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November 28, 2007

Comments

As usual, nicely put. To the zipper, I would add that Bill could have resigned, leaving Gore at least 1.5 terms. I always thought that
staying was dishonorable, lying about Monica was honorable but illegal, and though illegal was not impeachable.

And in too many ways Hillary reminds me of W:
tight circle of advisors, never admits mistakes, naturally secretive. Too bad there are so few choices on the Dem side.

Clinton left office with a 65% approval rating. In the aftermath of the impeachment proceedings, it got as high as 73%. See the citations in the Wikipedia discussion. Anyone who tries to claim that Clinton doomed Gore is simply ignoring the facts. Gore likely would have done better if he'd stayed closer to Clinton during the campaign, but when a candidate faces as much media misrepresentation and outright lying as Gore did it might not actually matter a whole lot. The movement conservative machine was ready to steal an election, and it did.

As for whether Clinton in any sense brought down the Republican attack dogs on him, please keep in mind that the Lewinsky revelations turned up as an incidental matter in a zealous prosecution that had already been underway for several years. The Republicans had no idea that any such thing was going on: if Lewinsky had never existed at all, the bulk of the attack would have gone on exactly as it did, and they would have found something else to trump up as impeachment charges. Ironically, that something might quite possibly have been Clinton's efforts to deal with bin Laden.

I don't disagree at all that HRC is a bad choice for president. But the Republicans will never tell the truth about her or her husband, and the least we can do is not pass along their lies as our own.

If you want a reason to say no to Hillary Clinton, I'd suggest the one Josh Marshall very cogently offered early on in W's misrule: dynastic politics tend to destroy democracies. Right now, the family feud between the Bushes and Clintons has dominated your politics for the past 20 years (1988-2008). I really don't think you want to make it 28 years. Letting a generation grow up in which one or another of two or three or five families dominates has the potential to have a real and baneful effect on your democratic reflexes. I strongly recommend you open the process up now.

But if HRC were my candidate, I'd be extremely unimpressed by the argument that I should drop support for her because the Bushes have a good machine. Actually I'm unimpressed even though I'm doing my part to campaign against her. That's exactly like the argument that Democrats shouldn't talk about impeachment because the Republicans abused it against Clinton -- it holds the Democrats hostage to whatever damn fool nonsense the Republicans can come up with. Also, I'm unimpressed by arguments that HRC hasn't earned her shot at the nomination -- there are arguments about how she's just riding on coattails, but these always seem to boil down to holding her to a standard we don't hold male candidates to.

It’s a little bit like the scene in Braveheart where the undermanned, under-resourced army charges the British in a key battle only to have the nobles scurry off like cowards in the hopes of getting in on the action at a later date.

It's funny. Normally I get annoyed by the ignorant saying "English" when they mean "British". Now I'm getting annoyed by an ignorant person saying "British" when they mean "English". Oh, irony.

At first I wasn't going to bother posting. I usually don't. Publius your argument is just so much fluff at best. Then I thought about it and started to get pissed off. Seriously what kind of prig are you? Clinton let a pretty girl who wanted to blow him. He apologized a long time ago. You are still angry about it nearly 8 years later? Fnck you. And fnck anyone who repeats Republican talking points about dynasty.

No one really knows how careful the Clintons would be in office. No one knows how much of an opportunity being democratic president will be this time for sure. Though I have seen it described as like being chained up in a box under water. I do know that both you and Obama generally behave more like concern trolls than I am comfortable with.

Also what Jaden said.

I could care less about Clinton and Monica.

But Publius is right about Clinton and the war. I watched Bill Clinton speak, in person, in 2002, supporting the war, talking about how Saddam was a threat and we needed to take a stand against dictators, and saying that he felt encouraged that there were "smart people" like Wolfowitz (who he specifically mentioned in those terms, yes), who'd "spent a lot of time thinking about these things." I suppose he might have had Kosovo on the brain, but I don't think that gets him much sympathy from me.

Right on Publius.

I can't understand at all how thinking folks on the left or left center can support HRC. She's a lousy *safe* candidate in the same mold as Kerry. The difference between her and Bill though is that while they are both driven by naked ambition without a shred of principle - HRC doesn't even have Bill's veneer of charisma.

Far and away the most import issue of the day is the War. HRC never really came around to being against the War until the polls were overwhelming against it, and her vote on Kyl-Lieberman shows there really hasn't been a fundamental change. Under a POTUS HRC, all that will happen in Iraq is a mandate to change troop references from *surge* to *peace-keepers* . . .

I've never had any trouble despising both Bill Clinton and the Republicans on the Monica Lewinsky thing. But it's a stupid reason to oppose HRC.

The cowardice on Iraq and the dirty hippy bashing are much better reasons.

Publius' argument about the Clintons and Iraq - specifically, what it shows about their chips-are-down instincts - is well-put and, to my mind, pretty devastating.

I fear, the Clintons, like Bush Jr., could easily be pressured into another war.

Wimps hate being called wimps, and will commit mass death to prove how brave they are.

Back in 1968, I knew a woman who voted for Nixon because she "felt sorry for Pat." I guess it takes all kinds.

There are plenty of reasons to want someone other than Hillary to get the Democratic nomination. And one of them most certainly is her apparent internalization of "liberal = bad" to the point where she tacks to the right to demonstrate that she's not a dirty hippy. I'm not a fan of hers.

But the ahistorical nonsense you posted about the Clenis and how its immeasurable power sunk Gore's candidacy is really worthy of derision. As pointed out above, the Lewinsky matter came up by complete accident in the middle of a right-wing witch hunt that had been ongoing for a long time. And Clinton posted record approval ratings all throughout the ordeal, right up to the moment he left office. If anything, Gore's problem was that he stupidly tried to distance himself from the scandal by running /away/ from Clinton during the election.

Ultimately the outcome of 2000 rests most heavily on the shoulders of the right-wing scumbags who committed election fraud, the naive stupidity of Nader voters, and the United States Supreme Court who rubber-stamped that fraud.

Catsy, don't forget the thousands of Florida Democrats who decided to vote for Bush (who outnumbered the Florida Nader voters) and of course Theresa LePore, the person responsible for the most disastrous user-interface design error in history, the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot. With an election that close, there are innumerable things one can point to that would have changed the result.

there’s a non-negligible chance that she’ll be pressured into doing something hawkishly stupid on the foreign policy front
I agree, but I wish I were more confident that the same isn't true of the other Democratic candidates.

Thank you, Publius,

I have been saying I didn't support Hillary for quite the while and feeling vaguely uncomfortable about it. You helped me grasp some of the gut I have been experiencing.

