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July 10, 2006

Comments

Marc Danzinger's piece is tripe. The specific claim he is making--that the netroots are going to take over the party--is nonsense. It simply doesn't have the infrastructure.

Indeed, he's reversing the structural state of things, and pretending that the people backing Leiberman (the DLC) aren't doing so specifically to preserve their power, even at an electoral cost to the larger party. To a very great degree, what there is of a "netroots" arose in response to the very narrow group of people who have controlled the Democratic Party for the last decade or so. Absent the DLC/TNR lock on national politics, I doubt there would be a netroots; it certainly wouldn't be as big. (Note, ironically, how limited our national discourse is: we have pro-Likud/ex-Dixie alliance that controls the Democratic Party vying with a pro-Likud/ex-Dixie alliance that controls the Republican Party.) On a bet, Danziger is either pro-Likud (i.e., supports a very aggressive Israeli policy towards the Palestinians) or ex-Dixie (i.e., a Southerner who thinks (for example) segregation was a bad thing, but is much more sympathetic to those who didn't/don't than other Democrats might be.)

As to Leiberman specifically--he's a head to take, and in scaring the leadership, the challenge has served its primary purpose. Anything more is gravy. And whomever the Democratic Party decides to support, tacitly or not, will get the Senate seat.

What I most want to know is who Danziger voted for in 2004.

(I like your blog, which I find through Henley, quite a bit, Andrew. I'm impressed that ObiWi got you.)

The main problem here is that Liberman thinks the war is just peachy and as far as I can tell would support other such invasions. Indeed his position on the war seems to be "Stay the Course" which is just absolutely insane given the fact that the couse is stay there till we have a new president in 2009.

Finally every argument for supporting Liberman seems go something like this:

"'Lieberman deserves support, because he votes against your beliefs and interests.' That's basically what you're saying. Think about it."

I'm not saying you should or shouldn't vote for Lieberman. I'm questioning the tactics. As I noted, I think Lieberman's decision to set aside the results of the primary if it goes against him is pretty arrogant and demonstrates to me he's been in power too long. But I think a lot of the rhetoric used by the netroots is going to do as much harm as good.

You know, I think this is the first Lieberman post I have commented on. SCMT calls most of it right and fair. Excellent comment. There is a lot of dissembling and disingenuousness on both sides of the Lieberman fight.

Ben Nelson has not been targeted, and is not likely to be. Hillary has not been targeted by the netroots...yet. I guarantee she will be. It is not completely about the war, I was personally more offended by the Democratic support for the bankruptcy bill, but it also is very much about the war. There are way too many bloggers explaining all the problems they have with Lieberman in addition to the war, and I am too exhausted to link now. Try Digby at Hullaballoo.

Was/Is Lamont a legitimate primary opponent, and if his views on various subjects are closer to the netroots than Lieberman's, exactly why is it that DKos and crew are wrong to support him? Did not the Republican Right help opposition to Spector in Pennsylvania? Are the situations comparable?

Forget Lieberman. What about Lincoln Chafee's challenge from the right? Why has there been no crying and moaning from the blogosphere about this outrage?

The truth is that Lieberman has been a bad Senator; bad for the Democrats, bad for the country and bad for Connecticut. This year presents a unique opportunity for dems to vote him off the island and retain that seat. I say we do it.

Why should I listen to somebody who casually conflates Daily Kos (a guy with a blog) to North Korea (a totalitarian regime).

Just call Markos Hitler, and be done.

Lamont was supposed to be a warning shot across Lieberman's bow. Lamont wasn't supposed to actually COMPETE with Lieberman. The general consensus at the national level - even on Kos - was that Lamont would be lucky to force a primary that he would get buried in.
Then a funny thing happened. It turns out Ol' Joe hasn't been back to homestead in some time. His constituents think he doesn't listen to them; his constituent service sucks, quite frankly. He has never been good about helping down ticket democrats campaign; so even a lot of people in the state party think he's falling down on the job. Then Weepin' Joe himself has responded to everything exactly wrong, showing very little in the way of political acumen. This was supposed to be a walk over for Lieberman. Now he stands on the brink of losing.
And I don't give his Indie candidacy much of a chance. After losing the primary, Lieberman will be damaged goods, and he'll run a distant third. Same thing as happened to Javits in NY in '80.

All indications are that this "purge" is limited to one guy who the netroots really, really don't like. It's no different from the GOP primary challenges to Lincoln Chafee or Arlen Specter.

The idea that there's now a 2% chance of the Republicans stealing this safe seat - that's kind of a "so what" to me. You can't worry about every remote possibility.

The most important thing here is that this primary challenge started not with the netroots, but with Ned Lamont. Markos didn't grow him in a lab. Lots of people in the netroots disliked Lieberman, and liked the idea of a primary challenge, but there was no serious support for Lamont until a few key bloggers met up with him and were like, "Hey, this guy is the real deal."

Even then, support was half-hearted until Lieberman committed a few gaffes that suggested he was, in fact, actually concerned about losing this primary. And things just kind of took off from there. But none of this would have happened if Lamont hadn't come along himself, with no prodding from the netroots, and been a credible, likable candidate.

I really don't like the people who are pushing this "purge" narrative. No one asks the GOP, "Gee, with your majority in jeopardy, doesn't it say bad things about your party activists that they won't tolerate a moderate like Chafee?" It just doesn't happen. There's a double standard, and Republican dissent is deemed good and healthy (just look at McCain, the beloved maverick) while Democratic dissent is a sign of trouble.

I'd like to think that if the Democrats retake power, the poles will reverse and the media will start asking if the Republicans can avoid letting their Red State extremist base move them too far to the right... but I'm not holding my breath for that one. There's not a level playing field on this issue.

At the same time I'm hearing all this clucking over the Lieberman primary and what an obvious mistake it is by those crazy Democratic activists, conservatives are mounting a very tough primary challenge to Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island. Now there is a case of misplaced priorities. If Steve Laffey, the Club For Growth-sponsored candidate, wins the primary, he'll get blown out of the water in the general by Sheldon Whitehouse, and the GOP loses the seat. There's no real risk at all that Alan Schlesinger is going to win the general, so why shouldn't Democrats try to trade a frequently hostile incumbent who votes against their interests for a liberal who'll represent them better?

I'd guess that the Chafee challenge hasn't drawn as much attention because it hasn't been a major issue the way Lieberman's has. Markos is the biggest blogger out there; when he targets someone, people are going to sit up and take notice, and that has happened. I'm not aware of anyone of remotely comparable stature on the right endorsing Chafee's challenger.

If Lieberman was going to go quietly, a primary challenge wouldn't be a big deal. But the odds are pretty good that he'll hold the seat, either by winning the primary or winning in the general election. That's a bad outcome for the Democrats, making this a tactically unwise maneuver.

democrats tend to get two types of advice from republicans: (a) stand for something; and (b) run more conservative candidates like Joe L. (see alicu blog, frex.)

well, a group of activists has decided to take option 1, and target the Big Smooch. more power to them, because this is what primary politics is all about.

note, please, that republicans also luv to lecture about their time in opposition, and the need for movement conservatives like Gingrich and DeLay to seize power to bring discipline and message control to the party.

if there's a worse politician on democratic message control than Joe L., i'm not sure who it is.

seems to me that what has the repubs most concerned about the netroots attack on Big Smooch is that democratic activists are actually taking a page out of the republican playbook that brought the repubs back to power.

I believe I was unclear, so I'll try to be more so before I have to go to bed.

I don't think Lamont was wrong to run against Lieberman.

I don't think the netroots are wrong to support him.

In politics, perception is more important than reality. (Actually, that's true in a lot of things, unfortunately.)

The way the netroots are going after Lieberman looks bad to outsiders like me. It isn't a purge, but it kind of looks like one, with the rather vicious rhetoric being employed.

I'm not a fan of most Lieberman positions. But as someone who doesn't think we should leave Iraq just yet, seeing what's happening to him does make me wonder if there's any place for me in the Democratic party. Again, that's a question of perception, not reality, since there are other Democrats who support the war who are not facing this kind of challenge, but as I noted above, perceptions are important.

Therefore, I think that the methods being employed to oust Lieberman are counterproductive to the more important task of electing a Democratic Congress.

I lied, one more.

For the record, I'm not a Republican. My advice is based on my own impressions as someone who would desperately like to find some party to support and isn't thrilled with any of the alternatives.

MobiusKlein: "Why should I listen to somebody who casually conflates Daily Kos (a guy with a blog) to North Korea (a totalitarian regime)." -- Who are you referring to?

