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November 01, 2006


OCSteve: Where did I claim “it is preposterous that anyone…”?

Right here: "That doesn’t make any sense at all. The context was not Bush."

Jesus H. Another fun day at ObWi. What's funny is, if one actually reads the remarks in order, in context, it's much adieu about mothereffing nothing. After lily made her comment about Limbaugh, Andrew says:

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

To which trilobite replies:

yup, Andrew, I guess Michael Moore's relationship to the Democratic Party really is just like Limbaugh's with the Republicans.

Andrew then accuses trilobite of misreading, and says:

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.

The problem here is that Andrew is the one who reacted to what he thought rather than what someone wrote. Trilobite did not claim that Andrew said, "Limbaugh=Moore." He claimed that Andrew said, "Moore:Democrats :: Limbaugh: Republicans."

Which is exactly what he did say.


Hmm. Looks like I missed an interesting thread.

Rather than responding to each reply to me in here today (I have not even got through it all yet), let me rephrase as a response to all.

Even reviewing the tape again right now, I do not agree it was about Bush. He did his Bush bashing warm up jokes. The gaffe was made in a transition to talking about Iraq. I do not believe he meant to insult the troops intentionally, I believe he meant to touch on the importance of education and jolt the college students a little – “Be good students and do your homework or you could end up in Iraq.”

It came off badly, and the Republicans jumped on it.

Even assuming it was a flubbed joke, all he had to do was apologize. Dragging it out and acting the way he did the first day just served to reinforce the perceived insult.

I personally felt insulted, and if you looked on all the big milblogs this week you would have seen many thousands of comments along the same line. I’m not buying the walk-back or the non-apology apology.

Now – is there anything dishonest or disingenuous in that, that I should further clarify?

Hey Phil - if we can have silly spats in the comments then the terrorists will have won. ;-)

can s/be can't

OCSteve, your initial comment certainly seems to imply that it's unreasonable for anyone to believe that Kerry was referring to Bush rather than the troops. I'm not saying it was unreasonable for you or anyone else to have believed he was referring to the troops given what you may have heard in the media. But once you know the context and have examined the details of the sentences, and especially once you're aware of the existence of a prepared version of the statement that clearly did refer to Bush, then it's certainly unreasonable to maintain that he was referring to the troops.

The president and his staff of course had full access to all that information at the time they launched the attack on Kerry, so Bush knew at the time he was making the charge that it was false, and as Andrew Sullivan says, that reflects very badly on Bush's character.

Meanwhile, CNN catches a brief bout of Fox News Disease, labelling Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele as a Democrat.

BTW, hilzoy, since I know it's a pet topic of yours, I'm interested in your reaction to this Yahoo! news story headlined, Businesses may move health care overseas. Apparently our health care system -- the best in the world! -- is working so well that companies are now outsourcing it, sending employees to Thailand and India for major surgeries.

Sorry for three in a row, but for all the outrage over Kerry, Steve, what are you thoughts on John Boehner's troops-hatred?

BBaugh: Thanks for the ads.

I feel we're on the same side of the aisle and we're miscommunicating. Yes, those are substance ads in the sense that they are at least honest, unlike the bizarre Eskimo bisexual ad. But no they aren't really policy ads, in that all they really do is point out something which we ought not be doing rather than something we ought to be doing.

I feel like a Republican watches those ads and thinks to herself: "Yes, this administration, this Congress is awful, but what reason do I have to be excited about the Democrats other than that they are not the Republicans? What actual policy are they offering us?"

Ara, they don't put the policy positions on the TV, for the most part, because it's not an effective (or cost-effective) way to communicate them. I cannot believe, however, that you cannot learn about your candidate's positions with very little effort. Are they not mailing anything to you? Have the candidates not debated? When they did, did they just talk about their hairdos?

What is the party of the person currently representing you in the House? Is one of your senators up for election?

There are standard issue policies on each of the issues I mentioned for each party, with each candidate having quite a bit of flexibility is deciding whether to strike a different position on any issue. Thus, I can't tell you without knowing where you live what your Republican candidate's position is on SocSec. Your Democratic candidate is against efforts to privatize it, I'd bet.

And that, CCarp, is just the problem. They don't put the positions on the boob-tube, which means they might as well not have positions, because they're sure not going to be held accountable for them.

There you have it: the choice is between privatizing Social Sec (grim) or doing nothing at all (grim). That's really going to motivate centrists and Republicans on the cusp out there.

All my Reps and Senators are Dems and they are all snug as a bug. Here, if you must see, is my rep on the issues. It's ugly. Click at your own peril. Might as well be talking hairdos.

His floor speeches don't seem all that ugly. His position on the Real Security Act (and the act itself) tells you plenty. There's his Kids First agenda. The About Adam page has info too . . .

What more do you want from the guy? Is his opponent raising issues, to which he has responded? Did you follow the debates?

