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October 12, 2007

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"Paper treaties"?!? What does Krauthammer want? Stone tablets??

Oh.

Never mind.

-- TP

I never read Krauthammer.

Whereas Krauthammer himself is famously feckful.

I never read Krauthammer.

In fairness, he never writes. He just hits random keys and the computer forms words based on what he might have meant to say.

It's Krauthammer.
Writing about the Clintons.
What's to be expected?

The primary difference between President(s) Clinton and President(s) Bush is that Bush believes his own lies.

dr ngo: Whereas Krauthammer himself is famously feckful.

I like "famously feckful". It sounds Glaswegian. I wonder if Krauthammer would wear it on a t-shirt?

It's still better than O'Falafel's warning that a president Edwards would mean an end of torture, warrantless eavesdropping and could mean a return of Habeas Corpus and the day in court for those accused of something, i.e. things only the extreme left anti-American pro-Terrorist fringe could want.

A stopped clock…

Never mind. Feckless is the least of my concerns. Is "Hail to the Chief" masculine? These are the kinds of things I wonder about when I wake up at 6AM on a Saturday when I could sleep in…

My irony meter just exploded.

"Naive in theory and feckless in practice?" Does this sound like any other ignorantly idealistic, incompetently implemented approach to foreign policy we know?

Krauthammer's lack of self-awareness when making comments like this is staggering.

Thank goodness he's just some loon publishing his ravings on an obscure website. Oh wait.

Totally unrelated but now, at last, we know where hilzoy was hiding the past few weeks!

Jay C and Harmut, read the whole thing. Despite this quote, it's not an unrelenting attack on Clinton. It's the closest Krauthammer is going to get to an endorsement in the Democratic primary.

OCSteve, "chief", like "chef", comes from a French word for "head". It's not gender-specific. The lyrics may contain a pronoun or two that would need to be changed, but who ever uses the lyrics?

I see the "Looming Social Security Crisis" lies are making a comeback in conservative pundit circles once again.

Interesting. When it comes to international finance and commerce, it is precisely the policy of the Bush administration to rely on paper treaties and international institutions. That is because on matters of money those treaties and institutions protect US interests.

There's nothing wrong with that. But why is it naive in theory and feckless in practice to place some store on international commitments which can stablize and provide a normative basis for a peaceful international order when it comes to war and peace?

Certainly the opposite has literally led to a bloody mess.

As much as I dislike Krauthammer, I have to agree with his main point - Clinton (neither one) has any ideological foundation, instead making decisions by some combination of polling and practicality and possibility. How's that for alliteration? As he says, "Clinton rarely falters. Always careful, always calibrated, always leaving room for expediency over ideology."

I've always regarded Hillary as cold and calculating. Like Krauthammer says, this may not be an entirely bad thing, and it's a lot better than continuing to push a failed ideology. I guess I keep hoping for something better. When the calculation leads to something as wrong as her vote on the Iraqi war resolution you can appreciate the shortcomings of cold and calculating.

""Clinton rarely falters. Always careful, always calibrated, always leaving room for expediency over ideology."

Because foreign policy based on ideology has been so successful. I don't want an idealogue based government, I just want a competent government. Competency is highly undervalued.

I'd like to pipe in with a good word for pragmatism here. While I agree with the assessment of Ms. Clinton as cold and calculating, and I am put off by this trait, I find it immensely preferable to an ideological style. In the final analysis, politics is the art of the possible, and having the correct ideology doesn't help anybody if you can't translate it into policy. Sometimes you have to compromise your ideals with others who have different ideals. That's the essence of democracy.

Whereas Krauthammer himself is famously feckful.

I think you used the wrong vowel in "feckful"....

If Katherine or other local experts could comment on reports immigration officials are forcibly injecting deportees with Haldol I'd appreciate it. I'm going to start slinging "gulag" around if true.

