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November 01, 2006

Comments

I saw that "because of Iraq" ad.

Your boy done good.

Hilzoy, among horrors, don't forget: threatening to slap people in wheelchairs.

I could swear I've heard of this sex offender stunt before. Maybe in Washington?

do people ever not vote for someone because they've campaigned too negatively ?

OT: Vote D, get R, in FL

    Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.

    That's exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear -- especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.

    A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said.

not just FL:


    KFDM continues to get complaints from Jefferson County voters who say the electronic voting machines are not registering their votes correctly.
    Friday night, KFDM reported about people who had cast straight Democratic ticket ballots, but the touch-screen machines indicated they had voted a straight Republican ticket.

no, the Dems are not going to win.

And in the Ohio governor's race, where Democrat Strickland still leads Republican Blackwell in the polls, Blackwell has a plan. "Our intention over the next five days is to move the polls to the point where the difference is within the margin of error. Then we work to get out the vote."

Could "the vote" he is talking about just happen to be that of Mr. Diebold?

If “you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy” you end up as POTUS? You can get through Harvard and Yale if you aren’t smart, don’t study and are intellectually lazy?

That doesn’t make any sense at all. The context was not Bush.

His remark offended me, and obviously many others. And I don’t accept his “sorry if you were too dumb to understand what I really meant” non-apology.

Oberman's speech about this is really, really good. Except that he failed to assign responsibility to the individual voters that continue to condone this administration. AMERICABlog has the whole thing. Sorry, too early in the morning to do a link.
Also let's not participate in Bush's smear ofKerry by geting into another argument over Kerry. Kerry isn't the one who is killing this country.

I appreciate the fact that Bizarro World is now referring to the Democrats as the "Insurgency."

Of course you can get through Harvard and Yale if you're stupid, ignorant, and lazy, and it used to be easier than it is now. Joe S.I.L. Student gets in a legacy admission because relatives of his are alumni, greased by a generous donation. He takes easy classes. His family buys tutors; depending on their ethics, they also buy pre-written papers and such. His course of study takes him as much as possible in classrooms whose professors are known to be friendly to the young gentlemen. If he has to deal with any others, a little covert administrative pressure keeps the outliers in line. He graduates with acceptable grades, having learned very little except how much money it takes to game the system.

How much do I know this applies to Bush? Not much, because I've never really cared enough to research it. I do know that the phenomenon happens, because my professorial friends all have to deal with manifestations of it from time to time. And related phenomena turn up in the life accounts - ever since National Review ran excerpts from Pat Buchanan's autobiography, I've had a horrified fascination for the idea that a champion of law-and-order would write so gleefully about how as a young man, he could go with buddies to beat up cops, confident that his father the local authority would get it all fixed. Compared to something like that, simply coasting through in a generations-old way is completely unremarkable. The deep-down ignorant Ivy League grad is a very familiar figure in the world of business.

The context certainly was Bush.

Yours is a dishonest interpretation of Kerry's remarks, OCSteve, and you know it.

Expected better from you.

OCSteve, you may have noticed there are a lot of people who believe that Bush is not smart, doesn't study, and is intellectually lazy. The fact that you don't believe that about him doesn't mean that their statements are about someone else.

As John Derbyshire, of all people, says, the troops haven't gotten stuck in Iraq -- Bush has. And the prepared version of Kerry's remarks included the word "us" that Kerry dropped when he delivered it: "getting us stuck in Iraq".

Once again Bush has deflected criticism from himself onto the troops by pretending to misunderstand who the target is. It was a common tactic for him during 2004, the most prominent example being almost exactly two years ago on the eve of the election.

i'm typing in the dark here, so expect major typos...but, honestly, discussinf Kerry is to fall into the trap set bythe Bush adminnnistration. It's a classic examplw od a ploy they've used over and over--make an accusation, put the Dem on the defensive, get the conversation to be about the Dem, not them. The fight against the authoritarians is not going to be over this ekection day. So for crying out loud, please stop falling for the same old scams.

Don't repeat their attcks by defending. Attack back. Let's talk about Boehner blaming the genreals.

I don’t accept his “sorry if you were too dumb to understand what I really meant”

[punchline writes self]

Lily, that's a good point. Boehner's blaming the military for the failures of Bush and Rumsfeld is another parallel to the 2004 accusation. Right after Bush puffed himself up in righteous indignation about Kerry blaming him, not the troops, for allowing explosives to be looted from al-Qaqaa, someone actually did blame the troops. That someone was Rudy Giuliani.

I don't watch TV but I have started watching segments posted on blogs. Yeserday I got a treat--Sullivan abd Hitchison on CNN. Sullivan was great. He kept saying, "Katrina is Iraq" He said that we werem;t having anelection, we were having an intervention. He described Bush as "unhinged", Hicthson was incoherent and looked like he got out of bed too fast. It was interesting to see and hear two charcters about whom I had read.

Gary Farber thanks you, Hilzoy, for the Perlmutter mention, I'm sure.

Yes, Colorado is the Ohio of the West when it comes to sleaze from the local, modern Republican Party. In two districts, Colorado Springs, and Jefferson County (a Denver suburb), the losers from the Republican primaries refuse to endorse or campaign with the Republican candidates on the Nov. 7 ticket. They are still showering after being subjected to &*%[email protected]# during the primaries. Natch, though, the Republicans hold leads over the Democrats because, well because why, I can't say, because I'm a nice fellow who has given up generalizing about the Republican rank and file (they believe just before Democrats burn in hell for eternity that we will raise their taxes one more time and drool on their children).