On the topic: I've written before about why I don't like Lieberman, and at least the first time (of two), what set me off was Lieberman saying that this was all about the war, and that mounting a primary challenge against him constituted a "purge" or a "jihad". And part of the reason I say that is precisely because I really don't think think that's true, and therefore I don't at all think that Danziger should draw the conclusions he does.

I don't really think that anyone sat down and said: let's make this a priority. It was more that Lamont ran and people thought: good; and then he began to get some traction, while Lieberman started saying things that might have been calculated to enrage the people who dislike him.

I think that this is a good explanation of why people don't like him, except for the last line. ("while they can withstand an impressive amount of disagreement, they won't stand for dislike.")

That's just wrong. Dislike is fine; being told that you're undermining the President by criticizing him, or that mounting a primary challenge to a sitting senator is not just an OK thing to do in a democracy, but a "purge" or a "jihad" -- these are not just dislike; they sound to a lot of people (like me) as though Lieberman doesn't think that people who disagree with him/the President have any right to do so. And that's altogether different.

Shorter hilzoy: Mark Danziger can stay, partly because no one is making these determinations anyways, and even if they were, being for the war doesn't put you on the wrong side of them.

As to Andrew's wider point: I am considered a hawk around here, though possibly for different and additional reasons than Andrew's. I am never sure what "Standing up to Islamic extremism" precisely means, and it often seems that the argument exists while avoiding the important details. Most Democrats would do such "standing", but most Democrats don't want to pre-emptively and unilaterally attack Iran. But you maybe don't want that either. It gets so confusing.
I want a really big military, focused on boots rather than bombs.

Speaking to your subtext, are the netroots trying to drive "hawks" from the party, well I was around in the late sixties, and if the McGovernites succeeded in driving the "hawks" out back then, how the heck did the "hawks" get back in?

Certainly Vietnam was a real war and a real issue, but it was additionally a tool and weapon various factions could use against each other: for instance, New Left vs the Neo-Cons. Shoot, I remember Romney getting "brainwashed." Wars and foreign policy confuse the debates, often intentionally. Do not think DLC vs Netroots is entirely about the war. I don't think it is even mostly about the war.

It's no different from the GOP primary challenges to Lincoln Chafee or Arlen Specter.

It's really not, though. Lieberman has a safe seat in a solidly Democratic state; Chafee is a lone Republican in an even more Democratic state. The equivalent of the Chafee challenge wouldn't be Lieberman - it would be running a pro-choice, anti-war Democrat in a primary against Ben Nelson.

But the odds are pretty good that he'll hold the seat, either by winning the primary or winning in the general election.

I really, really doubt that. If he wins the primary, fine--we all want the Democrat to win. Kos, for example, has said that he will support Leiberman's re-election if Lieberman is the Democratic nominee.

If Lamont is the nominee, he'll win. Machinery matters. Either the party will jump in, and Lamont will win, or the party won't really jump in, and Leiberman will owe the party. I happen to think the party jumps in; it's an easy way to placate the netroots at close to no cost. Moreover, Connecticut voters, be they Democrats or Republicans, are culturally blue voters. Unless the Dems are complete morons, by the time November rolls around, CT voters will be terrified of yielding just one inch to the Reds.

A good argument can be made that Lieberman represents why the Democrats have been a minority Party since 1994: Democrats willing (or, in Lieberman's case, eager) to torpedo their own Party for the sake of a soi-disant bipartisanship that doesn't serve Democratic Party principles or, for that matter, the national interest.

Lieberman's voting record is good only if you don't look behind the scenes. Examples: the votes that got him his good "liberal" rating (votes against the bankruptcy bill, against Alito's confirmation) did no good for the liberal cause, while his votes to end debate on those same matters damaged the liberal cause.

You could argue that voting to extend debate (i.e., filibustering) the bankruptcy and Alito's confirmation would have been meaningless since the GOP majority was already committed to passing both. However, abandoning debate - abandoning the filibuster - told Democratic voters Lieberman would not fight for progressive causes once the fight became a matter of principle, and also handed the GOP a victory in its ongoing war to marginalize Democrats into a vestigial rump caucus by depriving them of the tools a minority Party has to affect Senate business.

To put it briefly, Lieberman gave the GOP substantive support, and his constituents barely even symbolic support, on issues that are core and key to his constituents. Unlike, say, Cantwell, Murray, and Clinton, Lieberman hasn't even pushed back hard on any issues that matter to Democrats, such as SocSec or environmental policies. That's why Cantwell, Murray and Clinton get heat from, but haven't been abandoned by, liberals.

Lieberman is in love with the idea of bipartisanship to the exclusion of whether bipartisanship is actually a good idea substantively.

Moreover, his obstreperous attacks on Lamont during their debate, contrasted with his deference to Cheney during the 2000 debates; coupled with his history of hedging his bets (running for both his Senate seat and the Vice Presidency in 2000, and now announcing he'll stay on the ballot in November even if he loses the Democratic primary) does legitimately raise the question of whose side he's on, what causes he serves, and how much his political career is all about his own ego.

He's ineffectual, easily co-opted, and has given Democrats no reason to believe he'll fight the good fight on issues that matter deeply to us. Why should we support him?

My advice is based on my own impressions as someone who would desperately like to find some party to support and isn't thrilled with any of the alternatives.

Who is?

I'm not particularly impressed by the point that if Lieberman survives, he'll have it in for the netroots or something. The truth is, he couldn't be any more hostile to the activist wing of the party already. It's not much of a risk, and come on, this is how the democratic process is supposed to work. You're supposed to be able to vote for who you want in a primary, it's not supposed to be all about incumbency and candidates hand-picked by the party bosses.

If people did this sort of thing more often, our political system would probably be a lot better for it. Sadly, money and incumbency have too much weight. All the netroots are doing is helping to make this fight a little more fair. Ultimately, it's still about who the Democrats of Connecticut prefer. I sincerely believe that Lieberman's position of "if I lose, it says bad things about the tolerance of this party" is not only arrogant but fundamentally anti-democratic.

Personally, I've had it in for Lieberman ever since his sanctimonious performance during the Clinton impeachment. What Clinton did was disgusting. Everyone knew it was disgusting. No one needed Joe Lieberman to tell them so! And in a political context where the Republicans were trying to use this disgusting conduct as an excuse for the ridiculous overkill that was impeachment, it was awful for Lieberman to lend credence to their efforts just because he needed the whole world to see what a moral guy Joe Lieberman is. That's my opinion, one little voter.

And Andrew: you're welcome too ;)

Seriously, the netroots aren't intolerant, or even particularly ideological. Harry Reid is pro-life: do we get all bent out of shape? No. Lots of people support the war: would kos be leading campaigns against most of them? No.

I'm with Bob M: I don't think it's even mostly about the war. Possibly the war is a convenient symbol, but it's not the problem, which explains why people whose support of the war is not similarly symbolic have little to fear from kos, as far as I can tell.

Maybe another way to put it is this: lots of Democrats, myself included, think that the Bush administration is not just one more administration, but a uniquely lawless and mendacious one, and politically ruthless besides. (Consider the "We will f*ck him!" episode, excerpted by Billmon here, from this Suskind article.)

I think that the people who tend to drive the netroots crazy are the people who don't seem to get that these guys are different -- that this administration doesn't accept that they are bound by law, or for that matter by anything else -- and who condescend to people who do.

In the terms Krugman takes from Kissinger, this administration is radical:

""The first three pages of Kissinger's book sent chills down my spine," Krugman writes of A World Restored, the 1957 tome by the man who would later become the unacceptable face of cynical realpolitik. Kissinger, using Napoleon as a case study - but also, Krugman believes, implicitly addressing the rise of fascism in the 1930s - describes what happens when a stable political system is confronted with a "revolutionary power": a radical group that rejects the legitimacy of the system itself.

This, Krugman believes, is precisely the situation in the US today (though he is at pains to point out that he isn't comparing Bush to Hitler in moral terms). The "revolutionary power", in Kissinger's theory, rejects fundamental elements of the system it seeks to control, arguing that they are wrong in principle. For the Bush administration, according to Krugman, that includes social security; the idea of pursuing foreign policy through international institutions; and perhaps even the basic notion that political legitimacy comes from democratic elections - as opposed to, say, from God.

But worse still, Kissinger continued, nobody can quite bring themselves to believe that the revolutionary power really means to do what it claims. "Lulled by a period of stability which had seemed permanent," he wrote, "they find it nearly impossible to take at face value the assertion of the revolutionary power that it means to smash the existing framework." Exactly, says Krugman, who recalls the response to his column about Tom DeLay, the anti-evolutionist Republican leader of the House of Representatives, who claimed, bafflingly, that "nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes"."

It's the people who not only don't get it, but pooh-pooh those who do, who really get under our skin. And it's partly because we take the threat posed by this administration to, say, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the Constitution quite seriously.

