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September 11, 2006

Comments

Anarch: "abettors"

That's sort of a fighting word - maybe "supporters" would be safer.

lily: "that pattern is a staple with Republican politicians"

Seems rather broad.

Calling them chickenhawks is necessary in order to fight back against their bullying.

Ah, yes, the classic tu quoque that historically has served to elevate so much discourse.

Wes Clark writes me and notes in passing:

"Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) offered an amendment to give the Guard and Reserve $1 billion to procure additional equipment, including body armor, in April 2003. But every single Republican, including George Allen, voted to kill that amendment."

That's sort of a fighting word

It was intended to be.

Plus, there are plenty of Republican supporters to whom I wasn't referring. To name but three right here, Slarti, Sebastian and Andrew have at some point all been Republican supporters if not outright Republicans, but I bear no onus towards them. [Other than in the petty, personal kinda way *grumble grumble* ;) ] I'm specifically referring to people in positions of power -- whether political, financial, operational, distributional (if that makes sense) or in the media -- who [ab]used that power in order to further the GOP war agenda.

Or, to be less pleasant about it: to abet the GOP's crimes.

Andrew, I'm not sure discourse can be unilaterally elevated, particularly this close to the midterm. It's a great goal, but it falls way behind things like returning control of our government to responsible adults in my list of things to do at this point. If we get to November and the only thing my side has accomplished is to elevate the discourse (and then only on balance, because the folks now pushing the term "terrorist tribunals" are pretty much impervious to reform at this point) then I won't feel particularly good about that outcome.

Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?

Gromit,

True, it is impossible to unilaterally elevate both sides of a discussion. But as long as the code of the schoolyard prevails, we will continue to engage in a race to the bottom.

Now it may be that such discourse is effective. If so, I understand why people use it; I know that negative ads work despite people's claims to dislike them, this speech may be similar. But I still find it distasteful, and while I hold out no hope of convincing others to change, we all need windmills to tilt at to make life worth living.

No, it isn't broad. The Republicans are good at coordinating their attacks and presenting a unified message. Right now the message is that Democrats are weak on fighting terrorism. Cheney has said it, Boehner has said it, and that message will pop up in every race all over the country. As for the tu quoque, well sometimes you have to call things by their real names. I am not advocating that Democrats lie about Republicans. I am advocating an assertive, forceful response to people who advocate a war, while claiming superior commitment to defending our country and while making sure they don't have to risk their own necks.

I correctively repeat myself:

"I doubt I would label anyone I could have a civil conversation with about US foreign policy a chickenhawk."

If it gets to "chickenhawk", the discourse is already down the DiaperChamp.

Andrew: True, it is impossible to unilaterally elevate both sides of a discussion. But as long as the code of the schoolyard prevails, we will continue to engage in a race to the bottom.

Like I said, I agree with the goal. But for Democrats at this point in the electoral cycle, worrying overmuch about hurting their opponents' feelings is a bit like graciously holding the door for the guy who's burgling your house.

I'll give anexample. Out here in Washington state Nethercott ran an ad against Patty Murray wherein he did the usual Republican politician thing and called her an apologist for Bin Ladin. She ran a counter ad calling him a liar. Her ad used the word "liar" twice and ended with "Shame on you". That's the way Democrats need to respond to Republican attacks on their patriotism or commitment to defending this country. I don't know if Nethercott is a vet or not. If he isn't then the term chickenhawk appies.
I don't think Murray's ad was negative. I don't think calling a chickenhawk a chickenhawk is negative. I do think it is negative to bring up irrelevancies or root around in the distant past for long forgotten dirt or make mountains out of molehills, etc. For example I don't give a rip if MacGarick or whatever his name is got arrested for drunkdriving, and I would not respect the Cantwell campaignn if they made an issue of it. . It doesn't lower the discourse to defend forcefuly and assertively. Forceful assertive defenses aren't negative. In the long run if our politics ever gets back to normal it will be because people fight back , not because ethey "take the high road" and get run over.

Gromit,

I suppose it would be. I am not advocating eliminating name-calling for the purpose of ensuring people's feelings do not get hurt, however. (I kill people for a living; hurt feelings are well down on the list of things I worry about.) I am more interested in avoiding such terms because they are imprecise and do not add anything meaningful to the discourse.

Andrew: Ah, yes, the classic tu quoque that historically has served to elevate so much discourse.

Yes, but... the classic of Karl Rove's/George W. Bush's campaigning style is something I don't have a convenient Latin term for. When Rove was campaigning for Bush/Cheney against Kerry/Edwards, his candidates' weak spot was that both of them had public records of evading service in Vietnam for a war they had publicly supported; whereas John Kerry was a bona fide, decorated war hero, and John Edwards was born just late enough that he had a respectable excuse for not being drafted. Rove's strategy was to hire a bunch of disgruntled veterans and pay them to tell lies about Kerry's war record. End result: a Republican National Conference where everyone is mocking a war hero with a Purple Heart and voting for a deserter. Very effective.

When that's the standard of debate of your opposition, as it is for the Democratic Party, you really are exercising extreme double standards by claiming it's the Democratic Party that is lowering public discourse. Rove already dragged public discourse into the sewers.

Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?

...is the exact opposite of what I just said. Thanks for illustrating! :)

Jes: I've heard that philosophy ascribed to Musashi, namely attack your enemy at his strengths. [IIRC, Sun Tzu advocates attacking where the enemy is weak (and a quick Google confirms this).] I can't find the reference though.

Jesurgislac,

If you can point to where I accused the Democratic Party of lowering public discourse, I will cheerfully apologize.

Anarch,

I just thought the line was funny re: your preceding post. It was, in retrospect, an error to post it since I have a well-documented problem with posting comments intended in a lighthearted manner only to realize that without my trademark twinkling eye, the comment landed far more heavily than intended. Thanks for taking it in the spirit it was intended.

I already linked to two specific examples of people I considered chickenhawks

No, I hadn't read those links, because I had a decent idea what sort of material would be at the other end. I was half right.

Ah, poor Sid Blumenthal. Sid's article could pretty much be funneled down into look, I found some petty and stupid Republicans, but that'd have been much less fabulous, and probably failed to meet the word count, and it's not as if they're hiding.

Anarch, it sounds as if a chickenhawk is anyone who's vocally pro-war, not fighting, in some position of power or other (although why College Republicans fit this is a mystery to me), and at least maintains that they believe that the war is crucially important to the continued existence of this country, and that you don't like. Possibly some of that is redundant. Am I close? At least I'm out of breath.

As for the responsibility bit, consider that I have been raised by a pack of wolves. Which isn't all that far from the truth.

rilkefan, re your 4:24 PM, I just ran across this comment from Jon Henke at QandO, defending his candidate on that charge:

Allen voted for a great many armor bills; he also voted against one bill that had an armor appropriation tucked into it so deep that the sponsor didn’t even mention it.

Dunno what's closest to the truth in this case, but in general I would never take an accusation that "X voted against a bill/amendment to do obviously good thing Y" at face value.

kenB, could be, dunno - I find Clark trustworthy though. I'm more concerned today with Allen's thing for the CSA.

