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January 09, 2008

Comments

Sebastian, how am I supposed to keep up my irrational dislike of all things conservative if you keep being reasonable in the comments?

This is why I want to vote *for* Obama- I want a president who may be liberal but understands he's president of an entire country, not just the 27% (or whatever it works out to) that voted for him. That includes lucid conservatives. I don't think Clinton will ever really feel that way.

Jesurgislac, your comments in this thread have been somewhat astounding.

According to you, if a black person finds a white person's comments racist, and the white person disagrees, that's it. The white person is wrong.

According to you, if a woman finds a man's comments sexist and the man disagrees, that's it, it's sexist. It's stupid and misogynistic for a man to try and tell a woman why he disagrees.

How about we actually use reason and discuss why the remark is or isn't racist, or sexist, rather than blindly deciding that automatically the "victim" has final says. Really, that you are saying something like this is astonishing to me.

Can you please actually give some reasons for why it is sexist to be critical of her character, or to be unhappy with the fact that she is surrounding herself with her husband and his associates?

Here's my read on the sexism issue: IT'S ONLY NEW HAMPSHIRE PEOPLE!! Why are we reading so much into an open primary from a tiny state at this point?

It's A factor. I don't think it's THE factor.

I think it's myopic either to over-emphasize it or to under-emphasize it. But the contribution can change on a dynamic basis. And that's where passing events can temporarily magnify it.

Although if folks keep picking at it (or ignoring it), sexism WILL become a major issue---and in a way opposite to their intention.

RE: Eric Martin...

His voting record in the Senate is just about identical to Clinton's on all foreign policy votes, and almost all domestic policy votes. Yet she caves, and he doesn't? Interesting.

And how many votes is that? That's his whole record? Perhaps the Senate has had some other votes as well? And you do realize, that unlike hillary, Obama had a legislative record before becoming Senator?

Sebastian:

"How about the fact that she (Clinton) is on a stated case against conservatism and feels that she has been fighting against "us" for at least 15 years, while Obama disagrees but doesn't seem to hate."

Well, at this point in the Iliad of the past 37 years of "us" (not you) fulminating against the entire edifice of liberalism and pledging far and wide to vanguish every bit of it back to 1932, and then making Bill and Hillary the personal embodiment of all that is horrible about liberalism, the baby boom generation, government, cultural and social change, etc ...... that (to use another one of my tortured, but obscure, analogies) Achilles (Hillary) might want to not only slay Hector, but drag him around the battlefield by his ankles for a good long while.

She's a hard-bitten warrior, which is both admirable and her Achilles heel.

That said, ending that crap is why Obama is so attractive and seemingly shorn of the past enmities.

That also said, if he wins the nomination and the Presidency, it may be that he is merely unbaptized in battle (Redstate has already stated, as has Mr. Thompson, that Obama will ruin the country).

Obama might be like my father-in-law in WWII, who had to have a hot hunk of shrapnel whiz past his crotch and his face on his third mission over Europe before it came to him, as he put it, that "those SOBs are trying to kill me!"

Which is why, when Obama wins the nomination, he will make a phone call to Hillary and ask to borrow her brass balls, because Hector ain't dead yet.

femdem said it first and shorter and better.

And how many votes is that? That's his whole record? Perhaps the Senate has had some other votes as well? And you do realize, that unlike hillary, Obama had a legislative record before becoming Senator?

Not sure exactly what you're getting at here Mr. F.

Obama votes like Hillary in the Senate. His votes (and rhetoric) as a state senator and US senatorial candidate were more progressive than his record as a US Senator. That is good and bad, but doesn't help the contention that he doesn't cave.

Obama proposes policies that are like Hillary's during this campaign - only his domestic agenda is to the right of hers.

My point about the above is that it's curious to me that Clinton gets the rap as a conservative, status quo type while Obama is lauded as a progressive agent of change. Given their respective records and policy prescriptions, there seems to be a disconnect.

Unless you're trying to devalue female perceptions of sexism against male perceptions of sexism, I think your question was answered in the preceding sentence.

Nope, doesn't quite answer it: It's not that I am trying to devalue female perceptions of sexism against male perceptions of sexism. I'm trying to figure out why either sex's "perceptions" are worth much of anything. They are, by definition, perceptions.

I would also point you to byrningman's comment, above.

SH: "Even if the Clinton's were totally innocent in all slime-doing at the beginning, I don't see what that has to do with the fact that at this point she feels she cannot talk to/deal with/do anything other than fight with anyone who is a conservative. That includes me, so I can't vote for her. Obama isn't that and voting on that basis isn't sexism."

Clinton has run on the her record in NY of reaching out to all voters. She has a long track record in the Senate of working with Republicans, including conservative ones. She's deep into some rather alarming-to-this-secularist religious/cultish breakfast thing with a bunch of hard-right people. It's a big reason I'd rather vote for someone else.


novakant: "even if it only means that people who have supported this blood soaked trainwreck"

As I've said here a zillion times, HRC voted for the AUMF for liberal-interventionist reasons/consistency with her arguments against the conservatives who attacked Bill/political expediency (that is, looking to minimize the damage to the D brand which the post-invasion discovery of a few chemical warheads would have done) while saying invading would be a bad idea, and said after the invasion it had set a bad precedent, so "support" is plain wrong, esp. since it was going to happen however she voted.

Maybe it is nice to link to a new post by John Cole:

I could not believe the way the media and allegedly liberal folks had joined with the GOP to make sure Hillary was not allowed to run a campaign. She responds, she is “defensive.” She raises legitimate questions about Obama, she is “attacking.” She responds to stupid questions, she is “shrill” and “angry.”

Seriously- as a long time former Clinton hater myself, I was kind of shocked to see it develop like this. I guess there was some element of liking to stick it to the king, and the Clinton’s have been the king (collectively) for a while now, but I just couldn’t believe that so many Democrats would sign on with the media and the NRO crowd to trash Hillary. But they did.

At any rate, I know this is going to ruffle a lot of feathers, but I think the real reason Clinton won was that she was offering something of substance. Obama is offering lofty rhetoric and “hope.” Clinton has plans.


I think Sebastian has a right to fear Clinton. If she wins, with control of Congress, she will kick the asses of right-wingers and their pet theories.

I think Clinton can play hard-ball like no one else.

I had a longer comment this morning that typepad decided was spam, but the gist of it was: Why go looking for an “…ism” here? I’ll see if I can sneak by a comment with just one link…

All the way back in mid November (seems like an eternity in this race) polls showed Iowa very tight, with Obama having the advantage if the youth/uncommitted vote turned out while HRC had NH locked up. (PDF)

This poll had HRC taking NH with 37%. Her actual was 39%. Not too shabby… (It did not have McCain as the winner though he was tied for second. But the R side has never had two clear front runners, even to this point.)

Among NH Democrats, 53% of Clinton supporters had their minds made up back in November, before most of the stuff being talked about here occurred. 62% of Clinton supporters strongly favored their candidate. "Nearly eight in 10 say she has prepared herself well enough to handle the job of president, as opposed to less than half who feel that way about Obama and Edwards."

Among HRC supporters, only 7% said the reason was because she was a woman. Among likely voters, 68% thought HRC had the best chance of winning vs. 14% for Obama.

Again, this was in November – before any of these recent events that are being used to justify anti-sexism backlash as the reason for her win.

Jes,
Er, if all you know of Clinton is what the media lets you see, you are letting the media tell you about her "manner". Aren't you? If you want to know what her manner is without media filtering, you need to attend an event at which she's speaking. Have you?

Surely you're aware that you can watch entire speeches on various channels or on youtube.
Besides which, this is a bizarre criteria. I don't know that I've ever watched an entire GWB speech (and certainly never in person), but I feel comfortable with my opinions about his oratory & what it says about him.
btw, do *you* have an opinion about GWB or Mike Huckabee? Ever heard either of them speak in person?

Yes. She is. And none of the Republican candidates running for President have failed to play the gender card of making clear they're men running for President.

And yet, she's not running against them yet, except in the minds of her supporters. Obama has managed to avoid talking up his race, yet several GOP candidates have played on the Fear of the Brown Menace. In this area, Obama has seriously outclassed Hillary. Comparing her to the GOP is disingenuous, a tacit admission of her failure.