My take, at least.

"Instead the netroots are creating the appearance of a purge within the Democrats' ranks, suggesting that the tent is already too big to hold the Democrats it has now."

This is only true if there are more Dems in CT who are like Lieberman, who could hypothetically be pushed out of the tent, than there are Dems (and non-Dems) like Lamont, who are waiting to enter into it. In other words, if there are more unclaimed CT voters in the so-called centre than there are to Lieberman's left.

If on the other hand there are more people to the left, as appears at least possible, then one could take the view that Lieberman's been keeping the tent needlessly small himself, and that Lamont is trying to spread out the awnings a little further.

All this ignores the negative effect of Lieberman's own slashing at the walls of the tent on a national scale for years now.

(Okay, I'm done with the analogy now.)

Actually, the good thing about the Lieberman putsch (just kidding with that German there) actually stems from the fact that Lieberman is an _internal_ target. Ginning up netroots support could be accomplished by targetting a far right republican with a rep (but who?) but this would plug in so easily to the rightwing morality play of being the victim. (the reverse is less true, I mean, think of how Hillary has been invoked as the ultimate evil and how this has provoked nothing but a collective yawn from most liberals, sort of a 'there you go again' feeling) Better to establish netroots (and if you think about it, the dissemination of info and appeals is getting to be quite amazing) dealing with Lieberman than to choose some Senate Republican outlier, because you would have to do it in a state that is solidly republican and if you went after a moderate Republican in a swing state, it would be held up as proof that Dems don't want to compromise. Some are trying to hold this as proof of that (notably David Brooks), but it is just not going to get the traction that it would if you were going after some Republican moderate.

(none of this presumes any moral correctness, just smart political tactics)

What CaseyL said.

But as someone who doesn't think we should leave Iraq just yet, seeing what's happening to him does make me wonder if there's any place for me in the Democratic party.

Just saw that. Fear not. I don't think we should leave Iraq yet, either. And I'm fine in the Democratic Party, despite the fact that most people disagree with me.

It really isn't about a specific war policy. It really is about concerns that certain (centrist) voices aren't being well-represented: not represented in terms of support in the Congress, and not represented in descriptions of their arguments, which are summarily dismissed after being badly mischaracterized. Just the fact that the people (Kos folk and others) against the Iraq war are represented as "leftists" is telling; they are all centrists, and many made the argument against Iraq on strictly realist grounds. If you can't trust your representative, you fire your representative. That's all that's happening.

This is only true if there are more Dems in CT who are like Lieberman, who could hypothetically be pushed out of the tent, than there are Dems (and non-Dems) like Lamont, who are waiting to enter into it. In other words, if there are more unclaimed CT voters in the so-called centre than there are to Lieberman's left.

I don't think this works at all if you think of it as a simple left-right spectrum. Lamont has been gaining ground throughout the campaign among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. It's not simply about Lieberman being too moderate on some kind of theoretical spectrum, at all.

welcome Andrew, and thanks for joining. Two posts right off the bat that represent the type of voice I feel we have needed for a while.

As for Lieberman, I personally feel that it is likely better to have a moderate to liberal Republican (as I would expect a Republican out of CT would have to be) taking shots at the Democratic Party than to have a Democrat with a ton of publicity doing the same. There are all sorts of people I would vote for, even given large and substantive differences on major issues. What I won't do is vote for a guy who keeps punching me in the face and then claiming he is on my side. That is the case I see brought against Lieberman from all comers. The war is an example that is very easy to key on, but it isn't the issue.

The issue is the fact that Lieberman undermines Democrats with Republican talking points on a consistent basis and, because he is a major player on Capitol Hill and in the MSM, it hurts so much worse. The netroots are merely pointing out that there is a point at which you are better off playing down a man than suffering through a player who consistently and intentionally scores own-goals.

The netroots are merely pointing out that there is a point at which you are better off playing down a man than suffering through a player who consistently and intentionally scores own-goals.

That was excellent, socratic_me, thanks. With the additional point that we're not all that likely to be down a man, but up one. Ned Lamont can win the primary and the general.

Sorry if some of the invective against Lieberman around the net alarms you, Andrew. But as you can tell from several of the most reasonable, invective-free posters here, it's not only or even primarily Lieberman's position on the war that led to the current correlation of forces.

"In politics, perception is more important than reality." Is this really so? Or is it, as I think, just a fatuous rationalization for supporting ultimately lamentable positions? There is no certain way to ensure that perceptions conform to reality, and to fall back on this formulation as an excuse implies that one is going to go against better judgement basically because one does not have the courage of one's convictions. It is an arrogance caught entirely in a tautology. This actual issue is very simple -- many people don't like Joe Lieberman, feel that he does not represent them and think that his opponent possibly might to a much greater degree. It seems to me a perfectly good reason to oppose him, and interestingly, is as far as I can tell, the reason we have these election things.

You know, you talk here like there's some kind of well-organized plan to "purge" Lieberman and/or folks like him from the Democratic party.

He's not popular among Democrats for all of the reasons you name. Lamont decided to run against him. Lots of folks thought that was a good idea. Lieberman is handling the whole thing in a stupid and clumsy way, so Lamont is getting a lot more traction than anyone expected.

Strategically, it might not be the best thing to do, but sometimes folks do things because they just want to do them, whether it's the "right thing to do" in the "big picture" or not.

There's no conspiracy here. There's no "purge" of Democrats who supported, or continue to support, Iraq. A lot of folks just don't like Lieberman, for good reason.

Don't read more into it than is actually there.

Thanks -

So I went and read links off the article until I got a good feel for the viewpoint it was meant to represent and I offer a rebutal and counterexample that coincide nicely: OBWi. Just scrolling through some recent posts, I quickly found http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2006/07/so_long_joe_.html>three http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2006/06/more_on_lieberm.html>pieces on the http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2006/06/please_joe_lieb.html>topic by hilzoy that make the case for his longstanding lack of loyalty to anyone but himself. And, in accordance with the ObWi posting policy, they are all free of obscenity.

Heck, if you don't like that, cruise over to http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com>The Carpetbagger Report and check search for Lieverman. Among the best I found (in reverse chronological order, so you can watch the idea devolve to its first tiny worries) are http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/7688.html>these http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/7474.html>Lieberman http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/6257.html>posts that http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/3718.html>just http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/2064.html>get http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/1767.html>better and http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/1442.html>better.

In addition, hunting those posts helped me remember the way PortGate, the Schiavo story and the immigration hysteria all got started. Rightwing talk radio hit it and then the rightwing blogs, who then turned nasty. For a solid 2 months I couldn't listen to Savage without hearing how all Republicans in Congress were worthless and we should kick 'em all out and replace them with real conservatives. And the nastiness they loaded on anyone who disagreed with them was unparalleled. The blogs were, by and large no different. How anyone can point to liberal blogs as being hysterical, angry, and overly doctrinaire and someone not even mention that the popular rightwing blogs (and talk radio, for what it is worth) are ten times as bad is beyond me. To pretend like they haven't called for politicians heads is also ridiculous. The only difference I see is that almost every blog I have run into calling for Lieberman's head actually has a case to make instead of blind vituperation. Guess maybe Brooks and I read different blogs.

Oops. I proofread to make sure my html worked and completely missed that I misspelled his name. That search should be "Lieberman", of course :-}

Having said that, I think Geraghty has a valid point about the decision to target Lieberman for removal from the Senate.

The analysis is pretty weak here, on many points.

First, Daily Kos has very little power and does not even attempt to grab power -- it is a forum for activists. It is nonsensical and childish to state that Democrats must allegedly "stand up" to them. This whole meme is part of the nonsensical story running around about the alleged crazy leftist bloggers attacking Democrats. This whole line is a fantasy.

Second, in the abstract, primaries always crate a dilemma since by definition, it is a form of internecine fighting. But they usually are good because they focus the party and weed out weak members of the party.

As for the Lieberman case, he undermines the party, and is a prime candidate for removal in order to strengthen the party overall. There is no valid case that explains why it is good for the party to keep him in power. There is next to no risk of losing the seat to a Republican. So why tolerate a psuedo Republican in such a seat?

Instead the netroots are creating the appearance of a purge within the Democrats' ranks, suggesting that the tent is already too big to hold the Democrats it has now.

No they are not. The ones "creating the appearance" of a purge are the DLC types who are spreading this drivel, and it is fundamentally a false and phony point.

Lieberman will lose if Connecticut Democrats opt to get rid of him in favor of Lamont, who is clearly not some wild leftist. That will happen only because Lieberman has demonstrated to his constituency that he now longer represents their Democratic values.