Here's what Senator Landrieu submitted as an amendment. And here's the wording of her proposal.

I could have missed something, but nowhere do I see mention of body armor.

rilkefan,

You do realize that Clark could be telling the truth and still be somewhat misleading in this instance, do you not? I mean, surely you weren't someone who thought that claims Senator Kerry opposed the M1, M2, AH-64, and many other weapons programs was a valid complaint just because he voted for some bills that provided funding for those programs?

Oh, and here's the ad.

np, Andrew. Guessed right, thankfully :)

Slarti: Sid's article could pretty much be funneled down into look, I found some petty and stupid Republicans...

...who happened to be key people at the College National Republican Convention, which happens to be a semi-professional funnel for mainstream GOP talent. These weren't just random "petty and stupid Republicans", Slarti, these were the next generation of GOP superstars. [Probably eminences grises types like Rove rather than front-and-center electoral candidates, but arguably the operatives are more important in determining the character of the party.] You can't just dismiss them as random people met on the street or what have you; this is a deep and virulent pathology that strikes directly into the heart of the Republican Party.

And as for not hiding... so what? Are the corrupt less corrupt for being brazen about it? Are the morally bankrupt less bankrupt for being open in their sins? It's a black mark for this country that they can admit their failings out in the open without meaningful condemnation, I agree, but that's another matter entirely.

Anarch, it sounds as if a chickenhawk is anyone who's vocally pro-war, not fighting, in some position of power or other (although why College Republicans fit this is a mystery to me), and at least maintains that they believe that the war is crucially important to the continued existence of this country, and that you don't like. Possibly some of that is redundant.

Well, the latter part is sometimes a consequence; it's certainly not a criterion. You're also missing "Is capable of fighting" or some variant thereof. I have innumerable problems with He-Who-Shouldn't-Be-Named, for example, but he's no chickenhawk since he tried to re-up and was denied.

As for position of power, that's true but it's a little more expansive than I may have relayed above. "Power" in this case doesn't just mean in government or running an institution or what have you; it can also refer to those creating bully pulpits from which to castigate people who don't (adequately) support the war in their eyes -- and that relativization there is crucial, since that notion means different things to different people -- claiming that the war is some kind of existential crisis [not just pro-war, IOW, that's insufficient], but who copiously fail to illustrate that support in their personal lives. That's what I meant by "operational" or "distributional" power above; a kind of mass-media networking power that isn't accurately encapsulated by one's official position but is garnered by one's ability to transmit (and enforce) ideas reinforcing the prevailing [GOP] ideology. This includes bloggers, radio broadcasters, that CR guy who organized the "Pro-America" rallies, anti-evolution activists and the like. I don't have a good working definition for this yet, though, so I can't really clarify this particular facet any further.

And incidentally, having hit Preview more than 50 times today: yes, Anderson, I'm goddamn aware that that's a really long border with Syria. You can shut up about it any time now.

Slarti, these were the next generation of GOP superstars.

You know, I work with a guy like that. He's been the next generation of GOP superstars for over a generation, now.

I think this particular point is a stretch, Anarch. As for the rest, not bad. If you want to use chickenhawk as shorthand for all of it, well, it's a damn sight better than trudging through all of this back-and-forth, I guess.

Andrew: If you can point to where I accused the Democratic Party of lowering public discourse, I will cheerfully apologize.

I understood this to be the substance of your comments to this thread since your comment on [September 14, 2006 at 04:23 PM], yes. If not, I'm at a loss to know what you could have meant, since, at the most charitable interpretation, you seemed to be trying to imply that both parties were equally guilty of lowering public discourse - which, given what the Republican Party and the Bush administration have done to the standards of public discourse in the US in the past six years, is a monstrous slur on the Democratic party and its supporters.

"just because he voted for some bills that provided funding for those programs"

("against", I assume.)

Sure. All I know is that I saw a bunch of complaints about armor (e.g. soldiers asking for folks back home to buy them better gear) and that I find Clark to be trustworthy. Will keep half an eye on this for reference.

Claim:
"Democrats also strongly supported an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2003 Supplemental Appropriations bill, offered by Senator Landrieu, that would have appropriated $1.047 billion for National Guard and Reserve procurement. Despite the fact that National Guard and Reserve troops serving in Iraq are the most likely to lack appropriate body armor, Republicans tabled this amendment on April 2, 2003, in a 52-47 vote (Vote No. 116). Finally, during the course of last year's appropriations process, Senator Leahy successfully worked with his colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to add $220 million to the National Guard and Reserve discretionary equipment account."

Maybe nobody really bothers about just a billion these days.

Landrieu link.

Ack, just got a time-critical piece of equipment, have a good afternoon everybody.

Given that it's not clear why it was tabled, I marvel that they're voting on Year 2003 appropriations in Year 2003. Could be my ignorance, though.

Oddly, rilke, no mention of body armor in that link, either.

Not to speak for Anarch, but:

Anarch, it sounds as if a chickenhawk is anyone who's vocally pro-war,

Yes

not fighting,

Yes

in some position of power or other

No

and at least maintains that they believe that the war is crucially important to the continued existence of this country,

Yes

and that you don't like.

No.

In place of the two "no" criteria, add:

-- Regularly characterizes war opponents as cowards, traitors or both.

AFAIC, Exhibit A would be Jeff G0ld5tein:

1. Regularly criticizes war opponents as cowards, traitors, or both, while he
2. Loudly and continuously advocates not only this war but expanded war throughout the Middle East, because
3. The very existence of Western culture is at stake, but
4. He clearly isn't going to be fighting in any of these wars, even though
5. He could definitely use the paycheck, and
6. He regularly indulges in flights of violent fantasy, which he could have the opportunity to fulfill if he joined up.

I think "chickenhawk" is reasonably accurate shorthand even with all the baggage it carries.

Jesurgislac,

My comment was, as should have been clear from the attached quote, directed specifically at lily's argument that Democrats should use the chickenhawk slur because Republicans use other slurs. This is a perfect example of tu quoque and I am at a loss to understand how you might consider it possible for name-calling to elevate debate. The point is not (and I never said, outside your imagination) that the debate is currently at a particularly high point. As you noted, it most certainly is not. My point is merely that dropping to their level is unlikely to elevate the discourse.

If you wish to take that as a slur on the Democratic Party, knock yourself out. But that is not what I said. It may be what you inferred, but I have no control over that.

Kenb re your 5:37: Yes, 'his' candidate, ie, his employer, ie, the man he is paid to support. Jon Henke frankly has no credibility re: George Allen's bona fides, as he can't be objective and still effectively do his job. Not saying that Clark is or isn't correct about the piece of proposed legislation in question, but the fact that Henke works for Allen makes it hard for me to take any defense offered seriously. (sidenote: Andrew - what do you think about Henke trying to present Allen as a 'libertarian' candidate?)

