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April 09, 2005

Comments

Nice dig at the Governator, and nice post.

/"Stretching the metaphor beyond its breaking point, just as a nest of unchecked termites can weaken the structure of a house, so is Tom DeLay by staying in leadership, and Republican "Orkin Men" need to step up and fumigate."/

Nope, CB: IMHO, your metaphor is appropriate, right on, and, BTW, rather clever.
Tacky Is As Tacky Does - and the partisan label on the Tack-er is, in the final analysis, irrelevant (paging Jim Wright!).

As you might guess, I agree. But can't we keep him around until the midterms?

While not for all the same reasons, you and I are largely in agreement on DeLay. It's really too bad that you again proved reluctant to write anything critical of a Republican without feeling compelled to "balance" it with gratuitous liberal-bashing and excuse-making. No, I didn't miss this line:

Just to preface things, this post is addressed primarily to my fellow Republicans and conservatives.

But nor did I miss this indicator of an ongoing pattern:

I'll be writing more on this subject down the road in less liberal venues.

Frankly, I'm sick of the Redstate cross-posting. Redstate is a "red meat" partisan site, and that's fine--that's what it's there for. But ObWi isn't--it's an ongoing experiment in finding the middle ground, in proving that liberals and conservatives really are on the same side, with different views on how to make America better. And a big part of why your contributions to ObWi are widely viewed with contempt is because you don't write in a way which suggests that you get that--you write as if you're throwing meat to your Redstate audience. Half the time you don't even pretend otherwise; without trying I can dig up examples of you crossposting identical content to both Redstate and ObWi.

Enough. If I want to read Redstate, or Free Republic, I'll go read those sites. ObWi can do better, and you owe Moe's legacy better.

Catsy, I think CB is saying that he's going to declare his opposition to DeLay widely in conservative venues, a principled stand, and he's trying to convince conservative readers here to join him. You and I have wanted DeLay gone for, well, forever. If Charles feels the need to take a gratuitious swing at Bill Clinton while breaking with his party on an important issue, well, one step at a time.

Catsy,

I'm not fond of the cross-posting either and have said so, but your comment won't convince Charles to talk to the middle.

I never registered at the Scoop Tacitus, let alone at the Redstate site, so Charles, Von, and Sebastian's posts remind me of what the old Tacitus was: a site where you could confront and argue different viewpoints.

Yes, I would much rather that Charles write posts for this site, but I can think of two reasons he might not agree with me.

1--If he wrote differently tweaked arguments on the same subject for ObWi and Redstate, it would be the work of an instant to expose the inconsistencies.

2--He might see his role here at ObWi to provoke debate, even if many of the more liberal commenters here tend to find the means or direction of those provocations as annoying or unnecessary.

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in NYC. No need to be heavy-handed--particularly not when Charles is disavowing the embarrassingly corrupt Tom DeLay. (And what Rilkefan said more succinctly.)

What rilkefan said. The line "oftentimes, to paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, liberals are more interested in the seriousness of the allegations than the nature of the evidence" made me think: really? and more so than conservatives? since when? -- but that annoyance was minor when compared to my overall agreement.

I want DeLay gone as soon as possible, because I think he's bad for the country (as anyone would be who tried to enforce party discipline with threats and bribes, tried to control the hiring practices of lobbying firms, etc., etc.) The benefits to the Democrats of having him stick around pale by comparison.

On rereading my last post, I think the phrase 'my overall agreement' isn't enough to convey this: good for you, Charles. If we all don't police our own, then there's no hope at all.

Catsy, I think CB is saying that he's going to declare his opposition to DeLay widely in conservative venues, a principled stand, and he's trying to convince conservative readers here to join him.

If Chas is going to go to bat for the Dump DeLay team, then great. But don't kid yourself that this is a principled stand. Very little of what's coming out now is /new/ information--it's just getting more airtime. There's been ample evidence of DeLay's dishonesty, corruption, hypocrisy and mean-spiritedness for a very long time. It's taken this long, taken us this much noise, and taken giving DeLay enough opportunities to hang himself with his own tongue... and the only thing that's really changed is that DeLay's /pre-existing/ negatives have gotten enough visibility that he's become a political liability. Charles, Trevino and the GOP were all about reaping the benefits of DeLay's unethical habits until he started dragging them down.

I'm not going to discourage it. I'd like to see Charles challenge corruption in the Bush administration more often. Just don't mistake politics for principle.

If Charles feels the need to take a gratuitious swing at Bill Clinton while breaking with his party on an important issue, well, one step at a time.

Taken in isolation, sure, I'm with you on this one. But as part of a latter pattern of behavior in Bird Dog's posting which is largely separate from the DeLay issue, I stand by what I said.

When you're trying to train a dog to behave, you don't praise him for crapping on the floor just because he starts rolling over.

1--If he wrote differently tweaked arguments on the same subject for ObWi and Redstate, it would be the work of an instant to expose the inconsistencies.

This is not an argument against Charles writing different posts for Redstate and ObWi; if his arguments are honest and factually supportable, the language and tone he chooses at each site shouldn't affect the substance of the argument.

2--He might see his role here at ObWi to provoke debate, even if many of the more liberal commenters here tend to find the means or direction of those provocations as annoying or unnecessary.