If a black person told you a comment you'd made about Obama came across as racist, would you tell them to shut up, as a white person you know much better than they do what's racist and what isn't?
Men telling women that they're wrong when they perceive comments as sexist comes across as exactly as stupid as that.

but later As a feminist, I'm wearily resigned to the fact that in 2008, men will publicly insist that women are no better at identifying sexism than they are, and will claim that women attempting to explain what they mean by sexism aren't trying to have an "open rational debate" but are... presumably, we're doing something odd and feminine, but obviously, since we're women, when we state what we mean we're not being "open and rational", are we?

So, you want to have a rational debate, but if I tell you that I disagree, that's me being "stupid". You can claim to always be right by virtue of your chromosomes, and you can claim to want rational discussion- but please limit yourself to one of those.

Jegurgislac, Shinobi-

Some of my antipathy to Hillary is based on a visceral, gut-level reaction, yes. I find her arrogant, condescending, phony, manipulative. Note that I said that I have the same gut level reaction to male politicians of both parties (Gore, Kerry, Romney). Note that I have criticized what were, in my view, sexist criticisms of her (raising her voice at the debate = shrill). Let me be crystal clear in stating my abhorrence for people who refer to her as a b*tch, harpy, etc. But let me also state that the existence of such people does not automatically mean ANY criticism of her personality is invalid. Note also that I respect her accomplishments and have never criticized her for them. I don't see any sexism here, and if you provide an explanation as to what I'm missing, I'd like to hear it. I don't think Hillary would make a good President, partially because of her personality, and I won't vote for her, partially because of her personality. It IS possible to viscerally dislike a woman for reasons other than that she's a woman. Again, I don't see the sexism.

Criticizing her for appealing to feminist identity politics isn't sexist any more than criticizing Huckabee for appealing to Christian identity politics betrays anti-Christian bigotry - both are inappropriate and irresponsible politicking in my view and both should be called out.

But if you feel nominating Hillary for President will vindicate 60's feminism, by all means, go ahead. Moderates, conservatives, and independents who would vote for Obama but won't vote for her are obviously pretty numerous, judging from data and anecdotal evidence alike, so don't be surprised if she doesn't win.

Eric,
He says "change" a lot, but his actual policies represent less change than Edwards and, domestically, Clinton.

My perception of Clinton is that she moves with political circumstances. Voting for the Iraq war and Kyl-Lieberman as examples. Whereas Obama has struck me as someone who is more principled.
Also, Obama is a better speaker- and therefore I expect he'll be able to make his case to the public and therefore maintain the necessary public opinion to get policies enacted.
Yes, he will be slimed by the GOP machine. But it won't be two decades worth of sliming compressed into 12 months. And (opinion again) he seems to be a principled-enough person that sliming might not be as effective. This isn't Hillary's fault, but it does suggest that she'd be less effective.

Maybe Im wrong about Obama- but a big part of the calculation for me is that the worst-case scenario for him is IMO about where Hillary is now (ie someone who talks a good game but practices political expediency).

As wonkie said: I think Obama's problem is that he is making speeches to the nation when he needs to be making speeches to Democratic primary and caucus voters.
That is, Obama is maybe telling us what he really plans to do rather than what he thinks we want to hear. A feature, not a bug.

Obama votes like Hillary in the Senate.

Obviously, they don't vote identically (eg Kyl-Lieberman). You appear to be minimizing this difference over and over again. Kyl-Lieberman was *really bad* IMO. She gave GWB the keys once, and he wrecked the car. It took her years to express halfhearted remorse, and then she goes and does it again...
Pretending that their voting records are functionally identical suggests that you don't want to have that debate. I can't say that I blame you.

FWIW, I think that is a completely valid point.

great, sorry if it sounded as if was trying to pin you down on this matter

so "support" is plain wrong, esp. since it was going to happen however she voted

you have a strange view of democracy and accountability: if I'm against invasion, I don't vote for the authorization of military force; if I vote for it, I have supported it with my vote and am accountable for that vote, no matter what kind of misgivings or tactical considerations I have or might have had - talk is cheap

I think Clinton can play hard-ball like no one else.

on what do you base this?

has she played even a single inning of hard-ball her entire time in the Senate ? has she fought for anything important or controversial ? has she championed any cause through to the end ? are there any instances of her kicking ass and/or taking names ? where has she shown that she can out-maneuver her political opponents ?

Eric, when I compare the respective voting records of the three candidates I include the records of Edward and Clinton prior to the time Obama got into the Senate. Clinton and Edwards both became better liberals when it became easier for them to be. When the going was tough, not so much.

I also don't think the specifics of thier policy proposals matter now. Congress wirites laws anyway. No candidaate is going to be able to deliver exactly what they are proposing now.

I think it is much more important, given the similarities of the candidates at this point in time, to discuss electability, effect on down ticket races, appeal to independents, and ability to draw young and new voters in.

We need to distinguish between sexism and misogyny. Sexism affects men, often more severely. And women are rvery emiss in not acknowedging that. In my Manhattan circle of parents in the 1970s, all of us were struggling earnestly to implement nonsexist childrearing. It was significantly easier for parents of girls. After all, when girls strive to emulate formerly "masculine" behavior, they are merely seen as upwardly mobile. Giving boys more freedom to explore conventionally "feminine" behavior was seen as raising them to be gay. Parents of boys were castigated in elevators, on buses, and in the street if their sons' hair was too long, if their color preference were suspect, if they carried baby dolls. God help them if they polished their nails or dressed up in their moms far more attractive clothes. By 2, "big boys don't cry."

Men have every right to be pissed at women for a double standard.

To be more pithy, women are often guilty of being sexist pigs toward men, but men rarely make that accusation because such a complaint might be seen as girly.

I think it is much more important, given the similarities of the candidates at this point in time, to discuss electability, effect on down ticket races, appeal to independents, and ability to draw young and new voters in.

exactly.

with Obama, you get independents and soft-GOPers voting for him, which can't hurt down-ticket races. he inspires even those who don't agree with his policies. the press loves him.

with Hillary, you get someone who the press hates, who offers a chance for us to relive the political scandals of 1998, who will drive away soft-GOPers (esp. if the alternative is McCain), who even makes many liberals cringe.

i'll be very disappointed if the Dems throw away this chance.

Shinobi,
That is not to say that having any negative visceral reaction to someone is inherently sexist. But there is no way to know if those reactions actually are sexist.

I think we can know, or at least know more. I know that I've enthusiastically supported & volunteered for hispanic and black candidates in the past; if I don't like a particular minority candidate, I think I can be pretty sure (based on that and on internal reflection) that it isn't based on racism.
To further Xenyon's point- it is not de facto sexist to say that a woman politician lacks toughness. It is sexist to claim that a woman politician lacks toughness if she displays the same amount of toughness as male politicians who don't receive this label. Obviously, that can never be as clean-cut and easy a distinction to see as merely labeling all criticism on these lines out-of-bounds, but otherwise we're restricted in the discussions we can have about certain categories of candidates.

It's clear that there is plenty of criticism of Hillary that is based on sexism, and even more that relies on sexist categorization. In fact, Id say that she's suffering from this a great deal more than Obama is suffering from racism and racist categorization. Id go so far as to say that, despite the fact that she's used identity politics more than Obama has, she would've been the victim of more *ism-based criticism anyway. Racism is just too obvious and ugly to be blatantly used by mainstream sources except in the most oblique way, but sexism can still play in Peoria.

But Hillary supporters shouldn't hide behind that in their efforts to tout their preferred candidate. I am allowed to not like Hillary, and that doesn't necessarily mean Im a sexist jerk.

bc-, Jake sounds like a great kid and you like a great father. I take care of my 8-month-old grandson three days a week. It is the best job I have ever dad. One of my daughters pointed out this is the first time I know what I am doing and don't have several other children preventing me from doing what I know.

"It is the best job I have ever had, not I have ever dad." Is that a Freudian slip?

We need to distinguish between sexism and misogyny. Sexism affects men, often more severely.