The RepubliCon dieNasty is slipping away and we all want at least a shot at some statesman-like (statesperson-like?) behavior in the country's drivers seat.

Unfortunately, even if Hillary wasn't progressively challenged, the weight of the existing lib-con vitriol would kill her presidency.

Publius, while I think you've dramatically understated the general scumminess/criminality of the Clintons, I can't really summon up the urge to argue about it. So let me just pile on:

Bushes? Clintons? It's time to let somebody else have a turn.

I agree, but I wish I were more confident that the same isn't true of the other Democratic candidates.

Bingo.

That's it isn't it.

People that look to Obama, or even Edwards, tend to project their own desired policies on to candidates that have not, you know, actually enunciated a belief in those policies.

Right now, the differences between Obama, Edwards and Clinton on Iraq and Iran are negligible. You could barely slide a credit card between the crevices.

Yet to many people that I respect, Clinton is a neocon eager to go to war with Iran, and Obama is a true blue lefty-progressive who would never do such a thing.

Seems like there's a bit of bias clouding the process. To the extent that one is likely to do something stupid, the same holds for the others.

If you want differentiation, you have to look to Richardson or Kucinich (Dodd too as of late).

Also, P-Diddy: You went a little overboard with the Monica stuff IMHO.

Eric, I didn't mean to imply that my level of worry was exactly the same for all the Democratic candidates. I definitely worry about Clinton the most.

In the foreign-policy clashes between Clinton and Obama, Clinton takes the more hawkish position. Even if the actual policy difference being argued is small, I think her positioning reveals something about her instincts and likely future reactions.

eric - yes, point granted on monica. but i am still annoyed by that. i don't care who gets blow jobs from whom, but i do care about the political consequences. i mean, hell, he knew the vultures were circling - and he was one leak away (even outside of ken starr) from wrecking the next presidential election.

but anyway, conceding your point on monica, i'm not quite so ready to concede the other point. doesn't the group of people that obama has surrounded himself with matter on that front? i'll defer to you on this stuff, but aren't there significant substantive differences between the two respective inner circles? And doesn't that matter?

Can any articulate what HRC as President would likely do on a range of issues? -- Iraq, Iran, Social Security, budgets, taxes, environment, etc.?

If past is prologue, I would expect a center-right approach that is cravenly opportunistic and unprincipled (i.e., "pragmatic" is a bad kind of way). On the other hand, maybe her current pose is an act to get into office, and she hides her inner beliefs. Kind of like certain Supreme Court justices in history.

Under either scenario, the biggest problem with her is that you cannot credibly say that you know what she will do, and there is plenty of reason to suspect that she will not do what she claims she will do.

There is nothing wrong with being calculating (which is used as an misogynist epithet with HRC), but what are her principles? Is there any reason to expect her to be all that different from Bill, who was famously rubbery about principles? She is obviously not Bill (and there is unfairness in treating her as a carbon copy even though she profits from exploiting that expectation), but it sure would be nice for her to show some leadership and some degree of belief in something other than getting elected.

I'm getting that sick feeling again. To quote Michelle Obama: "As a country, we can't afford to miss again. We can't."

And to quote my girlfriend: "The sad thing about 2000 wasn't that Gore lost -- it's that it was even close".

You just want to grab Al Gore by the lapels, shake him, put a copy of Drew Westen in one of his hands and a large grain of salt in the other, and remind him, ungently, that if you want to change the world, Pennsylvania Ave. is probably a good place to set up shop.

Actually, there are 2 decent candidates. One, Edwards has articulated specific policies and stuck to them, while Barry and HRC have adopted variations of them.
The other is Biden who is actually the most qualified and reasonable of the bunch.

More- the war is a huge issue, but bigger still are the looming economic depression, the crashing dollar, the healthcare crisis, the disappearing civil liberties. How would a child like Barry deal with these problems? He hasn't articulated any coherent plans on any of these topics.

And what about the biggest issue of all: the environment's on-going destruction. Only Edwards has really spoken to this issue in any meaningful way. Only Edwards really addresses what needs to be done to get a handle on this.

Barry doesn't even have BS talking points on the environment. HRC will be better on environment and economics to be sure.

its fun to dish about Bill's blowjob, but really -- there are a lot of serious problems that need to be solved. These problems, and our future depends on real leadership and an empty rock-star suit doesn't cut it.

Also -- I do believe Bill was NOT a cheerleader for the Iraq war -- based on my own memory of the time. Her vote is her vote, not Bill's. Parse his words more carefully.

You educate future lawyers? I shudder

I didn't mean to imply that, and sorry if I put words in your mouth.

But still, it seems to me to be more about campaign strategy in terms of primary vs. general election than anything else.

Me and Matt Y had a back and forth about this last month. Matt wrote a post noting that Edwards and Obama had begun espousing bolder, dovish rhetoric as part of a campaign strategy to create separation between themselves and Hillary.

I thought he was right.

But then he said that this should be taken as a sign that they would actually govern in a different way. To which I asked, huh?

A campaign tactic should be taken for what it is: a campaign tactic!

Hillary is running for the general election, the others are still trying to win the primaries. That accounts for the differentiation more than anything - at least according to my read.

I really don't fear that any of the Dems would start a war with Iran for the record. Actually, I don't think even Bush will do that at this juncture.

My overriding fear, which posts like this only amplify, is that progressives will be so zealously anti-Hillary that if she wins the nomination, we'll either have damaged her too much, or else will give in to apathy ala 2000 and the Nader debacle.

I might vote for Obama in the NY primary, but I will support her to the hilt if she wins. She's just not as bad as the caricatures make her out to be: be they right wing or left wing caricatures.

Publius,

Yes, the advisors matter, but then, the Clinton's style is to cultivate dissent and disagreement. Bill governed with a cabinet/advisors of mixed ideologies and vantage points. He relished the dialectic (you've written about this at Legal Fiction to great effect).

So I'm not as put off by some of her advisors - and it should be noted that some (O'Hanlon) isn't actually an advisor, he just supports her in the field.

Also, she is strong and smart enough to parse the process. I am more confident in her abilities in this regard than just about anyone else - save Biden who I don't think has a shot as a candidate, though would like to see heading State.

Honestly, she is more in control and knowledgable than Obama. He's extremely intelligent, but a little green, and I fear his ability to navigate the same way.

Can any articulate what HRC as President would likely do on a range of issues? -- Iraq, Iran, Social Security, budgets, taxes, environment, etc.?

Actually, from a progressive point of view, she has the best health care plan (Ezra and Matt concur IIRC), she has a better position on SS than Obama and her alternative energy plan received the widest plaudits from environmentalist sources that I've seen.