This is my understanding of why he was brought on as a poster. And while I find the majority of his postings to be factually challenged at best, and unrepentant hackery at worst, I understand the perceived value in there being a regular voice for the hard right on this site. What I do not see is a point to duplicating the same content on both Redstate and ObWi, particularly when the tone of and audience for that content is Redstate, not ObWi.

Nice to see CB finaly pile on but given that Delay has a constituency within the GOP, the theocrats, I think the fight to remove him will be a better indicator of where the GOP stands with the theocrats than with any principled notion of self-policing.

Redstate is a "red meat" partisan site, and that's fine--that's what it's there for.

Wow. This coming from one of the most partisan left-wing commenters at ObWi. The reason I've "finally" come around on DeLay is because I've read enough to be convinced that the weight of his unethical and possibly illegal behavior is too great for him to stay. DeLay's been a hardline partisan for quite a while, but that's not a firing offense.

CB - The reason I've "finally" come around on DeLay is because I've read enough to be convinced that the weight of his unethical and possibly illegal behavior is too great for him to stay.

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty Bird?

I fear (not really, I relish) that Delay has burrowed his way too deep within 'fundamentalist' ranks for his removal to prove the neat and surgical 'police action' you desire. Prepare for outright war, and pass the popcorn.

"...the weight of his unethical and possibly illegal behavior is too great for him to stay."

Why now? Without attributing disgenuousness to CB or any of the others who have lost faith in DeLay, I still smell a power struggle here. I have been seeing it coming for over a year.

Y'all (Republicans) gonna miss him when he is gone.

Me: Redstate is a "red meat" partisan site, and that's fine--that's what it's there for.

CB: Wow. This coming from one of the most partisan left-wing commenters at ObWi.

And that has exactly what to do with what I said? Talk about a textbook example of tu quoque. My point wasn't that being partisan was necessarily bad. My point was that that is the kind of site Redstate (or, if you prefer, dKos) is, and the kind of site ObWi tries, in mission, to not be. And when you, as a contributor, are crossposting the exact same content on sites with two completely opposing tones and purposes, you are doing one of them a disservice.

The reason I've "finally" come around on DeLay is because I've read enough to be convinced that the weight of his unethical and possibly illegal behavior is too great for him to stay.

Sounds like a more charitable rewording of what I said here:

There's been ample evidence of DeLay's dishonesty, corruption, hypocrisy and mean-spiritedness for a very long time. It's taken this long, taken us this much noise, and taken giving DeLay enough opportunities to hang himself with his own tongue... and the only thing that's really changed is that DeLay's /pre-existing/ negatives have gotten enough visibility that he's become a political liability.

So while I'm all a-tingle that you've "finally" read enough of the evidence of DeLay's unethical and illegal behavior--the vast majority of which we've been citing to you for well over a year now--don't expect me to be breathless with praise because you and the GOP have suddenly realized he's a political albatross.

"DeLay's been a hardline partisan for quite a while, but that's not a firing offense."

He's been a corrupt hardline partisan for quite a while. I still seethe over his handing out contribution checks from the tobacco companies, literally right in the House chamber, while the House was considering legislation against the tobacco companies. And, while I was 'merely' angry at his actions during the Kosovo war at the time (that whole shameful bit about not supporting the air campaign because it might interfere with the impeachment!), finding out now that he was also being paid by pro-Serb, pro-Milosevic Russian interests makes me livid.

The difference now is that, thanks in no small part to his grandstanding during the Schiavo affair, he's become an embarrassing corrupt hardline partisan.

He's been a corrupt hardline partisan for quite a while.

More pointedly: he's been known to be a corrupt hardline partisan for quite a while, although the true extent of his corruption is only now beginning to surface.

More pointedly: he's been known to be a corrupt hardline partisan for quite a while

This bears repeating. It is the core of why I do not take CB's post seriously as an act of principle, but rather as one of political calculation.

As great as the schadenfreude of watching DeLay do damage to the GOP is, I have to agree with hilzoy upthread: he's far more damaging to the country. I worry about his replacement, but there's a part of me that holds out hope that the grownup faction of the Republican party will gain some traction and put a moderate in his place.

Catsy: why I do not take CB's post seriously as an act of principle, but rather as one of political calculation.

However, "political calculation" is exactly why the British Conservative party finally dumped that evil monster, Margaret Thatcher, though not after she'd done all she could to wreck the country. Eventually, Thatcher turned into a political liability rather than an asset, and was got rid of in short order.

Political calculation is one of the things political partisans do. It's only unpleasant when it's dressed up in moral clothing.

I don't read Redstate, and I don't really care what CB writes there. Fundamentally, I don't much care what he writes here, either: normally, the sight of his name at the top of a post is a reasonable indicator that I can skip it.

This [at Kevin Drum] is related to both the current thread and to that perennial favorite, the creeping fringe of the right wing. A fuller exposition may be found here.

Political calculation is one of the things political partisans do. It's only unpleasant when it's dressed up in moral clothing.

Hence my annoyance here. Charles finally decides that DeLay's negatives make him political dead weight, and jumps on the bandwagon to dump him. Good on him. But I'm not going to make good-doggie noises on him and heap praise as if he'd done something principled, and I'm certainly not going to let it pass when people try to make excuses for his style. "Don't criticize him for this, we want to encourage him to bravely take on corrupt Republicans more often!"

Hogwash. Charles will take on corrupt Republicans regardless of what we do or say, and he will do so under one of two conditions: when they're insufficiently on-board with his ideals (e.g. Bush not being hard enough on Saudi Arabia), or when they become a political liability.