Spinning this as some sort of dangerous attack on the Democratic party is garbage. It basic democracy in action and what primaries are supposed to do.

After all, it is extraordinary that Lieberman faces any threat at all, and the threat is not something created by Kos, et al., but a reaction by Connecticut voters to Lieberman's back-stabbing behavior regarding the Democratic agenda.

Well, I'm not about to blame anyone for supporting the candidate of their choice; however, no matter how many perfectly fine reasons there may be to get rid of Lieberman, the way it's going to get played outside this state is that he's being pushed out by Kos and "the Left". Will that appearance affect any other races across the country? Who knows? But I agree with Andrew (welcome, btw!) that this particular year might not be the best for the challenge to happen.

Anyway, Lieberman did well enough in the debate that I don't see him losing the primary. Perhaps Lamont's strong showing will keep him a little closer to the reservation. That's probably the best result for the Dems anyway -- if Lieberman actually loses, it'll be successfully spun as a Kos takeover.

The ones "creating the appearance" of a purge are the DLC types who are spreading this drivel, and it is fundamentally a false and phony point.

It's also being pushed hard by Republicans, David Brooks's columns being fine examples of the genre.

In the last few months, I've seen a huge jump in references to bloggers in more mainstream media.* Some of this is institutional--newspapers really are finally waking up to and interacting with their online readership, some of it has to do with Reynolds, Kos, and Armstrong having books about the netroots that gets them a new kind of access, some of it is the sheer visibility of YearlyKos's power to draw big name politicians--but some of it is also pre-election spin.

As many people actually do blog, read blogs, or know sane people who do either, many, many voters don't really understand what internet culture is; for the latter, the internet is this scary threatening thing that teenagers do because those precociously technological children don't get the paedophile menace.

Every throwaway newspaper reference--"bloggers and other online fora reacted strongly to X"--confirms the prejudice, I fear, for people who don't have much exposure to what really goes on online. The sneering jibes by Brooks play to those prejudices more directly; he's pretty good at finding wedges for the cultural divide, no matter how inaccurate he may be, so I do worry that he might be onto something.

(I'd be happy to be wrong about this, btw.)

Rather than engage in any grand generalizations, I'll just talk about my own thoughts.

I regard the war in Iraq as a wholly unnecessary tragedy, and the Bush administration as a distinctive threat to the rule of law. So what I want from the Democratic Party is coherent and effective opposition to Bush, aimed at rolling him back on every front possible.

In 2004 I was fired with enthusiasm for the cause, and donated money and effort. Then the Democrats mounted a really inept campaign. I don't think that it necessarily tipped the balance, given Repubican vote fraud, but it sure didn't help. And since then I've found precious little give me any hope and much reason for discouragement as the Democrats in Congress have let opportunity after opportunity pass by wasted or worse.

The old independent voter beef is that there's really not much difference between the parties, so why bother? And Sen. Lieberman is perhaps the single best example of things. So the early news of a challenge to him from someone on what feels to me like a solid sensible moderate Democratic platform roused my interest. Lamont's unexpected success so far has delighted me. It's one of the very few things that keeps me from giving up in despair - a party of people like him would matter as a choice.

I guess I don't really care if the Democratic Party has a lot of space for people inclined to support Bush's positions. I want a party that mounts viable alternatives.

It's also being pushed hard by Republicans, David Brooks's columns being fine examples of the genre.

David Brooks is not on a different team than the DLC. Brooks and Marshall Whittman (and Kaplan at TNR (hell, everyone at TNR, AFAIK)) are neocons, for example. They're in a locked game, and both "sides" are fighting to keep it locked. I'd love to know where the two sides differ on policy, because I'm really not aware of any differences.

Andrew, might you be interested in posting the Iraq Reports you do on WOC here? I get the feeling that most here don't visit that site anymore and the facts you've been pointing out in your reports certainly don't seem to have sunk in to the posters there.

In 2004 I was fired with enthusiasm

I came this close to responding with condolences and hopes you were re-employed soon...then I read the rest.

Wow. Don't you guys ever sleep?

I'm sure I'll miss a lot of points, but I'll try to respond to at least a few.

I think you've all made an excellent case for why dumping Lieberman is a good thing for the Democrats and that Danziger's fears are overblown. Still, I'll point out that politically, the fact that people like me and Danziger are getting that impression is a bad thing for the Democrats, so I think they would be well-served by some of their more prominent voices making the points you all have made, to fight back against the spin Lieberman is trying to put on the primary.

Is 'perception is reality' fatuous? Maybe, but I don't believe so. Consider something as recent as the 2004 election. What mattered more: who was likely to do a better job, or who was percieved as being likely to do a better job? Check out your Lakoff for another perspective on why perception matters. I don't pretend for a moment that it's a good thing, but I think that belief that the facts will overcome people's perception of the facts flies in the face of history.

Andrew: Still, I'll point out that politically, the fact that people like me and Danziger are getting that impression is a bad thing for the Democrats

Why is it a bad thing for Democrats if a hardline Republican gets the wrong impression?

What mattered more: who was likely to do a better job, or who was percieved as being likely to do a better job?

Well, it was Kerry in both cases: what mattered more than either was who had the Diebold machines. ;-)

"Still, I'll point out that politically, the fact that people like me and Danziger are getting that impression is a bad thing for the Democrats"

Please think about why you are getting such an impression. It's not because people haven't been out there saying such things. It's because the media (especially pundits on the middle to right side of the aisle, such as David Brooks, David Broder, Marshall Whitman) have been saying it so loudly that it has crowded out reasonable debate on the subject.

The media is seriously broken, and this is just a symptom of it.

What Dantheman said. Andrew, there is very little any of us can do about the "impressions" that you and Danziger get. If you read and take seriously the views of Brooks and Whitman and the TNR crowd, you will come away convinced that there is nothing the Democrats can do right, other than support the Bush administration at every possible opportunity. If the Dems stay on the sidelines and voice timid criticisms of the president without offering an alternative, as they've been doing, they're "weak," "ineffectual," "in disarray." If they stand up to Bush, they've been "taken over" by the extremists, and can be dismissed by all "serious" people.

Your post is a picture-perfect illustration of the no-win situation in which we find ourselves.

Just to flesh things out a bit, I think I understated the case above. This isn't just the preferred framing of Brooks and Whitman and the TNR. It's also that of Chris Matthews and Tim Russert and Paula Zahn and Adam Nagourney and Richard Cohen and on and on and on. It is the master narrative of American politics in 2006.

I must have missed where Andrew's asking for help in managing his impressions.

I must have missed the part where the Democrats are asking Andrew for help in managing their campaign.

Wow. Don't you guys ever sleep?

Not if the conversation is interesting. More disconcerting is when the back and forth heats up so much you get 25 comments behind in the discussion every time you try to contribute.

I also agree with Dantheman. In a later post, I linked to the posts here and on another fairly prominent liberal news blog (though not one of the biggies) that have laid this case out reasonably and in detail. There isn't much else I know to do other than present my view regularly and to point others to the sites I know are reasonable and thoughtful in their views. However, the very fact that those sites are non-sensationalist means that they get little to no news coverage or column inches. This is probably my biggest complaint with the MSM lately. Even without the fact that they regurgitate Republican memes mindlessly, they would still sully the political debate by covering stories and debates based on spectacle not on substance. The one sure-fire way to have your ideas undercovered is to present them reasonably.

And of course, there is always the problem that even then, when they are covered, the MSM tries to spin them into whatever window they already have conjured, leading to sensationalism of the unsensational, such as what happened at a recent http://www.myleftnutmeg.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2017> Lieberman event. For video showing how ridiculous the coverage was, check out the full clips of the evening news linked http://www.spazeboy.net/2006/07/mauramentum/>here

The media is seriously broken

I won't argue that for a second. But the fact remains that you go to elections with the media you have, as it were. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.) You can either find better ways to get your message out, or you can complain that the deck is stacked against you and that you can't win either way. The first way is hard, but the second way doesn't seem likely to get you what you want.

Have you thought about why people get this impression about the race? I find it hard to believe that members of the media got together and decided that this was the spin they were going to put on this election. Did some Republicans manage to get out in front and set the agenda? Is this part of a media backlash against the netroots? Or are people looking at what they see and hear ('Rape Guerney Joe' springs to mind) and drawing these conclusions based on those perceptions?

Jes,

Bloggers never wait to be asked. Don't you know that by now? ;-) Besides, I want the Democrats to take at least one chamber of Congress this fall, so I have a vested interest in seeing you guys do well.

Why is it a bad thing for Democrats if a hardline Republican gets the wrong impression?

I can't speak for Marc, but if you think I'm a hardcore Republican (or even a softcore Republican), you don't know me at all. I tend towards 'a pox on all your houses' when it comes to political parties.