Funny that she's cast as so to the right, but that her health care plan is to the left of Obama, as his her position on SS and the environment.

Bill Clinton compromised alot, but then, Bill had a Republican controlled or split legislature. He had to compromise. When he first came into office, he was bolder: gays in the military, universal health care. But he got beaten back by the process.

The instincts are there. But politics is the art of the possible, and that is what it is no matter who the POTUS happens to be.

Iraq is therefore relevant not because of what she did, but because it provides the best evidence of what she will do.

Yep, she has spend the debates obscuring what she is going to do. She no doubt does this to preserve her freedom of action once elected. And she'll avoid those poisonous Russert crap of but you said X 5 years ago and now you're saying Y.

Really by not giving us any idea of what she is actually going to do, we're left groping in the dark with only her prior decisions to guide us, and those do not paint a pretty picture.

The next perz is going to inherit a country on the edge - fiscally, moraly and internationally. There are going to be huge problems do deal with. I don't trust HRC to look out for the middle and lower classes. She knows that there's nothing they can do to hurt her. But if she crosses the money men she knows that they will unleash the hounds ankle-biting puppies of hell, "Ken Starr on line one, Madam President."

'sigh' Just like Sullivan you detract from the power of your logical argument regarding Hillary by bringing up the blowjob and somehow concluding that it screwed up the world. So people like me, and there seem to be some of them here, who might be open to a logical argument will simply get very mad that a respected commentator is bringing that crap up all over again and doing the Right's work on divisiveness for them. There are many people out here who still like Bill a lot and who will never forgive the Right for what they tried to do and did do to him when he was President. Trying to make the anti-Hillary argument by trying to get us to conclude that Bill was a lousy President who screwed up the world wont work. In fact, I think it drives people into Hillary's camp by hitting our anger button hard. If you dont like her, fine, but lets have a discussion about her position on the issues and why Obama or someone else is better, and leave the blowjobs out of it.

Finally, as for the dread T word: triangulation, it translates into compromise. That is an art we have lost in this County to our detriment. The lack of true compromise on issues to get things done is what has screwed up the world and our Country, not Clinton's blowjob. So if your argument against Hillary is that she triangulates like her husband, I see that as a positive compared to politicians who draw lines in the sand and refuse to bend.

Yep, she has spend the debates obscuring what she is going to do.

Er, so have Edwards and Obama. All of them are in favor of maintaining troops in Iraq. None of them offer clear details - save Kucinich, Dodd and Richardson.

She knows that there's nothing they can do to hurt her. But if she crosses the money men she knows that they will unleash the hounds ankle-biting puppies of hell, "Ken Starr on line one, Madam President."

Actually, Bill did a lot to help the middle and lower classes regardless of the pressures he faced - targeted credits and tax cuts that helped people pay for college and grad school for one.

More importantly, though: why would Obama or Edwards be different?

Edwards, until recently, opposed universal health care!

well maybe i'll defend the blowjob point a bit more. i am a longtime supporter of blow jobs. i could care less about the morality, etc.

But if politics is the art of the possible and all that, then he should have realized how his action would have played out. Of course, iraq is ahistorical. but, he should have known that getting caught would be an enormous scandal -- one that his domestic enemies would seize upon to sink either him, his policies, or the Democratic Party more generally. And that's EXACTLY what it ultimately did. Clinton had big approval ratings, yes. But the Gore people weren't idiots. in the key swing states (like Ohio), Clinton had become a liability. his actions reaffirmed the absurd caricature. Yes, it's stupid - but them's the cards in puritan america.

i just don't think it's too much to ask the president of the united states to refrain from getting a blow job from an intern.

and just to make clear, the clinton wars were the reason i stopped being a republican. impeachment and bush v. gore radicalized me and completely changed my worldview. i loathe ken starr and everything that bunch stands for.

and i actually love the big dog in many respects. but clinton deserves far more blame than he gets for our current mess. yes, iraq wasn't specifically foreseeable. But the badness of GOP power was foreseeable and his recklessness helped make it possible.

Related issue: it bugs me mean people say that she knows how to deal with rightwing smears. She emphaticaly does not. She waffles. She temporizes. She tones down and says as little as possible in a vain attempt to ward off attacks. The way to deal with rightwing smears is to attack back directly and forcefully. Patty Murray did this during the last election. When her opponent ran an ad that smeared her as an Al Quaida supporter she ran an ad calling him a liar. Hillary would never do that. She would ignore, then backpedal, then adopt rightwing frames....

She isn't the only problem. Reid, Pelosi, Strum, the DSCC, the DCCC, a whole bunch of so-called leaders at the top of the party are dead wood, in the way, unable, apparently, to adapt to current political realities.

Here's a classic example of how clueless the "leaders" are: out in Nebraska the DSCC is collaborting with state Democrats to get a rightwing Republican to run for the Senate as a Democrat. The guy would make Lieberman look like a team player. What the hell is the point of getting a man who isn't even a moderate to change labels (and nothing else)? God this pisses me off. I'm going to make a donation (if Draft Kleeb is accepting money yet)to Scott Kleeb and make a nasty phone call to the DSCC jerks.

What the hell is the point of getting a man who isn't even a moderate to change labels (and nothing else)?

The majority party gets more members on the committees and picks the committee heads. This is very important in terms of marshalling the legislative docket.

Not saying I agree with the tactic, but that would be the motive I assume. That is also why they played nice with Lieberman himself.

Eric, I don't think the Democrats need Nebraska to maintain their majority in the Senate. The question is whether having a majority 1 seat bigger is worth including a "Democrat" who was a Bush nominee withdrawn because of opposition from labor.

Wonkie, you can pledge for Kleeb.

My friend ‘Skip’ attended Tailhook in, I think it was 1990. Tailhook used to be a lot of fun. ‘Skip’ was a really good guy who was married and faithful to his wife. Everybody was drunk and in various states of undress. When the picture was taken, Skip’s zipper was open, with his member hanging out, and he was holding a beer in his right hand.

During the inquisition, all pictures were confiscated, including the one showing Skip. Skip was flown back from deployment to face Clinton justice. He was given a blacklisting and would never be promoted again, ending his military career.

More importantly, though: why would Obama or Edwards be different?

Good point. To be honest I'm beginning to despair that the system can be salvaged at this point with incremental change, and really that's all any of them are promising. Don't get me wrong, I'll vote for the dem in '08 unless HRC is nominated and Bush bombs Iran before he leaves, citing "Kyl-Lieberman" as authorization.