First, I don't see how someone could reasonably claim that women find it easy to appropriate men's roles in society. I certainly wouldn't base a conclusion like this solely on a single example of infant play-patterns.
Yes, women can wear pants & skirts to the office, where men only get to wear pants. But that's such a trivial example compared to the real-world consequences of sexism that it's almost embarrassing to bring it up. A boy with a Barbie might get more flack than a girl with a toy hammer, but please don't try to extend that to claiming that women on construction crews therefore have it easier than male dancers.

She gave GWB the keys once, and he wrecked the car. It took her years to express halfhearted remorse, and then she goes and does it again.

Well, I didn't like her vote on back then, or on this. But I did not read it with the same degree of war-like inevitability as others. First of all, it wasn't exactly handing the keys over. There was a reason to enact this legislation - having to do with facilitating certain sanctions by gaining the terrorist designation.

I would also note that if she really did hand over the keys, George has been oddly hesitant about turning the ignition.

But then, I don't see military conflict with Iran happening during the remaining days of Bush's presidency, and have been saying so for years. I could be wrong, though. Unfortunately.

Clinton and Edwards both became better liberals when it became easier for them to be. When the going was tough, not so much.

But Obama too. Some of his earlier votes were pretty bad along the liberal spectrum.

I can understand the electability, down-ticket arguments mentioned above. I can understand the argument about her vote on the Iraq war.

But what I don't understand are the arguments that Obama is more progressive than Clinton, that he is more consistent, or that he is going to represent some great "change" from the status quo.

I'd be ecstatic if he were elected, but then, I would be equally so if she got the nod. Just the thought of someone as intelligent and in command of the issues as her in the oval office would put a smile on my face for many months. As would an Obama win for similar reasons - but I give her a slight preference along these lines. And that's mostly why I prefer her - but with excitement for both.

Edwards too for the record.

von, just out of curiosity, can you explain your first two choices being Obama and McCain? There's very little similarity between them. Especially given McCain's behavior the past few years.

Never liked Hillary but I did feel that she got savaged in the last few days and, as a woman, I felt empathetic towards her, particularly over the tears episode. One of the few times I thought she was genuinely herself and didn't think she should take any flak for that.

But, while I felt her pain and exhaustion were real, I also will never forget that she has done nothing to stop the war in Iraq, stop torture, stop the wanted war with Iran. Obama has done a bit better -- not a lot, but some. And he seems more able to get people to go along with him, and he's willing to talk to Iran. In a race between the two of them, he's my candidate hands down.

Hillary doesn't seem as insane as GWB, but other than sanity, what real differences are there between them?

Svensker: In terms of policy, of course, not nearly enough separates Clinton from the movement conservative machine. But then policy isn't the only consideration. Keeping in mind that virtually everything the machine says about the rest of the world is projection, the ongoing obsession with the need to humiliate defeated enemies suggests that they will themselves need to be humiliated as well as simply removed from leadership. This is a very advantage Clinton has: no other candidate's victory would strike the enemies of competence, law, and prosperity so deeply personally. I don't think that all by itself that's a sufficient reason to support her - the rest of the country really deserves better policy - but I don't discount that humiliation factor as something we ought to take seriously.

To save a few rounds of forestallable posting: yes, I actually do mean this. When I read posts like Von's, Sebastian's, and Xeynon's about this woman, who with her husband has been the target of abuse I think unrivalled in national discourse since the end of the J. Edgar Hoover days, and how she's just a big ol' meanie that doesn't like people like them, I do think that humiliation is an appropriate response. The machine that orchestrated the attacks on her and all the allegedly intelligent decent people who went along with them are really bad for America, and that sort of garbage needs to be crushed and driven out of civil society as a disgusting embarrassment. If Clinton's presence in office would be a perpetual humiliation to her enemies, then it might be worth it even though her policies are far from ideal, because we won't have a working social order so long as that kind of thing still flourishes.

So yes, I am saying that some of the regulars have made themselves part of the probem when it comes to any possibility of a decent, healthy American polity, and yes, I am wishing for them along with millions of like-minded others to experience shame as well as political defeat, and I would hate to be misunderstood about any of that.

von, just out of curiosity, can you explain your first two choices being Obama and McCain? There's very little similarity between them. Especially given McCain's behavior the past few years.

Obama and McCain are not my first two choices; rather, of the available alternatives, they are the most attractive candidates on the D and R sides of the field. Indeed, I don't really have first or second choices in politics; all of my decisions are relative, based on who is running against whom.

OTOH, the most significant apparent differences between McCain and Obama is on foreign policy, and I'm not at all convinced that they are as different as some perceive them. The Iraq war is, for all intents and purposes, over as a political issue: any president entering in 1/09 is going to pursue a similar strategy there.


Hillary doesn't seem as insane as GWB, but other than sanity, what real differences are there between them?

Sanity is a BIG plus in my book.

I would also note that if she really did hand over the keys, George has been oddly hesitant about turning the ignition.

Fortunately, events turned against him. Thing is, we *know* that various people in the administration would orgasm over an attack on Iran- giving him bipartisan cover was IMO a huge mistake, although maybe one that won't result in actual harm.
And I didn't see any upside for the country at all. I saw upside for Hillary, in burnishing her hawk credentials for the general. So it's not even just that I disagreed with her vote- I couldn't see her vote as anything but pandering, and with the highest of stakes.

But then, I don't see military conflict with Iran happening during the remaining days of Bush's presidency, and have been saying so for years. I could be wrong, though.

One cannot go wrong underestimating the wisdom of George Walker Bush. That's my takeaway point for the decade. :) If I had a dollar for every time I thought "even George Bush isn't stupid enough to do X" right before he did, in fact, do X, Id buy you a nice steak. His latest winner: trying to use a 'pocket veto' when Congress was still in session.

But what I don't understand are the arguments that Obama is more progressive than Clinton, that he is more consistent, or that he is going to represent some great "change" from the status quo.

Here's how I see Obama as more progressive, results-wise: we're not going to get to 60 votes in the Senate, so any big new program (healthcare reform, etc) is going to need a few GOP votes to get past the ineivtable filibuster.
The question isn't who has the most progressive policy IMO. It's 'who will produce the most progressive law in cooperation with a few GOP senators'.
My semse is that this is Obama, for a few reasons: 1-his positions appear to be more honestly taken (ie less expedient) 2-he's an excellent speaker with high favorables 3-he has the potential to take the uniter-not-divider role, whereas Hillary is (unfairly!) already cast as the Democratic Harpy.

I wouldn't actually argue that he's more progressive though; I agree, his policy positions are moderate. I do think that he could revitalize politics, but not from a policy standpoint- in terms of his potentially Kennedy-esque charisma and leadership, and bc he's (anecdotally) appealing to a lot of moderate GOPers turned off by how insane their party has become. Obama could maybe be big enough to force the GOP into one of those lost-in-the-wilderness periods, maybe embracing some ecomonic populism or finally abandoning the repulsive Southern Strategy for good.
[Another anecdote for the pile- I don't know that my mother has voted for a Democratic candidate for any office since a couple of Blue Dogs in the 80s, but she seemed genuinely interested in- even excited- about Obama, and compared him favorably to every single GOP candidate.]

Carleton, I didn't make myself clear. I was principally talking about toddlers and preschoolers in that particular post. Girls also have a much easier time of it in school, increasingly even in college. Boys get psychiatric diagnosis and are on medication far more often than girls. Many more boys are autistic than girls.

Sanity is a good thing, but it's even better when it comes with respect for the rule of law, a willingness to oppose war on specious grounds and immoral and illegal methods, accountability for the incompetent, and so on. Our poor country is in a terrible way, with fundamentals like those so disconnected from each other.

Sanity is a good thing, but it's even better when it comes with respect for the rule of law, a willingness to oppose war on specious grounds and immoral and illegal methods, accountability for the incompetent, and so on. Our poor country is in a terrible way, with fundamentals like those so disconnected from each other.

I'm being facetious, of course. Clinton has considerable flaws that are pretty evident in the record.

But compared to the last eight years (and to the clowns the Republicans are putting up), sanity is a big relief (and possibly accountability for the incompetent).

But I certainly don't have problems with folks who want to strive for more....

If you accept that sexism against Clinton is a legitimate reason to vote for her, don't you then HAVE to vote for her?