Incidentally, I'm hiding an undocumented cocktail waitress in my basement, but I'm saved by Jesus so you people can't touch me. And keep your hands off the cocktail waitress, too!

OCSteve, I view you, and look forward to you as a future front-page poster here. But just let me point out that until the entire Bush machine gets down on their knees and kisses John Kerry's behind and Michelle Malkin wears Kerry's Purple Heart as an accessory to her sackcloth and ashes, he owes nothing to anyone.

And if our brave men and women in uniform are insulted by Kerry's comments, then they need to turn off the Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio and go paint a school. I suspect most of these good people are indeed smart and educated enough to know fake Bush respect when they hear it. And I'm sure they know that is Dick Cheney wearing a burhka and tossing flowers at them every time they round a corner in an Iraqi city.

That said, Democratic politicians need to go to comedy boot-camp and read the cue cards properly. I want to see funny, punchy material from them delivered with exquisite timing like we get from Republican candidates. I want the population to roll in the aisles when Democrats say "Macaca" and "sexual predator", and "terrorist", and "dirty perv", and move their limbs in spastic Michael Fox fashion.

Democrats need new writers.

lily,

I believe Kerry meant to say what he claims, but arguing that this is a trap set by Bush is priceless. Kerry said something dumb, then doubled down his bets by not apologizing. The Republicans are taking advantage of his error, but he's earned a big share of the blame by reacting as he did. This could have been eliminated quickly if Kerry had just swallowed his pride and apologized for muffing the joke.

Model62: "Yours is a dishonest interpretation of Kerry's remarks..."

You may think it's wrong, but calling it dishonest violates posting rules. It would be a violation of the posting rules to say this of anyone; to say it of OCSteve, in particular, is to overlook more or less his entire history of commenting here.

That said: OCSteve: for what a single data point is worth, when I first heard what Kerry said, the 'he's saying the troops are dumb' interpretation didn't occur to me. I thought it was obvious he was talking about Bush.

And yes, it is possible to get into Yale and graduate while being everything Kerry said. It's harder now, but it was very easy then. Legacy admissions, in which someone gets extra admissions credit for having relatives who went to the same school, are one of the enduring shames of selective colleges and universities, and that weight was a lot larger when Bush went to Yale than it is now. And it was then, and to some extent still is, true of a lot of the Ivies that getting in is the hard part; not flunking out once you're there is not nearly as difficult.

When Bush went to Yale, it (along with most of the Ivies) were in the middle of a transition from being essentially high-grade finishing schools for the wealthy, with some smart poorer kids admitted into the mix for a variety of reasons, to being a lot more meritocratic. This caused a certain amount of tension, and of course discontent among some alumni. There's nothing odd about supposing GWB to have been admitted under the earlier set of rules, which were only beginning to change.

I appreciate the fact that Bizarro World is now referring to the Democrats as the "Insurgency."

at least they don't hate their fellow Americans.

I believe Kerry meant to say what he claims, but arguing that this is a trap set by Bush is priceless.

Lily didn't say that Kerry fell into a trap, Andrew. She is warning the rest of us not to. Dick "other priorities" Cheney is going around cracking his own unfunny scripted jokes in a (so far quite successful) attempt to make an aggressively obtuse interpretation of the fumbled utterances of a Senator who isn't even up for re-election an issue in the mid-term election. George W. Bush, who did his Vietnam tour in the steamy jungles of an Alabama campaign HQ, is helping Rush "off his meds" Limbaugh redeem himself by changing the subject, and the Purple Band-Aid Brigade is casting an eye about for the nearest fainting couch at the thought that John Kerry, who himself got bad grades in college and got himself stuck in Vietnam would criticize their Dear Leader, which is, in their minds, synonymous with criticizing the troops.

And see right there, I have fallen into the trap.

I've lurked here long enough to know OCSteve's posting history, which is why I expected more from him.

If "dishonest interpretation" is beyond the pale, then I'm at a loss. "Wrong" is not the right word to describe an intentional misunderstanding of a speaker's comment. "Uncharitable" comes close, but it's clearly wrong for the job when the uncharitable interpretation continues long after the arrival of additional context sufficient to clear up the confusion. CharleyCarp's implication that OCSteve is merely "too dumb" also falls short. OCSteve certainly isn't dumb. I know that because I've seen his intelligence on display here before.

But, you're right. Rules are rules. "Yours is a disingenuous interpretation, OCSteve, and you should know better."

Model 62,

As soon as you can demonstrate the ability to read minds, you're free to complain about intentional misunderstandings. Until then, however, 'wrong' or 'incorrect' will have to do. Since you can neither read Steve's mind to determine what he honestly thinks or Kerry's mind to determine what he meant to say, it's inappropriate to make claims about intent.

This could have been eliminated quickly if Kerry had just swallowed his pride and apologized for muffing the joke.

And I'm not exactly clear on the timeline, but didn't Kerry do just that? It was an inept apology because, in true Kerry form, it didn't provide the media with a soundbite that forced the context back onto Bush's horrible foreign policy, but then, Kerry had no business getting too high and mighty on the subject in the first place, given his role in enabling Bush to get us stuck in Iraq.

The media's response to this has me dumbfounded, though. I never thought they would quite sink this low. They are proving to be, as a whole, little better than a bunch of snotty teenagers gossiping about how that one kid's shorts fell down in gym, as if this misstep wipes away years of corruption, abuse of power, fecklessness, and the rubber-stamping of the disastrous policies of the worst President in modern memory.

