm saying that setting aside for just a moment the arguable factual merits of either side's case, this remains a Really Big Problem.

I'm pretty much in agreement with the rest of your critique, but it's essentially off my point. Regardless of the arguable comparative inoffensiveness of the Democratic leadership and power centers, the other side won't see it that way.

That's going to be a huge problem, and I mean, like, impeachment-again-as-soon-as-an-excuse can be found, Oklahoma-City-style bombings conceivable, Newt Gingrich shutting down the government, continued accusations that Kerry-is-a-traitor, and who knows what. That's serious.

And I also fear the possibility under a second Bush term of serious civil unrest, among other developments.

"It is when the first screen that comes up explicitly says you have to get your own blog in order to post.

If you tell me I don't, I believe you. But that's not what blogspot says."

I just went to check this again (which is rather irritating on a 33k dialup connection with a P1 machine with 48 megs of ram).

It doesn't say that at all. It says, precisely:

This blog does not allow anonymous comments.
No Blogger Account?

With an account you can set up a blog and get your own profile page - all for free.

(It only takes 3 minutes)

As I said, I clocked it at 28.54 seconds, though perhaps some might type their name more slowly, or something.)

I suspect it's more likely that I intimidate potential commenters with the possibility of a response along the lines of "what part of 'can' do you have trouble understanding?" than the registration process does. Do you think that might be it? :-)

You're right. I probably phrased my argument badly, if I made you think I disagreed with any of that.

It doesn't say that at all. It says, precisely:

Gary, I see your interpretation of it, and as I said, I'll take your word for it that it's correct: next time I feel like commenting on your blog, I'll press on regardless.

But those instructions on the blogspot page still read to me like an invitation to set up your own blog if you want to comment.

Further, I found when I was writing technical instructions for a living, that if two people misunderstood my instructions in the same way (*counts*) it did no good to complain to them that what I'd written was perfectly clear if only they were bright enough to understand it: what I had to do was rewrite the instructions so that they couldn't misunderstand them in that way.

In short, if you find you don't get comments on your blog, and you get feedback from three people who would be part of your natural audience telling you that it's the registration process, you might want to consider thinking of how you can make that simpler, rather than carping at your audience that they ought to understand it.

The biggest problem that I have with Blogspot comments is that they suck. I assume that the problem is that the servers are grossly overloaded; sometimes it takes minutes for the screens to come up fully.

Haloscan is a piece of crap, but it's (IMHO, of course) less crappy than Blogspot.

Not that anybody ever comments on my blog, either. (Maybe I should update it more often ...)

"... consider thinking of how you can make that simpler...."

If you have any suggestions, Jes, as to how I can reword Blogger's wording for them, I would be most grateful.

What I will do is put a few more words into my notice about posting on my left sidebar, which probably few read anyway.

Lightning says: "Not that anybody ever comments on my blog, either."

My self-centered and silly griping is partially stimulated by the facts that Blogstreet lists me as, hmm, today I'm the 31st "Most Influential" blog in the world, down from being 30 for many months, though I once peaked a bit higher, as measured by the 350+ blogs that link to me -- this puts me well above ObWings, by the way -- and, today, for instance, I've had about 1100 hits so far. On a truly good day, I've gotten as many as 9000 hits. Not one of the truly big boys in readership, by any means; on Blogstreet's measure of readership I'm only about 228 in the world, or somesuch.

And in the last few days, as I do much of the time when I'm not otherise Not Blogging, I've averaged about 16-18 entries a day (though not today, so far).

So it's not that I think I should get comments the way Kevin Drum does (and wouldn't want to! Ugh!). It's just that more than one or three every couple of days would be nice. :-)

Jes, I'd be happy to switch to no registration required if I didn't think it would lead to a return of My One Anonymous Uninteresting Commenter and thought it would suddenly lead to a significant -- even remotely -- surge of people actually commenting. But since for two and a half years, in which at times I had a *larger* readership than of late, that never happened, can you suggest any reason why I might think this might happen?

Okay, look. I just switched to "anyone can comment" again. I'll see how it goes for at least three days. So are lots -- some -- any -- folks here going to now start suddenly regularly commenting on my blog? (It would also help for me to stop conversing over here, and get back to reading and blogging on my own blog, though it's not as if there's a lack of recent posts.)

If you have any suggestions, Jes, as to how I can reword Blogger's wording for them, I would be most grateful.

You have space at the top of your blog for a personal message about your circumstances. You could also have a message - in red - that says something like

"Don't be put off by the registration process: it takes 30 seconds and you are NOT required to get your own blog!"

So are lots -- some -- any -- folks here going to now start suddenly regularly commenting on my blog?