I can note, and deplore, the sexism against Clinton without it turning into a reason to vote for her. In fact, it would be a deporable reason to vote for her, in my opinion: "Yeah, I hate her ambience on Iraq and the environment and bancruptcy, but the poor women was picked on, so I must vote for her." That's pretty sexist to me.

What gives you and I, as men, the right to make the determination that it's not a trumps-all proposition, even in regards to our own votes and support?

Because, as voters, we should vote for the best candidate, not the one slandered the most (Lyndon LaRoush?), nor the one of specific gender or race.

In other words, take gender and race out of it -- assume that Clinton or Obama were being treated the way Gore was. He got some pretty nasty things about him, but there wasn't a feeling that "I'm going to vote for him because he's being picked on".

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Leftists do worship their leaders, don't they?

After 7 years of worshipping the Worst President Ever, and in a thread where each of the candidtes is being given a thorough assessment, you ask this? Paging Bizzaro-Land, one of your population has escaped!

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And if there were a woman whose career had been a great feminist model running for President, that would be relevant. There isn't.

Not currently, but Shirley Chisholm is certainly a better example than HRC.

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I fail to see how byrningham's post is sexist.

The reasoning, as I see it, seems to be: We live in a patriarchy (true, although not near so bad as others in different times and lands have). Women suffer disproportionately (also true). Therefore, if you don't vote for a woman that you've heard speak for extended periods on live debates, about all sorts of issues, it's because you're only getting her filtered voice and because you're unconsciously sexist.

If you admire someone who has been belitted for his name and his color and has answered back and moved on, with no "poor little me, I'm so repressed", it because you're unconsciously sexist.

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Adding another 4-8 years of a Clinton is getting too close to warring families and aristocratic succession for my tastes.

True. Dynasties are not always handed down strictly from parent to child, but are extened through the family at large.

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"Any" criticism of Clinton is not perceived as sexism.

Sure it is. publius among others have posted substantive problems with Clinton's policies and have been blown off as sexist.

If a black person told you a comment you'd made about Obama came across as racist, would you tell them to shut up, as a white person you know much better than they do what's racist and what isn't?

Depends on the comment, the black person and the objection. If someone said "I don't think Obama's health care policies go far enough" and some black blow-hard (yes, there are some, believe it or not) called that racist, I'd laugh in his face. Because it's not, no matter how qualified he is or pretends to be (just because he's black? How racist is that!).

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I'm not sure what I've done to merit being called stupid and misogynistic, other than disagreeing with you

byrningman, meet Jesu!

I wonder what grounds which war might be waged that would be more than "specious" to those who think that war, itself, is immoral. I wonder what methods of waging war would satisfy those critics of war as legal or moral. I also wonder what they would consider competence for those leaders who take us to war - and what type of accountability that they would have in place to punish what they perceive to be incompetence.

As for me, I just don't know. I don't know what would justify going into way if I ran the show. Obama, for instance, said something along the line of chasing terrorists into Pakistan with our military if he knew they were there. This is someone though who is far, far from a GWB...and I don't know what his left-leaning consituents would think if he really did throw bombs or soldiers into foreign lands to chase the bad guys.

von: The Iraq war is, for all intents and purposes, over as a political issue: any president entering in 1/09 is going to pursue a similar strategy there.

They are? John "One Hundred Years in Iraq" McCain will chart the same kind of course as Obama, or any of the Democrats?

What any president will do is going to be limited by the strains our military is already under, and the complete clusterf*** the Bush Administration has made of Iraq, but even so, I would think there's going to be tactical differences that flow from that kind of strategic difference.

"But compared to the last eight years (and to the clowns the Republicans are putting up), sanity is a big relief (and possibly accountability for the incompetent)."

But you say this in the context where we are talking about a choice between Hillary and Obama. So I don't understand why this comes into the calculation.

So, Bruce, it's ok, even desirable, for Hillary to be head bashingly, grindingly partisan, but Bush/Rove/etc. doing so is beyond the pale? I don't like GWB and I think his policies have been disastrous, but there is no arguing the fact that he has been the target of just as much ad hominem partisan vitriol from the left as the Clintons were from the right - and no, not all of it was well-founded. See, for example, the meme that he's an illiterate, uncritical cowboy chimp. At least some of the things for which the "right wing noise machine" criticised the Clintons absolutely deserved to be criticized (for example, taking campaign contributions from unsavory influences foreign and domestic, allowing the Chinese to gain access to state secrets).

The other thing to note is that this "liberal revenge" scenario you fantasize about is unlikely to come to fruition as the result of a Hillary nomination. Firstly, she's likely to get beaten by somebody like McCain. Secondly, even if she does win, the Republicans will fight any initiative she tries to enact to the death, just because she's Hillary.

The country, by and large, is not hungering for a liberal answer to Bush. If the Democrats decide to go in that direction and seek a partisan bloodbath, they're going to get the same results that the Republicans did.

I think Obama's 'uniting' rhetoric and the lower likelihood of him just charging on in the face of massive opposition is EXACTLY what makes him more likely to bring about a major change.

Take a long-term perspective. Candidates tend to move toward the center once the general election comes up or once they're in office. Thus, the best way to bring about change is to shift the center. Reagan was very successful at doing this for the Republicans, which was why the only Democrat that could win in the '90s was a very centrist Democrat who essentially resembled an Eisenhower Republican. Reagan did this by being appealing and charismatic to a lot of people, and pulling those in the center towards the right.

In contrast, despite his original election rhetoric, GWB never tried to create any compromise. He smashed his way through any opposition, and rarely tried to actually justify his policies. Anyone who got in the way was just knocked aside. End result? Backlash, and a likely Democratic victory in 2008 as the center moves left. Moreover, this style led to initiatives and programs that were disasters even within their own ideological framework.

Now, to put my cards on the table, I'm an Eisenhower Republican/Clinton Democrat (pretty much the same thing), so more moderate candidates, less divisive candidates are going to appeal to me more. But even from a hard-left, progressive viewpoint, I think Obama will do much better in the long run than Edwards. Clinton would be somewhere in between.

A secondary point that one of the previous commentators made also deserves to be brought up again. Edwards' trade and economic policy would be another huge hit to our foreign policy image and ability to work with other countries. If you want to repair US relations with the world, losses from his foreign-economic policies are going to offset gains from his foreign-military policies.

Two comments. First, while I quite liked Hilary's political positions back in 1992 and even through the early-to-mid 90s, I've found her willingness to triangulate increasingly unpalatable since then. This may or may not represent a genuine attempt at centrism on her part -- that's a debate for another time, I think -- but it's past the point where I can vote for her (in the primaries) in good conscience.

Clearly, this is because I am sexist.

Second:

von: The Iraq war is, for all intents and purposes, over as a political issue

I beg you, please explain WTF you mean by this because... my god, I don't even know where to begin.

But you say this in the context where we are talking about a choice between Hillary and Obama. So I don't understand why this comes into the calculation.

Only to the extent of electability and overall acceptability as a candidate. Also to the extent that I want to consider this outside of factionalism or "my guy or nothing at all" impulses. (Which may be indiosyncratic to me; I save that kind of emotion for very rare occasions).

They are? John "One Hundred Years in Iraq" McCain will chart the same kind of course as Obama, or any of the Democrats?

What any president will do is going to be limited by the strains our military is already under, and the complete clusterf*** the Bush Administration has made of Iraq, but even so, I would think there's going to be tactical differences that flow from that kind of strategic difference.

Both Obama and Clinton have refused to commit to removing U.S. troops by 2012 (the end of the next Presidential term) for good reason: It's not going to happen. Regardless of how or why we got in, and regardless of how or why the troops are there, there are sound geopolitical and strategic reasons to have at least 30,000 troops in Iraq ad infinitim. And both Obama and Clinton have publicly stated that they would maintain troops in Iraq specifically to chase al Queda and protect American interests.

McCain is likely to do much the same; there may be marginally more troops, but logistics will limit the number. The difference between McCain and Obama/Clinton is that McCain is publicly stating what Obama/Clinton are implying, namely, that US troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future -- indeed, for 100 years, if US interests require it.

Edwards, on the other hand, purports to commit to an abrupt withdrawal. He's either an idiot or a liar for doing so and, in either case, unfit to be in the Senate, much less Commander in Chief.

