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February 06, 2008

Comments

Jay,

Also, for another anecdote, I convinced four people to vote for Obama on super tuesday. Their ages were 35, 45, 58, and 68. All had master's degrees. For all of them, the deciding factor came down to the war, although that might reflect who was doing the convincing. They were all either planning on voting for Hillary or leaning strongly in that direction.

Yet another person in her late 40s for Obama :)

And here's one in her late 50's. ;)

I went to a seminar last night (not related to politics) and met 3 other women in their 50's or 60's who were not just favoring Obama but working actively for his campaign.

I think some pundits are taking the racial differences a bit too much to heart. For two people who are, and APPEAR, to be very similar, then race or gender is a fourth order criterion to make a decision on. In other words, move on, not much to see here...

Alternately, most of the Asian population is first generation, immigrant. Ethnic and gender differences are more salient; in second and third generation (and later), the bonds are more intellectual and rely less on shared experiences--because the shared experience is also shared with other ethnic groups and genders (and, in fact, multicultural solidarity is emphasized more for 2nd and later generations)(and you'll see more younger Asians pulling for Obama).

I can only speak for myself. Given how few Hillary supporters are on OW, I don't feel comfortable here, even though I have been a regular reader for years. I don't have the time or energy to debate most of you. I am 62, have two master's degrees, and scrape by economically. Feminist issues are very important to me, and I don't find OW a very hospitable place to discuss misogynistic attacks on Clinton. OW can feel like a very lonely, inhospitable place for a Clinton supporter.

While Jay might be wrong about the demographics of this blog, he might be on to something regarding the generational battle. Somebody had a similar idea in the Inky today. I had no idea that there are more Millennials were than Boomers, by the way. They're such nice quiet kids....

(I'm a Gen-Xer for Obama myself. I may have to turn in my Gen-X card, though, as I think we're legally required to not care about anything.)

I don't find OW a very hospitable place to discuss misogynistic attacks on Clinton.

Redstocking,

Have people on OW been making misogynistic attacks against Clinton? Or are you saying that they've failed to condemn enough attacks made in other places?

Hey, I allready knew that Jay had the demographics wrong ;)

And I don't mind that people in majority want to vote for Barack. Voting is good and Barack is a good candidate. I just don't like how unbalanced it feels.

Hillary is a good candidate too, with different strengths and different flaws. I'd like people to stay enthousiastic about her if she wins, just as I'd like the fervent Hillary fans to be enthousiastic if Obama wins.

Oh, and I'm 45 with what would probabely be a bachelor degree in Anglosaxia.

dutchmarbel,

I'd like people to stay enthousiastic about her if she wins, just as I'd like the fervent Hillary fans to be enthousiastic if Obama wins.

I'll have trouble being enthusiastic for Clinton if she wins the nomination, but I'll gladly vote for her over McCain. For me, the lack of enthusiasm comes from the war. The fact that Clinton didn't read the NIE is a problem for me. I don't care if she thought the AUMF was a cute parliamentary trick to push Saddam to disarm: no leader should ever authorize military force without doing their homework, and in this case that means taking a few hours to read the NIE.

That's the whole point about military force: you might have all sorts of grand plans for how things will go, but you're not in control of the situation, especially when you're a senator. Clinton is not responsible for Iraq and almost all the other democratic senators screwed up in the same way that she did. But Obama didn't. And to the extent that Clinton's negligence has lead to the deaths of over a million civilians, I have trouble showing enthusiasm for her. Maybe if you can bring those civilians back to life I can warm up to her.

Also, to the extent that we're supposed to credit her with the foreign policy acumen of her husband, I thought Bill's Iraq policy throughout the 90s was terminally stupid. It reflected the classic ignorant American policy of fixating on individual personalities rather than focusing on incentives and broader national commitments. I suspect that's part of the reason why Hillary made poor choices regarding Iraq early on: she agreed with her husband that the cornerstone of our Iraq policy was the elimination of Saddam and not disarmament or any other depersonalized goal. International relations is challenging enough without making every issue personal.

dutchmargle: "Hillary is a good candidate too, with different strengths and different flaws. I'd like people to stay enthousiastic about her if she wins, just as I'd like the fervent Hillary fans to be enthousiastic if Obama wins."