Andrew: I don't think that people in the media get together and decide to misrepresent the world. (I don't do conspiracy theories absent really, really compelling evidence.) But I do think that sometimes they get a storyline into their collective heads and run with it. (And the 'collective heads' comes not from a decision of any kind, but from the fact that they work together, know one another, and read one another's work, so groupthink and a lack of imagination are quite possible.)

Consider the "bloggers are angry" thing, which seems to be applied especially to the left. I mean, are we? Some, maybe, but Kevin Drum? Josh Marshall? And is any generalization that doesn't apply to those two a good generalization of 'liberal bloggers'? -- It's just wrong; but I have no idea how to stop it, other than to go on adducing evidence that it is.

(Much more damagingly, there was the 'people who oppose the war in Iraq are peaceniks who are not serious about our national interests' story during the run-up to the Iraq war. That, obviously, did serious damage. And it was, best I could tell, also quite false.)

I should have said: the "they" who "work together" was meant to be the DC press corps, not (say) the police reporter in Honolulu and the Style columnist in Topeka.

"I find it hard to believe that members of the media got together and decided that this was the spin they were going to put on this election."

I don't think so, either. Rather, it represents something which has become ingrained with them, an all-purpose narrative that Democrats are captives of a radical left wing, and all stories are viewed through this prism.

"Did some Republicans manage to get out in front and set the agenda?"

I'd put it as decades of Republican spin has set the terms of debate, but yes.

"Is this part of a media backlash against the netroots?"

More like a hostility to the netroots, assuming that if they are against the self-proclaimed moderates who all Democrats should follow, they must be radical.

"Or are people looking at what they see and hear ('Rape Guerney Joe' springs to mind) and drawing these conclusions based on those perceptions?"

Since the media substantially controlled what is seen and heard (and the blogosphere is an attempt to get points of view heard without the media distortion), no.

Bloggers never wait to be asked. Don't you know that by now? ;-)

Well, quite. That was why I wondered why Slarti thought people should wait to be asked before commenting! Doesn't he know us better by now? I get the impression you already do...

but if you think I'm a hardcore Republican (or even a softcore Republican), you don't know me at all.

Literally all I know about you is what you've posted so far on Obsidian Wings, since I never read your blog. I presume you're a Republican from your unwillingness to look at any evidence that Bush lied the US into war: I associate that unwillingness with Republicans.

"That was why I wondered why Slarti thought people should wait to be asked before commenting!"

Hmmm...I don't recall saying anything resembling that.

"Literally all I know about you is what you've posted so far on Obsidian Wings, since I never read your blog."

I for one will not visit Andrew's blog, and his history starts at Obsidian Wings, with whatever information he provides here. Perhaps posting here will change his opinions and rhetoric;perhaps he will change mine.

Your comment here, Slarti.

Sorry, one of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong.

Sorry, one of these things is not like the other.

You appeared to be indirectly telling off Obsidian Wings commenters for commenting on Andrew's post in ways Andrew might not have expected without Andrew's explicit permission. If this wasn't your intention, that's certainly the impression I got from the leading question you asked.

One of these things just doesn't belong.

I agree.

Much more damagingly, there was the 'people who oppose the war in Iraq are peaceniks who are not serious about our national interests' story

"Was"?

"Or are people looking at what they see and hear ('Rape Guerney Joe' springs to mind) and drawing these conclusions based on those perceptions?"

I had actually never heard of the phrase "Rape Guerney Joe" until this thread, but I freely admit that I read a few blogs that I consider particularly choice rather than spreading myself thin reading so-so material. Having spent the morning hunting down the phrase on "teh intarwebs", I can say that I agree the phrase is not only hyperbolic, it is distastefully so. I see why she is unhappy with his decision, but the phrase is just silly invective and puts people off.

Moreover, I think it reinforces a small-minded view of what is wrong with Lieberman. It isn't the war. It isn't the principled support of Catholics (even if I disagree with it). It is his constant, enthusiastic and wrongheaded support of every Republican meme that comes along.

I learned early on that the best way to fight memes is with better memes. With that in mind, I am going to shamelessly plug my own analogy and propose that Lieberman be referred to as "Own-Goal Joe" whenever possible. The meme will hopefully spread, people will start to ask where it comes from and we can all explain why it is that Joe really ought to be opposed. Hopefully, this will cause others to feel less alienated by the distorted image of angry Democrats that is being pushed right now.

I'm still more interested in targeting Curt Weldon. Apparently, his opponent, Joe Sestak, raised more money than he did during the last quarter, which I am going to take as evidence that my blog posts are a fundraising force to be reckoned with. (Cough, cough.)

You can help cement my status as a Democratic kingmaker, and help un-elect an idiot in the bargain, by contributing to Joe Sestak here.;

You appeared to be indirectly telling off Obsidian Wings commenters for commenting on Andrew's post in ways Andrew might not have expected without Andrew's explicit permission. If this wasn't your intention, that's certainly the impression I got from the leading question you asked.

Stop quashing my dissent!

What I responded to was : Andrew, there is very little any of us can do about the "impressions" that you and Danziger get. If it's still unclear why I responded the way I did, consider that Andrew might not want anyone to manage his impressions. Maybe. Then again, maybe Andrew is just the kind of guy who wants his impressions managed, but I doubt it.

Alles klar?

[Rodney King] Can't We All Get Along???[/Rodney King]

If it's still unclear why I responded the way I did, consider that Andrew might not want anyone to manage his impressions. Maybe.

Read what he's written. He's said that there's nothing substantively wrong with a primary challenge to Lieberman, but that the rhetoric being used gives an impression that's offputting to Republicans, and so maybe we should change that approach. A response that the impression he's getting isn't necessarily tightly related to the rhetoric being used (given the media forces raised above), and so that changing the behavior of Lieberman opponents isn't necessarily going to change his impression, is responsive and on topic.

Read what he's written.

Done. You might want to read what I wrote, and then what J wrote about that. It's fairly straightforward, and in no way was I telling off anyone, indirectly or otherwise.

Given that this has been way overdone, though, I'm not explaining any further.

I do think that sometimes they get a storyline into their collective heads and run with it.

We're in complete agreement on that. I think one of the major failings of the media is their Procrustean tendency to apply a particular theme to each news event, regardless of how well or poorly it fits. But the question remains, why did media adopt the 'poor, beleaguered Lieberman' theme?

I presume you're a Republican from your unwillingness to look at any evidence that Bush lied the US into war: I associate that unwillingness with Republicans.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Jes, than are dreamt of in your Democrats and Republicans. Besides, I'm not unwilling to look at evidence. I'm just too lazy to look for it myself. A subtle, but important difference.

Also, when I hear phrases like 'Bush lied the US into war' it suggests to me that he knew that going into Iraq was a bad idea, but put one over on all of us for ulterior motives. I have a hard time buying that. Perhaps I have too much Pollyanna in me, but I tend to believe that people are generally trying to do the right thing, however poorly they may actually do so. And since I favored the war at the time, I know for a fact that there were reasons to favor invading Iraq that didn't involve ulterior motives.

"Own-Goal Joe"

I like it. It's funny, it's evocative, and it neatly encapsulates why many Democrats are unhappy with Lieberman.

I never read your blog."

I for one will not visit Andrew's blog

Now you're just being hurtful.

Besides, I'm not unwilling to look at evidence. I'm just too lazy to look for it myself.

I linked you to one example of Bush lying in the SOTU 2003 speech, and offered to provide more such examples. You appeared unwilling to look.

Also, when I hear phrases like 'Bush lied the US into war' it suggests to me that he knew that going into Iraq was a bad idea, but put one over on all of us for ulterior motives. I have a hard time buying that.

Why? Do you have any particular reason (aside from being too lazy/unwilling to look at evidence that would tell you otherwise) to believe that Bush is too honorable to lie the US into war with Iraq? On what actions of Bush do you base this assessment?

And since I favored the war at the time, I know for a fact that there were reasons to favor invading Iraq that didn't involve ulterior motives.

Yes, but you favoured the war on Iraq (as I understand it) because you had been systematically lied to: told that there were reasons to believe that Iraq was a threat. As we know now, Bush and his administration knew there was no reason to suppose that Iraq was a threat.

OT, but Jes, have you seen this rather amazing post by a pro-life guy who apparently took an article in the Onion at face value?

But the question remains, why did media adopt the 'poor, beleaguered Lieberman' theme?

And it's certainly a more pertinent question than "why don't the Dems stand up to those craaaaazy bloggers"?