Steward Beta: I've read all the books you listed (included everything by Gibson - if the SF-minded folks reading this haven't checked out Pattern Recognition, please do so ASAP) except for Moreau Omnibus, which I've now added to my ever-expanding must-read list. Have you read Distraction by Sterling or Market Forces by Morgan? My favourite cyberpunkish novel is When Gravity Fails by the late George Alec Effinger, a gritty Chandleresque tale of crime and intrigue set in a colourful, futuristic Mideast locale.

And let me second LJ's bleg for a weekend book thread (not that this discussion of 'chickenhawk' semantics isn't fascinating;-))

Popping back while something churns to find this, in fact vague speech - kind of a tangle to find that, maybe there's something better - I'm not about to figure out how to read that website or mess with Landrieu's. Certainly won't claim "equipment" = "body armor".

mb: "Jon Henke frankly has no credibility re: George Allen's bona fides, as he can't be objective and still effectively do his job."

Maybe if he was a journalist but I'm not comfortable with this argument in this context.

matt,

I am of the opinion that if Senator Allen is the best libertarians can do, we should consider moving to Estonia.

My brief not-spoilery review of PR. Even briefer: really liked the first half, thought it went off the rails after.

Slarti marvels at: voting on Year 2003 appropriations in Year 2003

It's the norm in this Congress. Two and a half days of in-session work a week, individual budget bills not being passed until right at the end of the session. Just on grounds of not doing the basics of their jobs, Republicans should lose them. Not that there aren't additional Congressional-procedure reasons.*

It used to be that the entire package of authorization bills that make up the budget were worked on first thing in a session, and the House and then Senate kept at it until the whole budget was set. The trench warfare was at the appropriations stage, but starting off with a budget framework meant that appropriations, too, could be accomplished in time to take up other business.

Democratic leadership in a retaken House and/or Senate will insist on a more serious work schedule. Obey, Frank, Davis, and a rep from Maine have been pushing for a year a bill to reform many of the procedural lapses and abuses that came in with the Republican majority. Committees have been hit particularly hard by the three-day workweek.

---
*Such as the unprecedented, outrageous abuse of the reconciliation process -- conference committee meetings held and votes taken with only Republican members present, bills signed into law different from what either house passed, "reconciliations" that selectively thwart the will of Congress by gutting provisions passed by both chambers. But who's counting, eh?

Slarti, from Landrieu's speech

During the debate on the budget resolution, I offered a resolution to increase spending for the National Guard and Reserve forces by $1.1 billion to meet unfunded equipment requirements. Our Guard and Reserve forces make up over 40 percent of our armed forces personnel, yet for years they barely received 8 percent of the funds in the defense budgets. Our Armed Forces could not have performed as brilliantly as they did in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom without our reliance on our National Guard and Reserve. Over 320,000 guardsmen and reservists have been activated since September 11, 2001. Many have been called up two and three times, which places tremendous stresses on the lives of our troops and their loved ones. Our citizen soldiers are being asked to perform the same tasks as our active forces, and they are doing so with expertise. But, they often have hand-me-down equipment. There are people near and dear to me stationed right now in Iraq in the Reserves. When their lives are on the line, I do not want them wondering if their Vietnam era equipment will work.

Now take a look at the body armor ad against George Allen.

Rilkefan isn't going to say equipment=body armor, but it seems awfully bloody minded to stand on that point. Honestly, I feel like I've fallen into a blog remake of Groucho saying 'say the secret word, you win $100. It's a common word, something you find everyday around the house.'

Speaking of Landrieu, here's a moment of zen, though some may call it tu quoque.

Asked if he were accusing Democrats of treason, Boehner backpedaled. "No. I made it clear sometimes I wonder -- that is what I said,'' he added. Asked if he thought Democratic leaders in Congress were more interested in shielding terrorists than fighting them, he said no, he was referring to some Democrats, not the leadership.

If the Dems would just stop noticing this sort of stuff, I'm sure it will disappear.

rilkefan: What would you describe Henke as, if not a 'journalist' or 'pundit'?

I mean, does the fact that Henke is a blogger and not employed by a traditional media outlet make him any more or less likely to be objective when discussing someone who is paying him to help get elected? Let me clarify - I don't have a problem with Henke continuing to blog while acting as netroots coordinator for the Allen campaign. He has made his affiliation crystal clear, and should be commended for that. But I fail to see why his comments are any more legitimate than, say, Tony Snow defending Bush.

Andrew: I'll take that as 'not much'.

;-)

Well, Estonia has great wi-fi, so you'll still be able to blog, Andrew.

Andrew: This is a perfect example of tu quoque and I am at a loss to understand how you might consider it possible for name-calling to elevate debate.

Then you haven't been paying attention to the state of political discourse in the US for the past five years. Really, Andrew. You haven't. When the standard for political campaigning, for Republican candidates, is to make up slanderous lies about their opponent, and put them into the public arena so that the Democratic candidate will find it difficult/impossible to deny/disprove the lies, then, yes, name-calling elevates the debate in the same way as someone crawling along the sidewalk is elevated above someone splashing about in the sewers.

My point is merely that dropping to their level is unlikely to elevate the discourse.

Then your point is that you are asserting that for a Democratic supporter to call names is on the same level as a Republican supporter telling slanderous lies. You are imposing a double standard: either that, or you're just closing your eyes (and your nose) to the malodorous depths to which Karl Rove and his ilk have sunk.

Slart: this particular point [about leadership of College Republicans] is a stretch, Anarch

Have to agree with Anarch here.

Slart, in a long-ago discussion here you professed never to have heard much about Grover Norquist, either. I took from this that you were a Republican voter and supporter of Republican policies who hasn't been involved in campaigns or followed the party's internal workings at all closely.

It's just a fact that the College Republicans have been a much more important ladder for R organizers and operatives than the Young Democrats have for the national Democratic party.

Well, this has come and gone, but there is a non-political child raising thread over at TiO.

rilkefan: re PR - agreed, the second half does come across a bit 'Hollywood blockbuster', especially the telegraphed denouement.

However, the way Gibson makes the here-and-now feel alien (for lack of a better term) is arresting. There are very few 'contemporary' (mundane?) novels I've read that convey SFnal 'sensawunda' so effectively. (Of course, as Jackmormon said in comments, that may be due to Gibson getting older, the here-and-now quickly leaving him and his generation behind.)

mb: "rilkefan: What would you describe Henke as, if not a 'journalist' or 'pundit'?"

Is he a professional blogger?

Anyway, I think it's relevant that he's got a gig with Allen, but unless that's his job tout court I'd still listen to his arguments.

Also I'm a bit confused about attributions - that looks like "mcq", not Henke.

If you click on 'jon's posts', you get just henke's stuff (an interesting idea to code over here, methinks).

I realize that he's just gotten started in his job and it's not a clear line, but looking at the posts he's put up since he took the job, half of them seem to be simple cheerleading posts and if you look at the links to the 'America Weakly' post, you see there is a dig at Webb in the links.

So that leaves one post, that has you wonder how a libertarian can advocate some sort of program to have Afghanistan grow crops for ethanol

rilkefan: so the issue is payment (or lack of)? I thought the primary obligation of a writer was to the truth, professional or otherwise. Bloggers shouldn't be given carte blanche to make sh*t up (not to say this is your contention, nor that Henke has done so).