You're the first breath of fresh air for Hillary posting here in a long time... And to mix metaphors, maybe the tide is turning...

John Miller: "I'm 60, my wife is about to be (and she's also a white woman), we barely fall into the lower middle class, we are educated (which is highly irrelevant for a reason I will get to later) and we both are strong Obama supporters. My brother is 65, his wife is 64 and Asian. They are a little higher up on the income scale and education. They are both strong Obama supporters and live in CA. So, like Gary, I suppose we fall into your category".

John, I didn't claim ALL the posters here fit the profile, I said they 'mostly' seem to possess the demographic characteristics I mentioned, which are the ones reflected in most of the primary exit polls supporting the candidates. Take a poll of everyone who posts here, and I'll bet dollars to donuts a large majority of them fit the profile I delineated.

I was simply tying to explain why there's a lack of Clinton supporters on this blog. There's large enough statistical margins in even the most lopsided demographic categories (the 20% of Blacks who are for Hillary, for examples) to expect some of those exceptions to the rule would be posting here in her favor - so where are they?


"Are you really happy, Jay, that those who, in general, have a lower education level are for Clinto and those with a higher education level are for Obama?"

If you're asking if I think people with college degrees are better at picking candidates for office then those without them, I'd rely on the judgment of the latter with a much greater degree of confidence. It's been my experience in life that when it comes to figuring out what's right and wrong, a plumber with a high school diploma is better at it then a political scientist with a doctorate degree.

I'm with Thomas Jefferson in this belief. He said: "I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."

By education he didn't mean smart-assed post graduate degrees in Library Science or Business Administration. He expected the common citizen (the laboring class) to be able to read and write, to calculate numbers, and to know their rights so they could thereby act with candor and judgment to chose those who would govern them.

If you think a lawyer has a better chance of exercising candor and judgment then a barber, we're too far apart in our bedrock beliefs about how the world works to make much more headway on this topic.

"Seems to me that one of the characteristics of Republican voters that has been criticized by Dems of all stripes has been that generally they are less educated and that may be why they are able to be seduced by Republican rhetoric."

As far back as the 1930s when the 'rabble' elected FDR, the Republican mantra was that Democrats were uneducated riff-raff, and Republicans were the party of smart, successful businessmen and professionals. Guess the elitist tide has turned Democratic-

G. Farber: "Spot on. I'm 49, have only 3 months of college, and essentially no income."

Gary, I was thinking of including a disclaimer at the head of the list mentioning you specifically, as an exception to the rule, but I didn't want to embarrass you by pointing out any of your deficiencies. Also, I don't really think of you as a typical ObWi poster, but more as an annoying buzzing summer fly, like the kind who pester you at fourth of July picnics, and then end up floating on their backs in the lemonade...

But you are spot on when it comes to annoying pedantry, snottily offering spelling corrections and grammar corrections to those whose opinions contradict yours, especially when you have nothing prescient to add to the discourse. Keep up the good work.

You're the first breath of fresh air for Hillary posting here in a long time... And to mix metaphors, maybe the tide is turning...

What nonsense. You're one of a very small minority of posters here who've been consistently slanted toward one candidate, Hillary or Obama. The "either would be fine, but I prefer x" position is the vast consensus here.

Here's some more nice ocean metaphors:

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
-- Vincent Van Gogh
Or:
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"...especially when you have nothing prescient to add to the discourse...."

I bow to the frequency of prescience you bring to conversation, Jay.

And to your sense of courtesy and deep concern for your fellow commenters.

Of course, for politics threads, nothing could be more appropriate than this particular sea metaphor:

I'm an ocean, because I'm really deep.
--Christina Aguilera

Time:

Though the real election is nine months away, Sen. Barack Obama would fare slightly better than Sen. Hillary Clinton in a head to head match-up with Sen. John McCain if the general election were held today, a new TIME poll reveals.