Catsy: "Don't criticize him for this, we want to encourage him to bravely take on corrupt Republicans more often!"

Well, quite. Sebastian Holsclaw has ten times CB's moral courage, at least - have you seen the responses SH's anti-torture posts got at Redstate?

IMO, Bob Michel was the last Republican grown-up, and he's not coming back.


As Strauss & Howe set forth in Generations, and again in The Fourth Turning, we are condemned by history to rule by a generation of zealots. (On all sides). Only when we are ready to elect people born after 1960 will the madness end. I just hope we're here to see it.

(Let me repeat my endorsement of Rep. J. Jackson Jr. as the first candidate of the now-under-45 crowd.)

Let me also join those above: it's not 'policing your own' when you dump a guy only after the cost/benefit analysis tips negative.

Well, quite. Sebastian Holsclaw has ten times CB's moral courage, at least - have you seen the responses SH's anti-torture posts got at Redstate?

Yeah. You also don't see me going on about Sebastian being a hack or sucking and ruining the site. ;)

I think we will not see Tom DeLay go quietly, nor will it be easy for the Republicans to dislodge him. They may well decide that on balance, he is a liability, but he has provided the mothers' milk of politics, money, for many of them.

It seems to me that the Republicans have the choice of losing DeLay by the end of the year or losing their majority status in the House next year. Given that Republican infighting is alreading weakening their majority in the House, it might not be so bad for Democrats if DeLay hung around until the elections.

Catsy,

"It's really too bad that you again proved reluctant to write anything critical of a Republican without feeling compelled to "balance" it with gratuitous liberal-bashing and excuse-making."

It's really ashame you don't hold yourself to the same standard you hold Charles...

It's really ashame you don't hold yourself to the same standard you hold Charles...

Wow, Catsy, congrats on being promoted to front page poster here at Obwi. You still have two more blogs to get on before you reach Charles' number, but don't worry, cross posting should get you through to the end of the day...

While Bird Dog's epiphany seems based on Delay becoming a political liability I think John Cole at Balloon Juice deserves some admiration for for his honesty when he writes:

"...
And for what?

- So Tom DeLay can stuff his pockets with PAC money?

- So the banking interests that bankroll Washington can get their bankruptcy bill, ensuring higher and higher profits and usurious interest rates?

- So Jim Sensennbrenner can put people in jail for broadcasting things he finds obscene?

- So that Congress can insert itself into your marriage, change your end-of-life decisions, because they don't like them?

- So we can make sure gays don't get married?

- To make sure something like evolution and other nasty science things aren't taught in school?

What, exactly are we trying to accomplish, and why, exactly, should I be in favor of it? Other than Iraq and Afghanistan, which are going well and are a success (yet still works in progress), what have we accomplished? I'm serious. Remind me what we are trying to do here- why this is a good thing."

While Bird Dog's epiphany seems based on Delay becoming a political liability I think John Cole at Balloon Juice deserves some admiration for for his honesty when he writes:

"...
And for what?

- So Tom DeLay can stuff his pockets with PAC money?

- So the banking interests that bankroll Washington can get their bankruptcy bill, ensuring higher and higher profits and usurious interest rates?

- So Jim Sensennbrenner can put people in jail for broadcasting things he finds obscene?

- So that Congress can insert itself into your marriage, change your end-of-life decisions, because they don't like them?

- So we can make sure gays don't get married?

- To make sure something like evolution and other nasty science things aren't taught in school?

What, exactly are we trying to accomplish, and why, exactly, should I be in favor of it? Other than Iraq and Afghanistan, which are going well and are a success (yet still works in progress), what have we accomplished? I'm serious. Remind me what we are trying to do here- why this is a good thing."

Aw, cmon bashing Charles and bashing DeLay is getting so boring.

So what is going on here? Budget fights? I still think the Schiavo episode marks the start of the internal Republican war. There are some liberal blogs say the chickens have come to roost, but most are saying this weekend's judicial-hate fest more marks a bill coming due.

Yglesias for a couple years has (not alone) has the theory that the Republican leadership deliberately strings the social conservatives along, promising them change but purposively never delivering. They want the issue of abortion in order to get their tax cuts, but they do not want any actual decrease in abortions, for this would bring out the lefty base and over-molify the Religious Right. Tax cuts uber alles, dudes.

DeLay actually I think believes in stuff. And doesn't want to die with more abortions being performed than when he took office. Rove & Bush want more tax cuts, and could care less about life, umm any life anywhere. DeLay starting to get in the way.

Anyway, isn't it about time to betray Israel?

Hang on. So the new default is Tom is a true believer? That's it? Okay. Run with it. But it doesn't work well in the, erm, reality based world. Heck. Read Trevino's Red State posts, and go from there.

Wow, Catsy, congrats on being promoted to front page poster here at Obwi. You still have two more blogs to get on before you reach Charles' number, but don't worry, cross posting should get you through to the end of the day...

Thanks. Admittedly I set myself back a bit when I stopped blogging on my own site, but it's comforting to know that as soon as I've made it onto dKos and Redstate, I'll have smlook there to hold me to the same journalistic standards I hold Bird Dog.

Ouch. Actually, not comforting at all. Talk about setting a low bar.

"Read Trevino's Red State posts, and go from there."

I have read them. Harley, what you want me to believe that Rove/Cheney/Bush are more passionately pro-life than DeLay? DeLay is getting destroyed by people who are not his betters, and that is intended as quite an insult. Trevino blamed DeLay for the Medicare Bill? Right.