I don't think there's a single, neat answer to your question, and I don't claim the authority of someone like Eric Boehlert, who addresses the problem at book length. But I think one possibility is that they love what Lieberman represents: a Washington in which real ideological differences between the parties are kept to a minimum, freeing up the chattering classes to talk about what they reall enjoy: personality and sex. Politics is boring. Dishing about Al Gore's switch to earth tones or Howard Dean's "scream" or the Clintons' marital relations--that's the fun stuff.

Also, the great majority of the pundits supported the Iraq invasion wholeheartedly. The last thing in the world they want is a real discussion of just how we got into this mess and their own role therein. Much better to relegate the pro-withdrawal position (i.e., the opinion of the majority of Americans) to the fringes, to label Cindy Sheehan a lunatic and/or a monster, and to consider Lieberman's kissing up to Bush the height of "seriousness."

but that the rhetoric being used gives an impression that's offputting to Republicans, and so maybe we should change that approach.

This interpretation is not only uncharitable but actively incorrect -- he's saying that because of the spin, the primary challenge is offputting to *moderates*, which potentially reduces support for Democratic candidates.

How could I entrust a Democratic lawmaker to stand up to al-Qaeda, Iran, North Korea or some other angry extremist, if he or she won't stand up to Daily Kos?

How could I entrust a Republican lawmaker to stand up to blah blah if he or she won't stand up to James Dobson and Pat Robertson?

But the question remains, why did media adopt the 'poor, beleaguered Lieberman' theme?

Because the media - meaning Washington correspondants and pundits are reflexively centrist. In a functioning national discourse this isn't much of a problem. But right now the GOP has been adopting more and more extreme positions. Yet still people like Marshall Whitman will mark the GOPs position on every issue and march 10 steps towards the democrats' position and solemly proclaim that they are part of the vital center, no matter what the position is. Publius wrote a great satire on this.

Liberman was king of this, as well as full of Sista Soulja (sp?) moments where you pick out someone on your side and decry the extremism they express. Which, I hasten to add, is a good thing . . . provided that the opinions expressed are genuinely extreme. The anti-Iraq war position has been so marginalized in Washington DC cocktail party circles, even to this day despite all polling evidence to the contrary, that anyone taking an anti-Iraq war stance before part of the "exteme, fringe left"

And that is were all the purge talk you are hearing is coming from. Lamont has an 'extreme left' position on the war - namely that is was a bad idea and we never should have gone. But bipartisanship is always to be commended and partisanship to be condemned - always and forever.

Jes,

A fair point. Nonetheless, hardly proves I'm a Republican, just that I'm lousy at following links. But checking out the links you provided, I'm not convinced they prove what you're claiming. You are familiar, I assume, with the phenomenon known as confirmation bias, which just as easily explains the use of the tubes in the SOTU. Assuming that the Bush administration honestly believed that Iraq had an active WMD program, it would not be at all surprising that they saw evidence for that belief when they looked for it. That's not lying, it's a systemic defect in how we reason. You believe that I was lied to in order to support the war; I don't see it that way at all. I think that the Bush administration believed that removing Hussein from power was the right thing to do, and they therefore saw evidence supporting their case even when it did not necessarily do so.

What is your evidence that the Bush administration was not acting in what they believed were the best interests of the country? Demonstrating that they were not actually doing so doesn't prove that they knew they weren't.

Recall the old saw about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions. I think that describes the Bush administration very well. They believe that they need extraordinary powers in order to fight Islamic extremism, and since they know that their cause is just, they have attempted to arrogate those powers to themselves for the best of reasons: in order to protect their country. Unfortunately, in their zeal to protect their country, I think they've managed to make themselves every bit as big a threat as the enemy we fight. But I think it's quite possible to do that unintentionally, and I think it's a plausible explanation for their actions since September 11. It doesn't excuse those actions, note, only explains them.

Uncle Kvetch,

My review of Lapdogs. You might find it interesting.

Lamont has an 'extreme left' position on the war - namely that is was a bad idea and we never should have gone.

See, Jes: I'm a lefty, too. And an extreme lefty at that! ;-)

(Off topic, hilzoy: I was refering to the writer of the original quote: Jim Geraghty. I find it appalling when writers equate sane folks with monsters like Stalin via rhetorical legerdemain. Then come back and claim they didn't SAY he was actually like Stalin. )

All of this "How does it play to moderates nation-wide?" stuff is idiotic. Joe is having troubles with constituents much more than the blogs. Maybe that's his problem - he's fighting the wrong action. Besides, why on earth should CT, with 80+% against the war, support a pro-war senator? He has told them repeatedly in ways great and small that he doesn't represent them. Why should they send him back?

Assuming that the Bush administration honestly believed that Iraq had an active WMD program, it would not be at all surprising that they saw evidence for that belief when they looked for it.

However, the "evidence" they were presenting to the US as a rationale for going to war, was evidence that they were, in fact, being consistently told was not true. The example I offered you of the aluminum tubes was one that anyone with access to google could have told the Bush administration was not true at the time, and the IAEA themselves said that the tubes were in fact not suitable for centrifuges used to enrich uranium. That's one detail, but there are plenty of others.

That's not lying, it's a systemic defect in how we reason.

If we are to suppose that the Bush administration continued to believe that there were WMD in Iraq despite all the evidence available to them that there were none, we must suppose that (a) they were hopelessly incompetent - since if they believed their own propaganda, the primary goal of the invasion force ought to have been to seek out and secure/destroy those stockpiled WMD they are supposed to have believed existed; and (b) they were by the most commonplace test, insane. If you continue to believe something and base your actions on it despite having been told it is not true, insane is the kindest way to put that behavior.

But, as the invasion force was not tasked with securing/destroying stockpiled WMD, and as I do not, in fact, believe that the senior members of the Bush administration are all insane, I think they lied: it's the simplest solution.

They believe that they need extraordinary powers in order to fight Islamic extremism

And yet, they show no interest in fighting Islamic extremism. They don't even show much interest in fighting terrorism. So, clearly, that's not what they want their extraordinary powers for. The most straightforward reason why they want those extraordinary powers is to hold onto power - to stay in power - and a strong reason why they would want to stay in power is that so long as they hold power, they can be sure of stalling any investigation into their crimes.

I'm very late to this Andrew, not so active recently, but there are some things that you might take into account about the comments.

First, nobody really addressed your comment

I'll start by admitting that I am somewhat uncomfortable with the Democratic Party when it comes to questions of national security

The fact of the matter is that the commenters here and the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party are against diplomacy (as in John Bolton), domestic security measures such as the NSA (phone records, not only wiretaps) and FBI, foreign intelligence (as in CIA programs and SWIFT), and of course, military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So yes, I am quite uncomfortable about this, because I don't think the greatest threat to the United States is President Bush, and you can see from the comments that the number one priority of most everyone here is to defeat Bush, as opposed to fighting Islamist terrorist groups.

Take the 1st comment for instance, which implied that pro-war factions are agents of the Likud party of Israel. I object to that, I support my President and that does not mean that I necessarily do that because I am controlled by an Israeli cabal. I do support Israel, so I suppose according to SomeCallMeTim that does make me a Likudnik and a pawn of the Zionists, but that is not my reason for being against Islamic terrorism in India, Thailand, Phillipines, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Algeria, Britain, Spain, USA, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, etc.

Yes, I am very, very uncomfortable with the Democrats because I believe that we are in the midst of a new world war, and I think that liberals don't believe this and would damage our country's long term security for short term political gains.

DaveC: "pro-Likud" does not imply "agents of the Likud party". I, for instance, am a fan of all sorts of people, but am not the "aagent" of any of them.

And this: "you can see from the comments that the number one priority of most everyone here is to defeat Bush, as opposed to fighting Islamist terrorist groups." -- comes close to violating posting rules.

The idea that being against Bolton means being against diplomacy, on the other hand, may keep me in stitches for weeks.

DaveC: So yes, I am quite uncomfortable about this, because I don't think the greatest threat to the United States is President Bush, and you can see from the comments that the number one priority of most everyone here is to defeat Bush, as opposed to fighting Islamist terrorist groups.

Actually, though Hilzoy says this is against the rules, this is a fair judgement. That would be because while Bush isn't the most dangerous person in the world, the Bush administration is certainly the single largest and most powerful obstacle in the way of working to end Islamic terrorism. As is being discussed on the "Iraq the next step" thread, one reason why the situation is so absolutely hopeless in Iraq is because Bush came to power again in 2005: and the invasion/occupation of Iraq may possibly be the single most expensive thing any national government ever did to give aid and comfort to terrorists of any kind, Islamic or otherwise.

The idea that being against Bolton means being against diplomacy, on the other hand, may keep me in stitches for weeks.

Something about knowing the dark side comes to mind here.