I beg you, please explain WTF you mean by this because... my god, I don't even know where to begin.

The surge will run its course and we'll see marginal improvement in Iraq, but, likely, no long term solution. US interests, however, will dictate a troop presence in Iraq. Thus, troop presence we shall have. No credible, non-stupid candidate will commit to the alternative -- effectively taking the issue off the table. Moreover, if McCain's the nominee, even the issue of the original war is reduced -- and issue that, by the way, is irrelevant to swing voters, most of whom have themselves swung back and forth in the issue -- because McCain can say, credibly, that he repeatedly differed with Bush on strategy and tactics.

Really: The Iraq war may have set up us Republicans for a fall. I suppose I should encourage you to continue believing that it knocked us down as well.

Exactly what strategic goals and "American Interests" require us to have 30,000 troops in Iraq ad infinitum?

Stabilizing Iraq? We couldn't do it with 150,000 troops, how are 30,000 troops supposed to? "Chasing Al Queda"? How much of "Al Queda" is there really in Iraq? Last I heard, Osama was in Pakistan, and the rest of Al Queda is made up of decentralized "franchise" cells distributed wherever they can find a receptive audience. Which consists of Iraq, yes, because we've completely failed at stabilizing it and creating any kind of political progress, and done just about everything else wrong there. Protecting oil? 30,000 troops won't be able to do that. All 30,000 troops will be able to do is hide in our "not permanent, really" gigantic fortresses and hope we don't piss everyone over there off enough they all unite against our residual force.

We may not get out of Iraq by 2012, due to logistics and other reasons, but what justification do we have for planting 30,000 troops in Iraq forever? And what good would it do us if we did, seriously?

"We may not get out of Iraq by 2012, due to logistics and other reasons"

Logistics might stop us from getting out by March 1 2008, but not 2012.

In other news, can we leave South Korea yet? It is rather unlikely that China or Russia would help North Korea invade at this point, which means that South Korea could fight the North off just fine on its own, so why not just leave?

I don't know if Sebastian is being sarcastic, but the answer to his question (why not just leave South Korea?) forms part of the answer to Nate's (what is the purpose of 30,000 troops in Iraq -- aside, of course, from protecting the central government): both are tripwires.

Xeynon, I think that the ultra-partisanship you find in Clinton is a delusion. Her actual record is one of the most cooperative with Republicans among Democratic congresspeople. I think that people like you hate and fear her for almost entirely imaginary reasons, and then project the emotions you've scared yourself into onto her.

The major differences between South Korea and Iraq are simple. South Korea was attacked by a hostile neighbor whom the UN, with a major role being played by the US, opposed. The South Korean people retained their own government, and for some time now (I understand, but don't claim anything like significant detailed knowledge, which means I'm open to correction) the South Korean people have wished for us to scale back or eliminate our presence there. In Iraq, on the other hand, the hostile invading power is us, and the primary function of our further presence there is to foil any effort at an allegedly representative government of the Iraqi people except one that'll suit our policy preferences.

We shouldn't have invaded Iraq. We shouldn't be occupying it. Withdrawing from it as promptly as possible would be an important step toward giving up our status as the world's most dangerous outlaw nation.

I don't honestly expect any major candidate to say that in so many words, but Edwards' call for a timely withdrawal is the best approximation available to basic Constitutional governance and a respect for our various commitments in law and treaty. The other candidates are all gussying up an immoral, illegal, and altogether unwise and dangerous campaign of oppressive subjugation in their various ways, and it's a major blot on America's legacy. We'll be the rest of my life and then some repairing the damage done by people who wrap robes of reason and calm around what is nonetheless aggression of the most unjustified sort. We have become the thing we used to fight; I hope someday that'll stop being true.

I wonder what grounds which war might be waged that would be more than "specious" to those who think that war, itself, is immoral...

Perhaps you'd like to find some leftists who think all war is inherently immoral. I wonder if you're trying to smear the entire Democratic Party with your inane "I wonder" shtick.

...I don't know what his left-leaning consituents would think if he really did throw bombs or soldiers into foreign lands to chase the bad guys.

If you actually wanted to know how the Democratic Party might react to a (non-deranged) military action under a Democratic President, you might try looking at recent history (eg the Balkans). If you want to see how the GOP might respond to these sorts of reasonable military engagements, you might examine their response to the Clinton attacks on Al Qaeda ('shooting a camel in the butt', 'wag the dog', etc).
It's no wonder if you'd prefer to make vague, unsubstantiated allegations, I don't wonder.

US interests, however, will dictate a troop presence in Iraq.

This statement, all by its lonesome, represents about 75% of everything that's gone wrong with America in about the last century. Imagine how resentful we'll all feel when the tide turns and, say, China decides that its interests dictate a troop presence here.

Sebastian: "In other news, can we leave South Korea yet? It is rather unlikely that China or Russia would help North Korea invade at this point, which means that South Korea could fight the North off just fine on its own, so why not just leave?"

U.S. State Department, September, 2007:

[...] Several aspects of the security relationship are changing as the U.S. moves from a leading to a supporting role. In 2004, agreement was reached on the return of the Yongsan base in Seoul--as well as a number of other U.S. bases--to the R.O.K. and the eventual relocation of all U.S. forces to south of the Han River. In addition, the U.S. and R.O.K. agreed to move 12,500 of the 37,500 U.S. troops out of Korea by 2008. At the same time U.S. troops are being redeployed from Korea, the U.S. will bolster combined U.S./R.O.K. deterrent and defense capabilities by providing $11 billion in force enhancements in Korea and at regional facilities over the next four years.
FYI.

As background:

[...] Only 510 servicemen were based in South Korea in 1950 before the attack. U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) records show that 326,863 troops were deployed in South Korea in 1953, a number that stabilized between 50,000 and 60,000 in the 1960s and 1970s. A slow drawdown contin­ued as troops averaged 40,000 in the 1980s and 35,000 in the 1990s.
Of course, if there had been significant active fighting, involving constant and ongoing U.S. casualties, continuing since uly 27, 1953, I suggest that our troop deployment in South Korea, and in support of it, would have been quite different over the past 54+ years.

It doesn't seem to be a terribly relevant parallel, until such time as an armistice, such as there could be, became effective in Iraq, and U.S. casualties of violence in Iraq dropped to one every decade or so.

When that occurs, I suggest bringing up South Korea and the U.S. military deployment there (and in the region, which was always also a key part of supporting the mission there) again as a relevant parallel.

Perhaps, however, not before.

"US interests, however, will dictate a troop presence in Iraq. Thus, troop presence we shall have. No credible, non-stupid candidate will commit to the alternative -- effectively taking the issue off the table."

What you're doing here, Von, is defining the borders of acceptable opinion: anything outside the borders you map are, in your words, not "credible," as well as making someone "either an idiot or a liar for doing so and, in either case, unfit to be in the Senate, much less Commander in Chief."

This is a useful technique when you get people to believe you, and it's one you seem to be fond of ("class warfare rhetoric has got to go!" is another of your favorite attempts to define the borders of acceptable political debate in America to, by coincidence, your personal opinions), but it's possible there are other acceptable views of these issues than yours, whether you think they're reasonable, or not.

In the case of Edwards, I'd note that we're talking about him hypothetically being elected President.

Last I looked, the President, along with Congress, makes the policy of the government, even when there are institutional pressures having been pushing policy in another direction.

It's certainly true both that the bureaucracy can be resistent, and that the President isn't all powerful.

But, generally speaking, a President, if too many in Congress don't object, tends to get their way.

It's clearly your belief that, for reasons you pretty much leave unstated, the institutional pressures for the government to regard a continued large military deployment in Iraq for many years to come as "dictat[ing] a troop presence in Iraq" into the future. What's not clear to me is why you believe that those pressures will be absolutely so strong, and so correct, that a President, absent strong resistance from Congress, wouldn't be able to overcome them.

It's certainly true that you may have a very good case that this is so. I wouldn't claim you have no case at all.

What I'd claim is that so far you've made pretty much no case at all, beyond assertion.

Perhaps, if you'd like to convince others, you'd like to try making that case. Or maybe you'd find that too much trouble, which wouldn't be unreasonable.