You hang with ...subtle... people, Harley. And I watched dozens of better folk get thrown overboard in order to protect Richard Nixon. When we finally got past "Damn that lying Dean" it was "Damn that miserable Haldeman."

DeLay is in the way of some policy goals.

"They want the issue of abortion in order to get their tax cuts."

McManus gets it.

Charles Bird channeling Brooks: "Being conservative, the American people don't want leaders who play it perpetually close to the ethical edge."

This could read, "Being liberal, Americans don't want ....etc" and be, you know, equally true.

But, hey, we're used to it.

My fear about the dumping of Delay is that it will be a cosmetic change, rather than substantive.
By the way, the comparison to Clinton isn't fair at all. Clinton cheated on his wife. The Republicans wasted 40 million of our tax dollars snooping into a family matter and the Whitewater non-issue. In that context, Clinton lied. The scandal is in the wasted tax dollars. Delay is in a whole other league.
Again, I suspect that he is on the way out, not because Republicans want to rid their leadership of wackos, extremists and robber barons, but because this particular wacko extremist robber baron has become a liability. So to protect the rest, out he goes.
But I am not questioning Charles's motives for his post. Charles strikes me as being a very honest, straighhtforward person. I am directing my cynicism at the leadership of the Republican party.

Jes- And here I thought we were sympatico. I always enjoy Charles' posts. Ob Wings needs someone to say the kind of stupid things that provoke discussion. ;)

Catsy- I think Charles may be being closer to principled here than you give him credit for. I'm sure its true that many people had pointed out how very corrupt DeLay is, but since they were liberals and failed to say how Clinton was worse Charles knew to ignore the possibility that anything they said might have any merit whatsoever. Now that Republicans are saying those things DeLay's corruption has finally registered.

The problem is that DeLay's replacement will necessarily be just as corrupt, the Republicans need a rainmaker in that job to bring in the money, and turning K street into a part of the party just makes too much sense for them to bring that project to a premature end.

Mac --

Well, okay. Tho' it seems like DeLay should be spending more time in church and less gerrymandering, if you know what I mean. In case you don't...

DeLay has spent far too much time pimping for cash to strike me as a devout true believer suddenly in the way of the WH realists. And it's somewhat false to suggest 'their tax cuts' aren't Tom's tax cuts, too. DeLay's mistake is that he lacks their, erm, manners, talent for deception, and ability to put on their appropriate Centrist Garb when necessary.

Delay is Newt without the fake academic pedigree. He's interested in power, first because it promotes his ideology, and second, a very close second, because he likes power. He's not in the way of any admin. policy goals, he's just a little to brutish in the pursuit of his own. But, like Newt, his demise was self-created, not the work of anyone else. And whether you mean it or not, suggesting he 'actually believes in this stuff' stands as both an excuse and a back-handed compliment. I'm suggesting he deserves neither.

Hey, you're hangin' with a subtle crowd yourself. And Haldeman was despicable.

Harley - He's interested in power, first because it promotes his ideology, and second, a very close second, because he likes power.

Power is Delay's ideology and as we all know his power is absolute.

let's be sure to note that DeLay was scheduled to be at the latest "Kill The Judges" forum -- you know, the "No Man, No Problem" one (how wise, ol' Stalin). and he would've been there, if he wasn't off at the Pope's funeral.

Bird Dog sucks and he's ruining my career.

In other words, I appreciate the post.

Charles finally decides that DeLay's negatives make him political dead weight, and jumps on the bandwagon to dump him. Good on him. But I'm not going to make good-doggie noises on him and heap praise as if he'd done something principled

I agree. DeLay's sin is being caught -- not for suddenly becoming a monster. There is an analogy here to the strange story out of Ohio about the governor defending a crony's investment of Ohio pension funds in a donor's rare coin fund.

Corruption is excusable so long as it does not cause trouble. You cannot make room in your party for the robber barons without being the party of robber barons.

Read Trevino's Red State posts, and go from there.

Not sure what you're getting at here. I read the first one, which relies on an anonymous source, identified as a conservative, who says:

DeLay didn't do anything wrong wih respect to the trips. It was staffers; it was Abramoff; it was ....

DeLay is innocent of the charges in Texas. How do we know this? Well, we are to take the source's word for part of it, and for the rest we are to rely on what yet another anonymous source told the first anonymous source. You may find that convincing, Harley. I don't.

Finally, it is conceded that DeLay really is guilty of some ethical violations, but he is not being punished for those. He is being punished by "politically motivated attackers," who don't care about the truth.

Never mind that the reason he is not punished for the actual violations identified is because of his "politically motivated defenders" who don't seem much interested in the truth of the accusations, and who have been unwilling to punish him under almost any circumstances. For these partisans there is not a word of criticism.

Perhaps I've missed something. Perhaps lots of conservatives were calling for DeLay's head some time ago based on violations they acknowledge. But I don't remember that.

So you'll pardon me if I don't take that post too seriously, and don't bother reading his further posts.

David Brooks is not a conservative.
If you believe he is, you have succumbed to the Andrew Sullivan, David Brooks, fictional NewYork wing of Republicanism.
The single largest core of republicans is the Christian right.
Everyone is an economic conservative now days.
Slightly less are foreign policy conservatives.
(i.e. - interventionists and unilateralists, willing to fallow the president and not the U.N.)