Dunno. Hardly anyone ever comments on my livejournal, either. ;-)

This is William G. Milliken's Republican Party

My Republican Party is the party of Michigan Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg who helped forge a bipartisan foreign policy that served this nation well and produced strong alliances across the globe. This president has, in a highly partisan, unilateral way rushed us into a tragic and unnecessary war that has cost the lives of more than 1,000 of our young men and women. In this arrogant rush to war, he has alienated this nation from much of the world.
.....
My Republican Party is the party of Eisenhower, who warned us to beware of the dangers of a military-industrial complex. This president has pursued policies skewed to favor large corporations in the defense and oil industry and has gone so far as to let those industries help write government policies.
(cite)

That's why Milliken's voting for Kerry.

And, I suppose, that's not Sebastian's or Moe's Republican party: which is why they're voting for Bush.

Jes, the 'military-industrial complex' is a boogeyman created to frighten small children into eating their vegetables, not go on rides with strangers and always brush their teeth before they go to bed at night. And 'bipartisanship' is one of those fun words that means whatever the user wants it to mean, it seems.

And if Mr. Milliken wishes to vote for Senator Kerry, he is perfectly free to do so. I'm not, mostly because I don't want to have to wait until he and his administration comes around to my way of thinking about the WoT, and I'm perfectly free to do so, too. And you don't have even a smidgen of the moral authority you would need to judge me for that decision.

So please stop doing it, because at the very least you're coming across as if you think you have such authority, and it's becoming less and less tolerable.

Moe, I can't figure out what you think Kerry would do on the WoT that would be worse than what Bush has already done: but there is a thread for you to answer the question, if it's so clear to you.

the 'military-industrial complex' is a boogeyman created to frighten small children into eating their vegetables

Oh, come off it. It describes a real problem: something like $400bn* being spent annually, yet soldiers in Iraq had to buy their own flak jackets or do without. There are major corporations making major profits out of the US defense budget... and somehow, the soldiers on active duty, the veterans who need support, are the ones who are not benefiting by this awesome budget. It's always worth asking "Who benefits?" when large amounts of government money are going into corporate pockets, and in the case of the defense budget, it's all too easy to see who benefits - and who doesn't.

*I know it was $396bn in 2003, and to my shame, I can't remember what the figure was for 2004.

"Moe, I can't figure out what you think Kerry would do on the WoT that would be worse than what Bush has already done: but there is a thread for you to answer the question, if it's so clear to you."

Said inability to figure out is obvious - and not my problem, frankly. What is a problem is that you were attempting to start trouble - again - with this last exchange, and I am starting to grow weary of it. If you can't accept that a nice, intelligent person is unaccountably voting for Bush, and that said person has heard all your talking points and is still unaccountably unmoved, then stop interacting with that person. You started this last one with a sneer, and I don't recognize your right to sneer at me. So don't.

"Hardly anyone ever comments on my livejournal, either."

Yes, but perhaps my eye is skipping over it, however, I'm not seeing your listing here. I only had ~1400 page views yesterday; how many did your livejournal get? I'm linked to 369 times from 313 sources, at the moment, Technorati says here. Hows bayou? :-)

"...'military-industrial complex' is a boogeyman created to frighten small children...."

Moe, you think Dwight Eisenhower was a "small child" when he invented the phrase and warned of it in his Farewell Address? Have you read this? Are you really saying Eisenhower was trying to frighten small children? Was he some kind of leftist kook who didn't know anything about the military and politics?

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

"Moe, you think Dwight Eisenhower was a "small child" when he invented the phrase and warned of it in his Farewell Address? "

I was referring to the modern usage, where it is used as a faintly comic devil figure and the subject of spooooky stories told around the campfire. You'll note that Eisenhower wasn't using the word as an epithet. :)

and that said person has heard all your talking points and is still unaccountably unmoved

Actually, no. At this point in time, it's more that you've also heard all Katherine R's talking points... and are unaccountably unmoved.

However, I apologize for sneering, and will try to avoid doing so in future.

"Actually, no. At this point in time, it's more that you've also heard all Katherine R's talking points... and are unaccountably unmoved."

Well, she is a natural at this blogging thing. The problem is that I don't share her core assumptions about this administration; I have nothing but admiration for her zeal and eloquence.

Moe

PS: Thank you, by the way.

No, but I seem to recall him writing more about it in his memoirs, and he was extremely serious in regarding the military-industrial complex, the power of that combination of industry and the Pentagon, and all the money at their disposal, and their lobbyists, and their power in Congress, in posing great dangers to the United States. This wasn't some wacko New Left (or Old Left) idea. (That wackos took it up doesn't make it less serious; that kooks wear aluminum foil hats to protect from satellites doesn't mean we don't have satellites.)

Just saying.

Would you feel beseiged if I asked you what you thought of the full John Eisenhower article I linked to?

I give it much the same weight as a letter written by Patty Davis describing why she's voting for Kerry. Not saying one exists, but being descended from a President doesn't confer on one an obligation to vote the same party.

John's entitled to his opinion. So are you. All in all, I find Katherine's opinions far more compelling and articulate than those of John Eisenhower, and I'm still not swayed. Why would Eisenhower's sway me?

While we are speaking of large parts of the budget, don't you think we should beware the Social Security Complex?