Re KenB's (mis)attribution: well, so it is. Next time I'll Google an unsourced quote before indignantly spouting off ;-)

lj,

That's good to know. :)

Actually, Andrew, I don't think Democrats should use the chickenhawk slur because Republicans use other slurs. But the misunderstanding is probably due to me writing in an unclear way.
For the last thirty years, dating back to Lee Atwater, the Republican party leadership has promoted amongst its politicians, pundits, opinion leaders and spokespeople a policy of demonizing Deomcrats and polarizing the populace. Negative ads and negative frames are a huge part of this. Ever since 911 this has taken the form of claims by a myriad of Republican politicians, pundits etc. that either an individual Republican is more patriotic, more committed to defending America etc, or that their party is. Quite often the person making the false claim of superior machismo in our national honor is a person who has aslo avoided ever having to put that macho to the test in a real war. I think it is as appropriate to attack that person's credibility as it is to say the emperor has no clothes. The chickenhawk term means a person who falsely claims status as a warrior hero. It is an appropriate term to undercut the crediblity of a pundit or politician who is, in essence, a fake.
Political discourse in the country is mostly from a politician or pundit to an audience. In a conversation between me and some other person "chickenhawk" would be a rude and would end communication. However, in the context of say, a letter to the editor about some chickenhawk like Cheney, the purpose isn't to communicate to the chickhawk. It's to communicate about the chickenhawk to other people. If calling that person a chickenhawk effectively contradicts their false claim to superior patriotism, then that's a good thing for me, the citizen, to do. I guess I don't see it as being any different than calling someone a fake. It's just a particular kind of fake and it is important that that particular kind of fake be a recognized political phenomenon. That sort of behavior needs a label and needs to be called out whenever it happens.

[The Democrats calling the Republicans would be] a perfect example of tu quoque and I am at a loss to understand how you might consider it possible for name-calling to elevate debate.

First, "name-calling" implies that the name has no merit, that it's pure ad hominem. What I spent far too much time and energy on this thread illustrating was that it's not purely ad hominem; that not only is there a grain of truth in the description but that in fact it describes a fairly large, very powerful subclass of people in the political sphere nowadays. That's not "name-calling", that's framing (at worst) and bringing a measure of truth back to the debate (at best).

Second, "name-calling" can serve a very important function: calling others on their BS. I think it's perfectly legitimate to call the administration a "failure", to say that the President is "incompetent" and other things which could be taken as name-calling if one were so inclined. [And there are plenty of other, harsher descriptions they warrant as well.] The only thing that differentiates this sort of name-calling from any other kind is whether people choose to accept the truth of these descriptors or whether we (as a nation) get hung up on the rhetoric instead of the substance.

The point is not (and I never said, outside your imagination) that the debate is currently at a particularly high point. As you noted, it most certainly is not. My point is merely that dropping to their level is unlikely to elevate the discourse.

Finally, elevating the discourse is by far the be-all-and-end-all of today's politics. Elevating the discourse is, unfortunately, at present a red herring. What you're advocating would be nice in a genteel world where politics was something other than the bare-knuckle, knock-down drag-down fight it is right now -- and I'd argue, as I've done before, that we've entered a new era of deliberately calumnous and destructive perma-campaigning -- but as it is, those who are most likely to follow your example are also those who are most likely to get crushed beneath the weight of hollered "Defeatocrats" and "Loser-defeatists" and "Objectively pro-terrorist" and "America-haters" and on and on and on.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not necessarily advocating the use of the word "chickenhawk" as a rhetorical strategy, but it's strictly for means of realpolitik. They've earned it. They've earned it in spades. And I think it's a sad, sad day when the truth is continually forced to cavil beneath the oppressive weight of "civility" -- but to argue that things should be otherwise is to fall into exactly the same trap that I elucidated above, so I'll be done.

Re KenB's (mis)attribution

That is a vicious calumny, sir, and I'll have you retract it this instant. And don't try to pass any blame back to me for the mere insignificant fact that I didn't offer a link. I was citing Jon's comment in this thread, the third comment down (wish they had permalinks, or even timestamps, on their comments).

Anyway, as many times as that tactic has been used against Democrats, I'm surprised to see so much support for it here going the other direction. It's a rare bill or amendment that is so clear and single-minded in purpose that you can conclude much from the bare fact that a congressperson voted a certain way on it. Usually the bill is for "(mumblemumblemumble) and America and apple pie and (mumblemumblemumble), and I'm shocked! and appalled! that my opponent voted against America and apple pie!"

matttbastard, I just offered Jon's comment as additional information, not definitive proof of anything. But I have enough respect for him still to assume that he wouldn't actually lie about Allen's voting record.

Anyway, as many times as that tactic has been used against Democrats, I'm surprised to see so much support for it here going the other direction.

Well, this is what I keep going on about. I terming it 'egg breaking' now, because it doesn't focus on any one person. Obviously, the name is framing in itself, because it suggests that if the Dems want an omlette or two, they are going to have to extract a little yolk.

If anyone would like to write a guest post about the topic on TiO, let me know.

It's the norm in this Congress.

I guess what I'm saying is that I had thought appropriations for a given year were worked in the year prior. Otherwise you're trying figure out what to spend money on in the middle of the spend cycle. Probably, though, my surprise is due to ignornace, as I suggested.

Now take a look at the body armor ad against George Allen.

Thanks for linking to that again, even though I linked to it upthread.

Rilkefan isn't going to say equipment=body armor, but it seems awfully bloody minded to stand on that point. Honestly, I feel like I've fallen into a blog remake of Groucho saying 'say the secret word, you win $100. It's a common word, something you find everyday around the house.'

Well, um, that's the point. Now, Landrieu might maintain, ex post facto, that her amendment was for body armor. But the point of the ad was that George Allen rejected an appropriation for body armor, which so far is unsupported. One could equally accurately say that George Allen voted to reject appropriation for boots, or ammunition, or for night vision goggles. Or, maybe, tanks.

It's the kind of inaccuracy that, I think, would drive you insane were it coming from a Republican and directed at a Democrat.

Now, I'm not a fan of George Allen. He may in fact have voted specifically against that amendment because it funded body armor purchases. So far, though, I've yet to see any substantiation for that claim, or anything like that claim.

I do, though, think that I don't much care for the blogger-defense of Allen by someone who works for Allen. I think it's great that he disclosed, but I think if you're going to write about your employer, you're pretty much a paid flack. Which is just one of the many, many reasons I rarely even mention my employer.

All that said, I'm not all that shocked that a 1.048 billion line item amendment for, as far as the level of detail is concerned, "stuff" was tabled. And, what kenB said: if it's dishonest when Democrats are the target, it's dishonest when others are the target.

Thanks for linking to that again, even though I linked to it upthread.

Sorry I missed that, I tend to skip over the one line responses because they have a bit higher ratio of snark to content.

Now, Landrieu might maintain, ex post facto, that her amendment was for body armor. But the point of the ad was that George Allen rejected an appropriation for body armor, which so far is unsupported.