But I wouldn't count on a lot of agreement, just because you made the assertion, until you make the case, and make it as more than that it's your opinion, and you're a serious grown-up, unlike people who disagree with you.

"When that occurs, I suggest bringing up South Korea and the U.S. military deployment there (and in the region, which was always also a key part of supporting the mission there) again as a relevant parallel."

Since I was absolutely serious about thinking we should be 100% out of South Korea I think you drew the wrong conclusion about my comment...

Way to attribute sentiments to someone you barely know and have hardly heard from there, Bruce. For the record, I don't "hate" or "fear" Clinton - I think she's a committed public servant, and I respect her work for the people of New York as their Senator. I am well aware that she is not the far-left hippie virago that people like Rush Limbaugh make her out to be.

That said, I dislike her as a politician, for reasons already enumerated, and I also think she'd be a disaster as President, and particularly as a commander-in-chief. Maybe not as big a disaster as Edwards, but a disaster nonetheless. Why? On foreign policy, she's too hawkish/too much like a neocon on exactly the issues where she shouldn't be (Iran) and too restrictionist on trade (though not as bad as Edwards). On domestic policy, she's again too much like Bush on some issues (governmental transparency), while at the same time being too beholden to liberal orthodoxy on entitlements, immigration, the economy, and healthcare reform. Incidentally, Obama is marginally (and correctly, from my point of view) to the right of her on all these issues. She's the candidate of old school Great Society liberals who think that nothing FDR built might ever require refurbishing. That is increasingly untenable sentiment from the point of view of my generation, which will actually be alive and working and have to deal with it when the costs of Social Security, Medicare, etc. go kaboom (I'm 28). No thanks.

Add in personality factors and the fact that she is, whether rationally or no, widely and intensely disliked by those who disagree with her (and that the feeling is mutual), and thus that is likely she will provoke intense obstructionism from Congressional Republicans, and I think I've laid out perfectly clearly and logically why her candidacy is a nonstarter for me.

But if you'd rather just chalk it all up to me being an irrational far right wingnut, be my guest. Since I'm a Pennsylvania swing voter (i.e., exactly the kind of person the Democrats need to win the election) you'll only be hurting your chances by doing so.

Sebastian, for the record, we are on the way out in South Korea, or at least, dialing down our presence there. I used to live in Seoul,, and one of the largest U.S. bases in the country is scheduled to be closed in 2012, with the troops largely to be withdrawn from the country.

Seb, I realized you were serious, and actually, I agree. In fact, our presence there is not really sufficient enough to be a deterent anyways, IMO.

Responding to von, in what way is Iraq a tripwire?

What immediate or even non-immediate threat is there to Iraq from the surrounding countries? I realize Turkey is a possibility, but then do you really think we would attack Turkish forces pursuing terrorists in Iraq? And do you really think Turkey would try to topple the government of Iraq?

I really don't understand what the vital interests are. Please explain, because I am willing to listen (or read).

"Since I was absolutely serious about thinking we should be 100% out of South Korea I think you drew the wrong conclusion about my comment..."

The only conclusion I drew about your comment was the one I wrote: that the U.S. experience in Korea is not a useful parallel to Iraq.

Your opinion of what U.S. Korean policy should be is, however interesting, not relevant to that. That would be inherent to the point.

"On foreign policy, she's too hawkish/too much like a neocon on exactly the issues where she shouldn't be (Iran)"

Check out the Webb amendment.

Check out Wesley Clark.

"On domestic policy, she's again too much like Bush on some issues (governmental transparency)"

Evidence?

"The only conclusion I drew about your comment was the one I wrote: that the U.S. experience in Korea is not a useful parallel to Iraq."

What parallel did I draw? I'm not good at subtle so I usually try not to be.

;)

I was principally talking about toddlers and preschoolers in that particular post.

That was my point, I think- generalizing from one specific set of parent-toddler behavior to a grand 'men have it harder than women' is unjustified. I don't even know where you're going with stuff such as [m]any more boys are autistic than girls. Are you blaming society for that?

rilkefan,

Clarke has become a Clinton sycophant. That Huffington post article does nothing to remove that distinction.

Moreover, the Webb amendment you cite was filibustered. One could interpret the passing of events as Clinton signing on to a politically convenient amendment that she knew wouldn't pass in order to try and deflect some of the well deserved criticism thrown her way for the Kyl/Lieberman vote.

"What parallel did I draw? I'm not good at subtle so I usually try not to be."

I see no need for me to attempt to restate your comment, Sebastian, since we can all read it. If it's your contention that you brought up South Korea as a complete non-sequitur and irrelevancy to Iraq, fine.

It'll take me the rest of the night to digest all of the different points of view in this thread. The one thing I can take away at this point, however, is this:

There is nothing that Hillary Rodham Clinton can say, do, wear, read, or eat that won't be analyzed and offered as proof of some kind of calculated, malign intent by a significant portion of the population.

She's not my favorite among the candidates, but I'm at a loss to explain the amazing animus she inspires, and not just among conservatives. Although, among conservatives, it really does approach clinical derangement.

Shirley Chisholm ran for President in 1972, and she was a woman AND black, and I don't think she put up with anything approaching the level of suspicion and enmity that Clinton endures on a daily basis, and has done for years.

It's really, really weird. It goes far beyond her gender.

I'm not a supporter, but I give her respect just for getting out of bed and putting up with it all, day after day. I'd have told the world where to get off long, long ago.

Thanks -

Hmmm, usually I interpret "in other news" as a sign that I am going off topic, but YMMV.

Sorry if my mind does free association sometimes.

Whatever. The media treated Hilary unfairly. The voters may have treated Obama unfairly.

Gary: "If it's your contention that you brought up South Korea as a complete non-sequitur and irrelevancy to Iraq, fine."

This came across as more snippy than you may have intended. Note "In other news", not "In related news".

You know, this sexism backlash theory doesn't explain how it is that HRCs internal exit polls showed a loss. If you still believe it, you've got a something left to explain.

This stuff about the Bradley effect does.

I doubt 10% of Democrats in NH are racists at that level - esp. compared to Iowa.

See also update 1 at John Cole's blog.

Responding to von, in what way is Iraq a tripwire?

Not "Iraq is a tripwire." -- US troops in Iraq is a tripwire (as they are in NK, and as they were in West Germany). The mere presence of US troops discourages shenanigans from state actors in the region.

"Shirley Chisholm ran for President in 1972, and she was a woman AND black, and I don't think she put up with anything approaching the level of suspicion and enmity that Clinton endures on a daily basis, and has done for years."

russell, I think the fact that her candidacy was symbolic, and stood not the faintest chance of getting her anywhere near the presidency, is relevant and makes the differences unsurprising.

US troops in Iraq is a tripwire ==> US troops in Iraq are a tripwire.

Rilkefan-

During the Clinton Presidency, Hillary was among the most intractable stonewallers in TravelGate and the like. One of the reasons her health care plan failed so spectactularly was her refusal to be forthright about it. She has been similarly stubborn about releasing the records from her tenure as First Lady. You can argue that she had a right to be secretive (though I'd disagree), but it seems to me there's ample historical evidence to doubt that hers would be a particularly transparent administration.

von, fine. But what are they really preventing? What shenanigans by what state actors? Do you actually consider Iraq likely to be invaded by one of its neighbors? If so, who and why.

Actually, this doesn't belong on this thread.

Gary, I'll quote you at length. Please continue to the end; there is a point.

"US interests, however, will dictate a troop presence in Iraq. Thus, troop presence we shall have. No credible, non-stupid candidate will commit to the alternative -- effectively taking the issue off the table."

What you're doing here, Von, is defining the borders of acceptable opinion: anything outside the borders you map are, in your words, not "credible," as well as making someone "either an idiot or a liar for doing so and, in either case, unfit to be in the Senate, much less Commander in Chief."

This is a useful technique when you get people to believe you, and it's one you seem to be fond of ("class warfare rhetoric has got to go!" is another of your favorite attempts to define the borders of acceptable political debate in America to, by coincidence, your personal opinions), but it's possible there are other acceptable views of these issues than yours, whether you think they're reasonable, or not.

In the case of Edwards, I'd note that we're talking about him hypothetically being elected President.