The media's response to this has me dumbfounded, though. I never thought they would quite sink this low.

and they won't suffer a bit because of it.

You may think it's wrong, but calling it dishonest violates posting rules. It would be a violation of the posting rules to say this of anyone; to say it of OCSteve, in particular, is to overlook more or less his entire history of commenting here.

Hilzoy and Andrew,

I appreciate your commitment to comity, but Model 62 is absolutely right about this. OCSteve is claiming that it is preposterous that anyone would call Bush intellectually lazy just because he graduated from Harvard. To believe OCSteve's argument is sincere requires that we buy that this is the first time he's ever encountered the charge that Bush skated through school with a gentleman's C.

I know it's playing with fire to argue with the refs, but give me a break, folks. The posting rules don't require us to suspend all critical thought.

Gromit,

Kerry initially lashed out in response to the attacks on him. It took him about two days to apologize, two days that allowed the Republicans to put the focus on a stupid muffed joke rather than on the issues. And yes, the media aided and abetted them, because the media likes easy issues like this because they don't require any effort to report on them.

As for Model 62, he referenced none of what you did. He simply called OCSteve dishonest.

Thanks for the timeline info, Andrew. I guess I've been listening to the wrong news sources to really get a sense of how this story developed. Until I was working late last night and listened to BBC World for a bit, I had no idea of just how much of a fuss mainstream outlets were making over this stupid little flub. They keep going on like Kerry has single-handedly lost the election for the Democrats, unhinged hyperbole of the sort I expect from RedState or Powerline, not from the Beeb.

OCSteve, a couple things. First Kerry was not apologizing to you, he was apologizing to the troops who he may have offended by saying something that was misinterpreted. Second, although I also would not use the term dishonest, I do think anyone who thinks that Kerry believes that the troops are there because they couldn’t cut it in school are being disingenuous at best.
Andrew, the trap is one that the media has fallen into. They are giving this thing so much more play then it deserves, even though some members of this group here believe they are run by the Democrats. They continually allow the administration to dictate what they cover. They did this in 2004 by giving all the press and airtime to the objections about Kerry’s comments about Cheney’s daughter even though it was well known that she is a lesbian and it had been brought up in the debate between Cheney and Edwards to no one’s dismay.

However, it did allow the attention to been turned away from Bush denying ever saying he wasn’t that interested in bin Laden. If something is likely to be negative for this administration and they can find anything to distract, the media falls for it. And this is why so many people disbelieve the “liberal bias” theory.
Even today, the major networks and papers continue to phrase this a Kerry talking about the troops, when it is quite obvious he wasn’t. Only once have I actually heard or read where the comments preceding the one’s being quoted were put out there so people could see the context.
Did Kerry fumble the ball? Sure he did, just like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have. But remember, this administration is the one that dissed the army that was the result of a draft, insulted every veteran that has earned a medal, blamed our troops for the failures in Iraq (through surrogates), and has continued to insult our military by the way they have treated them.
Yet they have, up to now, gotten a free pass, or almost so.

I don’t accept his “sorry if you were too dumb to understand what I really meant”

Kerry did not say that. OCSteve asserts that he did. OCSteve is either dishonest or ignorant.

Andrew,

No mind reading required. I'm evaluating OCSteve's statement and ascribing meaning (which, if you think about it, is a kind of intention) based on context. Given that context (Kerry's words, the context in which they were uttered, subsequent statements by Kerry and others, my evaluation of OCSteve's level of intelligence), I figure something's hinky with the sincerity. Unless CharleyCarp's right.

The same is true for Kerry -- no mind reading required. Just an analysis of words and context and subsequent words and context. He meant (or intended) a jab at Bush and the bang up job he's done getting us stuck in a quagmire. A similar line is in every Democrats stump speech.

There's a considerable amount of shared bull**** at play here, in the academic sense of bull****, and we're all complicit in its spreading. It includes a Democratic political strategy that is essentially negative and it includes sensible, centristy statements that all Kerry needed to do here was make a bull**** (but prompt) apology for somebody else's bull**** understanding of his utterance. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

On preview:

Andrew, I am assuming OCSteve is sticking with the less charitable of the two leading interpretations of Kerry's comment ("Kerry insulted the soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq.") based on his "That doesn’t make any sense at all. The context was not Bush."

My initial intemperate (and terse) comment referenced that ("The context certainly was Bush."). Maybe that's a thin reed. I'll owe OCSteve (and everybody else) an apology if I've misinterpreted his position.

From OCSteve:

You can get through Harvard and Yale if you aren’t smart, don’t study and are intelelectually lazy?
If your family has enough wealth and connections, yes. This is the President whom a former professor had this to say about, after all:
"I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget. And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite."
And the remarks Kerry made immediately before the joke made it perfectly clear that the context was Bush.

Gromit, Andrew, Hilzoy, Model62: I read the posting rules and I honestly think that it's easy to imagine someone not realizing that calling another poster dishonest is excluded either for not being reasonably civil or for being consistent abuse or vilification for its own sake (after all, it is not consistent and not for its own sake). Maybe there is some part of the posting rules I am missing.

Given that, I would advocate adding to the posting rules something about not allowing attacks on the sincerity or integrity of posts. Basically, something to tighten up just what counts as vilification.

OCSteve: Ask yourself: if Kerry meant what you think he did, why on earth would Kerry want to say such a thing? Since when are politicians ever motivated to insult American soldiers out of the blue (say what you want that the context wasn't clearly Bush, it also surely wasn't a speech about the shortcomings of the army)? And why would Kerry, of all people, who in fact went to Yale and served in the military, think that the world is divided between people who get good grades and people who enlist?