Obama captured 48% of the vote in the theoretical match-up against McCain's 41%, the TIME poll reported, while Clinton and McCain would deadlock at 46% of the vote each. Put another way, McCain looks at the moment to have a narrowly better chance of beating the New York Senator than he does the relative newcomer from Illinois.

The difference, says Mark Schulman, CEO of Abt SRBI, which conducted the poll for TIME, is that "independents tilt toward McCain when he is matched up against Clinton But they tilt toward Obama when he is matched up against the Illinois Senator."

[...]

According to the new poll, Democratic voters favor Clinton over Obama for the Democratic nomination by a margin of 48% to 42%.

Seventy percent of the voters polled by TIME said Bill Clinton's recent performance on the campaign trail had "no influence" on whether they were more or less likely to vote for his wife. Nineteen percent of voters said Clinton's recent comments made them less likely to vote for her; nine percent of voters said it made them more likely to vote for her.

The poll also sampled all voters' views of several possible vice presidential choices — and their various impacts on a potential race. According to the survey results, 62% of likely voters want Hillary Clinton to name Obama as her running mate. By contrast, only 51% of the same voters want Obama to return the favor. The same voters, by a margin of 55% to 11%, believed that Obama would help rather than hurt Clinton's chances were he to become her running mate. If Obama tapped Clinton as his running mate, that margin shifted, with 38% saying it would help his chances and 31% saying it would hurt.

"...especially when you have nothing prescient to add to the discourse...."

-- Jay: do you think everyone here should be trying to forecast the future, or is it just Gary?

Gary, I was thinking of including a disclaimer at the head of the list mentioning you specifically, as an exception to the rule, but I didn't want to embarrass you by pointing out any of your deficiencies. Also, I don't really think of you as a typical ObWi poster, but more as an annoying buzzing summer fly, like the kind who pester you at fourth of July picnics, and then end up floating on their backs in the lemonade...

But you are spot on when it comes to annoying pedantry, snottily offering spelling corrections and grammar corrections to those whose opinions contradict yours, especially when you have nothing prescient to add to the discourse. Keep up the good work.

1. I specifically and strenuously object to the use of the word "deficiencies" in the first paragraph, as it is vile and insulting, and moreso because it betrays Jay's forked-tonguedness here: If he truly believes that the "rabble" and "riff-raff" are the ones best equipped to choose our government, than he can hardly view Gary's personal circumstances as "deficiencies." If anything, they should be characterized as assets, Jay, n'est-ce pas?

2. In any case, this -- vilifying another poster for no reason -- is a clear violation of the posting rules and I believe it deserves a warning.

Jay: Your rhetoric would not convince me that Clinton was better than Obama to be honest. You're better of staying factual and you're definately better of staying away from personal attacks.

Gary: you show me polling results, I point to New Hampshire... or to the polls in the past were Clinton was in the lead but lost that lead in the months after the polls. I thought being too poll-driven was one of the points of critique for current politics?

Turbulence: yeah, she should have read the NIE I think. But you say I suspect that's part of the reason why Hillary made poor choices regarding Iraq early on: she agreed with her husband that the cornerstone of our Iraq policy was the elimination of Saddam and not disarmament or any other depersonalized goal..
I quoted her speech in 2002:

“Some people favor attacking Saddam Hussein now, with any allies we can muster, in the belief that one more round of weapons inspections would not produce the required disarmament, and that deposing Saddam would be a positive good for the Iraqi people and would create the possibility of a secular democratic state in the Middle East, one which could perhaps move the entire region toward democratic reform.
...
However, this course is fraught with danger. We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak.”

Are you supposed to credit her with the foreign policies of Bill? I'd rather try to judge her by her own policies and goals at the time - and by what she learned from them.

One of the pro-Hillary posts that made a big impression on me was this one on the leftcoaster. I counterbalance those with the pro-Obama posts Hilzoy has put up and that seem to be as well researched. As I said, I like factual comparisons.