But it seems like you are complaining that Landrieu didn't call out George Allen and specifically mention body armor. That's a bit unrealistic, given that there is 1000 miles between their constituencies.

It's the kind of inaccuracy that, I think, would drive you insane were it coming from a Republican and directed at a Democrat.

No, I would just say same ole same ole. That's politics. What drives me insane is Republicans utilizing institutional perquisites to create situations to tar Dems, like the 'Murtha bill' that wasn't actually by Murtha, or holding voting open to pass a bill, or raising flag desecretion amendments, or redistricting. Landrieu did not propose this bill to catch Allen out, and the fact that those opposed to Allen are using it is just the state of play as it stands. I don't particularly like it as a general rule, but I've continuously tried to make the point that I am believing that it is time to break eggs, which I said in my reply to kenb. I'm not perfect, but on this, I can say that I have been pretty damn consistent.

He may in fact have voted specifically against that amendment because it funded body armor purchases. So far, though, I've yet to see any substantiation for that claim, or anything like that claim.

That's a pretty narrow strip of land to build on, which I imagine is the point. There are a lot of other possibilities that I think would be just as problematic for Allen
1) he didn't realize that it was for body armor
2) he prioritized body armor over whatever he thought was important
3) he felt it important, but didn't want to let a dem get credit for proposing it
Of course, these would be just as hard to 'prove', but it's a matter of framing. I don't want to force you to check out this link from Kos, but the point is that is what is happening. Perhaps Dems have been driven insane by this, but when someone keeps giving you a quick elbow when they drive to the basket and it doesn't get called, you'd really be stupid not to do the same thing if you want to win the game.

But it seems like you are complaining that Landrieu didn't call out George Allen and specifically mention body armor.

No, I am noting that this ad has no factual basis that I've been able to determine. The claim that Allen killed a body-armor amendment is, as far as I can tell, unsubstantiated.

What drives me insane is Republicans utilizing institutional perquisites to create situations to tar Dems, like the 'Murtha bill' that wasn't actually by Murtha, or holding voting open to pass a bill, or raising flag desecretion amendments, or redistricting.

Democrats don't do redistricting? I'd bring that one back if I were you. The party in power does redistricting while they're in power, and redistricting done by Republicans accomplishes exactly the same thing as redistricting done by Democrats.

If you're complaining that the Republicans have pursued redistricting to greater effect, I might consider that a point.

Most of the other things are less sneaky-and-evil than just plain stupid; either way, fair points of contention.

There are a lot of other possibilities that I think would be just as problematic for Allen

But none of those are problematic. Again, as far as I can tell, there's absolutely no detailing of what that $1.048 billion was destined for. Neither is there any way to assess whether funding for general supplies was not taken care of in any of the various budget supplementals.

So, in summary: a) there's no wording at all that I have been able to discover that any of the money was to be spent on body armor, and b) if Landrieu didn't bother to mention it, you can't reasonably expect those who opposed the amendment to read her mind.

I did visit the kos link. kos has, so far, been remarkably unsuccessful in assessing what's going to be effective in politics. This is tactics, not morals. kos is, by appearances, decrying Republican tactics while advocating adopting those same tactics. To which I say: eh? Anyone doing the above is utilizing moral commentary solely as a tactic.

Which hearkens me back to some different sorts of hypocrisy discussed upthread.

Of course, I could have that all wrong. And of course, it may be just spiffy to use tactics that you hold as amoral against people you believe to be amoral, but I think that's a highly flawed idea.

lily,

Rest assured, I am not blind to the appalling choice of rhetoric used by many on the right side of the political spectrum. If it seems I turn a blind eye to that, it is only because I see no profit in 'preaching to the choir' by pointing out that which is patently obvious to the ObWings commentariat.

Anarch,

My apologies, let me try to be clearer. (Doubtless a vain hope. ;) My objection to chickenhawk is that, unlike comments like 'failure' and 'incompetence,' chickenhawk has too many connotations to be used effectively. Conceding your particular definition of chickenhawk, I have seen far too many other people utilize it as an all-purpose slur against those who support the war without rushing out to enlist. The term is simply too broad to be used effectively (much like 'fascist,' which in current political discourse appears to mean simply something people don't like). If you say that the administration was incompetent in its prosecution of the war, you can move directly into a discussion of those instances of incompetence. If, on the other hand, you throw out the 'chickenhawk' accusation, you immediately turn off a sizable fraction of your readership who see the term as a slur based on past uses, and even those who stick with you will need some explanation as to the provenance of the term (as we've seen in this post). It has the effect of shutting down debate rather than encouraging it. I therefore speak out against it. As I said, we all have our windmills to tilt at.

Finally, I will note that while I would like to encourage civility, I also see a practical aspect to this. As soon as certain words appear in discourse, people start to tune out. If the goal is to convince others, using such terms is counterproductive.

I'm not sure where one finds 'proof' sufficient to convince. Landrieu proposed the legislation, Allen voted against it. Maybe Allen should have written his own legislation instead of trying to steal Durbin's.

If you're complaining that the Republicans have pursued redistricting to greater effect, I might consider that a point.

'pursued redistricting to greater effect' Charming way of putting it.

As far as moral commentary (and italics are concerned), we have a Democratic amendment here that Allen (and all the other republicans) voted tp table that was to fund unfunded equipment requirements. Jon Henke notes 'Needless to say, that advertisement is as big a lie as the claims that Kerry ’voted against protecting the troops’, which suggests a certain order of events. You acknowledge yourself that it is 'tactics'. Allen deserves the same benefit of the doubt that Kerry got. And the notion that Kos 'decries' the Republican tactics is a bit strange, as he says

Republicans are masters of building the "narrative". They don't throw these kinds of numbers at voters and expect to move them their direction. They build a narrative based on their (positive) values and their opponent's (negative) ones.

It sounds like you are the only one clutching your pearls here. My feeling is basically of watching the class bully get beaten up by the kid he always picked on. This ad is not going to make things any lower than they already are. This is the world that SwiftBoatVets brought us, don't blame me for just pointing out that this is the way it is. That's just my opinion, so take this as simply an observation.

Henke says 'Allen voted for a great many armor bills; he also voted against one bill that had an armor appropriation tucked into it so deep that the sponsor didn’t even mention it.' So, give us some numbers. Tell us which bills he felt covered what Landreiu's proposal covered. But Allen's counter attack is to get "five female U.S. Naval Academy graduates on Wednesday said Webb fostered an air of hostility and harassment for them with a magazine article he wrote in 1979." (link) Good luck with that, George

At any rate, no one has pointed to any democratic links to the ad group, but since the vote against the amendment was party line (and Zell Miller, though I repeat myself), it is going to get run against Republicans.

I would also point out that the line that Webb has the same flaws as Allen (which surfaced after the Macaca debacle) takes a rather ironic tinge.