But until then I'll cross my fingers and hope to be surprized once one of them gets in office.

Quick question: Does anybody know anyone who's exciting that Senator Clinton is going to become President, apart from the fact that the President wouldn't be a Republican and would be a woman? Seen any signs or stickers out there?

Anyone get the feeling that the most she could possibly pull is about 52% with a much higher chance she'd end up on the south side of 50? Regardless of how the primary players are spending their cash, I'd rather go for upside... elsewhere.

Quick question: Does anybody know anyone who's exciting that Senator Clinton is going to become President, apart from the fact that the President wouldn't be a Republican and would be a woman? Seen any signs or stickers out there?

Anyone get the feeling that the most she could possibly pull is about 52% with a much higher chance she'd end up on the south side of 50? Regardless of how the primary players are spending their cash, I'd rather go for upside... elsewhere.

Bill, just a pointer: if your friend "Skip" was investigated by either the original internal Navy investigation for Tailhook 91, or by the Vander Schaaf investigation carried out by the Pentagon in June 1992, those were both instigated under the Bush administration, not Clinton's. If you want to flame Clinton, you would be advised to pick incidents that at least occurred while he was President...

@Bill: What Jes said. And besides that, tell us: the investigators should have ... ?

Random musings:

Triangulation = Compromise?

No. Triangulation was a cold-blooded strategy adopted to deal with the juggernaut of uncompromising aliens who body-snatched the GOP.

There is no compromise in triangulation. The uncompromising walk away from triangulation feeling merely like they've been totally screwed, because they can't handle the complicated mess of a Republic. Those who think they got some of what they wanted find out real soon afterward that the uncompromising ones will demagogically kick the crap out of whatever was successfully triangulated.

"But if she crosses the money men, ....."

James Carville is all grown up now and he has become the bond market.

"Bill likes the dialectic ...."

Yes. Thing is, he speaks out loud every twist and turn of the dialectic so everyone can hear. If he'd shut up between the main bullet points, folks wouldn't be so keen to brand him a waffler, liar, etc.

"Principles"

The problem isn't with Hillary or Obama or Edwards. It's that the American electorate has a cartoon vision of the principled man and woman.

One individual can reply to a policy question by stating that they will consider all of the facts from all of the perspectives in our democracy, and consult with the experts in the field, and do what is possible to solve a problem or two.

The other person will counter that they will take decisive action, fire everyone, put their foot down, and arrest everyone who looks at them wrong, including 14 people in the crowd and Brett Bellmore (may I borrow you for a moment, Brett? ... whoops, I already have), and declare THAT is their unwavering principle.

The American electorate, including the 14 people being led away in shackles and Brett Bellmore, will jump to their feet for a standing ovation and vote for the second person, probably Rudy Guiliani.

Why? Because, he has "principles" and points at the "other" and says very clearly that he will take care of that little problem. Just let me at 'em.

Unless, of course, the guy is Walter Mondale and he states clearly that he will raise taxes. At which time, he might as well be receiving a blow up in Philadelphia, Mississippi. That's the one principle the American people can't handle, because if there is one thing they won't do, it's spend their hard-earned tax dollars to arrest everyone who looks at them wrong.

No, they want it for free, or they want it contracted out to their brother-in-law at even higher expense, whichever happens to sooth their self-interest at the moment.

That said ....

Publius:

"I am a long-time supporter of blow jobs."

I like a man of unwavering, clearly stated principle. Publius for President! It's become obvious that many Republicans enjoy the act, too, with just about anyone, even strangers. Maybe the Democratic Party needs a blow job strategy, something along the lines of Nixon's southern strategy.

Publius, in his migration from R to D could go down (whoops) in history as the Strom Thurmond of oral pleasure.

"But the badness of the GOP was forseeable"

And yet they saw the badness and they loved it because they were promised, as a matter of principle, very bad badness, and the badder it gets, the badder they want it.

Like dkilmer, I'm sick.

Vote for Hillary. Give her two years to absolutely f--- the Republican Party out of pure, steely-eyed, vengeance.

Then carry out the agreed-to plan that she resign after two years and hand over the reigns to Vice-President Barack Obama, who will ask: "We could continue with this brawl you like so much and we could keep sticking you with the sharpest point of the triangle, and we could release Grover Norquist from Guantanamo, OR we can talk and try to bring it all together?"

"Your choice."

I know a guy named Skip, too, and the exact same thing happened to him under Bush I.

He became a Democrat.

I'm telling you, it's a great strategy.

Hmm, once Norquist was in Gitmo, the LGFers and Malkinites would go into screaming fits if anyone suggested releasing him. After all, he has a Muslim wife, so he must be an infiltrator.

Much of the post boils down to 'don't vote Hillary because her husband got an extramarital blowjob en thus was responsible for Bush killing a million people'.

It's quite on par with the 'don't count Hillaries experience as first lady but *do* blame her for her husbands policies at the time'.

One poster says she's so scared of getting burned that she won't do a thing, the next one describes her as being too hawkish. It's a weird mixture.

I'm not wild about Hillary to be honest, but so far I've not seen much about Edwards, Obama has dissappointed me a few times and Hillary has done better than I thought.

Jesurgislac/John; Valid point, but Clinton justice in the end for ‘Skip’. Both families are out of touch with reality. It is unhealthy to have power held by as tight of a group and the Bush-Clinton tag team. Agendas are too easy to cover up.

Obama for me. It’ll be fun to see him try to borrow money.

Greg; There’s nothing wrong with blowing off steam every once in a while. It should be encouraged in my opinion. Skip and his family were sacrificed because of an innocent image that could have been distorted by the media. A simple act of political cowardice by all involved.

One poster says she's so scared of getting burned that she won't do a thing, the next one describes her as being too hawkish. It's a weird mixture.

This is rooted in the same thing though -- fear of not looking too liberal. In one context, it calls for inaction. In another, it calls for unnecessary action.

The blowjob thing is just my gut reaction to Bill - maybe it didn't belong here. But that's not really the substantive reason for opposing HRC. So i htink your characterization of the post is not right

More to the point, there never would have been a second Iraq War.

I think you are wrong there. I think it would have taken a different form, but it still would have happened.

Gore was one of the only Democratic Senators to sign on to GW1. During the 92 election he went after Bush senior for minimizing the threat that Saddam posed in terms of terrorism and WMDs. All through the 90’s he was pretty consistent: Saddam represented a serious threat and needed to be dealt with - containment was not working.

In Feb 02 he supported Bush’s SOTU “axis of evil” remark. He was ready for the “final reckoning” with Iraq.

Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq.