These RINO's are just meant to exemplify social liberalism as acceptable public policy for republicans.
And further paint social conservatives out of the mainstream.
That’s why they hate Delay- he’s an effective and staunch Social Conservative.
(Bill Kristol said as much this morning on Fox)

Fitz: That’s why they hate Delay- he’s an effective and staunch Social Conservative.

May those with sufficient power in the Republican party to get rid of Tom DeLay think just like you, thank you.

your welcome

Fitz, no, David Brooks is just a conservative that _you don't like_. There's a bit of a difference. I find it rich that you're condemning New York Republicanism as "fictional," considering how long Northeastern Republicans were a key element of the Republican Party. If you want to go ahead and retrospectively write them out of the picture, go ahead. But to just say that they're "RINOs" because the rest of the Republican Party has moved solidly to the right over the last thirty years is pretty funny.

You say that everyone in the GOP is an "economic conservative" these days (with, I guess, the implication that people like Olympia Snowe who voted for PAYGO aren't real Republicans). Once upon a time "economic conservative" meant spending restraint and balanced budgets, no? It may not mean that _any more_, but that says more about certain Republicans than it does about the ones you're criticizing.

Sure, Northeastern Republicans don't adequately represent the mainstream of the Republican Party these days. But you've left them, not the other way 'round (and you get to call _them_ the RINOs? I like it!).

Mark..
Im a social Conservative
(a Catholic as a matter of fact)
I never much cared for the Country Club wing of the Party.
Its our party now and I aim to keep it.


(the more interesting question is what has happened to the Democrats - not our handfull of RINO,s)
coalitions change - hence. David Brooks is no conservative. (he was for gay marriage for crying out loud- John Kerry and Hillary are not that socially liberal)

Fitz: David Brooks is no conservative. (he was for gay marriage for crying out loud

So, in your view, Sebastian Holsclaw is a liberal? :-D

"...and don't bother reading his further posts."

Bernard, Trevino had a post previous to that one in which he attacked DeLay with vehemence, and attacked the idea that Republicans have a "duty" to defend him. It was primarily on policy differences. I re-read it last night, but today I can't seen to find it.

Hey IF you don't want the David brooks of your party, good luck winning elections....

Trevino had a post previous to that one in which he attacked DeLay with vehemence,

Bob,

If so, good for him. I checked the second post Charles cited and it is indeed much harsher on DeLay than the first one I read. It still contains a fair amount of reflexive Democrat-bashing, but does say that the Republicans have no duty to defend his ethical lapses.

The only two things Tom Delay has ever cared about are power and Tom Delay. This was apparent to anyone who cared to look throughout his career, from his time in the Texas legislature, as minority whip, right up to now. He may have radical right policy preferences, but what motivates him more than enacting his policies is having the power to do it. And more than that, having the power to destroy his opponents. He is petty, vindictive, and corrupt, and always has been. None of this is a secret. Conservative soul-searching about the character of their leaders is too little, too late and rings entirely hollow. If Delay's sleaze wasn't finally coming to light, the Republican radicals who have seized the party would be happy to have him leading the charge and would excuse all criticism of him as "partisan witch hunts." As long as he could still be effective, the rest of the Republicans would fall in line. It's been happening all along. None of this is a surprise.

However, "political calculation" is exactly why the British Conservative party finally dumped that evil monster

"She's history's greatest monster!"

Deliberate comedy, or accidental? The Simpsons fans are dying to know.

*shrug*

Never having been a Simpsons fan, I have no idea what you're talking about, Slarti. I'm sure it's very amusing if you get the joke, but as you're aware, jokes cease to be funny when they have to be explained.

As for Thatcher... I'm aware the crazy old bat has many fans in the US, where (a) her ideas don't look as extreme as they look in the UK* and (b) nobody ever had to live with the mess that resulted from her notions about "there is no such thing as society". I dislike Blair, but his Labour government is doing its best to repair the damage done by the Thatcher years.

*Because the Conservative party in the UK is politically about equivalent to the Democratic party in the US - moderate right-wing. Thatcher dragged the Conservative party further to the right, though never as far as the extremism of the Republican party today, and therefore moderate Republicans and right-leaning Democrats can both feel reasonably happy with her ideas.

Due to a shortage at the bake sale, the town of Springfield cannot afford a statue of Abraham Lincoln. And so...

Quimby: I give you our 39th President, Jimmy Carter.

First guy: Oh, come on!

Second guy: He's history's greatest monster!

*rioting ensues*

- Marge in Chains [quote stolen from tvtome.com]

That was pleasantly uninformative, Jesurgislac. Anarch's filled in the blanks as far as my reply is concerned (but if you require more filling-in, you may want to check out the context).

Still, I'm mystified about your characterization of Thatcher as a "monster". A little background would be nice.

Glad it was pleasant, Slarti.

Still, I'm mystified about your characterization of Thatcher as a "monster".

*shrug* You are an American right-winger: a rule-of-thumb is that anyone who could bring themselves to admire Ronald Reagan, despite (or even because of) the evil he did, would probably never understand why Margaret Thatcher was a monster. (To be fair, she's long retired and now has dementia: she is no longer a monster.)

Specifics still wanting, Jesurgislac. Who knows, you may actually have a case. But if you're saying Thatcher was a monster in the same sense as Reagan was, you have my profound agreement that at a minimum, your distortions of the language are consistent.