Last I looked, the President, along with Congress, makes the policy of the government, even when there are institutional pressures having been pushing policy in another direction.

It's certainly true both that the bureaucracy can be resistent, and that the President isn't all powerful.

But, generally speaking, a President, if too many in Congress don't object, tends to get their way.

It's clearly your belief that, for reasons you pretty much leave unstated, the institutional pressures for the government to regard a continued large military deployment in Iraq for many years to come as "dictat[ing] a troop presence in Iraq" into the future. What's not clear to me is why you believe that those pressures will be absolutely so strong, and so correct, that a President, absent strong resistance from Congress, wouldn't be able to overcome them.

It's certainly true that you may have a very good case that this is so. I wouldn't claim you have no case at all.

What I'd claim is that so far you've made pretty much no case at all, beyond assertion.

Perhaps, if you'd like to convince others, you'd like to try making that case. Or maybe you'd find that too much trouble, which wouldn't be unreasonable.

But I wouldn't count on a lot of agreement, just because you made the assertion, until you make the case, and make it as more than that it's your opinion, and you're a serious grown-up, unlike people who disagree with you.

You have written a veritable opus in response to a single paragraph from me, all contending that my point is (1) unsupported and (2) made in a way that is offensive and/or improper. And perhaps both points are true.

What you haven't actually managed to do, however, is to provide an argument against my point. You've confined yourself to the meta, the peanut gallery, the box seats. And that's fine. But you haven't actually refuted anything; nor have you made an affirmative case for anything -- no, not even my own vapidity. (That would require refuting my assumption, which you do not even attempt to do.)

Indeed, the irony here is that your complaint -- that my single paragraph lacks substance -- is followed by paragraph after paragaph of substance-free writing by you.

Ahh, well. We all become what we hate, I suppose, even if we don't recognize it.

von, fine. But what are they really preventing? What shenanigans by what state actors? Do you actually consider Iraq likely to be invaded by one of its neighbors? If so, who and why.

Actually, this doesn't belong on this thread.

Agreed to the last thought -- this argument doesn't belong here. Still, in brief answer: although the chief concern is clearly Iran, Russia is not too far away and I don't believe that the Saudis, Syria or Turkey would benefit from an abrupt withdrawal. We did create a power vacuum in the region that most would prefer to be filled by us (no, that's not their first preference, but it beats the available alternatives).

Von, it's not Gary's job to disprove your assertion that no decent American or competent would-be leader could favor a withdrawal from Iraq. It's your job to explain what the American interests are that depend on continuing the occupation - as Gary asked, just who is it that would get up to more mischief if we weren't there? (And how does this compare to the mischief unleashed because of what we've done there so far?) And like that. It may be self-evidently true to you, but it's not to a bunch of the rest of us, and I don't see why I must surrender my judgment of American interests and desirable conduct just because you want me and people like me to do so.

Von: "What you haven't actually managed to do, however, is to provide an argument against my point."

Correct; I invited you to provide an argument making your point.

Perhaps asking you if you'd like to make that argument, and pointing out the virtues of making an argument, in terms of convincing anyone of your assertions, is "substance-free"; it's not for me to say. I'm sorry that for you it was substance-free, but oh well.

Bruce: "as Gary asked, just who is it that would get up to more mischief if we weren't there?"

No need to respond to this, but that was actually someone else's point.

russell, I think the fact that her candidacy was symbolic, and stood not the faintest chance of getting her anywhere near the presidency, is relevant and makes the differences unsurprising.

Quite right. I just couldn't think of a better example, because so few women have run for President.

A personal favorite, of course, is Gracie Allen running as the "Suprise Party" in 1940. But, I digress.

I really do find the personal animus toward Clinton kind of weird. She just seems to rub people the wrong way, to a degree that seems incredibly out of proportion to anything she has ever actually done or said.

At least, it seems that way to me.

Can anyone explain this? Am I missing something?

Thanks -

"A personal favorite, of course, is Gracie Allen running as the 'Suprise Party' in 1940."

Indeed.

cleek,

I think the support for Obama is shallow and fake. The Bradley Effect is going to haunt Obama where ever he runs. All those right-wingers claiming to “like” him will abandon him as soon as they enter the voting booth. The Republican Party knows its tribal politics in spades; I think the Clintons and Edwards know tribal politics as well. In other words Hillary Clinton knows white men better than Obama could ever know white men, which is going to be key with the mess she’s going to end up with.

sorry it took me soon long to respond.

someotherdude, sentiments like that are exactly why I could never call myself a Democrat. The GOP has been appointing blacks to high positions in government (Powell, Rice) and running black candidates in statewide races, (Keyes, Steele) for awhile now. Note that Steele was running in a border state with a historically high incidence of racism (Maryland) for a seat which the GOP thought they had a chance to win. If they really made their bones via tribal politics, wouldn't they have chosen some George Allen-esque cracker politician to run for that seat instead?

I'll at least listen to the argument that Republican policies are more harmful to minorities than Democratic ones. But arguing that GOP politicking depends on racism is absurd, particularly from a party in which the Presidential frontrunner's campaign tried to smear their opponent by intimating he was a teenage drug dealer because he is black.

Another reason I can't wait for the current generation of politicians to cede the field is that it will help us get past the outdated Civil Rights era schemas that have dominated our racial politics for the past generation.

"During the Clinton Presidency, Hillary was among the most intractable stonewallers in TravelGate and the like."

That would be in sub-trivial scandals where the admin was transparent but the conspiracy-minded refused to accept the evidence.

"One of the reasons her health care plan failed so spectactularly was her refusal to be forthright about it."

They came up with a plan then published it, right? Sounds pretty transparent to me, unless you insist the admin conduct all of its business (including political calculations) on television.

"She has been similarly stubborn about releasing the records from her tenure as First Lady."

That's simply false. As I understand it, in fact a falsehood piled on other falsehoods.

Her latest comments on the issue.


I think you have nothing here - but more importantly, you're comparing her to the Bush admin, so that requires something along the lines of her covering up a murder or alien invasion.

Note that Obama's better on these issues by being exceptionally good.

Another reason I can't wait for the current generation of politicians to cede the field is that it will help us get past the outdated Civil Rights era schemas that have dominated our racial politics for the past generation.

And, from another thread...

As to the intergenerational crap raising its ugly head, I've seen all this before. I was guaranteed by someone older than me about five minutes ago (in baby boomer time) that I (we) would f##k things up just about as well as they did.

That guarantee is fully transferable to the next generation, and you can have it.

You know, if the advances made in the Civil Rights era have, somehow, become so ingrained as to be seen as "outdated", all I can say is hallelujah. Sadly, however, I suspect that we're not yet in the promised land.

I'm not sure what you have in mind when you say "get past", but I will confess I don't like the sound of it. Get past, to what? What does a "post civil rights era" world look like?

I hate to sound like an old coot, but compared to what came before, the racial politics of the past generation have been a tea dance. I'd tell you to sit up straight, comb your hair, and quit your griping, except I'll sound like my own old man, and I'm afraid I won't be able to do it with a straight face.

But, you know what? Sit up straight, comb your hair, and quit your griping. As it turns out, my face is damned straight.

People paid with their lives for what we have now. That is, straight up and no bullshit, God's honest truth. You damned well ought to respect it, because it didn't cost you a damned thing. It came to you as a gift.

If you have a beef, that's great, we're all ears. But whatever you have in mind had damned well better be an improvement.

Thanks -

Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist, reported of a 1981 interview with Lee Atwater, published in Southern Politics in the 1990s by Prof. Alexander P. Lamis, in which Lee Atwater discusses politics in the South:

You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger.".[11]

Then there is this:

Then in 1988, when we won with the Bush senior campaign and carried the highest total of evangelical votes ever in American history, we lost as we always do -- the Republicans -- we lost the Jewish vote and the Hispanic vote and all those votes. We lost the Catholic vote. We were the first modern presidency to win an election and it was a landslide and not win the Catholic vote. It was barely, but we lost the Catholic vote.

How did we do it? We carried 82 percent or 83 percent of the evangelical vote. I remember when it was all over-- this was one of the reasons I got a job in the White House -- but I remember when it was all over, there was great shock from me and others saying, "Whoa, this is unhealthy." We immediately began going after the Catholic vote.