As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms.

By Sep 02 he backed away some. But it was more form than anything. He still believed in regime change.

Nevertheless, all Americans should acknowledge that Iraq does indeed pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf region, and we should be about the business of organizing an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.

He warned that we should stay focused on Afghanistan. He wanted to further build a coalition and get international approval (though he stated we didn’t actually need another UN resolution). He wanted Congress to deliberate more. He didn’t agree with how Bush was approaching the war, and in that his remarks were extremely prescient. That entire speech was extremely prescient. But nowhere did he disavow war with Iraq. He thought it could wait and that it should be done differently – but he still thought it would have to be done.

I agree that it would likely have been a very different war, and ultimately more successful. But there still would have been war under a Gore administration.

This isn’t to thread-jack into a Gore discussion – it’s just to suggest that if you are wrong about what Gore would have done you may also be wrong about what HRC will do. She could launch an attack on Iran (some liberals think her too hawkish) or become the most progressive president in history (some conservatives believe she is hiding how liberal she really is until she gets the job). But as long as we can agree on “no more Clintons” then it’s all good. ;) And yeah – no more Bush’s either.

I'm going to regret saying this, of that I'm certain.

The blow job was no biggy. If he'd gotten it from his wife, only a insignificant fraction of the population would have given a damn. Even if it had been brought to their attention, they'd have been pissed at the intrusion into his marital life.

Getting it from somebody not his wife was a bigger matter, adultery. A moral failing, but not legal. Though proof somebody occupying an office you must swear an oath to assume has contempt for oaths is no small matter.

Getting it from a subordinate, OTOH, here we're getting into criminal territory, federal law, IIRC, regards that sort of thing as de facto sexual harassment regardless of whether it's voluntary, due to the unquestioned potential for cooercion. But even so, it would have blown over, if you don't mind the pun.

Mobilizing the White House staff as a finely honed obstruction of justice machine, suborning perjury, destroying evidence, intimidating witnesses... There's the stuff of impeachment, as much because of what it implied about why the other scandals couldn't be proven, as because it was a serious offense in it's own right.

But, yeah, go ahead and think he was impeached over a blow job, if it makes you feel better. I'm sure you'll insist on it anyway.

I get nervous when Hillary expounds on the President's need for flexibility and authority. That has been her defense for the War Authorisation vote, now that she's bothered to defend it.

Yes, yes, I agree with the argument that if Hillary gets the top seat, the Republicans in congress will rediscover in a hurry the value of the separation of powers, and that would certainly be better than what we're got going on right now.

However, I really believe that the separation of powers is too important to trust to what is sure to be a flipping poisonous political environment should the Clintons retake the reign.

I'd like to see somebody with a rather more limited view of Executive Privilege in office. And no, I'm not about to vote for Paul.

Steve, the point about Iraq is that had Gore been president, Iraq probably wouldn't even have come up. The Taliban was sheltering Al-Queda, in Afghanistan. Would President Gore really have pulled our resources from that and catching Osama to invade Iraq? I don't think that's likely at all.

Now, on the other hand, I expect the Republican Congress at the time would have done their best to impeach and slander President Gore, and blame him and Bill Clinton for 9/11. Assuming it even happened, since George W. Bush pulled investigators away from tracking Al Queda after he took office.

Brett: So, exactly how many people in the Clinton White House ended up convicted of anything, after all the investigations? And do your comments about obstruction of justice, perjury, and so on mean you think Scooter Libby should be rotting in jail, and also that it "implies" the Bush White House is as corrupt as you claim the Clinton administration was?

What Nate said.

Steve:

The Bush foreign policy team wanted to invade Iraq during Clinton's presidency. They (including Rummy, Wolfie and Armitage to name but a few) sent Clinton a letter pleading with him to invade. Clinton/Gore refused.

The primary foreign policy subject of the first principals meeting in the Bush White House (back in early 2001) was Iraq. The next few meetings - the same focus. While the Towers were still smoldering, Bush was asking Dick Clarke to figure out how to tie the attacks to Saddam, and Rummy and Wolfie were suggesting attacking Iraq regardless (better targets according to Rummy).

Over the ensuing year and a half, they manipulated intel, lied about al-Qaeda/Saddam connections, lied about a nuke program and used fear (mushroom clouds) to relentlessly hype a war.

Even then, fearing lack of domestic will, they timed the key votes around the election calendar in order to intimidate Democratic candidates into voting in favor.

Then, after inspectors were scouring Iraq - going to every single site that US intel told them to go to - turning up no WMD, Bush yanked them from the ground in order to invade.

Are you really saying that Gore would have been equally obsessed, equally mendacious, equally unconcerned about the lack of actual WMD turned up by inspectors and equally driven to construct this war out of whole cloth?

I tend to disagree. It took a unique monomania to invade Iraq.

Now, once a POTUS has so committed, you will get nods of approval from a lot more people than would have actually started the war themselves in the first place. For example, not every Senator and Representative that voted in favor of the Iraq resolution would have started such a war had she or he been in office.

Big, big difference.

Nate, I wrote a comment to follow Brett's but thought better before posting it. Brett has derailed thread after thread here into discussions of his view of the Great Clinton Conspiracy that delegitimizes any criticism of Republicans. Admittedly this time it's slightly more on topic (usually it just pops up in any thread about Republican corruption or Bush's authoritarianism), but I think it's best to just leave his comment there and move on. No one on either side is going to learn anything from another argument.

"And do your comments about obstruction of justice, perjury, and so on mean you think Scooter Libby should be rotting in jail"

Yup. Not nearly enough rotting in jail going on in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, if you ask me.

"and also that it "implies" the Bush White House is as corrupt as you claim the Clinton administration was?"

For all that it's mostly a different sort of corruption, again, yes. Bush's corruption seems to be mostly in the nature of usupations of power to further policy, while Clinton's was chiefly of an embarassingly venial sort. Though they've both made ventures into the other's primary turf.

I'd find this post an amusing example of special pleading if it was minimally informed about the politics of the discussion and aftermath of the war. But as it stands it's not even wrong.

I'm curious: Are you suggesting that I view usurpations of power as less serious than petty veniality?

This won't be the first time I've said this: Go ahead and impeach Bush: You'll doubtless do it out of the wrong motives, and bring a set of charges I'd in part disagree with, but I've no doubt he deserves it.

but I've no doubt he deserves it.

and much more.

Bill: Valid point, but Clinton justice in the end for ‘Skip’

Still wrong, Bill. Really, how many times must we tell you: in September 1991, when Vander Schaaf began the second phase of his investigation, George Bush was President. If your pal 'Skip' was investigated and condemned, this was the responsibility of the office of Inspector General at the Pentagon, at a time when Clinton was not President.