Andrew I wasn't arguing that Kerry's remark was a trap set by Rove. I was arguing that the faux outrage which translated into a media storm was a trap set by Rove.The Noise Machine does this all the time. Think of the media as a conversation. What has the converstaion been about thie last couple of days? Kerry. His blooper was used and the media fell into the trap. The next step is to get Democrats to defend Kerry because, by doing so, the conversation through the media will continue to be about Kerry. Not Bush. That's the trap.
So Democrats need to avoid the trap by putting the conversation back where it belongs: on the Bush administration.

I was arguing that the faux outrage which translated into a media storm was a trap set by Rove.

Exactly right. And the media fell right in, playing along with Rove. The amount of coverage this non-event has gotten is utterly astonishing and discouraging.

As soon as you can demonstrate the ability to read minds, you're free to complain about intentional misunderstandings. Until then, however, 'wrong' or 'incorrect' will have to do.

I understand and appreciate the need for posting rules and I can understand why you (Hilzoy and Andrew) felt that they needed to be pointed out in this circumstance even if I don't entirely agree. But this bit about mind reading seems a little silly to me. In fact, there is no such thing as mind reading but I think we all feel we have the ability to discern dishonesty when we see or hear it. I think we all feel that we can make those judgements even absent some sort of undeniable objective proof of the dishonesty. If we needed supernatural abilities to make such judgements than the term itself would be almost always meaningless.

That isn't really meant to be a comment on the posting rules. More of a meta discussion on how we define and use terms that comment on a state of mind.

By the way, it has been argued right here on this site by people I conceptualize as apologists for the rightwing noise machine that Rush Limbaugh isn't important to the Republican party and that he is abherrent rather than typical of Republican spokespersons. So how does one rationalize away the super friendly cozy little chat he just had with Bush? Limbaugh personifies the currrent state of the Reppublican party. He's a thug. So are a very large percentage of the current Republican politicians. Hence the propensity for dirty politics, examples of which hilzoy provided in the post which initiated this thread. Thuggery is a feature, not a bug, with the Republican party..
Also the pastor of the New Life church in Littleton, Colorado, buddy of George's and leader millions of Republican-supporting evangelicals, has been committing adultery with a gay prostitute for the last three years, according to AMERICABlog. Snicker.

lily,

Presumably you also feel that Michael Moore, honored guest at the 2004 DNC, is a vital element in the modern Democratic Party, then?

One guest invitation, versus a long-term relationship that includes private consultation and public appearances with party leaders -- yup, Andrew, I guess Michael Moore's relationship to the Democratic Party really is just like Limbaugh's with the Republicans. Suuuuure.

He was at that time a vital element. He hasn't been noticably active lately, but at that time he did act as point person for the Democrats who were offended by the Vichy collaborators within our ranks who wouldn't stand up to Bush.
Bt the way, I never saw Farenheit 911, but I have read Moore's books and the worst thing he said about rank and file Republicans is that the bottom line with them is money. Moore and Limbaugh are not moral equivalents.

trilobite,

You might want to consider reading what I write, rather than simply reacting to what you think people write. Really, I know it's hard, but I think you can manage it. Read what I said, and I'm sure that you can wrap your mind around the fact I didn't say that Limbaugh=Moore. Push yourself a little.

Andrew,

The evidence you have for Michael Moore having the same influence on his party that Rush Limbaugh has on his is what, exactly? Because surely you're not just indulging in a tu quoque to deflect criticism of the GOP?

Just to clarify--Moore represented the disedents within the Democratic party, not the leadership. Rush works for the Republican leadership as their propagandist. Moore (who is not a Democrat) had the role of critic of the Democratic party leadership and pain-in-their-asses.

Prodigal,

If you think I'm trying to deflect criticism of the GOP, I see no point in attempting to talk to you, as you have no idea what I'm saying.

And I do know how to spell dissident.

Read what I said, and I'm sure that you can wrap your mind around the fact I didn't say that Limbaugh=Moore.

Oh, come on Andrew. Read it yourself. Some of your past complaints about being misinterpreted were reasonable, but not this one.

Lily said, quite accurately, that Limbaugh is an extremely important part of the Republican Party, and you immediately jumped in with the standard, approved, "Michael Moore, blah, blah, blah," response. I don't see how to interpret it other than the way trilobite did.

Lilly:

Nicely said re Limbaugh.

On Pastor Haggard, (this story has not been confirmed), if true, I simply don't get it. I'm comfortable with a certain amount of hypocrisy from your normal biped, knowing how tough it is to get through your average Wednesday without contradicting something somewhere, but as much as I try, I cannot summon the chutzpah to understand how a guy can handle the stress of that kind of double life.

Now, if true, Haggard is going to be hounded by the howling hounds of today's political Hell. Someone bring the guy a horse, because he will no longer have a Kingdom to trade for it.

For the moment, I'm feeling in the giving vein today.

I think Democratic political candidates in Colorado should step forward and express sympathy and graceful forgiveness toward Haggard.

I mean, if we're going to have Christianity in our society, someone, anyone, needs to start acting like a Christian.

I'd like to observe how that goes over, while I am in the giving vein.

(I adjust my hump, grasp the nettle with my withered claw, and limp back to the center of my web to await events)

Andrew,

If you wanted your mention of Moore to look like anything other than an attempted deflection of criticism, then you should have written more than the single sentence you posted.