Finally, all this talk about hypocrisy directly after I point out to my previous discussions and musings about the topic, while surely unintentional, gives the impression, because of its close juxtaposition, of ascribing such notions to me. I'm sure that someone can feel strongly about hypocrisy in this case, but those feelings aren't necessarily going to persuade me that hypocrisy is going to prevent the Dems from taking back the House or the Senate, unless you can make an argument that hypocrisy is an election losing strategy that has damaged the Republicans so badly that the Dems would never want to consider it. For that, you would need to list some examples of hypocrisy that have backfired on the Republicans. Given that we are talking about Allen, I don't think you will be able to use Trent Lott though...

Andrew: I think at this point we're now saying the same thing, so I'm going to disagree with you on principle (:

Anarch,

Well, I wouldn't know what to do if someone agreed with me on this forum, so that's probably a good thing. ;)

I see by this comment at Instapundit that Porphy is OK, although it's not clear whether he is back from Iraq. James is an example of a right wing blogger who did enlist and serve. His complaint about progressives who couldn't lend more than tepid support to elections in Iraq is the flip side of the "chickenhawk" complaint.

Well, I wouldn't know what to do if someone agreed with me on this forum

I agree!

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

*offers Friday afternoon donut and coffee*

I'm not sure where one finds 'proof' sufficient to convince. Landrieu proposed the legislation, Allen voted against it.

Yes, but read the legislation. All that can be said about it is that it's for some unspecified stuff.

Charming way of putting it.

You mentioned redistricting; I simply pointed out that redistricting has been pursued by both parties. If you'd said redistricting in Texas, I might have had a different response. I suppose I might have heard Admiral Ackbar whispering in my ear, there.

You acknowledge yourself that it is 'tactics'.

Everything is tactics. Not everything has to be evaluated strictly in terms of tactical merits, though.

This ad is not going to make things any lower than they already are.

Ok, then. Well, that was never my point. If this is you admitting that the ad was deceptive and possibly an outright lie, we're done.

The Pentagon's 12-Step Program to Create a Military of Misfits

and the whiskey bar take on it Be all you can be

I think it's time for the supporters of this war to put up or shut up.

From the ad: "Senator George Allen voted against giving our troops this [holding up body armor]".

From the ad: "Senator George Allen voted against giving our troops this [holding up body armor]".

I don't see any lie in there. The resolution said unfunded equipment requirements for the National Guard, a bunch of guys who got deployed said that they didn't get the proper body armor. I see a simple juxtaposition. Why do you insist on looking at this deeper than that? As you said, everything is tactics. If you think this is going to backfire, I'd love to know why you think so. You could do it historically, by telling me exactly how this has blown up in Republicans faces, or you could complain to the organization that ran the ad, VoteVets.org. Or you could complain to this guy, maybe Von might know him. Or you could complain a little more vigorously when loser-defeatist or traitor are deployed here.

You seem to feel that it is an 'outright' lie, (which is a step further than saying that you don't know what the 1 billion was supposed to buy, I should add) and I don't. There's not much else to discuss about this, unless you want to keep sliding sly ad homs about me saying such outright lies are ok. I don't think it is an 'outright' lie or even a lie, so the fact that I don't protest about this ad shouldn't permit the insinuation that I am 'admitting that the ad was deceptive and possibly an outright lie', unless you are claiming that I am lying about what I believe. Or you might want to use question marks instead.

At any rate, I have a feeling that this is going to be like British weather, you don't like this one, wait 15 minutes, you might like what comes next. The organization tried presenting a laundry list of problems with Santorum, but they seem to have decided that going bill by bill and amendment by amendment will be a bit more impactful, and I agree. I also think that Allen was carefully chosen because they could have chosen any Republican voting to table the amendment. It would be interesting to discuss why they chose Allen (I think closeness to DC media market, Allen's campaign doesn't seem to light on their feet, Allen is not the most nimble politician you've seen, weighing in in a race where the opponent is James Webb prevents some attacks) Hey, it's all tactics. But if you want to do X (where X is something that everyone on this list is horrified by), we're done.

Yep, the ad is unfair. It's also very effective. And given that this administration has been maintaining its support largely on its willingness to exploit our military and their families I don't see any reason why our veterans should not fight back with their own spin. The Republicans in power are not pro-military, only pro-use-of-force, and the people bearing the brunt of it are starting to push back. Hard.

ALAMEDA
Car bomb kills 52-year-old reservist in Afghanistan Merideth Howard is oldest female casualty in both wars

What will it take to shame the young Republicans who supported this war & voted for this administration into joining the fight?

a bunch of guys who got deployed said that they didn't get the proper body armor

Which guys were those? And how did they know they didn't get the proper body armor because this amendment got rejected?

You could do it historically

See, after this point we're way off the topic of whether this ad is fabrication, and more onto whether it's asymmetrical warfare, so to speak. The point I'm making is that it's fabrication. Again, it's possible that it's not a fabrication, but if that's the case the evidence is very well-hidden.

And no, I'm not becoming a crusader for media truth and justice, just looking at this one case. I don't have the stomach or the time to look into each and every case.

Slart: I had thought appropriations for a given year were worked in the year prior. Otherwise you're trying figure out what to spend money on in the middle of the spend cycle. Probably, though, my surprise is due to ignornace, as I suggested.

My comment was, unusually, an effort to support your point: that this should cause surprise and disapproval.

Up until recently, appropriations were decided in the year prior to their being spent. Now, sometimes even authorizations are undetermined well into the year, and appropriations just barely pass in time to start the next fiscal cycle.

Slarti: The point I'm making is that it's fabrication.

And what part of it are you asserting is untrue? Are you saying Senator Allen didn't vote against the funding? Or that you know for a fact that the funding didn't in any way relate to National Guards in Iraq not getting the proper body armor?

And no, I'm not becoming a crusader for media truth and justice

I don't think anyone said you were.

, just looking at this one case. I don't have the stomach or the time to look into each and every case.

Of course not. Looking into each and every case would mean looking at the ads where Republicans told lies, instead of one where a vet organization tells an uncomfortable truth about a Republican. I can see why you wouldn't have the stomach to do that.

Wow.

Is there anyone around with too much time and good enough mathmatical modelling skills who can build a model for predicting which blog threads will go on forever?

Are you saying Senator Allen didn't vote against the funding?

Obviously, Allen did vote against the Landrieu amendment. What that amendment was for is another question entirely. Wes Clark seems to know, though; maybe someone can ask him.

I can see why you wouldn't have the stomach to do that

For some reason I had thought that Allen was a libertarian. Not that I, you know, care. And not that it matters.

Unless it's your contention that it does matter. It'd be interesting to hear why, if so.

Slarti: For some reason I had thought that Allen was a libertarian.

Well, Allen himself seems to think he's a Republican - as a swift Google would have told you.

And not that it matters.

It is kind of amusing to see you posing as a faux-nonpartisan, but only kind of, for reasons already given. You're a Republican, Slarti: you take the side of your own party. You've done so for years, and you do so now: why this pose? Do you hope to deceive newcomers?

New information just sort of bounces off, doesn't it?

The idiocy about "my party" aside, though, tell me why you think it matters.

So, I wonder how many times Jesurgislac will have to be told in front of everyone that Slarti is no longer a registered Republican before she decides to stop lying about it?