The fact of the matter is that the commenters here and the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party are against diplomacy (as in John Bolton), domestic security measures such as the NSA (phone records, not only wiretaps) and FBI, foreign intelligence (as in CIA programs and SWIFT), and of course, military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

See, here I thought I was for diplomacy (as in, not John Bolton), for effective security measures (though also for civil liberties and against unchecked governmental power), for foreign intelligence (though admittedly against foreign intelligence obtained through violation of basic human rights, as it is both immoral and very possibly inneffective to obtain information in this manner), and for the invasion, occupation and rebuilding of Afghanistan (which puts me ahead of the President in being for Afghanistan. I will admit that I am against Iraq, mostly because until we invaded it was one of the few places in the Middle East that wasn't a haven for terrorists. Well, that and the fact that I hate being lied to. Colin Powell's untruthful address to the U.N. put me off the war long before it turned into the quagmire so many predicted.

However, I will agree with you on what is probably your central thesis. I believe that we are in the midst of a new world war, and I think that liberals don't believe this.

I don't believe we are in the middle of a new world war. I also don't particularly think Islamist Extremism is as big a threat to my country as bankruptcy, unchecked powers and lack of accountability for any single branch of government, and the willingness of many to abandon all of the principles that make our country great just because they are scared.

Sometimes I have to wonder how so many people who lived through the Cold War can be so absolutely terrified by the current conflicts with terrorist organizations. Sometimes I have to wonder why people who watched a U.S. citizen bomb a U.S. Federal Building insist on portraying 9/11 as something an attack on the U.S citizenry that was totally unheard of and previously impossible to conceive. The scale was devastating and the loss was horrific.

However, it wasn't and isn't the existential threat so many portray it as. Heck, the worst thing that could realistically happen to the U.S. as a terrorist attack is to be hit with a nuclear weapon. And while I think we are not doing nearly enough in effective diplomacy to keep that from happening (or even in strengthening of domestic security programs), I still have to admit that even THAT would not be an existential threat to the U.S.

Our country has lived through real existential threats in the recent past. It makes me sad that so many are willing to give up so much of our country's character fighting this fake one.

DaveC says: he fact of the matter is that the commenters here and the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party are against diplomacy (as in John Bolton), domestic security measures such as the NSA (phone records, not only wiretaps) and FBI, foreign intelligence (as in CIA programs and SWIFT), and of course, military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I'm for diplomacy, as in honoring our treaty obligations, not giving unnecessary offense, not torpedoing good aggreements already reached, and so on. So that lets out Bolton, who doesn't negotiate in good faith or take our commitments seriously.

I'm very much in favor of domestic security, both in scrutinizing real targets (like Saudi princes who donate to terrorist groups and underwrite Wahabbist education here) and in making sure that people who aren't targets for any good reason aren't spied upon. I believe that the rule of law, actually observed and demonstrated to be observed, is crucial to the cultural struggle surrounding our current military conflicts. I'm strongly in favor of things like improved port security, not wasting money on pork projects in areas that have no terrorist risk, and the like. This puts me at odds with the Department of Homeland Security and Bush's directives on domestic spying, which I think ends up weakening, not strengthening, domestic security.

I think foreign intelligence is crucial. The continuing purge of Arab speakers and others in vital roles for things like being gay is unconsciable. So is the lack of any serious federal investment in the training of Americans for culturally informed study, and the continued abuse of intelligence gathering to make it fit policy rather than vice versa. The high-ranking officials who keep refusing to listen to inconvenient truths threaten us all and should be treated as enemies of the American people. That goes double for those who do things like blow our specialists in the study of WMDs for momentary political advantage.

Finally, I believe in getting justice from those who attack us. For God's sake, they've closed the bin Laden unit at the CIA. That should be a war crime in itself - that's giving aid and comfort to our enemy. I also believe in dealing with obvious threats to our well-being, like Pakistan's distribution of nuclear weapons tech and advice. I oppose the war in Iraq because I support our national security.

I would also like to note that I am deeply offended by DaveC's continuing slur on the patriotism and basic decency of people on the Democratic side. I'd really like to see something done about it, because it's making this place less and less enjoyable for me. I'd use a kill file if I could, and I hate having to bring it up for anyone else's actions, but...it sucks and I wish he'd cut it out.

Wow DaveC, that link you provide is something else. A nice hefty combination of madman theory combined with a neat little twist to get "Only Islam could make one so crrrraaaaazzzzzyyy!!!"

For example:

That’s where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi comes in. Simple criminal impulses cannot explain his behavior — the ordinary criminal would never have endured the life he had to live. Only dedication to an all-encompassing ideology of destruction could have produced such monstrous behavior.

His facts are also dubious. From what I gather, Hamas tends to have great social programs and is anything but sadistic towards its countrymen. It is this that one it an election in spite of its militant wing. That makes claims like "Just look at the death-cult that is “Palestine”, voluntarily living under the yoke of the sadistic murderers of Hamas." dodgy and misleading at best.

And of course, the rhetoric is more than a bit thick:The shakedown always works; the protection racket has the desired effect. “Give us X — censorship of your publications, more social programs, government-funded mosques, the wearing of headscarves for our schoolgirls, separate swimming pools for men and women, an endless list — and we won’t bomb your transportation facilities or poison your water supply.” The craven, democratically-elected authorities (with the notable exception of the Danes) always cave in to the demands, and thus the ratchet gets turned up another notch, to rest there until the next crisis.

Given that he excepted only the Danes, I have to wonder how I missed all of those policies being implemented, with force of law, no less, in the U.S. Or is it the democratically elected authorities I am missing. Interestingly enough, there is only one group who makes demands anything like those in the U.S., and it sure isn't Muslims. However, I sure can see the Southern Baptist convention lobbying for those separate swimming pools and the right to express oneself religiously in the classroom, even through dress.

Lastly, "The final element of the Demonic Convergence, the coup de grace for Western Civilization, is provided by our own news media. Absolutely determined to end the administration of a particular American president and a particular political party, there is no limit to what they will do, no tactic to which they will not stoop, no secret they will not divulge, and no principle they will not betray in order to accomplish their purpose. is riduculous. I only wish our media actually cared about presenting Bush in an even handed light. Trying to bring him down is laughable at best.

Long story short, when trying to claim a new world war, please, dear lord, cite something with a bit less silly rhetoric and a little more factual substantiation.

I forgot to mention above that I would actually support the push for headscarves or WWJD bracelets or whatever in the classroom, assuming that there is not a strict uniform policy in place already. In such a case, I would strongly encourage a multireligious roundtable to work out exactly what is and isn't acceptable as an alteration to the school dress code. I wouldn't not push for zero tolerance in any issue. I find it disturbing that the author of that article thinks some a capitulation comes only out of fear.

I forgot to mention above that I would actually support the push for headscarves or WWJD bracelets or whatever in the classroom, assuming that there is not a strict uniform policy in place already. In such a case, I would strongly encourage a multireligious roundtable to work out exactly what is and isn't acceptable as an alteration to the school dress code. I wouldn't not push for zero tolerance in any issue. I find it disturbing that the author of that article thinks some a capitulation comes only out of fear.

"From what I gather, Hamas tends to have great social programs and is anything but sadistic towards its countrymen."

While your comment isn't even really true for Hezbollah, I strongly suspect you are confusing Hezbollah and Hamas.

Back to Lieberman/Lamont: Publius at Legal Fiction has a great post on the perception v. reality aspect of the race. Very much worth reading, imho.

And Seb: I think that Hamas was supposed to have done a very good job at providing local services in the territories, and the contrast between this and the corruption of the government was supposed to have been one of the driving forces behind their victory.

Thanks hilzoy, that was what I was meaning to gesture towards myself.

"The fact of the matter is that the commenters here and the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party are against diplomacy (as in John Bolton), domestic security measures such as the NSA (phone records, not only wiretaps) and FBI, foreign intelligence (as in CIA programs and SWIFT), and of course, military action in Iraq and Afghanistan."

As usual, DaveC... well, I can't even say you're hallucinating this time, since you've been told over and over and over and over and over again that this isn't true.

You've been told over and over and over and over that people here don't have a problem with eavesdropping, but with eavesdropping without authorization by courts or Congress. You've read here endless numbers of pleas for more resources and attention to be devoted to fighting in Afghanistan and you've argued as to why that's wrong and why fighting in Afghanistan is over. You've certainly read plenty of paens to diplomacy.

You're a nice guy, so I don't understand this, but at this point, there are no grounds left for you to somehow be mistaken about this. Either you are outright delusional, or, somehow, weirdly and inexplicably, you're, well, lying. Normally I'd never suggest the latter, and it's perhaps against the posting rules, but I don't know what other alternatives exist at this point to one of these two explanations. (If necessary I'll link to some of the countless times you've had pointed out to you the falseness of what you are again repeating.)