Oh, and you have a http://www.paparian4congress.com/press/index.htm>Green candidate too. Is there really not a lively discussion?

But once you know the context and have examined the details of the sentences, and especially once you're aware of the existence of a prepared version of the statement that clearly did refer to Bush, then it's certainly unreasonable to maintain that he was referring to the troops.

I watched the actual video before I formed an opinion. I have watched it many times since. I’m sorry, but I don’t stipulate the authenticity of prepared remarks handed from Kerry’s staff to the MSM after the fact. I do have reasons for skepticism.

If it was a stump speech, then they can produce prior occasions where it came out as it should. End of story, and I will retract all my comments. They have not, which at his point leads me to believe it was a late change/addition to the speech.

It came off wrong, many people took offense to it, Republicans took advantage of it, and here we are.

In all honesty it particularly upset me, and as has been noted here plenty of late – it is an emotional time. Due to how much it upset me, I am more skeptical of the walk-back. Call it human nature.

I’ll maintain that given his previous remarks along these lines, and the fact that this type of opinion is representative of the elitist opinions he has always displayed, my opinion is not unreasonable.

my opinion is not unreasonable.

I'll just say that you're assuming monumental stupidity on both his part (ok, fair enough) and on the part of everyone on his senior staff. I mean mind-blowing idiocy.

Not on your part of course, you are positing such idiocy on their part...

Steve, what are you thoughts on John Boehner's troops-hatred?

I don’t really consider high ranking generals as ‘troops’. They are way into politics at that level. It is yet to be seen if Rummy’s desired transformations are the best for the new world or not. I can tell you for certain that resistance to change is like a brick wall in the military. I guess I am missing how disagreeing with high ranking generals who disagree with Rumsfeld rises to the same level.

Catching up on this thread, it seems as if I queered the thread early today. I believe my comment was on topic, and any queering was unintentional. The main problem was that I posted a comment, but then I got busy with work and off-line life, and I was not around to defend my initial comment. That seemed to lead to some other things.

When I had time and checked in at 5-ish, there were plenty of comments to respond to. I started going one by one, but after a few and scanning the thread, I decided that being hours later, it was not really in context, and my first replies seemed to make things worse.


Hilzoy – I apologize for queering this thread.

Andrew – if this thread had anything to do with your decision today, then I doubly apologize to both you and the ObWi community, who will be the lesser without you.

For my part, I think I may have to consider just not participating in a thread unless I am comfortable that I have the time to stick around. Obviously my position is going to be contrary to many regulars here, and it is probably irresponsible of me to make a comment that may spark arguments and then disappear for the day.

In any case, while my position is unchanged, I do offer sincere apologies if I contributed to what appears to be a bad day here.

"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."

I'm curious about what you mean by "no constituency," since the Democrats' positions on things like privacy, environmental issues, science, education, civil rights, workplace safety, product safety, and emergency response are not only supported by most Americans, but have also been shown (by the results of GOP policies) to be the correct positions in those areas.

I also want to say, about Andrew's political leanings, that I think you're insulting him (inadvertently) by suggesting he might base his viewpoints or his vote on his feelings about a blog. I think Andrew takes policy matters seriously enough to base his opinions and actions on candidates and parties that most effectively make and implement the policies he cares most about. I can understand his reasons for disliking the Democrats as a matter of philosophy; I can't imagine him voting against Democrats simply because ObWi commentors are mean to him.

The most hectoring voices here are hardly reflective of Democrats in general and, indeed, have been criticized by other commentors for their tactics and tone. Even ObWi was an influence on Andrew's political leanings, why would he focus on the few who treat him unfairly, rather than on the ones who don't?

Chris Clarke, as you might know, had a very bad time with his blog recently, due to a horrible comment from a refugee from a left-leaning blog. The amazing thing about Chris is that, as progressive and left-ish as he is, he still gets slammed, hard, by people (on the blog and in RL) for not being progressive and left-ish enough. That's made him rethink blogging altogether - but he hasn't decided to suddenly become a non-progressive because of it, because his politics and philosophy are formed by who is he and what he believes, not by how other people treat him.

Blogging and politics are two different things. It's quite possible to become disgusted with the former without letting that affect the latter.

CaseyL: Huh? I must have miscommunicated. I did not mean at all to imply that Andrew's political leanings had anything whatsoever to do with his feelings towards this or any blog.

I was just trying to convey my hope that the Dem party's tent could be broad enough, given the current polarization, to bring in small-government, socially moderate Republicans.

I do apologize for the weird mixed metaphor: "remap from the ground up". What was I thinking? Agenda with feet!


If you say you honestly think Kerry intended his comment as a slur... well, then, I'm stumped. I apologize for describing your interpretation as dishonest.

Rather than spend anymore effort on this, I'll just lift something I posted on it elsewhere in an exchange that reached a similar impasse:

Going back to interpretations of "stuck."