The quote in itself (i.e. without context) is indeed not that damning of the writer. It is indeed naive to just rely on signatures on paper or institutions that have been deliberately kept toothless (by about everyone possessing teeth and unwilling to let go of that advantage). But the insinuation is that "liberals" don't know that and would fall for the mealy words of untrustworthy fellows everytime. And we should not forget that the US has had a major part in the fact that treaties have become "mere paper", if they are perceived to run against US interests (not to forget the quaint paper know formerly as the Constitution*)

*as a German politician (Hermann Müller) once (1928) said: "The republican Constitution is just a piece of paper, if there is not an army of republicans standing behind it always ready to defend it against any assault by all means."

@cw: thinking about states on ideological foundations I have difficulty coming up with other examples than states like Iran and the USSR. Common sense tells me that's not what you intend, so could you clarify?

Dutchmarbel - you are correct, I was using "ideological" in a more informal manner than a country whose legitimacy is explicitly based upon a certain ideology - i.e. your examples of Iran (Islam) and the USSR (Communism). In the current case in the US the main failed ideology is neo-conservative, but lots of other ideologies have been tried here (social Darwinism, liberal, conservative, various forms of socialism and theocracy etc.) and have less than entirely successful.

Perhaps if I replace "ideological" with "stubbornly clinging to a pre-determined reality" it might be closer to what I meant, and I think probably closer to what Krauthammer meant.

Over the years, as strictly a mental exercise, I've tried to apply the various American ideologies to contemporary situations, just to see what sort of solution they would prescribe. Sometimes the prescribed solutions make sense; sometimes they are truly dreadful. I have yet to find one that is consistently very successful, thus in my old age I've become a pragmatist.

Hillary is described as pragmatic as well, but I sense her pragmatism is directed at getting into and maintaining power. I'd prefer someone whose pragmatism would be used in the service of the country as a whole, and who had more wisdom than ambition. I'm not holding my breath, waiting for such.

cw, your last paragraph articulates precisely my unease with Ms. Clinton. Mr. Obama strikes me as more pragmatic in service to his country than Ms. Clinton.

rilkefan: first I've heard of it. But the ACLU chooses its suits carefully & it sounds like there's documentation. I don't know how widespread it is--I was not a DHS employee; I never knew much about the actual mechanics of deportation. God, that's awful.

(interesting that Lieberman brought it up--his stance on immigration may be his last redeeming quality).

Just Dropping By: I think you used the wrong vowel in "feckful"....

Not if you're Glaswegian.

While I agree with the assessment of Ms. Clinton as cold and calculating, and I am put off by this trait, I find it immensely preferable to an ideological style. In the final analysis, politics is the art of the possible, and having the correct ideology doesn't help anybody if you can't translate it into policy. Sometimes you have to compromise your ideals with others who have different ideals. That's the essence of democracy.

It's not her general willingness to compromise that bothers me so much. It's her willingness to compromise on issues that matter a lot to me personally which turns we off to her candidacy--that, also, is the essence of democracy. That said, she doesn't turn me off as much as anyone running on the Republican side does.

Hey, I'm Dutch, I'm totally in favor of pragmatism ;)

oops, suddenly posts appear between my reply and cw's comment - but it was directed at him.

I cannot participate in your presidential elections, but so far (without any kind of search/research, based purely upon what I glance through) I actually like Edwards best. Clinton is too calculated, Obama feels.... I dunno.... almost slick. Again, that is just an unsubstantiated feeling and if I were to vote I would make sure I'd know more before I took position.

The drugging incident is disturbing for many reasons.

Who's giving those injections (of which ICE admits there've been 56)? If they're doctors, then the AMA needs to step in. If they're not, then fire Chertoff and charge those most directly responsible.

The control ICE has over thousands of people in horrifying conditions is an ongoing disgrace -- one that pre-dated this regime but under whose feckless-at-best administration the situation has gotten much worse.

Folding in an agency whose authoritarian powers were already barely under control into the huge, possibly-unauditable Department of "Homeland" "Security" made a bad situation much worse.

Someone ordered Blackwater mercs to New Orleans immediately after hurricane Katrina. Their actual contract was with ICE (beginning several weeks after they actually hit the streets). Read today's Washington Post story about Blackwater, which now has received at least $5 billion-with-a-B in contracts since 2001 (possibly twice that, depending on what their share is of their most recent $15 bil plum).