Anarch: you said It has to do with what Hillary did and didn't vote for when she was in the Senate, her campaign since, her choice of advisors and advocates, and so forth. If she wants my support, she has to change those -- not her gender.

I wish ObWi would be were I (or rather where all YOU) could properly compare those things. Where are her votes different from his votes? How do their strategies/policies/statements about those issues differ? Is her campaing really much nastier than his campaign - or are the hillary supporters right in a lot of their countercritisism? You mentioned her choice of advisers - and today I read:

Whatever clues exist are likely to come from the advisors who surround them. Although Hillary's are more in step with a belligerent foreign policy, it's not news that Obama has surrounded himself largely with her husband's former advisors. (The Washington Post even ran a story last January that featured former Clintonites wringing their hands over their dueling loyalties.) Among them is former Clinton National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, who, as the journalist Alan Nairn recently reminded viewers of Democracy Now!, "was the main force behind the U.S. invasion of Haiti in the mid-Clinton years." Lake is on the advisory board of the Partnership for a Secure America ("dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy"), along with another Obama backer, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzeninski, who was National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, has been an outspoken critic of the War on Terror, everywhere from "The Daily Show" to Der Spiegel. But he also was one of the most aggressively vocal supporters of the bombing of Yugoslavia. ("I believe that the mass media ought to be more patient," he told Jim Lehrer as the air strikes continued in April 1999. "... It seems to me that leadership, political leadership, requires setting the tone and setting the direction, and not following public opinion polls.") Another advisor in Obama's camp, Sarah Sewall, penned the introduction to the new counterinsurgency handbook written by Gen. David Petraeus. "If anyone can save Iraq, it's David H. Petraeus," she wrote, not-so prophetically in the Washington Post last winter.
.

The fact that I might seem to be more pro-Hillary does not mean that I *am* more pro-Hillary btw. I just like balance and prefer facts to rethoric. I also think that *if* Barack (*) becomes the candidate people might be very disappointed if he suddenly would have flaws too (voting present, voting wrong 5 times, accepting money from lobbyists & corporations, etc.).

It might be better to have the discussions now, so that there can be an united front against the attacks later and so that their are realistic expectations. IMHO of course.

(*) I read that the GOP tries to avoid using their first names since it makes them too likable so I'm inclined to go in the opposite direction ;)

Red: OW can feel like a very lonely, inhospitable place for a Clinton supporter.

You’re kidding right? Try being a low tax small government Gore/Kerry bashing Lieberman supporting global warming denying conservative for a while and then get back to me…


Jay: It may simply be that birds of a feather blog together: the feathers in this case reflecting people of similar age, education, literacy, income, etc. Those posting here in favor of Obama appear to mostly be under 40 years of age, have college degrees, earn better than average incomes, and as far as Democrats go, are tilted more to the left then to the center or right, where more Hillary supporters reside.

You got me pegged too. Well, except for the under 40 part. And the low tax small government Gore/Kerry bashing Lieberman supporting global warming denying conservative part. Other than that, spot on.


Phil: In any case, this -- vilifying another poster for no reason -- is a clear violation of the posting rules and I believe it deserves a warning.

Seconded.

"You’re kidding right? Try being a low tax small government Gore/Kerry bashing Lieberman supporting global warming denying conservative for a while and then get back to me…"

But Steve, you have a sense of humor :)

Redstocking is obviously a quite intelligent woman and has done an excellent job raising her daughter. I have gone to her blog and find it quite interesting.

However, I sometimes sense a high level of defensiveness. What I am about to say may be taken the wrong way but as someone who ia approximately the same age as redstocking (w/i 2 yrs) I think my observations have some merit.

I find that the early feminists of the 60's and early 70's tend to be more defensive and sensitive than later feminists. They tend to see sexism in more places than later feminists. This is not a criticism but rather a personal observation, and considering the society in which they developed their feminism it is not totally unwarranted.

Jay can be quite annoying at times and fact deficient, but this is the first time he has stooped to personal attacks. I suppose he is actually hoping to get banned just to go to other blogs and complain how OW won't allow Clinton supporters to comment.