I don't get it. As I say, you're a nice guy, but this is simply astonishing, giving how many dozens of times people have gone back and forth on this with you, and yet you persist in wildly untrue statements. (I realize you have the family problems you've written of many times, but again, that people in your family argue with you is irrelevant to the reality here.)

You worry me, DaveC.

"From what I gather, Hamas tends to have great social programs and is anything but sadistic towards its countrymen."

While your comment isn't even really true for Hezbollah, I strongly suspect you are confusing Hezbollah and Hamas.

Why, Sebastian?

I'm hardly a fan of Hamas, to put it mildly, but their social programs are legion and famous, as anyone with the faintest clue knows.

What do you mean?

I presume, incidentally, that everyone has noticed that during our night Israel and Hezbollah went into pitched battle in Lebanon and Northern Israel, in what Olmert has declared "an act of war," with two kidnapped Israeli soldiers, and a wide variety of counter-attacks.

A current report, for the moment.

Ah, good old Dishonorable Dave, peddling more lies about how Democrats prefer that the United States to be destroyed and replaced by an Islamic extremist fundamentalist state rather than live under President Bush. Without, as usual, a single shred of evidence to support even one of his lies.

I'll spot you Iraq. Now, your evidence that "commenters here . . . are against diplomacy . . . domestic security measures such as the NSA (phone records, not only wiretaps) and FBI, foreign intelligence (as in CIA programs and SWIFT), and of course, military action in Iraq and Afghanistan."

(Please note your dishonest positioning that the way Bush does things is the only way to conduct them, and that therefore opposing, say "domestic security measures not conducted in accordance with US law and without proper oversight by the co-equal legislative branch" is not "opposing domestic security." No matter how fervently you wish such a thing to be true.)

If you really think Democrats are opposed to "foreign intelligence" and the like, I don't know what to say. You're either stupid or malicious, and there's no polite third option.

"You're either stupid or malicious, and there's no polite third option."

I have no desire to speak badly of DaveC, and I bear him no animus -- though his endlessly repeated mischaracterizations of various Democrats both here and elsewhere do bother me considerably at times -- but I do think "delusional," for whatever reasons, is something of a third option.

And now I'll get away from personal characterization again. I'd like to hope that DaveC will instead discuss facts and cites, but after several years of this, I no longer seriously have any such hope. He always does these remarks as drive-bys, and when specifically challenged, disappears.

Still, there's always a first time.

When I started reading DaveC's comment, with its by-the-book smearing of Democrats, I assumed it was from yet another drive-by troll. I was surprised when I got to the end and found it was from DaveC, since he usually shows a little more rationality, independence from the Bushists, and sensitivity toward his fellow commenters. But it's not the first time he's disappointed me.

Hilzoy, socratic_me, and Gary,

Actually I was more responding to the "and is anything but sadistic towards its countrymen" part of the sentence than the "great social programs" part of the sentence in the internal mental context of the huge amount of violent infighting that Hamas has engaged in of late. But since you all aren't actually in my head and since I quoted the whole sentence and then responded, I have to apologize for being ridiculously unclear.

What I was trying to point out is that from the comments it was self-evident, at least to me, that the commenters here think that getting rid of Bush or resisting him in every way possible, is a higher priority than fighting AQ, Jemahh al Islamyah, Hamas, HizbAllah, etc.

Otherwise, people would say that, for instance, increased port security is something that should be expedited. This was a Kerry talking point, yet where is the bill in Congress? Somebody in the Democrat party needs to take a serious stand on the WOT. I believe Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, for instance, also realize the seriousness of the situation. But more should, given the events of the past eight days.

Thank goodness work wasn't stopped on anti-ballistic missle defense systems.

Sorry about being drive-by. I don't have much time these days. I know that hilzoy at least peruses the conservative blogs, so she has some idea where I'm coming from. I'm just trying to add a little variety of thinking here.

Geez, all the comments from this morning, after a certain point, are gone. How tedious.

"The fact of the matter is that the commenters here and the movers and shakers in the Democratic Party are against diplomacy (as in John Bolton), domestic security measures such as the NSA (phone records, not only wiretaps) and FBI, foreign intelligence (as in CIA programs and SWIFT), and of course, military action in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Previously I pointed out that not only is this wildly untrue, DaveC, in every particular, save the fact that a number of folks here did and do oppose the Iraq invasion, but you have had it pointed out to you many times on the many past occasions that you stated these untruths that they were untrue.

Many times. There's no possibility that you are unaware that you are either lying or delusional in these claims, save that if it's delusional, as I sort of prefer to believe, that it's part of your delusion.

Which leaves me little to say, save to note that you are continuing to, again, either lie or engage in delusion, and this is very troubling. As I said in my disappeared comment, I worry for you, DaveC. But I also repeat the more-than-request I've made in the past, which is that you quit stating untruthful things about what people here believe.

Specifically, quit stating untruthful things and saying that most people here oppose surveillance and spying, when what almost all of us oppose is surveillance and spying without the approval of Congress or the courts. Quit lying and saying that most people here oppose fighting in Afghanistan, when, in fact, it is you who have repeatedly claimed that the war there is won and that no more effort need be put into it when most of us have consistently demanded that more military effort must be made in Afghanistan, and you've disagreed. Quit being untruthful and saying that people oppose diplomacy, when mostly it's been you who has claimed it's useless.

Thanks. Oh, and, hey, I'm a Zionist. And I'm willing to bet that I've been paying vastly closer attention to Israel and the Mideast than you have all of our lives.

"...but that is not my reason for being against Islamic terrorism in India, Thailand, Phillipines, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, Algeria, Britain, Spain, USA, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, etc."

Are you claiming that anyone here isn't also against it?

"...it was self-evident, at least to me, that the commenters here think that getting rid of Bush or resisting him in every way possible, is a higher priority than fighting AQ, Jemahh al Islamyah, Hamas, HizbAllah, etc."

Different people here have, as you perfectly well know, different opinions.

However, if you can explain to me what G. W. Bush has done to "fight" Jemahh al Islamyah, Hamas, HizbAllah, I'd love to know.

Also, incidentally: "Your search - "Jemahh al Islamyah" - did not match any document" says Google. I'm guessing you mean Jemaah Islamiya. I've also never ever seen a reference to "HizbAllah" with a capital "A." This doesn't convince me you're terribly expert on the threat or have been following it very long. But possibly like many Americans, you only started paying attention this century, unlike those of us who have been intensely studying the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism for thirty-plus years (and Hezbollah since 1982).

Or perhaps not.

But the idea that you have some special privilege and care about Islamic terrorism compared to others here: does "bite me" break the posting rules?

What were you doing to educate yourself about the subject during the Seventies and Eighties, DaveC? Where do you get the right to imply that you care more?

As I've said before: how dare you.

DaveC, I think that removing Bush is a prerequisite to fighting Al Qaeda, because Bush doesn't care about it. Likewise when it comes to anything that might neutralize the local appeal of violent extremist groups elsewhere in the Middle East. He won't use diplomacy against Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, won't provide relief to the needy in Palestine and elsewhere, won't demonstrate the rule of law at home.

If Bush were to put forth a proposal to deal with those who've attacked our country and to change some of the climate that produces the willingness to try, and it were anchored in the rule of law and honest accounting, I'd be all over it. Gladly. With tremendous relief. And I think that's true of everyone here - I don't think a one of us would oppose a good idea just because it were Bush's. We oppose things he says are good ideas because in fact they're not, or because he's asking for a level of trust we feel he's proven he can't or won't use well. But none of that stops him doing the right thing, and we'd love it if he did.

It's true that the Democrats are being a terrible minority party, but that surely can't excuse the failings of the majority in every branch of federal government.

"This was a Kerry talking point, yet where is the bill in Congress?"

WTF?

The one that passed the Senate Tuesday?

The Senate also voted on Tuesday to amend the proposed $32.8 billion domestic security spending bill by adding another $648 million for port security to pay for more equipment and personnel to inspect ship containers, and an extra $350 million for border security to buy aircraft and vehicles to help border patrol agents and to enhance border fences.
The one that the Republicans have consistently fought? The one that the President and Republicans opposed?

"Thank goodness work wasn't stopped on anti-ballistic missle defense systems."

First off, if you're claiming that Democrats ever tried to "stop" such work, you are again either misinformed or being untruthful. Secondly, wouldn't it be nice to have a system that worked?

"I'm just trying to add a little variety of thinking here."

Variety of thinking is great; knowing what the hell you're talking about, and not speaking untruths is even better. Implying that you care and others here, Democrats here, don't: extremely offensive and objectionable, since it's a lie.

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