"Would you feel beseiged if I asked you what you thought of the full John Eisenhower article I linked to?"

Gee, Gary, why would I ever feel beseiged? :)

Seriously, what am I supposed to think? Party affiliations aren't genetic; if Mr. Eisenhower wants to vote for Sen Kerry, he can. His last name has nothing to add or subtract from his arguments, either.

"While we are speaking of large parts of the budget, don't you think we should beware the Social Security Complex?"

Yes, as soon as Social Security Administration officials kill anyone and their contractors are accused of participating in the torture of prisoners for which they aren't held legally accountable, I will be very worried indeed about the Social Security Complex.

Moe, I looked at my desk calendar today and my tired brain actually computed: My God - two weeks to go.

You understand, I did know that - I just hadn't really added it up.

I think I can promise to refrain from jabs, sneers, snide comments, and even avoid bringing up the topic of extraordinary rendition over the next 14 days - and after that, I hope, it won't matter. One way or the other. (Of course, I want a clear Kerry victory, and believe there will be one. But I had almost rather a clear Bush victory than a repeat of 2000.)

But, honestly, this is much more the kind of thing I'd have expected to hear from a conservative like you.

I like the closing of that piece the best:

Voting is a matter of faith, since no one can predict what either candidate will do. Voting is a personal choice, one of the most personal things we do. We encourage you to look deep within yourself and choose the candidate you think most clearly represents your views.

Of one thing we are certain: America is the greatest country on earth and will survive, no matter the outcome on Nov. 2.

Although that looks like two things of which they're certain, but who's counting?

kenB: Although that looks like two things of which they're certain, but who's counting?

Maybe they're certain of the first, but hoping for the second?

I for one want to know why they use the 'on earth' qualifier. Is there some non-terrestrial country that's superior to America? That's the kind of handwringing blame Earth first attitude that really gets my goat.

"I give it much the same weight as a letter written by Patty Davis describing why she's voting for Kerry. Not saying one exists, but being descended from a President doesn't confer on one an obligation to vote the same party."

I have to take it you are utterly unfamiliar with John Eisenhower, Slarti, because I was unaware Patti Davis was ever a serious and acclaimed historian and biographer and staunch Republicans of our time. I'm unaware of how many acclaimed works of serious history Patti Davis has written. I'm unaware of Patti Davis serving as a general in the United States Army. I missed when Patti Davis served as a U.S. Ambassador. I was out of the room when Patti Davis chaired Presidential committees for Richard Nixon.

To compare the two is more akin to saying that John Quincy Adams isn't worth listening to because he's just a relative of a President (not that John E. was elected to any office, of course; but the difference in seriousness makes your comparison, um, not close to apt).

It's true that John Eisenhower has also never done a nude pictorial, so far as I know, but one can't have everything.

;-)

In any case, please note, Slart, Moe, and whomever, that I didn't put forward Eisenhower as an "aha, aha, gotcha!" I just asked what Moe thought, and I thank him and you, Slart, for your answer.

I actually think enough of you guys (and Sebastian) to simply be curious as to what you think about various things, and why, and so I'll often chose the curious and circumlocutious method of a direct question, with curiosity as my primary goal, not belief that my Hyper-Super-Cosmic-Socratic Power will hypnotically will you helplessly to the opinion I desire, you know. :-)

Oh, but while I'm using my Super-Dooper Persuasive Power so uselessly, I do commend Dan Drezner's musings on why he's 80% inclined to vote for Kerry as something, along with his other posts on the topic, I hope you'll read. He's hardly a partisan, of course, to put it mildly.

Lots of historians liked Dukkakis. But he would have been an awful president.

"Lots of historians liked Dukkakis. But he would have been an awful president."

Dukakis. Good ability to see into alternative worlds; I have no idea how well or badly he'd have worked out as President, but he was a pretty good Governor.

May I ask, what were your predictions/opinions as to how Clinton would do, in 1991? What do you think of how G.H.W. Bush did?

By the way, Slarti, you never said what you thought of General Eisenhower's arguments. Care to?

Care to?

No, thanks. Let's just say that I disagree with most of his opinions, and disagree with his conclusions. Given that he's not said anything at all that hasn't been hashed out extensively here and elsewhere, all that's left is the purported shock value in his not voting Republican. And not having had that expectation of him in the first place, I'm unshocked in addition to being unconvinced.

JFTR, I'm not comparing him to Patty Davis; I could have picked anyone else (say, Chelsea Clinton voting Republican) and the statement would still stand.

Mr. Stotch's comment above is absolutely correct. I am not going to comment more about this blog entry, other than to say that Pat's speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention has been the subject of very inaccurate misconceptions. That speech actually helped boost Bush's poll numbers, and was consistent with the themes that the party was trying to promote at that convention. If the Republicans had emphasized those issues more in 1992 and 1996, they may have won. (Even Bill Clinton, in his recent autobiography, stated that he believes that the Republicans would have done better if they had emphasized their social conservative issues in the 1992 election.)

More on this later...

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