Take a poll of everyone who posts here, and I'll bet dollars to donuts a large majority of them fit the profile I delineated.

Fortunately for Jay, "dollars to donuts" isn't what it used to be. I'm another regular ObWi commenter and Obama supporter who doesn't fit the profile, because of my age (and lately because of my income). Apparently Jay is still buying into the myth that the blogs are inhabited by just a bunch of kids.

Jay: I agree with others about what you said about Gary. Vilifying another poster is a violation of the posting rules. Don't do it. Disagree with Gary's argument, but don't say the kinds of things you said about him.

Dutch,
It would be lovely if we could decide our president on the basis of factual questions, but, to go back to my comment that seemed to set you off, we can't. To move the discussion away from parochial issues like our Civil War, you see the same thing with footballers. One cannot pick a great team by simply inputting a series of facts, one has to account for their personalities and how they would interact with each other. To take these things into account may result in players getting put in boxes that they can't get out of, but you weigh these things because you want the team to win, not because you want to defend a footballer's right to prove themselves. The stakes are really too high.

(which is not to say that I am going to refuse to support HRC if she gets the nomination. But it is to say that I don't think the US will be able to effectively put away the structural problems that led to this administration.)

You suggest that Obama has surrounded himself with Clinton advisors, but the ones that have gravitated to him are ones that have been more vocal in their criticism to Iraq and the War on Terror, Zbigniew Brzezinski most prominently.

A rigid emphasis on the 'facts' ends up being simple headcounting (she has 5 ex clinton advisors, he has 4, so it must be a wash) which is intimately related to one of the reasons things suck so badly and that is a mistaken emphasis on 'balance'.

An Obama supporter who's 43 with two years of college, cancelled due to disability, here.

I agree with the earlier comment that we are as a community better informed and more concerned about foreign policy than the public at large. We're also, at least on the Democratic side, significantly less inclined toward war as ever being a good solution, intensified at the moment by some shared mourning. I think that the latter as a matter of temperament is independent of the former, and may well precede and drive it.

Dunno if anyone else is familiar with Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, but a lot of my formative views on feminism come from interactions with people there. I am, to be honest, probably in some ways harsher on Clinton for her persistent warmongering ways than I would be on Generic Guy, because I'm inclined to see peace as an integral part of feminist social reform. This isn't entirely fair, I know, which is why I'm acknowledging it here as a weakness rather than as a bit of wisdom.

"Gary: you show me polling results"

?

I posted a link here. It was addressed to no one, and made no argument.

People do a tremendous amount of projection here. Even something that has not a single word by me in it, but is 100% a quote, addressed at no one, making no point but "here's some new information," gets that kind of reaction.

It's impossible to write something that someone can't take the wrong way.

It's tiresome.

When I'm responding to something, I'll quote it.

If I'm not quoting something someone wrote, I'm not responding to them.

Turbulence: yeah, she should have read the NIE I think. But you say I suspect that's part of the reason why Hillary made poor choices regarding Iraq early on: she agreed with her husband that the cornerstone of our Iraq policy was the elimination of Saddam and not disarmament or any other depersonalized goal..
I quoted her speech in 2002

dutchmarbel,

Not reading the NIE is not a small problem for me: it means she didn't care about human life to an appalling degree. As long as there's a sane electable candidate in the race, that's a dealbreaker for me. Honestly, Americans are already so very good at making dead Iraqis invisible, it seems that the least I can do is avoid rewarding Clinton for her incredibly bad decisions that have killed lots of people.

I think your quote reaffirms my original point: Clinton is reiterating that the ultimate goal of our Iraq policy must be the removal of Saddam. She differed from Bush in that she didn't want a unilateral invasion, but her policy was exactly like Bill's in the 90s: completely oriented around the removal of this one individual and willing to sacrifice as many innocent Iraqis as it took to eliminate Saddam. My beef with the Clintons is the idea that US foreign policy should be oriented around putting into power or removing from power individual leaders as opposed to depersonalized objectives like, for example, disarmament, an independent judiciary, etc. Both Clintons and Bush have repeated over and over that there is nothing Saddam could do that would satisfy the US; the only acceptable outcome was the removal of Saddam. Clinton made Iraq his Cuba but Bush ruined everything by getting impatient.