I can't remember if Haggard is in the distric Fawcett is running in or Winter's. If this scandal is breaking in Fawcett's he might win. It would be a thrilling upset.
Winter's race against Tancred has not been covered much, mostly, I think, because he never bought any polls and no one knows how he is doing. I cherish a tiny hope that we will wake up the day after the election to find out that he sneaked in under the radar and won. Wouldn't that be the ultimate Mr. Smith goes to Washington story?

Sullivan's latest on Kerry.

Sully can be smart. it's too bad the RedMeaters cast him aside long ago.

Except for blogs it appears this is not being presented as front page news any longer. And the issue has not affected most national polling which, in fact, shows even worse repub numbers than last week. What anyone thinks of Kerry is just not in play right now.

I'm just tired. Tired of hearing the same canards tossed off as fact day after day after day without ever being challenged or questioned. And tired of the groupthink assumption that if I dare mention something derogatory about the left, I must be using false equivalences, etc.

You want to know why the Republicans still have a shot at winning this election, despite what seems to me their myriad shortcomings over the past six years? Because when people on the right try to engage, with rare exceptions, they jumped on like a piece of raw meat throw before rabid wolves if they dare to say anything that doesn't tote the party line. Because whatever they say is immediately translated into 'talking points' and used as fodder to lash out at them. You assume the worst of whatever is said, and refuse to even accept the possibility of there being any other reasonable explanation, explaining sagely how so-and-so is clearly lying because they're saying something you don't believe. And that gets bloody old after a while, and a lot of them decide that maybe the Republicans who are warning that the Democrats will be worse are right.

So they run back to their caves, and you crouch in yours, and you both bitch and moan about how stupid the other people are and how incomprehensible it is that nobody on the other side ever comes over. Personally, I find it amazing that anyone ever changes their mind, given that doing so is only an invitation to take it from both sides rather than just one.

Everyone is certain that their side is the right one. So damn certain, in fact, that they don't need to bother trying to demonstrate it. No, their time is better spent attacking the enemy, wherever he may be found and whatever he may be doing.

You want to know why I tend towards a pox on both their houses? Because, after four months of having my every utterance parsed for signs of heresy, my arguments dismissed as talking points, and way too many people treating me like the enemy, why should I feel any differently? Yes, I disagree with a lot of people here about the proper role of government. But I'm wholly in sync with just about everyone in my hopes for a Democratic Congress next week. But it seems that, if you don't accept the whole magilla, you're just one more target. So explain to me why, exactly, I should consider the Democrats any more welcoming than the Republicans, because I sure as hell haven't seen much evidence for that proposition.

Here endeth the rant. Good day to you all.

Sad or sardonic.

Incidentally, off-topic, but I've been having this idle thought bouncing around in my deranged mind the last few days after catching comments here and there by former Republican supporters of Katherine Harris in Florida.

Is it too far outside the range of even my fevered imagination that this woman has made so many enemies in her own camp, and among her own staff, and among her former employees, that sometime after the election someone is going to step forward from those ranks, at first anonomously, and divulge certain heretofore only rumored details about the 2000 ballot handling in Florida?

As vengeance. There is something so Gollum-like about her behavior in this election cycle that, as Mordor glows in the distance, I suspect we'll hear from the others tempted by the Ring's power.

Goldangit, this was supposed to have posted. *kicks stupid intarwubs* Anyway:

You can get through Harvard and Yale if you aren’t smart, don’t study and are intellectually lazy?

Yes. Yes, you can. As hilzoy said it's hard to do now -- it requires a confluence of the right connections, the right courses and professors, the right finessing of the requirements and a serious ability to schmooze -- but it's certainly possible, and back in the '60s and '70s it wasn't just possible but routinely done.

And tired of the groupthink assumption that if I dare mention something derogatory about the left, I must be using false equivalences, etc.

I know you're venting and this ain't exactly helpful but: speaking as a passerby and only for this one thread, yes, I agree with trilobite et al. that you were drawing a false equivalence upthread.

There's a larger comment about the nature of the welcome you're receiving, or not receiving, by the Democrats in this election that I unfortunately don't have time to write at the moment, but if you can hang loose for a day or so I'll be happy to amplify.

Anarch,

It doesn't matter. I was never much of a joiner anyhow.

So they run back to their caves, and you [Democrats] crouch in yours...
Andrew, when you repeat Republican talking points like Michael Moore' being a guest at the 2004 Democratic convention, and especially when that's your only response to someone talking about the influence Rush Limbaugh has over the Republican party, you make yourself the "they" you complain of in the passage quoted above.

And if you want to complain about the use of the term "talking points" - well, for good or ill, Moore's atendance at the 2004 convention has become one for the GOP, which is used to deflect criticism of how the right has given broadcasters like Limbaugh so much power and influence. So with all due apologies to Shakespeare for stealing one of his lines, methinks thou wert protesting too much.

Speaking for all who didn't study and who are intellectually lazy, let me say that I'm just a little ticked off now that I reflect on how those traits did NOT get me into that fringe Ivy-League college I applied to.

Honesty never counts. I answered the question on the application -- "How would you describe yourself" -- by writing "I'm intellectually lazy and have no attention of studying, but I could probably work harder at being intellectually lazy and not studying."

Andrew:

It'll all be over soon. Then two years or so to rest up unless we all hang ourselves in the interval. ;)

Prodigal, in my experience, people are frequently guilty of what they accuse others of. I'm pleased to see you've confirmed that belief for me.

Andrew,

You are, at best, being disingenuous.

Because, after four months of having my every utterance parsed for signs of heresy, my arguments dismissed as talking points, and way too many people treating me like the enemy, why should I feel any differently?