While at the same time, we were frightened by the fact that we lost all these votes and still won the White House. The message did come home. My God, you can win the White House with nothing but evangelicals if you can get enough of them, if you get them all, and they're a huge number. ...

from:
The Jesus Factor

Getting appointed and having a base are two totally different things. Most people of color still do not trust white right-wingers. That's not news. Maybe their all being irrational and reverse racists, however the perception is there. It's still scarey when White Right-Winging Men (and the "moderates" who love them) claim to be protecting the "national interests."

It sounds different coming out of Clinton.

I suspect, when folks talk about "evangelicals" they are not referring to the group’s theological stance on evangelism and proselytizing. Instead, evangelical is the PC term for white right-wing Protestant and/or White Fundamentalists.

Russell-

Don't get wrong. I'm not some snotty young whippersnapper who's ignorant and unappreciative of the efforts of my forebears. The baby boomers (if one can generalize about an entire generation) have their faults, but you have every right to be proud of the changes you've brought to American cultural and political life on matters of race and gender. I fully acknowledge that we wouldn't be where we are today without the blood, sweat, and tears of your generation (and those before it).

That said, progress marches on. My generation (if I again may generalize), having been raised in the post Civil Rights era, I suspect has a different attitude about these things. "Black" and "white" are not the same determinative categories for me as they are for my parents, and that is true of a lot of my friends as well. In my view the post Civil Rights era, when it comes, will mean an end to definining people by racial pigeonholing - e.g., someone won't be a black politician (with the built-in expectations, ideological commitments, and constituencies the term connotes), he'll be a politician who happens to be black. I think Barack Obama is the prototype of this type of post-racial politician. A new era is coming. I hope that baby boomers can accept that gracefully.

That said, I didn't mean to imply that your generation no longer matters. The term "cede the field" was perhaps a bit too strong if it did so. I'm not saying that the boomers should just yield completely to a younger generation. What I do mean is that we are coming of age as a generation, and we expect our place at the table, and our crack at bettering American society, just as you had yours. Of course, we will screw some things up, and no doubt thirty years down the road this dynamic will be reversed and I'll be the old fogey complaining about young upstarts with no respect for their elders when someone yet to be born is criticizing my generation for its failings. But right now, I want my voice to be heard.

Rilkefan-

Perhaps the triviality of scandals involving Hillary is a reflection solely of the triviality of her role in the Clinton White House?

Note that it was other Democrats, such as Bill Bradley, who first criticized her for being secretive about the details of her healthcare plan. Not me.

I suspect that it's partisan blinders that prevent you from seeing that Hillary has demonstrated a strong streak of paranoia and secrecy. Not being a Democrat, I don't need to rationalize her behavior.

-someotherdude,

You're right. It is true that people of color don't entirely trust the Republicans. There is ample evidence for that (and good historical reason, given that Nixon was the one who devised the "southern strategy".) But that is not remotely the same as saying today's Republican party is fundamentally racist or relies on race-baiting political strategies. I don't see any evidence of that, frankly, and I think the insinuation is insulting. As the Jim Crow era and the racial ugliness that followed it become events more and more of the distant past, and as African-Americans continue to filter upward into the middle and upper classes - there are far more middle class black Americans today than there were in, say, 1970 - you will start to see race become less of a predictor of political affiliation. Could it be that old school Democrats such as the Clintons only continue to accuse Republicans of institutional racism because they're fearful of losing their hold on one of their largest and most loyal voting blocs? Naaah....

Could it be that old school Democrats such as the Clintons only continue to accuse Republicans of institutional racism because they're fearful of losing their hold on one of their largest and most loyal voting blocs? Naaah....

Well, if Republicans would do some SIMPLE things like talk to black organizations or even show up to events (instead of relying on isolated individuals), Dems might have to work harder. Too, trying to implement alternatives to traditional tactics such as affirmative action without the cooperation of African American groups isn't a swift idea, either...

gwangung, I agree completely. I think that the more visionary among the Republican leadership realize that there's no stone-graven law that African-Americans will always vote Democratic and are advocating just such steps. I suspect resistance to them derives largely from the fact that much of the party leadership came of age at a time when the party either genuinely did rely on the support of the racist vote and couldn't afford to piss off its bigot contingent, or shortly afterward when the wounds were still so fresh that reaching out to the African-American community would have been futile, and thus views them as a waste of time.

It seems to me that the party's intolerance even of racial insensitivity much less overt bigotry among its members (see Trent Lott, George Allen, and perhaps now Ron Paul) and its efforts to recruit minority candidates and appoint minorities to key positions indicate that their thinking on this is changing, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the next generation of Republican leaders reaching out to black voters in precisely the ways you suggest.

I think we can all agree that it's a great development for America that open racism is no longer acceptable in any mainstream political ideology.

von: I know you vaguely addressed this above -- and you and john miller might both be right that this is suitable for another thread -- but... a tripwire? What on earth for? Are you seriously expecting a conventional nation-state invasion of the Region Formerly Known As Iraq that our presence will somehow deter?

[In fact, wouldn't it make more sense for us to encourage our "enemies" to invade Iraq so we can fob the clusterf*** off on them, analogous to the Russians in Afghanistan?]

Likewise: US interests, however, will dictate a troop presence in Iraq.

Which interests, and why? Cause I'm certainly not seeing any interests that are being advanced by our presence there, unless you count grinding degradation of our armed forces and international prestige an interest. I completely agree, fwiw, that if we were to pull out tomorrow the region would collapse; I've seen no evidence, however, to indicate that our presence there is doing aught other than prolonging the slow fall, which is what I assuming you're driving at.

back on topic:

Women’s Support for Clinton Rises in Wake of Perceived Sexism

I don't think this dynamic is very healthy politically.

Agreed, it's not healthy at all. Having ovaries is not any more qualification for office than having testicles is.

The fact that Hillary is perfectly willing not only to exploit such a dynamic but actually encourage it pretty much encapsulates my character-based reasons for having decided against ever voting for her.

Agreed, it's not healthy at all. Having ovaries is not any more qualification for office than having testicles is.

The fact that Hillary is perfectly willing not only to exploit such a dynamic but actually encourage it pretty much encapsulates my character-based reasons for having decided against ever voting for her.

The fact that Hillary is perfectly willing not only to exploit such a dynamic but actually encourage it pretty much encapsulates my character-based reasons for having decided against ever voting for her.

So it's OK for male politicians to exploit the gender card, but when a female politician joins the game, that by itself is enough to say no one should vote for her? Are people still trying to argue that there isn't a sexist backlash against Clinton?

Reminds me of a bunch of boys in high school, who took offense because I - the only girl who rode a bike to school - would park my bike in the bikeshed, which had been boy's-only territory up to then.

(Eventually, the staff registered that I was habitually leaving the school grounds pushing my bike, because one thing or another had been done to it so that I couldn't ride it, and I was allowed to park my bike in a storeroom inside the school - which two or three boys then complained was a "special privilege" I was getting as a girl, and it wasn't fair.)

It was an early and instructive lesson on the hatred that men (or boys) are willing to express towards a woman who is trespassing on territory that has, up to now, been successfully exploited only by the male gender.

I think we can all agree that it's a great development for America that open racism is no longer acceptable in any mainstream political ideology.

Given the Guilani ad that ran just before the primaries and the Bill Richardson/Lou Dobbs axis on immigration, I think this deserves a great big O RLY?

Gary, I think I can help you out, here. The proper refutation of von's "point," stated as "The continued presence ~30,000 of US troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future is such a vital interest that no credible, non-stupid person can possibly hold a contrary position," is, in short, "No it isn't."

It has the dual virtues of both brevity and an equal amount of logical thought behind it as von's original "point."

What von advocates is simply imperialism, on the classic 19th-century (and up to 1945, at least) British model. [NB: this included "indirect" imperialism as well as the establishment of overt colonies.]

Its necessity seemed self-evident to Victorian expansionists, too, but it was morally bankrupt and ultimately self-defeating.

By the second half of the 20th century most people of conscience (and intelligence) had abandoned this as a national goal.

It seems a shame to have it revived - regurgitated? - in the 21st century.


(But Phil is, of course, more succinct and to the point.)

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