What? You want another 4 years of crazy? Hillary is the only one that won't fade when batsht repubs start shooting in the general. Obama? He'll wilt at the first salvo. Plus, she ain't Bill. Your blind to think the wife is a blood relative. I had problems with him to but I expect a hard left turn once she's elected. Imagine this: President Gulliani, President Romney...yeah that's right.

Brett: You'll doubtless do it out of the wrong motives

Because the desire to bring a criminal to justice is a "wrong motive"? The desire to stop a criminal President from urinating in the nation's cornflakes is a "wrong motive"? What pure motives would you accept - that Bush should be impeached because he's the kind of guy who mocks condemned criminals?

Very nicely done! The only thing Publius omitted was the dynastic angle, but that's pretty obvious anyway.

HRC aside, I just wish I could have a little faith in even *one* of the Dem front-runners. Compared to the GOP nutcases and whores, they look palatable, but....

Great post.

I think you are right: the time of scared-of-your-own-shadow Democrats has come and passed.

"Vote for Hillary. Give her two years to absolutely f--- the Republican Party out of pure, steely-eyed, vengeance."

Hanging out as I do on a variety of right-wing sites (you all know what a Repub I am), I can tell you that if she thought Bill was the target of the VRWC, she hasn't seen anything at all yet. The power of the 'net is much greater now than it was then. The right feels that Bush has been treated unfairly by the MSM. Most of you would probably laugh at this, but I can assure the feeling is there. If HRC is elected, the acrimony of the Bush years will pale in comparison. For that matter, if any Dem is elected that will be the case. Is that a good thing? No. So how do we get back to politics without the hatred? Or was our system ever really not like it is today? I've heard people say they thought things have never been this divisive, but that is demonstrably untrue. Too much rage all around...

I haven't had a chance to read through the entire comments thread yet (I like to take my time when reading them here at ObWi), but might as well share this video mashup I made about the dynasty idea before I go much further:

youtube

Groundhogs Day vs. Bush/Clinton, I know, childish.

For that matter, if any Dem is elected that will be the case. Is that a good thing?

It is certainly better than the prospects ahead for the US if another Republican is elected or appointed.

So how do we get back to politics without the hatred?

"The right" who think that Bush is being "treated unfairly" because the MSM are sometimes less than enthusiastic about the worst President the US has ever had, need to get over themselves. I doubt this is going to happen, but you asked.

From what people tell me who recall the reaction of "the right" to the 1992 election (I wasn't paying much attention to US politics/news back then), "the right" seemed to feel it was unfair that George Bush was only "allowed" one term in office, and reacted with an unprecedented level of hatred and non-cooperation - because Clinton won two elections in a row.

Others say that this is the reaction of "the right" to Nixon being forced out of office and Jimmy Carter winning the election in 1976. (I was nine: I can't say I was even really aware of UK politics then.)

How do you think "the right" could come to be less full of hate and rage, readier to accept that Bush was a terrible President and that the contempt so many Americans feel for him is fully justified? Do you think "the right" on the blogs you hang out on, could bring themselves to give up the notion of "Bush Derangement Syndrome", which is used to tag anyone now for even saying in public they didn't vote for Bush?

The right feels that Bush has been treated unfairly by the MSM. Most of you would probably laugh at this, but I can assure the feeling is there.

Don't doubt that at all.

If HRC is elected, the acrimony of the Bush years will pale in comparison. For that matter, if any Dem is elected that will be the case. Is that a good thing? No. So how do we get back to politics without the hatred?

I would hope if folks would realize the fundamental hypocrisy in themselves if they attacked Clinton despite their feeling about the Bush years.

"The right" who think that Bush is being "treated unfairly" because the MSM are sometimes less than enthusiastic about the worst President the US has ever had, need to get over themselves. I doubt this is going to happen, but you asked.

Hilarious. Well done Jes.

"I would hope if folks would realize the fundamental hypocrisy in themselves if they attacked Clinton despite their feeling about the Bush years."

So those of you who are certain Bush has committed impeachable offenses, but still insist Clinton was impeached for a blowjob are any better?

"which is used to tag anyone now for even saying in public they didn't vote for Bush?"

No, it's used to tag people who profess their hatred of intolerance and totalitarianism, but will snuggle up to Chavez and Ahmadinejad just because they use childish rhetoric WRT Bush.

Crimso, the phrase "Bush Derangement Syndrome" has been used to attack a lot more people than the vanishingly small number of Bush opponents who have embraced Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

"From what people tell me who recall the reaction of "the right" to the 1992 election (I wasn't paying much attention to US politics/news back then), "the right" seemed to feel it was unfair that George Bush was only "allowed" one term in office, and reacted with an unprecedented level of hatred and non-cooperation - because Clinton won two elections in a row."

I recall it quite well. Just not that way.

"Hilarious."

I agree. Just not for the same reasons.

"vanishingly small number of Bush opponents who have embraced Chavez and Ahmadinejad."

Considering Chavez's reception at the UN and the number of high profile individuals who have sucked up to those guys, I simply can't credit them as existing in vanishingly small numbers.

So those of you who are certain Bush has committed impeachable offenses, but still insist Clinton was impeached for a blowjob are any better?

Clinton was impeached as the culmination of a ludicrous-if-not-so-serious attacks on him. Despite a fullscale investigation that lasted for years and cost millions, nothing was discovered that could be used against him except that, on being asked if he'd had sex with Lewinsky, he lied.

We know Bush has committed criminal offenses while in office - he's admitted to the warrantless wiretapping, at least, and we suspect he may be guilty of more - or else guilty of keeping himself carefully ignorant of the criminal behavior of Cheney, Rove, and Gonzales.

If you think it's "no better" to get offended by a President who commits serious crimes in office, than to be offended by a President lying about an affair, you have no moral judgement. Seriously. The outing of Valerie Plame, and Bush's lies about it, and his final cover-up by pardon, was in and of itself enough to justify impeaching Bush. The warrantless wiretapping, same. Hell, the disaster that led to September 11 justified a thorough, independent, investigation, with power to subpoena and question under oath the President and the Vice President - which might have led to impeachment. Certainly September 11 was more serious than Monica Lewinsky, don't you think?

No, it's used to tag people who profess their hatred of intolerance and totalitarianism, but will snuggle up to Chavez and Ahmadinejad just because they use childish rhetoric WRT Bush.