It is not a question of "heresy."

I believe you. You didn't intend to equate Limbaugh and Moore, but if you calm down and reread your own comment, as you urge others to do, I think you will see that that is not an unreasonable interpretation. This is especially so in light of the fact that a commonly heard "defense" of Limbaugh is to cite Moore.

Perhaps, instead of ranting (your term) you might clarify what you meant, and why you brought Moore into the discussion at all.

Wow, the sorry state of our country brings me to grief. And Andrew's quite justified attitude is evidence of the failure of the Dems. I'll be frank. The only reason I'm voting Democrat down the line next week is that something simply must be done to take the government out of the hands of these kleptocrats. I can't even think of any policy proposals the Dems will be bringing forth, let alone be excited about them.

When it comes down to it, next week is not at all about political ideology, since there are so few issues on the table. I would have liked to say that it is simply about thieves versus open and honest government, but since the DNC isn't all that convincing on open and honest government, it's really just about getting rid of thieves and hoping for something better.

I would hope that all of us, Democrat or Republican, agree that government by thieves and thugs is worse than government by an honest opposition. I would hope that all of us would rather have a functioning opposition government in power over what amounts to robbery and opportunism. After all, a thug government doesn't allow you to execute any political ideology *at all*.

I'm just sorry that the Dems -- who simply have no constituency left -- cannot remap themselves from the ground up to draw in people like Andrew.

We really need to amend the posting rules.

Prodigal,

I apologize. I'm angry, but that's no excuse for unloading on you.

Andrew, I sympathize with your situation, but I think you're frequently both incorrect and unfair about willingness of Democrats (or Democrat-leaners -- you should make the same assumption error that people sometimes make about you) to accept criticism of Democratic office-holders, or other Democrats. If your criticisms are honest and fact-based, they'll very likely get seconded. If they are smear-based, or are part of a history of misdirection, expect to hear about it. You may not always understand when a criticism is (or is going to perceived to be) the latter rather than the former. Well, fine, so long as you recognize that the correction you'll get is nothing personal.

The suggestion that Moore does now or has ever played a role in Democratic society anything like that of Limbaugh in Republican society is silly at best, and is frequently deployed as a talking point designed to derail issue discussion. It's OK if you didn't know that, and so brought the guy up in all innocence.

Perhaps, instead of ranting (your term) you might clarify what you meant, and why you brought Moore into the discussion at all.

And I would suggest that instead of people jumping all over Andrew for what they perceive him as saying that people ask him to clarify in the same sort of way that you would were he sitting across the table from you at dinner (not that I always follow this rule myself).

Ara, I have no idea at all what you are talking about. Do you honestly have no idea how the candidates in your district differ on the various issues in play? (War, Taxes, SecSoc, Judiciary, Other Social Issues, Execuative Accountability, to pick just a few). It would be extraordinary if your congressional candidates agree on all of these issues. More extraordinary still if either of them has no position on any one of these issues.

You should not equate 'having a position I disagree with on issue X' with 'having no position.'

As for what policies a Dem House would seek to advance, there are a set of proposals floating, but whether anything can get enacted into law is a completely different thing. It will depend on who wins the Senate, and how badly the President wants to create a 'do-nothing Congress' for his successors to run against (as opposed to having a positive legacy of some kind).

You want to know why the Republicans still have a shot at winning this election, despite what seems to me their myriad shortcomings over the past six years? Because when people on the right try to engage, with rare exceptions, they jumped on like a piece of raw meat throw before rabid wolves if they dare to say anything that doesn't [toe] the party line.

i can't name a single right-leaning political blog where dissent from the left isn't met with a brutal fusillade of talking points and ad hominem attacks. not one. nor is it any different on the majority of talk radio, or TV talk shows, where the right completely doiminates.

it's sad that you think the right is everywhere besieged by all these horrible uncivilized lefties. but, uh, it's just not the way things are.

Everyone is certain that their side is the right one. So damn certain, in fact, that they don't need to bother trying to demonstrate it. No, their time is better spent attacking the enemy, wherever he may be found and whatever he may be doing.

yes, that is true everywhere, with everyone, regardless of the topic. the exceptions are ... exceptional.

and let me add: no the left isn't much better. people are simply sh!tty about this kind of thing.

Andrew,

Thank you, and I apologise for getting as short with you as I did.

And, rereading lily's and Andrew's comments, lily posited that Limbaugh is important to the R party and noted as evidence that Rush just had a chat with GWB. Andrew's reply was that, based on that standard of evidence, you could say the same about Michael Moore due to his being an honored guest at the 2004 DNC.

Perhaps he should have been a little more explicit about the italicized text, but I think that's a fair reading of his comment.

If Michael Moore had been the personal guest of a sitting President at the 2004 convention, then there would be the kind of equivalency being argued for.

Ugh, it's still not a fair comparison. You can fairly compare Moore to John Wayne's involvement with Nixon, I suppose. But not Limbaugh's with GWB and Republican office-holders in general.

You want to know why the Republicans still have a shot at winning this election, despite what seems to me their myriad shortcomings over the past six years? Because when people on the right try to engage, with rare exceptions, they jumped on like a piece of raw meat throw before rabid wolves if they dare to say anything that doesn't [toe] the party line.

I didn't find the childishness defense particularly persuasive yesterday from Bril, and no more so today. OK, maybe there are people who will base their votes for a member of Congress on what some blog commenter writes, or whether they think Hilzoy thinks she's smarter than they are. (She is, by the way). Anyone who wants to describe themselves in this way if free to do so -- but I'm not sure I see why they would be proud of it. If, though, they are describing other people, and not themselves, I think this is pretty insulting.