I'm curious, Jay: what's your age, educational level, and professional background?

And why you think that people without college degrees are inherently more commonsensical and better equipped to understand, say, foreign policy than those with degrees. It's been my experience, from a pretty damn extensive viewing of the socioeconomic strata in this country, that moronicism is orthogonal to demographic. Can I ask what experience you have in this regard?

dutchmarbel: Where are her votes different from his votes? How do their strategies/policies/statements about those issues differ? Is her campaing really much nastier than his campaign - or are the hillary supporters right in a lot of their countercritisism?

I'd say hilzoy's previous posts on the subject have covered most of what I'd say in this regard. They're pretty similar on a lot of issues, I'll grant you, but on the particular issues I really care about -- particularly Iraq and the broader whatever-the-heck-the-appropriate-name-for-the-so-called-War-On-Terror-is -- I strongly, strongly disapprove of her positions and have no trust in her ability to pick what I consider to be a wise course. Even so, I'll probably vote for her; the one (realistic) exception I can think of is if she underhandedly tries to shove Michigan and Florida's delegates into the convention. That absolutely will not fly. OTOH, if the candidates agree to have new primaries/caucuses in the two states and she wins them fair and square, well, more power to her.

Also, as an addendum to my previous post, I want to walk back "a pretty damn extensive viewing of the socioeconomic strata"; on reflection, that's a serious overstatement. I've had a pretty damn broad exposure to various economic strata, and a moderate exposure to various social milieus. My apologies for any wisdom imputed incorrectly.

Obama supporter? Undecided. I support Obama over Clinton, without any reservations.

Under 40? Nope.

Better than average income? Check. Shockingly, there are a great many people who make over average income. But I didn't do it on purpose, I swear.

My tilt is decidedly right-ish. But I'll take an honest, reasonale, unabashed lefty over a scheming, opportunistic lefty,if that's a choice I have to make.

b

There. Don't use it all in one place.

Danged laptop keyboard.

"And why you think that people without college degrees are inherently more commonsensical and better equipped to understand, say, foreign policy than those with degrees."

I forget: which side am I supposed to be taking here? My deficiencies get in the way.

According to Jay, "if you're asking if I think people with college degrees are better at picking candidates for office then those without them, I'd rely on the judgment of the latter with a much greater degree of confidence. It's been my experience in life that when it comes to figuring out what's right and wrong, [someone with only] a high school diploma is better at it then a political scientist with a doctorate degree."

So I should be better at "picking candidates for office" than somone with a college degree, and Jay will "rely on [my] judgment of the latter with a much greater degree of confidence" than he will of someone with a college degree. Which is so nice of him to say.

But, also, this is a "deficiency," which is curious. Perhaps if I had a college degree, I could understand.

That lack of degree must be what causes me to find Jay Jerome's history of positions a bit confusing.

He started off commenting here on Obama with:

Yeah, right - knock Hillary's 'experience cred' - which means knocking the previous Clinton administration's accomplishments (one of the main selling points to reelect another Democratic administration) and thereby undermine Democratic chances in the upcoming presidential elections.

Or doesn't the term 'shooting yourself in the foot' ring a bell?

If O'Bama wants to do what's best for the country, he should remove his skinny little rump from the race, and wait his turn another eight years, during which time he can season his own meager record with some 'real voting cred' instead of undermining our chances to evict the Neo-Nitwit Republicans from the executive office for the next 16 years.

Criticism of Hillary was, in Jay's eyes, verboten.

He followed up immediately with more of the same:

You want a Republican in the WH for four more years? Go ahead and let Obama whittle away and antagonize the Black vote against the Clintons in the upcoming election.

And BTW- the Democratic candidate isn't HRC - it's HBC (Hill-Bill Clinton) - another reason to vote Democratic: because you get a two-fer-one presidency.