Nope. "BDS" is used here to tag four women whose offense was that they held up a handwritten sign on the back of a menu to say they didn't vote for Bush. I've seen "BDS" used to tag all sorts of people, invariably to avoid having the discussion turn to Bush's actions and inactions.

"four women whose offense was that they held up a handwritten sign on the back of a menu to say they didn't vote for Bush."

I think the BDS accusation in this (one) instance is because a lot of people simply can't figure out what that has to do with bridge.

"We know Bush has committed criminal offenses while in office - he's admitted to the warrantless wiretapping, at least, and we suspect he may be guilty of more - or else guilty of keeping himself carefully ignorant of the criminal behavior of Cheney, Rove, and Gonzales."

I'm not a lawyer, but I've seen a number of them argue that the wiretapping is quite legal, and has been upheld numerous times in the past (just not when Bush was Pres, so, you know, I think we can begin to see the real problem here). And you want him impeached because you suspect he's done other things. I hope to Hell you're not a lawyer.

Brett: Interesting. A couple questions. If you think Bush should be impeached, shouldn't you be pushing Republicans to do it?

And if you think "we" will bring impeachment articles against Bush for "the wrong motives", what would be the right motives?

"If you think it's "no better" to get offended by a President whom I assert has committed serious crimes in office, than to be offended by a President committing perjury, you have no moral judgement."

There, fixed that for you.

So those of you who are certain Bush has committed impeachable offenses, but still insist Clinton was impeached for a blowjob are any better?

Well, generally, that WOULD be our problem-but I think the problem you alluded to earlier would be helped if people admitted their own problematic behavior and worked to correct that. There's a fundamental disconnect there--trying to solve a problem by trying to apply the same wrong to the other side.

Considering Chavez's reception at the UN...

US voters? US citizens?

Are you really arguing that BDS is reserved for international leftists and the fringe elements in the US that like A-Jad but hate Bush?

but that is a large number...or something?

The right feels that Bush has been treated unfairly by the MSM.

This is obviously some strange new definition of "MSM" that does not include Fox News, AM radio, all broadcast news shows with the occasional exception of 60 Minutes, all newspapers outside of about 5 urban markets, and half of the newspapers there.

I swear, if the New York Times didn't exist, RedState wouldn't know what to talk about.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've seen a number of them argue that the wiretapping is quite legal
Are any of these lawyers not members of the administration or other Republican hacks? Hell, even some members of the administration threatened to resign about an earlier incarnation of the wiretapping program, until it was changed.

What, you mean The Nation and Mother Jones aren't the MSM? Doesn't the average American have them on their coffee table?

"I understand some lawyers said it was legal and above board" Strange, but this is not an argument that I would regard as fundamental to deciding what I could live with, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

"Are you really arguing that BDS is reserved for international leftists and the fringe elements in the US that like A-Jad but hate Bush?"

You're the one who characterized it as "vanishingly small." I believe (not know, but believe) that it is a tad more than fringe elements.

"There's a fundamental disconnect there--trying to solve a problem by trying to apply the same wrong to the other side."

So you oppose impeaching Bush?

"This is obviously some strange new definition of "MSM" that does not include Fox News, AM radio, all broadcast news shows with the occasional exception of 60 Minutes, all newspapers outside of about 5 urban markets, and half of the newspapers there."

This is so far off of what I see every single day that we'll have to agree to disagree on this point. Unless you can direct me to a scholarly study indicating the conservative bias in the MSM.

"Hell, even some members of the administration threatened to resign about an earlier incarnation of the wiretapping program, until it was changed."

And this automatically makes it illegal? I'll stipulate that some lawyers believe it to be illegal, if you'll stipulate that some believe it to be legal. How many court rulings have upheld surveillance of international phone calls as legal versus illegal? I don't know the answer to this, BTW. But I would imagine that if even one could be used to bash Bush, it would be on t-shirts and bumper stickers all across this great land of ours.

"not an argument that I would regard as fundamental to deciding what I could live with"

Can you live with what a court decides is legal or not? If so, then how about we let the courts decide? My reference to lawyers that argue it's legal is to indicate that, at the very least, it's an unresolved question. Some here seem to argue from the standpoint that it's clearly illegal, and has been held to be so by SCOTUS.

Crimso, I have not come across one single person in America who likes Ahmedinejad. I'm sure some exist, just as there are undoubtedly people who adore Charles Manson, or Pol Pot. You know, nuts. But you seem to imply that anyone who likes (or doesn't hate) Chavez likes Ahmed~ as well. Why do you group these two men together?

A fair number of people, myself included, think Chavez has been treated unfairly by the Bush Administration and the MSM, who seem to think that anybody who opposes American interests must be a bad guy. I'm not a big fan, but he does seem to be doing better for his country's people and economy than most South American regimes have. That does not make me even a little more sympathetic to Ahmedinejad, about whom the best that can be said is that he is powerless.

As for wiretapping, okay, you're not a lawyer. But do you understand the difference between wiretapping with a warrant, and wiretapping without a warrant? Sure, wiretapping with a warrant has been upheld, even if the tappers got a little overenthusiastic and exceeded the warrant a little. Just like cops get a break on all sorts of minor infractions. But not without any warrant at all. If you think you've seen people say that some lawyer has said otherwise...one of the people in that chain is mistaken. But I can't teach you Fourth Amendment law while standing on one foot, you're going to have to go read up on it. I hope you do -- I think it's very valuable to find out what rights we all used to have. I hear some people hate us for our freedom. If so, we should respect that freedom even more, and find out about it, even if we're not lawyers. There's nothing mystical about legal reasoning, it just requires time and attention.

You appear to think that many of the people on this site are biased, and knee-jerk Bush haters. I don't know how to tell you this, but there's a reason the masthead here uses the phrase "voice of moderation." Other than Jesurgislac, this is not where the hardline lefties hang out. Go back through past comments and posts here, and you'll see a lot of people (including me) saying that they always thought they were middle of the road, until the right went over the cliff. I'm not sure anybody here started out biased against Bush. Many of us are now, after several years, because he has been so consistently bad.

I can see that someone new to the conversation, not knowing where we came from, could assume otherwise. Check out the archives. You'll see a lot of careful reasoning that, over time, has brought most of the community here to lose patience with Bush. I recommend Katherine's series on torture, in particular.

How many court rulings have upheld surveillance of international phone calls as legal versus illegal? I don't know the answer to this, BTW.

What are you talking about, Crimso? If a court is applied to for a warrant to wiretap an individual's phone calls, that becomes legal. If no court is applied to - neither before or after the wiretapping - then the surveillance is illegal. No court has upheld Bush's publicly claimed "right" to monitor the phone calls of US citizens without obtaining a warrant. It doesn't matter if you, Crimso, are calling your aunt in Florida or your friend in England: while Bush claims the right to have your calls to England wiretapped without getting a warrant, and claims that opposition to that "right" is being "soft on terrorism", it's illegal.