Charley, I'm not going to say that it's a completely fair comparison, I'm just trying to say that it's not so unfair (in its context) to justify the sarcastic piling on.

Prodigal, you're only going to have one President at any given time, so if we're going to have current comparison's you're always going to have that imbalance.

CCarp: War, Taxes, SecSoc, Judiciary, Other Social Issues, Execuative Accountability . . . Funny, but I haven't seen a single ad or read a single article (and I do quite a bit of both) talking about any of these things. The most I've seen is campaign ads where candidates mention what they have voted on in the past and nebulous claims about the future. Fore most part, I've just seen ads where candidates assure us that they are good guys.

If we're going to have current comparisons, then they need to be, well, current. What is Moore currently doing that demonstrates any equivalency to the day-to-day influence that Limbaugh weilds over the Republican party?

You might make a convincing equivalency argument between Michael Moore and Arnold Shwartzenegger (who was a guest at the 2004 Republican convention), especially if Moore delivered a speech at the Democratic convention, but to argue that somone whose last known attempt at influencing an election was a movie released in 2004 with someone whose last known attempt was today's installment of the radio program he broadcasts every day is, well, lacking.

What is Moore currently doing that demonstrates any equivalency to the day-to-day influence that Limbaugh weilds over the Republican party?

i always like to think of it in terms of hours of new material per year.

Limbaugh: 18 hours of material per week: 540 hours per year.

Moore: 2 hours of material every 3 years: on average 40 minutes per year.

they each put out the occassional book.

Hmph. Forgot the "is comparable to" up there.

How about some non-sarcastic piling on then.

Presumably you also feel that Michael Moore, honored guest at the 2004 DNC, is a vital element in the modern Democratic Party, then?

No.

1) Michael Moore is not a nationally syndicated talk show host with many regular listeners, including a presence on AFR. Moore cranks out a movie every now and then, and stays mostly in the background. AFAIK he's never interviewed a sitting president at all, let alone during a supposedly existential war and less than a week before an election. At a time like that one might reasonably expect sitting presidents to be doing, you know, something important.

2) Even if Michael Moore were (despite his comparatively low profile) a vital element of the modern Democratic Party, it's not clear what your objection to him is. Moore and Limbaugh are both obnoxious, intrusive, disrespectful, disingenuous polemicists. They're both also fat. Which of these things disqualify a person from polite company?

It's not that Moore and Limbaugh don't differ in many ways, but if Moore qualifies as "equal pox" material you must be basing that on traits he shares with Limbaugh, right? If the thing which disqualifies them from polite company is not listed, please tell us what it is.

You might make a convincing equivalency argument between Michael Moore and Arnold Shwartzenegger (who was a guest at the 2004 Republican convention), especially if Moore delivered a speech at the Democratic convention...
It would take quite an argument to convince me that a documentary filmmaker (granted, a very successful one) was equivalent to the governor of the most populous state in the union.

i always like to think of it in terms of hours of new material per year.

You're giving Rush too much credit, AFAICT he pretty much does the same thing over and over again; except for now he's on drugs.

AFAICT he pretty much does the same thing over and over again; except for now he's on drugs

kind of like the Rolling Stones, except they quit the drugs first.

(and the Stones are still cool)

I'm just tired. Tired of hearing the same canards tossed off as fact day after day after day without ever being challenged or questioned. And tired of the groupthink assumption that if I dare mention something derogatory about the left, I must be using false equivalences, etc.

First of all, I feel like I should apologize, since Andrew referenced 'pox on both houses' which I think I most recently tossed at him over at the asylums thread. I would simply note that (cross fertilizing this thread) this arose in the context of the character of Fitzgerald, which, of course, is a whole nother thing. Anyway, apologies for not putting it in a less confrontational way.

Yours is a dishonest interpretation of Kerry's remarks

There were about 4 versions of the remark. Let’s go with what hilzoy quoted from the NYT. I’ll try to explain why I find it hard to accept that the original context was Bush.

“Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy?”

How does it make a point or end up being funny when the person you are referring to actually had the same or even slightly better grades at Yale than you did? You would have to add some self deprecating line in there (“OK, so I had the same grades”). If you assume your audience is ignorant of that fact it makes some sense I guess.

“You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq.”

The point being made is that he dropped the “us”. Forget about how you go from poor student to POTUS. “us stuck” comes off as quagmire. Without the “us” it comes out as you personally get stuck in a bad situation. If he stuck with this I’d find it more believable.

“Just ask President Bush”

He did not say this originally at all. He did his 2 one liners on Bush and Republicans, then transitions to Iraq. Dropping one word I can see, but if this was meant to be a joke that would be the punch line. It makes it harder for me to accept that he just misspoke.

Next, this is a stump speech. It is not impromptu or the first time he is reading it. He goes from town to town reading the same speech. I’ll accept you can still flub it up, even so.

My main reason though is that I watched the video, and rewound, again and again. I watched it closely at least 10 times. He was done his warm up jokes and had transitioned to serious.

I took it the way many people did, and I have not bought the backpedaling.

You can disagree with my interpretation, but I arrived at it quite honestly.

you may honestly not have understood anything about grades in Ivy League schools, but from this day forward I hope you will.

I have assigned grades in two different Ivy league schools. I can tell you that it is perfectly possible for two people to have the same grade, and differ widely in how much they study, how smart they are, and how intellectually lazy they are.