Slarti: Specifics still wanting, Jesurgislac. Who knows, you may actually have a case.

And they'll go wanting so long as you're asking, Slarti, because I know already that facts are unimportant to you once you have your mind made up.

And they'll go wanting so long as you're asking, Slarti, because I know already that facts are unimportant to you once you have your mind made up.

Not even a very good dodge; I'm disappointed.

Comrades! I, too, denounce Comrade DeLay for the errors of undisciplined adventurism and the vice of corruption. While Comrade DeLay's adventurist tendencies have been made to serve the Party in the past; today an excess of the same threaten the virtues of Party discipline. This cannot be tolerated. At the very least, Comrade DeLay should forfeit his House Leadership position; at most--well, as the Party says, "no man, no problem."

Slarti: I'm disappointed.

I used to be, but then I gave up, and now just enjoy you at the level at which you are very enjoyable: flip, fast, and funny. But I'm not wearing myself out to do research which you then ignore or dismiss.

I'm not wearing myself out to do research which you then ignore or dismiss.

I'm not an admirer of Thatcher, or a detractor either for that matter, since I really don't know much about her domestic policies. But if you really do consider her to have been a monster you must have some facts to support that opinion without having to any research. If you need to do research then how can you be sure of your conclusion?

Bernard: If you need to do research then how can you be sure of your conclusion?

I lived in the UK from 1979 to 1990, watching as institutions we depended on crumbled and vital industries were destroyed. I've lived in the UK since, under a Conservative government that tried to carry on the "Thatcher legacy", under a Labour government that is trying to reverse it. Institutionalized bigotry (try Section 28, finally repealed under Labour) and her publicly declared friendship for Augusto Pinochet. Not to mention her involvement in the sale of arms to Iraq and to Iran in the 1980s, even if she was not (as Reagan was) funnelling profits from illegal arms sales to support terrorism.

When I said "research" I meant digging up stats off websites to prove my point: all of the above is public knowledge and pretty well known among Brits who were at all politically aware in the 1980s.

Slartibartfast is evidently blissfully unaware of any of this, and, from previous experience, his opinions will be unchanged by any facts I provide: his standard technique with facts he doesn't like is dismissal or derision. Why do the work for that response?

I'm not a Brit, but I think the poll tax is monstrous. I'd be somewhat surprised if there were many Republicans here who would support such a tax.

Republicans: since the US has about 300 million people and the government spends about 2.1 trillion a year how about we charge every man, woman, and child in the country about $7,000/year in taxes, and throw anyone who can't pay in jail?

(Note as far as I know no one actually went to jail in Britain for failing to pay the poll tax, but Maggie did manage to get it passed.

Why do the work for that response?

For the rest of us?

Frank, the poll tax was bitterly unpopular and so frequently went unpaid (making it even less popular with local government who had not requested this change in their source of revenue). I mean it was unpopular left, right, and all around: it was ideology-based government, fundamentally stupid and unworkable, and it was undoubtedly the main reason Thatcher eventually resigned, but I don't count it as the worst thing she ever did. (Stupidest, yes.)

About the only people it was popular with was private landlords, who got to quit paying the rates (taxation on property, which the poll tax was designed to replace) without having to reduce the rent. They profited by it enormously: it was a pure gift to them.

Anarch,

I think that's why Jes started her comment with "And they'll go wanting so long as you're asking, Slarti". If someone who she feels is actually interested in an open debate and not mere cheap snarks asks a similar question, that person will likely get a more specific response.

Anarch: For the rest of us?

*grin* Point.

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty Bird?

Wrong court, postit. The playing field here is not a court of law, although it could be down the road for DeLay.

And that has exactly what to do with what I said?

You conveniently did not quote this, Catsy: "But ObWi isn't--it's an ongoing experiment in finding the middle ground, in proving that liberals and conservatives really are on the same side, with different views on how to make America better." The site's braintrust may indeed be seeking that "middle ground", but I see no evidence of that coming from you, hence my comment. I've just written a post calling for the removal of the House majority leader, bucking against the party with which I am registered and against the majority of my colleagues at Redstate. Whether you think that's principled or not, I really don't care, but it's disengenous of you to say that a post such as this violates the ObWi spirit of finding common grounds and common interests.

BTW, I see nothing wrong with cross-posting. If a post holds water here, it should as well over there, and vice versa. If partisans really want to understand each others' viewpoints, this is just the sort of cross-pollination that's needed.

don't expect me to be breathless with praise because you and the GOP have suddenly realized he's a political albatross.

He's not an albatross. Yet. Most Republicans still support him as House majority leader, by a long shot, and it will be Republicans who will ultimately decide his fate, not the overreaching New York Times.

David Brooks is not a conservative.

There we disagree, Fitz. You don't get to be a fixture at Weekly Standard without solid conservative credentials.

If someone who she feels is actually interested in an open debate and not mere cheap snarks asks a similar question

I wasn't actually interested in debate so much as, you know, what the hell she meant by that. But apparently, being me means that I'm doomed to dissatisfaction on points of information from Jesurgislac. So nothing's really changed.

There we disagree, Fitz.

Well, Fitz apparently thinks I'm a liberal, so I imagine that ought to calibrate him for you: clear over in the "hasn't been paying attention" political persuasion.

Oh, and J: all you had to do was suggest I google "Thatcher poll tax" and read. Yes, that was stupid; even the relatively rabid flat-taxers here aren't recommending a flat tax, but rather a flat tax rate (with some modifications, usually, to avoid putting extra burden on those in the decile or two).