Jay recently claimed to observe: "Those posting here in favor of Obama appear to mostly be under 40 years of age, have college degrees, earn better than average incomes, and as far as Democrats go, are tilted more to the left then to the center or right, where more Hillary supporters reside."

Setting aside any evaluation of the accuracy of this, this is from the same Jay Jerome who wrote about liberals, and illegal immigration, that:

Maybe it’s all the pie-in-the-sky latte-liberals who want as many illegal’s as possible to cross into the US so they can have cheap labor to mow their lawns and subservient nannies to watch their kids while they advance their theories on political correctness and take culinary lessons on how to prepare sushi hors’dourves for Saturday afternoon noshes where they practice the proper way to curl their pinky fingers while pontificating on the racist propensities of those who object to the swarming migration of mostly-Mexican non-English speaking undereducated well-meaning but hourly-wage reducing unending and unstoppable usurpers of jobs and wages from our own hard-working native population of citizens whose earning power and quality of life have been curtailed as a result who need help.
And that he is no liberal:
Katherine – I’m not interested in ‘persuading’ liberals to do or think anything… liberals are as blockheaded as conservatives, maybe more so. I can authoritatively say that because I ‘had’ a liberal pedigree as distinguished as anyone who posts here; before, that it, I suddenly came to my senses - like when Cher slapped Nickolas Cage in 'Moonstruck' and told him to ‘snap out of it.’
Of course, his epiphany was based on the fact that the Village Voice employed a gossip columnist. (That it also has had pages of hooker ads sustaining it might have been even more shocking, if he'd ever noticed.)

Jay, as it happens, isn't even a Democrat, let alone one of those "latte liberals" he so despises:

[...] And it didn't turn me conservative -- it put me back in balance. I’m a registered Independent now, and we’re the ones who are going to decide who the next president is – and that’s a good thing..
Jay isn't big on Democrats, as well as "latte-liberals":
[...] I'll make you a wager: if the Democrats take over the reigns of power and there's a disaster comparable to Katrina, they'll screw up as badly.

[...]

And that's who's running the nation now: first and second generation Yuppies; people with more disposable income then common-sense. They're like the dotty air-headed socialites and playboys in 1930s and 40s screwball comedies: spoiled, self-centered, over-dressed and discombobulated.

With Democrats in charge, it won't be any different. All the government agencies -- FEMA and DOD and DOJ and ETC -- will still be saturated with graduates from the same colleges, inculcated with the same values, the same views, the same way of talking, writing, gossiping, emailing, and covering their ass when they screw up. In other words, the same ole you know what.

But by January, Jay is attacking Obama supporters for being far younger than "first and second generation Yuppies":
[...] For me, the main red flag from the interview wasn't the Reagan remarks (though they indirectly reflect it) but his own admittance there is "a generational aspect" to his candidacy - that he "didn't come to age in the battles of the 60s," and was "therefore not ideologically invested in them…"

Although he was vague about which "battles" he was talking about, the statement is revealing - and reflects the intuitive perception among voters 50 or older who favor Clinton nearly 3 to 1 over Obama in the polls that he's not the candidate to support:

Like his curious remarks about Ronald Reagan changing "the trajectory of America…" and putting " us on a fundamentally different path" his 'generational' gaffs are also vague enough for wiggle room apologetics: but for Democrats who fought many of the battles in the 60s and 70s (increasing Black voter registration, overturning sodomy and miscegenation laws, ensuring the right to legal abortions, etc) it's a red flag of warning that Obama is 'generationally challenged' and needs more time in the pickling jar before he's ready to lead a nation.

"Never trust anyone under 40" seems to be Jay's preferred slogan.

In a particularly charming moment, Jay makes the Nazi comparison.

By a couple of hours later, Jay has donned the mantle of Defender of The Democrats from The Evil Reagan-Praising Obama:

Well, yeah, it's good to win over Republicans (and Independents, and anyone else you can get on your side) but was he being sincere when he made those adulatory comments about Reagan and Republicans, or distorting the truth like a used car salesman selling a jalopy to promote himself?