This is especially true at the lower end of the scale, where there is a great deal of compression (i.e the kids who deserve C's get Cs, as do the kids who deserve D's, as do the kids who deserve F's. They all get Cs.)

The fact that Bush and Kerry got very similar (poor) grades thus says nothing about whether they are equally smart, studious, or intellectual. That will have to be judged on other grounds.

Accordingly, there was no reason why Kerry should have said that he was as stupid and lazy as Bush was. You raise the issue of grades, and it is a total red herring.

What hilzoy and anarch have said above about the ease with which utter morons used to get into the Ivy League if they were well-connected is perfectly true.

What they may not know, or be too ashamed to admit (since their degrees come from these schools) is that it remains true to this day. Yes, the average ability has gone up. But the well-connected moron still gets in, and still passes.

I don't mind admitting this, because I only taught there.

Now: as I said, you may honestly not have known how all of this works in the Ivy League. But from now on you do.

OCSteve: You raise a great pro-Kerry point! This was a stump speech. Did he deliver the line elsewhere? How did he deliver it? If in other occasions he delivered it to the letter of the text, surely it is improbable to assume not that he flubbed it, but rather that he subtly changed a word or two around in an effort to change altogether the very topic he was talking about (as if thinking: "This bit about the President isn't so funny, but I think it'll make a really insightful dig on the troops, so I'll just talk about them using the very same language").

OCSteve: How does it make a point or end up being funny when the person you are referring to actually had the same or even slightly better grades at Yale than you did? You would have to add some self deprecating line in there (“OK, so I had the same grades”). If you assume your audience is ignorant of that fact it makes some sense I guess.

Oh, I see. Occam's Razor clearly suggests that Kerry was calling folks who volunteer for wartime military service dumb, and was counting on the audience to be ignorant of his own history in that regard, which was a central theme of his presidential campaign only two years ago. That makes perfect sense.

You can disagree with my interpretation, but I arrived at it quite honestly.

So you honestly weren't aware that Bush is widely accused of being incurious or downright dumb, or that Kerry volunteered to serve in a shooting war, but you are aware of Kerry's mediocre academic record?

OCSteve is claiming that it is preposterous that anyone would call Bush intellectually lazy just because he graduated from Harvard. To believe OCSteve's argument is sincere requires that we buy that this is the first time he's ever encountered the charge that Bush skated through school with a gentleman's C.

Where did I claim “it is preposterous that anyone…”? I stated, “You can get through Harvard and Yale if you aren’t smart, don’t study and are intellectually lazy?” Asking it as a question frames it as me questioning that aspect of the argument.

I understand about Legacy Admissions and the gentleman’s C. I did assume that some amount of effort and scholarship was still necessary post admission. If that truly was not the case at the time then I am wrong on that point. But the crowd he was addressing most assuredly was not aware of that. In my mind it would be difficult for a current day college student to square that characterization with the fact that Bush did graduate from those schools. To me it weakens the case that it was meant to be a joke directed at Bush.

Without the “us” it comes out as you personally get stuck in a bad situation.

you can decide to interpret it that way. but it's equally reasonable to interpret them as being about Bush.

we could agree to call it a litmus test...?

Ara, if you're still interested in some useful ads, here are a few. I get links for this stuff mostly from Atrios and Avedon Carol, who follow such things so that I don't have to.

The campaign-closing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad, which strikes me as a darned good model of substance in 30 seconds.

A 60-second DCCC spot that is (to my taste) a little flakier, but still very solid, and again, very much on a point of substance and clear action.

This 30-second spot from VoteVets.org, including an appearance by Hilzoy's main man :-) General Clark, is simple but substantial.

This stuff is out there and getting made; one hopes it's also getting aired.

KC, the reason I chose Arnold was because he was an honored guest at the 2004 Republican convention, and because, like Moore, he became known to the general public because of his movie work.

And as I'm reasonably certain I've already stated in this thread, OCSteve, if you pay attention to the remark that Kerry made about Bush living in "a state of denial" right before what he said about education, then it's not so difficult to see how the education remark was a swipe at the President instead of the military. Context is a wonderful thing.

RE Kerry - I find it very, very, hard to believe that, a week before an election in which his party will likely take over one part of Congress, if not both, that he would decide it was time to let his "true" feelings show and rip the troops for being dumb and getting themselves stuck in Iraq. I find it far more likely to believe that he muffed a joke about Bush's stupidity.

I find it just as hard to believe, when Bush said:

Give me a second here, Rush, because I want to share something with you. I am deeply concerned about a country, the United States, leaving the Middle East. I am worried that rival forms of extremists will battle for power, obviously creating incredible damage if they do so; that they will topple modern governments, that they will be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West. People say, “What do you mean by that?” I say, “If they control oil resources, then they pull oil off the market in order to run the price up, and they will do so unless we abandon Israel, for example, or unless we abandon allies.

that Bush let his guard down and his "true" feeling show that we're in Iraq for oil and Israel.

The campaign-closing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad, which strikes me as a darned good model of substance in 30 seconds.

Speaking of the DCCC, anyone going to their little election night poll watch fest at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill next Tuesday?

OCSteve: In my mind it would be difficult for a current day college student to square that characterization with the fact that Bush did graduate from those schools.

I consider myself to be pretty well-informed about current politics in the UK. But if someone asked me what universities the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, and the Leader of the Opposition graduated from, I'd have to look them up. I wouldn't bet on it that the college students had any idea which schools Bush graduated from - let alone what his grade average was.

It would, however, be difficult for a current day college student to have missed the fact that Bush is routinely ridiculed for being stupid.

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