So, there are things that you can say that I'll agree with, provided that you actually come out and say them to start with.

If a post holds water here, it should as well over there, and vice versa.

I'm not sure what you mean by "holds water" in this context. If you mean that the content of the post is sound, that it is rigorously argued and the like, then sure; but that's not the only standard to which posts are held here. [Said standard is also not uniform between ObWi and Redstate, but that should really go without saying.] There's also a presumption of tone, of trying to further discourse between the two sides which forces a certain moderation; and no, justifying bomb-throwing as an act of "partisan cross-pollination" doesn't cut it IMO.

[Note that I'm not saying that this post is bomb-throwing; I didn't read it carefully enough to form an opinion. I'm directing my remarks towards the principle you elucidated which, as near as I can tell, is simply wrong.]

Well, Fitz apparently thinks I'm a liberal, so I imagine that ought to calibrate him for you: clear over in the "hasn't been paying attention" political persuasion.

I'm delighted to know that he has such a lot of company nowadays. Wouldn't want the poor dear to become lonely.

To Republicans on Delay: we hysterical liberals told you so. Didn't we? Didn't we? But do you listen before you vote? Nooo .....

*laughs maniacally*
*suddenly understands why Cassandra went in to the banquest hall where she knew she was going to be murdered*

Since posting-in-triplicate is what the cool kids are doing nowadays -- well, Slarti, but he's cooler than I so I'll take what I can get -- I'll note that I too have no love for Thatcher. My specific beef, the one that affected me most personally and deeply, was her screwing of the citizenry of Hong Kong during the various Anglo-Chinese negotiations of the early 80s, first the amusingly titled Joint Declaration ("One Country, Two Systems!") then negotiations culminating in the Basic Law in 1990; for someone nominally a bulwark against tyranny, she sure was quick to hand 5-6 million people back to the Communists.

[Technically, 5-6 million people less the 50,000 richest people -- sorry, "leading citizens" -- but who's counting things other than money?]

Given the stark contrast between the way the Portugeuse handled decolonialization in Macao, given the vibrancy of Hong Kong's people, and given the fact that, well, I was living there through all of this, I'm unlikely to ever forgive her for selling us (although, being an American national, I suppose that's technically "them") down the river. The fact that I also knew people in the UK who got screwed by her, that's just icing on the cake.

but he's cooler than I so I'll take what I can get

Am not!

Slarti: So, there are things that you can say that I'll agree with, provided that you actually come out and say them to start with.

*shrug* Then I suggest that if you seriously want information, you should ask for it seriously, not snidely. If you don't want to be taken seriously, continue to ask in the format "Deliberate comedy, or accidental? The Simpsons fans are dying to know." As far as I'm concerned, your flip, fast, funny comments decorate a thread beautifully, but do not call for serious response.


Well, that meme was so well-known that I thought it was worthy of casual mention. And I'm still not on board with Thatcher being a monster, just a little more appreciative that she'd done some things that were...how can I put it...suboptimal.

And you have consider the fact that I reserve "that evil monster" for the likes of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. On that scale, Thatcher barely registers as a minor nuisance, unless there's something truly vile that you haven't yet revealed. So was it rhetorical excess (and hence inviting of criticism) or do you just have a much lower threshold for declaring world leaders to be evil monsters?

After readingthe post, and maybe I did indeed miss-read it, just what felonies did Clinton commit? Just wondering, it is completely possible that I missed those.

Monster?

Her enabling the British public's satiation of patriotic fervour over the Falklands debacle was pretty disgusting behaviour. She took a conflict of questionable origin in which her government was implicated in negligent behaviour and built a jingoistic crusade to restore national pride from which she gained electoral advantage and completely escaped the consequences of her own governments culpability.

Some modern parallels there if you care to look.

Billmon on DeLay and Jim Wright.

Given the in-thread lowering of standards, characterization of Carter as "history's greatest monster" starts to look less and less hysterically funny as over-the-top rhetoric.

Bird Dog,

"I've just written a post calling for the removal of the House majority leader, bucking against the party with which I am registered and against the majority of my colleagues at Redstate. Whether you think that's principled or not, I really don't care, but it's disengenous of you to say that a post such as this violates the ObWi spirit of finding common grounds and common interests."

Unfortunately, that was not all you wrote. Had it been, I strongly doubt anyone would complain about its partisan biases or unreadability. The problem is that you feel that it is necessary to leaven a post criticizing a Republican with a host of petty slams at Democrats. For example:

"liberals are more interested in the seriousness of the allegations than the nature of the evidence" or

"the Kool Aid drinking partisans who relentlessly defended Bill Clinton and his sleazebagocracy".

Do you seriously think that these statements further goals of finding common grounds or interests? Why? How?

As noted above, this is a site designed for cross-party dialogue. If you cannot understand that words like those do the exact opposite, then you simply should not be posting here.

As noted above, this is a site designed for cross-party dialogue. If you cannot understand that words like those do the exact opposite, then you simply should not be posting here.

Is Bird Dog here to contribute to dialogue or as an example of 'know thine enemy'?

I'm not sure we even have a purpose, Dantheman. But I'm not one of the Founders.

I'm not sure we even have a purpose, Dantheman.