Nell:

Slart, in a long-ago discussion here you professed never to have heard much about Grover Norquist, either. I took from this that you were a Republican voter and supporter of Republican policies who hasn't been involved in campaigns or followed the party's internal workings at all closely.

It's just a fact that the College Republicans have been a much more important ladder for R organizers and operatives than the Young Democrats have for the national Democratic party.

I'd just like to say that this point is difficult to over-emphasize. If one doesn't understand the history of the College Republicans of the past thirty/forty years, one is absolutely clueless about the Republican Party, how it works, where the movers and shakers came from, what their history is, and where their ethics were formed.

We're talking Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, Jack Abramoff, Grover Nordquist, Ralph Reed, and the rest of the crew, as well as those who have come up since, and those coming up now.

If one doesn't know this history to some degree, one is incompetent to discuss American politics of the past couple of decades.

See here,
See here.

Here:

Abramoff came to Washington in 1981 after becoming chairman of the College Republicans. The organization has produced some of the party's top operatives: Karl Rove, now President Bush's chief political adviser, was elected chairman in 1973. Lee Atwater, who went on to manage George H.W. Bush's successful 1988 presidential bid, ran southern operations for the Rove campaign.

In 1981, Norquist became Abramoff's executive director at the College Republicans. Reed signed on as an intern and took over as executive director in 1983.

While at the College Republicans, Abramoff, Norquist and Reed quickly earned reputations as zealots. Abramoff wrote in the 1983 annual report: "It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently." The group's recruits were required to memorize a speech that included the lines: "Democrats are the enemy. Wade into them! Spill their blood!"

Here's what they like:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) became a target in the latest round of political rhetoric when Republican strategist Grover Norquist referred to him last week as "the nut-job from Arizona."

At the College Republicans convention in Arlington on Friday, Norquist also referred to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) as "the two girls from Maine," according to the Dallas Morning News.

[...]

As for McCain, Norquist said he "misspoke" and added, "I meant to say gun-grabbing, tax-increasing Bolshevik."

Robert Parry:
The roots of these latest scandals reach back a quarter century to the early days of the Reagan Revolution. During that heady period for young conservatives, Abramoff and Norquist won control of the College Republicans organization in Washington, with Abramoff as chairman and Norquist as executive director.

In the book, Gang of Five, author Nina Easton wrote that the Abramoff-Norquist leadership transformed the College Republicans into a “right-wing version of a communist cell – complete with purges of in-house dissenters and covert missions to destroy the enemy left.”

Under Abramoff and Norquist, the College Republicans also allegedly began tapping into Rev. Moon’s mysterious well of nearly unlimited cash. In 1983, Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, then chairman of the GOP’s moderate Ripon Society, released a study saying the College Republican National Committee “solicited and received” money from Moon’s Unification Church in 1981.

Leach said the Korean-based Unification Church has “infiltrated the New Right and the party it wants to control, the Republican Party, and infiltrated the media as well.”

Before Leach could finish the press conference, Norquist disrupted the meeting with accusations that Leach was lying. For its part, Moon’s Washington Times dismissed Leach’s charges as “flummeries” and mocked the Ripon Society as a “discredited and insignificant left-wing offshoot of the Republican Party.”

[...]

Abramoff and Kidan, the co-defendants in the SunCruz fraud case, also became friends from their time with the College Republicans.

After leaving the College Republicans, Abramoff and Norquist moved over to a Reagan-support organization called Citizens for America, which sponsored a 1985 “summit meeting” of anti-communist “freedom fighters” from around the world.

The Nicaraguan contras – who were gaining a reputation for brutality, corruption and drug trafficking – were represented at the summit, as was Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, who was condemned by human rights groups for gross abuses, including widespread murders, rapes and mutilations.

You can confirm this info from a million less partisan sources.

Back in the day:

In 1981, a newly elected president was about to shift the nation rightward, and a 22-year-old Brandeis graduate named Jack Abramoff -- savoring his own victory as the newly elected chairman of the College Republicans -- was hatching plans to transform the nation's young people into stalwart Reaganites.

It was the start of a career that would roil Washington 25 years later, and a phase of Abramoff's life that provided signposts toward his later demise.

''Our job," Abramoff wrote, ''is to remove liberals ''from power permanently -- [from] student newspaper and radio stations, student governments, and academia.

''We are replacing these leftists with committed conservatives."

As Abramoff saw it, the only hitch to his Napoleonic-scale ambition was the pea-sized budget that his sponsors at the Republican National Committee were willing to commit.

[...]

''With $250,000 it is impossible for us to run even a skeletal field effort," Abramoff complained in a memorandum.

The memo was sent to the committee chairman, Richard Richards, after a ride in Richards's limousine back from the White House.

His money pleas unheeded, Abramoff spent the next four years, from 1981 to 1985, bypassing the RNC chain of command -- the organization legally responsible for the College Republicans -- to build his own financial juggernaut to advance the group's hard-right agenda, according to memos from College Republican files and interviews with GOP officials involved.

Unbeknownst to the RNC, he launched an expensive direct-mail campaign that left the group in debt, and vendors complaining about unpaid bills. He set up at least two tax-exempt groups to raise money -- over the objections of an RNC lawyer who warned that such groups could not legally engage in political activities. He borrowed money for his cause, even from his father.

''Jack was a freebooting pirate as far as I was concerned," said a Washington attorney, Mark Braden, then the RNC's house counsel. ''He had a strong belief in his own correctness. It was damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."

More than two decades later, in early January, Abramoff became a symbol of Washington corruption when he pleaded guilty to a range of crimes committed as a lobbyist. The scandal, which has touched off a legislative scramble for reform, could also snare members of Congress.

Looking back, Abramoff's critics inside the Republican Party say his tenure at the College Republicans should have provided a crystal ball into the turns his life might take. ''Look how the seeds of his current destruction are so evident," said Richard Bond, who as RNC deputy chairman repeatedly confronted Abramoff over spending issues.

On and on and on. This is, like, basic knowlege about the modern Republican Party, Republican Party 101.

Be sure not to miss this, along with the rest of the full stories at the other links. And I, or anyone, could go on and on.

Can some American explain this to me?

Slartibartfast is still, plainly, notably, loyal to the Republican party. He may well have changed his voter registration, but his reaction to seeing Republicans justly criticised is as prompt and kneejerk as it ever was, and, as I recall, when discussing his voting intentions, he thought he was most likely either to vote Republican or to abstain. (I may be misremembering that last, or Slarti may not have been clear, or both.)

So, why is he claiming he isn't a Republican any more, since as far as I can see, he's as much of a Republican as he ever was, voter registration or not.

Well, not everyone. :)

Welcome back, Gary. You've been missed.

"The party in power does redistricting while they're in power"

In point of fact, in Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey and Washington, it's done by independent bipartisan commission. Here is a state-by-state guide. Here is another.

Andrew: "My objection to chickenhawk is that, unlike comments like 'failure' and 'incompetence,' chickenhawk has too many connotations to be used effectively."

I agree, and as well, it tends to imply that decisions about use of the military in the U.S. should be restricted to those with military experience, which is an essentially fascistic idea, and I don't understand how anyone can use the term without having thought that through.