This is similar to something mmghosh noted in a another thread about assumptions and context and meaning. In this case, most lefties probably connect "stuck" with "quagmire" -- the current lefty assumption about the state of US involvement in Iraq -- and for those observers, Kerry's meaning is (mostly) clear. For those who don't share that assumption about Iraq, "stuck" isn't a codeword for quagmire and the meaning of stuck isn't fixed. Other assumptions then arrive to provide the necessary context -- Kerry has contempt for the military, perhaps -- and a completely different meaning forms. For both types of listeners, the meaning can be arrived at honestly. Only additional context, or a willingness to be charitable to the speaker, can clear up confusion between the two.

For some others, different interpretations of "stuck" just means another opportunity to make some noise before next Tuesday.

I think the additional context provided by Kerry and his staff should make his meaning clear to most observers. Your collection of assumptions and contexts may lead you to a different interpretation.

I should have recalled that comment this morning and bit my tongue.

If you say you honestly think Kerry intended his comment as a slur... well, then, I'm stumped.

I most recently said, “I do not believe he meant to insult the troops intentionally, I believe he meant to touch on the importance of education and jolt the college students a little – “Be good students and do your homework or you could end up in Iraq.”

Enough for tonight. Good night (meant honestly).

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.

Oh, I know that it's still possible. The only reason I equivocated was that I only knew a couple of legacies and they were all pretty dang studious (albeit usually after a trainwreck or two of a year). For what are hopefully obvious reasons I never took the kinds of classes in which one could get a "Gentleman's C", nor did I tend to hang out with the kinds of people who would have been satisfied with such a grade. This isn't to say that my friends and I were all studious all the time, nor that everyone was equally brilliant, just that my personal experience didn't really confirm the legacy trope.

fair enough, anarch.
And after all, it should be said that A's are still tolerably hard to get, even in the Ivy League.

and I'm sure that you and hilzoy got nothing but A's.

kid b: nothing but As: sorry to disappoint. There was my first semester, for starters, when I hadn't fully realized that it wasn't high school anymore and I didn't have to take courses I wasn't interested in, and the course in painting (which I was just plain not good at), and then there was the fact that whenever I really, really wanted to work at one course, I generally did, and the other courses be damned.

I did ace both my geology courses (science requirement), though, despite having missed all the lectures for the second one on the grounds that they conflicted with my favorite soap opera, not to mention having submitted one of the papers (assignment: write about some mineral resource and how we will deal with running out of it) on "Our Friend the Diamond" (topic chosen because diamonds can be synthesized, and so I could duck the entire second half of the assignment.)

"Our Friend the Diamond"
too good.
yeah, I've always had you pegged for the Jane Russell type of girl.

alright, here's my revised expression of confidence:
I'm sure you got nothing but the grades you earned.

I think the title to 'our friend the diamond' was a cryptic reference to an early Doonesbury cartoon, in which (I think) Mike D. and BD are writing papers, and BD asks what Mike's is called, and the answer is some complicated technical-sounding impressive thing, and Mike asks: what's yours? and BD says: Our Friend the Beaver.

yup. recognized it. read that one when it first came out.

still, a title with diamonds and friends in it can't avoid bringing Lorelei Lee to mind as well. (if your mind is the sink of popular frippery that mine is).

but I withdraw the comparison to Jane Russell, which was not intended seriously to begin with.

I've never really had the impression that your amours were actuated by a desire to collect square-cuts and pear-shapeds, or by thoughts about what would "pay the rental on that one-room flat/or help you at/the automat, etc. etc."

it's just a great title--so resonant with polysemous overlaps, it's practically bursting at the semes.

I think the song from the musical you're citing might, in hilzoy's case, be better renamed "Reasoned Debate Is A Girl's Best Friend".

which has the advantages of being true, and true for boys as well.

Ugh, no, I haven't heard anything about the DCCC party. I'm on their e-mail list, but I haven't given them any money since 2004 (just giving to individual candidates and PACs and the DNC), so I guess I wasn't worthy.

I've been invited to a party a bunch of environmental groups are having, so I guess that's where I'll be.

Ugh, no, I haven't heard anything about the DCCC party. I'm on their e-mail list, but I haven't given them any money since 2004 (just giving to individual candidates and PACs and the DNC), so I guess I wasn't worthy.

I'm only going because my wife's employer had extra tix (she works for an industry group), not because I'm worthy (and being a registered republican probably wouldn't help).

You can see the mailer here - it really is pretty disgusting.

www. thinkingliberal. com

I'm sure you got nothing but the grades you earned.

Ok, I don't have to sit here and take that kind of abuse. I demand satisfaction!

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the voting booth --

Enter Count Hackula

The NRCC really are scum. There's plenty more at TPM about the various Democratic candidates being targeted.

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