A toxic brew.

"Despite this quote, it's not an unrelenting attack on Clinton. It's the closest Krauthammer is going to get to an endorsement in the Democratic primary."

So which form of mental illness has Krauthammer diagnosed the other Democratic contenders with?

I keep hearing Clinton described as calculating and manipulative. Oddly, the same progressives who criticize her for that also criticize her for not apologizing for her vote in favor of the AUMF. This is odd because, if she was as cold, calculating and manipulative as they say, she would have done the mea culpa bit. (Which the anti-Clinton progressives would probably have not believed anyway.)

I also wonder if "calculating and manipulative" aren't good qualities for a President to have, provided those traits are used to further policies we'd like to see in place. FDR was calculating and manipulative; so were Jefferson, Lincoln, JFK, LBJ, and Bill Clinton. Carter wasn't, and look where it got him. (Bush isn't, either, though his spinmeisters are; he's just a bully.)

I can understand opposing Clinton because you don't agree with what she's done, or what you think she will do. Opposing her for being a good politician, though, is a bit peculiar. (I don't think it's misogyny, since Obama and Edwards' appeal seems to come in part from a perception that they're "not political.")

We don't just want a President whose policy ideas we mostly agree with. We, or at least I, want a President who can actually get those policies enacted. If you don't think calculation and manipulation are important tools for doing that, I'd like to know what you think are better ones.

Oddly, the same progressives who criticize her for that [being calculating] also criticize her for not apologizing for her vote in favor of the AUMF.

To me, her failure to apologize exactly demonstrates the point. As long as there is no serious contender for the Democratic nomination, why should she change? If any of her competitors get more traction with their disavowals on Iraq and actually look like they might beat her, do you think she will continue to stick to her current stance? My bet is that she would apologize/change in a heartbeat. But only when it served her purposes.

Her current stance on the AUMF will win her votes she might need in the general election, and probably won't lose her any. If you were really unhappy with Iraq, I imagine no Republican nominee would get your vote, so you will likely vote for her. This is classic Clinton triangulation.

Cathy,

He's just a shrink. It is too much to ask that he has any insight into his own projection issues.

Hey, I'm Dutch, I'm totally in favor of pragmatism

Not like the Dutch who settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan and other areas of the Midwest, then. I grew up in such a town and pragmatic never came to mind to describe them.

The less pragmatic more rigid emigrated ;)

To me, her failure to apologize (for voting for the AUMF) exactly demonstrates the point.

Apologies like that ring hollow, without an explanation as to what led them to vote for it in the first place, and why they had changed their mind.

An explanation that she had merely been "misled" when she voted for it sounds too much like the statement that George Romney (former gov. of Michigan, and the man who ran American Motors into the ground) when he was running for the presidency in 1968 that he had been "brainwashed" regarding the Vietnam War. He suffered an ignominious exit.

Krauthammer is right. Clinton's deal with North Korea was a disaster. Clinton invited uber-terrorist Arafat to stay at the White House more than any guest in history and pushed Israel into the Oslo debacle which cost the lives of more than a thousand Israeli civilians, Clinton never went after Bin Laden with any seriousness when he should have.....

I realize that many of the right-wing pontificators are not exactly champions of logical consistency, but how does one reconcile the "cold, calculating, expedient" Hillary with the "scary Liberal/Socialist/Communist" Hillary? If she doesn't really believe the Bolshie-drivel, then she's not a big, bad Leftist, right?

I mean, it seems to me that to simultaneously argue that a) someone's ideology is misguided, and b) that the person is untrustworthy because they have no core ideology is not a particularly convincing angle of attack.

Priest, Joe Lieberman managed to argue that Ned Lamont was (1) a wild-eyed leftist who couldn't be trusted in the War on Terror, (2) really a Republican, because he'd voted with Republicans on some town issues as a Greenwich selectman, and (3) someone who didn't really believe what he was saying, because he'd voted for Lieberman in the past. That didn't work in the primary, but the incoherent attack apparently didn't hurt Lieberman in the general.

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