" How many court rulings have upheld surveillance of international phone calls as legal versus illegal? "

Kind of an irrelevant question as that is not what was being alluded to.

"This is so far off of what I see every single day that we'll have to agree to disagree on this point."

I believe you are the one talking about a liberal bias. Where is your scholarly study? Or at least provide a significant number of examples of the media being unfair to Bush where they have presented falsehoods in doing so the way the media did against Gore and Kerry.

"I recall it quite well. Just not that way."

Time for you to have your memory checked.

"will snuggle up to Chavez and Ahmadinejad just because they use childish rhetoric WRT Bush."

Please give names of influential people on the left who have done so.


Crimso: If so, then how about we let the courts decide?

Good plan, Crimso. That's what the law requires, in fact. Bush's claim that he gets to wiretap any phonecalls you make to people outside the US without letting the courts decide is illegal.

"You're the one who characterized it as 'vanishingly small.' I believe (not know, but believe) that it is a tad more than fringe elements."

Arguing about undefined terms is always useless. If you want to make an actual point, offer a metric with a relevant number, whether absolute, or as a percentage of a relevant set of people, and offer a cite that demonstrates that that number is credible.

If you don't want to make an actual point, don't.

This is advice I offer all around, frankly. Life is too short to spend time arguing about undefined, subjective, terms, and metaphors, since it's all subjective, by definition, and forever unprovable, until you go the metric-with-the-credible-number route.

Whatever the topic, and under almost all circumstances.

Crimso, if you're in favor of letting the courts decide, then can I assume you're opposed to having Congress usurp the courts' function by granting the telecom companies retroactive immunity for participating in the spying?

"Where is your scholarly study?"

http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Media-Bias-Is-Real-Finds-UCLA-6664.aspx?RelNum=6664

Here's one that took about 15 sec to locate. Got one that goes the other way? Strike that. I'm sure you can find one, and I don't have the time to compile a list of every single study that's been done. As I said, agree to disagree.

How many court rulings have upheld surveillance of international phone calls as legal versus illegal? I don't know the answer to this, BTW. But I would imagine that if even one could be used to bash Bush, it would be on t-shirts and bumper stickers all across this great land of ours.

Oddly enough, court rulings seldom fit on t-shirts and bumper stickers. When did you last see a "Hamdi was right" shirt? Yes, there have been some court rulings. No, I don't have time to go look them up for you. No offense, but if you're going to say that nobody has done X, why not take 5 minutes to google it first?

"Some here seem to argue"

Who? When? Who said SCOTUS?
Is it possible that you are confusing us here with some kneejerk lefties who exist in your imagination? You never attribute or cite. This is not a way to win arguments among people who use logic.

This is so far off of what I see every single day that we'll have to agree to disagree on this point. Unless you can direct me to a scholarly study indicating the conservative bias in the MSM.

Actually, I was talking about the lack of anti-Bush bias. Since that was, you know, the topic you raised. If you believe that any media source that does not have a conservative bias is anti-Bush, then to borrow your phrase, "you know, I think we can begin to see the real problem here." How about an objective source that reports what happened? And if it turns out to be bad, does not fall all over itself trying to massage the facts in favor of Bush?

We may indeed have to agree to disagree, but, just for laughs, how about you collect the "anti-Bush" material you see in the next 24 hours, since you say you see it every single day, and meet me back here? But one thing: leave out every single piece of anti-Bush material that you don't know to be false or misleading. And if you want to slam some story for not giving all the context that would make things look better for Bush, only count the ones that give less context than most news stories give for anything they cover.

I learned a long time ago that if you're determined to see bias, you can find it anywhere. The trick is to step back and ask what you can prove.

You might also go over to the Project Censored website, or Media Matters, or the Columbia Journalism Review site, and see which "anti-Bush" stories are NOT being aired daily -- even though as far as anyone can tell, they're true.


"Time for you to have your memory checked."

Make you a deal. If you let me decide what my memories are, I'll let you decide what yours are.

"Please give names of influential people on the left who have done so."

Sean Penn, Cindy Sheehan, Harry Belafonte. I know. They're not influential people on the left, correct?

Correct.

Sean Penn, Cindy Sheehan, Harry Belafonte. I know. They're not influential people on the left, correct?

Correct. So if you knew that, why did you bring their names up?

"will snuggle up to Chavez and Ahmadinejad just because they use childish rhetoric WRT Bush."

Please give names of influential people on the left who have done so.

Not very useful without an objective definition of what constitutes "snuggling up."

"If you believe that any media source that does not have a conservative bias is anti-Bush"

A fair point.

Unfortunately, I have to go. I may check back later this evening, but might not have the time. I am not going away (unless the proprietors request that I do so). Since my nemesis, Gary Farber, just arrived, I'll be interested in what additional comments (if any) he may have (actually, I'm kidding about the nemesis thing; our little go around the other day was really not intended to be insulting or disrepectful to any of you, and if anyone here feels they are due an apology from me then I am sorry for any offense).

Now, off to waterboard a few liberals...

See also: the need for a definition of "influential on the left."

Which, of course, also requires a definition of "the left."

If it's okay with you, I may not wait around for the definitive conclusion of this no doubt engrossing, and highly original, debate.

"Not very useful without an objective definition of what constitutes "snuggling up." "

Or, apparently, "influential people on the left." Okay, I'm really going now.

Great minds think alike, eh Mr. Farber? (Definitely last comment for a while)

I would think that "influential people" as a term is not the same as "well known" person.

"Since my nemesis, Gary Farber, just arrived, I'll be interested in what additional comments (if any) he may have"

No more than I've said; I've read the thread since it started.

There are plenty of posts where I choose to say little or nothing, for a variety of reasons, including, but hardly limited to, my opinion that the signal/noise ratio of much of the discussion is too low, or it's a discussion I'm weary of, or it's not something I feel particularly qualified to discuss, or or it's not a topic I find productive, or (occasionally) because it makes me too mad, or for plenty of other possible reasons, not even counting the non-content-related ones.

Generally speaking, topics like "Clintons: Awful Or Terrible?," or abortion, gun control, Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux, and other perennials, aren't ones I choose to spend time on any more, as well.

But most of all, I meant what I said about the pointlessness of spending time discussing people's subjective terms: I'd rather do something more useful, like vacuum cats, or try to figure out how invisible people can see with an invisible retina.

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