It was always my understanding that ObWi was intended to be the Babylon 5 of blogs, a place where left and right could come together and find common ground. This has worked better at some times than others, but central to this aim was not only the ideological balance of the posters, but also the tone of moderation with which they wrote. I'm not talking about moral relativism, or the inability to call out wrongs for what they are, but the ability to write with civility and an eye for persuading the other guy, not giving him the finger while you throw red meat to those who agree with you.

I say this with full awareness of my own shortcomings. The more damage that the GOP does to this country, and the more evidence that arises of the mendacity of its elected officials, the less ability I find I have to be moderate or reasoned, or to give Bush voters the benefit of the doubt as thinking individuals. It's to the point where I have seriously considered leaving ObWi as a commenter until I can regain my balance, so as not to contribute further to the poisoning of the well in which Charles regularly urinates. I may yet.

But in the end, my shortcomings as a commenter--or anyone else's, for that matter--are not comparable. Regardless of where you are, front-page contributors are held to a higher standard than the lay commenter. They are what first-time visitors see, they are what's seen by the four out of five blog readers who never read below the fold. They set the example for others to follow--and when you have poisoned bilge such as CB writes on the front page, it should surprise no one that the tone of the comments will follow.

Murphy knows I had my disagreements with Sebastian and Moe in the past, but it took Charles to make me realize just how moderate and reasonable those two men are.

Pardon, I meant: I'm not sure we have a formal, overt, documented purpose. Could be wrong there, but I haven't seen one.

ObWi was intended to be the Babylon 5 of blogs, a place where left and right could come together and find common ground.

I thought so too and said as much when Moe left, what seems like a long while ago, but it just doesn't seem to be that way at all to me; politically at least. Arguments are made and sides are taken to the point where posters and commenters are sometimes not given the benefit of the doubt for even being compassionate and caring human beings much less having a brain.

I'd love to read and participate in discussions where the opinions of others were actually solicited to find not something to argue about, or even common ground between us, but acceptable ground for everyone to not only stand on, but sit down and have a libation together; a place where issues are worked out in a give and take fashion to some type of conclusion.

What we have instead is, as hilzoy said on 3/27: a place where What we share is a commitment to the idea that it is possible to disagree passionately, to argue with one another about what we disagree about, and yet to remain more or less civil about it.

In short, not a "congress" with us all as "officials", but a blog; the best on the net.

What we share is a commitment to the idea that it is possible to disagree passionately, to argue with one another about what we disagree about, and yet to remain more or less civil about it.

I assumed that this commitment was waived when CB was selected.

Jes,
I think that's a bit unfair. Chas is civil with other commentators, by and large. What I think people have objected to (and I may be assuming that people are sharing my objections) are the following
-cross-posting
While Chas has a point that things shouldn't be 'spun' for different venues, and rilkefan (I think) pointed out that too much change would be seized on (by people like me, I suppose) as evidence of bad faith, it is not really helpful to include gratuitous asides that seem to be necessary to establish ones bona fides at conservative sites. Dantheman lists several in this post, and there are others. (the names Soros and Kennedy immediately leap to mind. In this post, he says that he will be addressing more comments in less liberal venues, so one assumes that he has toned it down, but I really don't appreciate the asides, not because it wounds me to the quick, but because it distracts from the point. Though not coming from Charles, the whole 'what becomes a historical monster most' musings are precisely the problem (and I'm not blaming you or Slarti for that, just noting that it really doesn't add much)
-problematic updatings and linking
I complained quite a bit earlier about first the absence of links, then the one sided links, and problematic updates (especially in the Armanious case) I think Chas has taken onboard some of the points made, and it should be noted.

Obviously, Chas is not going to stop cross posting, so there's nothing much to be said about it, except to point out the problematic rhetoric and move on. Getting in the dig about how standards were suspended for Chas addition to the roster may satisfy momentarily, but really doesn't help matters much. Just my 2 yen.

And having just read this thread (it has been a heavy workday): while of course comments about some feature of a given post are appropriate, I think comments about Charles (or any of us) in general, what our being here does or does not imply about the site, etc., would be best addressed to the kitty.

Also, she said, rolling her eyes heavenward, one catches more flies with honey, etc.

liberal japonicus: Chas is civil with other commentators, by and large.

Except when he's calling them "the Kool Aid drinking partisans", you mean?

Except when he's calling them "the Kool Aid drinking partisans", you mean?

Yeah. I drink Gatorade, goddammit!

Jes,
Note how Chas artfully phrases it so that it could be argued that he is not talking about anyone here, he just calls those who defended Clinton Kool-aid drinkers. Checking out this NYT link, I always thought that the Italians drank wine...

lj: Note how Chas artfully phrases it so that it could be argued that he is not talking about anyone here

Certainly it could be argued that. But this is a website where it used to be against the rules only to say "Republicans" or "Democrats" without specifying that you were criticizing specific Republicans or Democrats: or denigrating wide-ranging groups of people with terms such as "the left thinks" or "the right is always". Bird Dog appears to feel that such rules are to be got around by sly wording, not respected as a means of bringing up the level of discourse. Which is why, as he is never called on it, I presume that aspect of the rules was waived, just for him.

a place where issues are worked out in a give and take fashion to some type of conclusion.

Amen, crionna. A few threads here come tantalizingly close to that, but mostly it's just the same old arguments in slightly new packaging. Maybe we should start a parallel blog, with the express purpose of generating that sort of open-minded discussion, harvesting the less partisan posts from this site as conversation-starters.

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