Andrew: "Well, I wouldn't know what to do if someone agreed with me on this forum, so that's probably a good thing."

Uh-oh.

LJ: "impactful"

Arrgh.

"Can some American explain this to me?"

I wouldn't try to "explain" Slarti particularly, because I only know what I read, and that only offers a veritable sliver of insight, particularly given how cryptic Slart typically tends to be, and how close he tends to hold his cards to his chest.

I'd venture to guess -- and that's all it is -- though, that what might possibly be something along the lines of what goes on with his positions is that he once was something of a Republican, with relatively little actual knowledge of the Party and its modern movers and shakers, their history and methodology and actual positions, but based on the vague cover story positions that Reagan popularized: smaller government, less taxes, strong defense, more freedom and individualism, that sort of thing.

And that since then, he's recognized that things aren't quite that way and has formally renounced whatever degree of Republicanism, or at least general tendency towards some alignment with positions he perceived as traditional Republican positions, but still hasn't looked very far into the actual details of modern Republicans insofar as the actual facts of the personnel, their history, positions, ethics, procedures, and so on, and so continues to respond with his familiar reflexes.

I stress again that this is purely speculation, based on very little actual information, and may be wildly wrong, and I also hope he doesn't find said speculation overly rude or intrusive or un-called-for.

Thanks for the CR links there, Gary; I got unexpectedly busy (i.e. I finally figured out what was bugging me with my research) and I wouldn't have been able to get to that for another few days.

Anarch: "Thanks for the CR links there, Gary;"

Andrew: "Welcome back, Gary. You've been missed."

I live to serve.

I might also have emphasized the other point Nell mentioned, which is that Young Democrats organizations are largely irrelevant and meaningless to the larger Democratic Party; there's no parallel at all.

If only Republicans were as organized in running the government as they are in running for office.

I don't understand how anyone can use the term without having thought that through.

In my case because I dispute the connection between the use of the term and the idea that the President must have prior military experience. Not just in terms of personal belief, but that the one ineluctably implies the other.

Although that raises an interesting point: can anyone name another liberal democracy where some kind of military service is seen as an almost-essential prerequisite for high office? I can't think of a single example of the Brits, Canadians or Aussies cleaving to that distinction; nor the Germans (well, duh), the Japanese (ditto), the French (kind of a duh there too), nor any other European country, nor India, nor Thailand (if we expand the notion of democracy somewhat) nor, well, any country that isn't functionally a dictatorship. Am I missing something obvious here or is this a specifically American trope?

Andrew: you have no idea how many times I've said that the past five years...

Anarch: Israel.

"Anarch: Israel."

That's kinda an unfair comparison, given that to not serve in the military in Israel, you have to be either extremely religious and not want to, or not Jewish and not want to, or immigrated at a late age, or otherwise be an exception to mandatory service.

This is very different from living in a country without mandatory military service, of course.

I was thinking far more of the use of "chickenhawk" against members of Congress, and bloggers, and in general, than in the sole, by definition exceptional, case of the President, actually, Anarch.

I've been in this discussion a zillion times before, of course. I don't object at all to specific individuals being criticized for dodging service, yet advocating lots of military interventions (*cough*, Cheney, *cough*), but I agree completely with Andrew that tossing around a vague term like "chickenhawk" offers far more heat than light, practically tends to shut down persuasive conversation with the non-converted, and is generally counter-productive.

As a datapoint, I'm extremely unimpressed whenever someone uses it, for whatever little that's worth. But I'm quite sure I'm hardly alone in that.

Attack on the issue, not by throwing a sloppy term and thinking that will do the job. I really don't think it will do the job.

Gary:

Roughly correct; some errors, but small enough not to be worth arguing about. How can the truth offend?

Previous comment referred to this, to clarify.

Slart: "How can the truth offend?"

With many people, in various circumstances, worst of all.

Yeah, that was just about what I thought, right after I hit "Post". Probably this would have offended if I didn't acknowledge it to be true, to myself.

Odd, how that works.

can anyone name another liberal democracy where some kind of military service is seen as an almost-essential prerequisite for high office? I can't think of a single example of the Brits, Canadians or Aussies cleaving to that distinction

Although the interesting thing is that the British royal family has a very strong history of military service, specifically including combat service.

I knew impactful would draw Gary out. It's a gift, I tell you, a gift...

You know, the reason that the chickenhawk retains such power is that in the US, military service implies sacrifice and devotion and thus provided an unbeatable moral high ground, especially as the US system of electing officials became more and more populist. Starting with Andrew Jackson, then moving to Harrison at Tippicanoe, Lincoln in the Black Hawk war, Jefferson Davis*, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, McKinley and Harrison from the Civil War, Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, Truman* from WW1, Eisenhower, JFK, Bush 1 (and don't forget the campaign to draft McArthur as a presidential candidate), the blurring of such service with Reagan and you've got a pretty solid background that can easily be filled in with other offices and other candidates (John Glenn's run, the fact that Kerry and Dole got the nod), so it seems to me that military service has always been lurking as an unstated prerequisite for higher office. Thus, 'chickenhawk' strikes at a very particular nerve in the body politic. While I agree with Gary and Andrew on the (lack of) applicability to the vague charge of chickenhawk, it seems that trying to disqualify the term completely is a bit like demanding that the opposing team get a three run lead before the game starts.

on the (lack of) applicability to the vague charge of chickenhawk

Sorry, since Gary's here, I guess I need to proofread more. Translation, Gary and Andrew have a point, but sometimes, attempts to make a total disqualification of the word chickenhawk seem like more like attempts to avoid the difficult questions about our current military situation than attempts to preserve civility.

I did star the people who I thought Gary might take objection to being on the list, but got too tired to spell those out.

"I did star the people who I thought Gary might take objection to being on the list, but got too tired to spell those out."

I don't object in the slightest to Truman being on the list; he got endless political mileage out of Battery D. It's highly unlikely he would have been elected to the Senate without that experience. Being a failed haberdasher doesn't tend to impress people.

Ditto Jefferson Davis. He graduated from West Point, for goodness sakes! He fought in the Blackhawk War, among other assignments.

Then, after resigning after several years of service, he returned to military service in the Mexican-American War, was colonel of his regiment, fought in battles, and was shot in the foot. Polk offered him a brigade, which he turned down!

Later he was Franklin Pierce's Secretary of War. I don't understand how anyone would claim this was insignificant in his political career.

Phil- Jes wasn't lying, Slarti does with every breath he takes though.

Andrew and Anarch- The Republicans are just as organized running the government as they are in running for office. They just have a different idea about what government is for; emptying the treasury and filling their pockets.

LJ- I thougth Jes had a good point with: "yes, name-calling elevates the debate in the same way as someone crawling along the sidewalk is elevated above someone splashing about in the sewers." except I would say that calling Republicans chickenhawk is ordinary street level politics, whereas the Republicans dig ruts in the bottoms of the sewers.

"Phil- Jes wasn't lying, Slarti does with every breath he takes though."

Both of these would seem to be posting rules violations, though the latter infinitely larger.

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