Does Obama really think Republicans were the party of ideas over the last few decades? I mean really believe that? Or was he just patronizing the editorial staff, patting them on their little pointy heads with a lot of crap so they'd like him better?

Or was there a more sinister reason for his Reagan adulation, his Republican love-fest? Is he in fact a closet Republican? Or worse, a Republican mole? Does Red-State blood run in his veins?

Lets look at some of the other things he said in the interview, to test this theory.

Alongside the positive statements he made about Reagan and Republicans to the reporters who questioned him was an avowal that government had 'grown and grown" but there was "no sense of responsibility how it was operating," and he coupled those curious comments with a disparaging aside about the "excesses of the 60s and 70s." Contextually that sounds suspiciously like echoes of the mantras we've heard for decades, right out of the Republican play-book for ways to disparage Democrats: the Democrats-are-big-spenders-without-fiscal-restraint meme; plus other off-sounded negative Limbaugh-like criticisms from Republicans who constantly disparage the 60s and 70s for producing a culture of hippy-immoral-liberal-secularist-abortion lovers, responsible for the moral decline of the nation.

In fact, if you look at it objectively, Obama's the perfect Republican mole: a disruptive presence sent in to undermine what would have been a sure Democratic victory in 2008 by a liberal female US Senator whose husband was highly esteemed by Democrats in general, and by Black Democrats in particular, who herself would have locked up the women's vote, and who most likely would have carried large numbers of Democrats running on her coattails into office.

Now, thanks to Obama's entry into the race, you can kiss that opportunity goodbye. He's screwed up the Democratic political landscape in a way that will dramatically improve Republican chances to recapture the White House, and both houses of Congress as well.

Who knows which party Jay will be claiming to speak for next? He's not a Democrat. But he claims to speak for them. When he does, he announces that it's forbidden to criticize one candidate. He posts endless ad hominem after ad hominem against that candidate. When that fails to sway anyone, he commences ad hominems on those he disagrees with. He accuses the opponent of the candidate he allegedly supports of being a "Republican mole."

It's enough to make one wonder about false representations, and moles, and trolls, in general, and even cui bono? from Jay's changing stances, isn't it?

Oh, sure; well and good coming from a stalker.

Joking, in case the funniness didn't come blazing through, there.

Slartibartfast: but wbhy don'bt byou supbport Clbinton?

Anarch, did you swipe my laptop?

Given your recent keyboard problems: swipe or swab?

@LJ: It wasn't your post that set me going, it was the trend I noticed with most posters. I would be very suprised if footballplayers weren't picked on their results and their strength/weaknesses instead of on their character. And I didn't suggest Obama has surrounded himself with Clinton advisors. I said that Anarch pointed out that her choice of advisors was one of the things he didn't like and coincidently I read a piece the next day which said that Obama had Clinton advisors too. I have no idea how many each candidate has and how many have a history. Brzezinski is named in the article as fervently against the Iraq war but a strong supporter of bombing yougoslavia and I have no idea what his actual positions on the WoT are.
Sometimes facts are easy. If she had 5 Ca's and he had 4 that would be different from her having 25 and him having 4, wouldn't it? And indeed, some of them are heavier than others, but it would give a bit more info than 'she has the wrong advisors. I only know two of them, but those are really bad'. I can't weight them; I don't know them. But if I read the latter I recognize that it might be based in fact but might also be based in rumours, assumptions and smears.

@Gary: "Gary: you show me polling results"

?

I posted a link here. It was addressed to no one, and made no argument.

That's silly. You post it here, so you show it to all readers and you know that I am one of them. I didn't say that you showed them only to me, or that you showed them in particular to me.

@Turbulence: Not reading the NIE is not a small problem for me: it means she didn't care about human life to an appalling degree. As long as there's a sane electable candidate in the race, that's a dealbreaker for me. Honestly, Americans are already so very good at making dead Iraqis invisible, it seems that the least I can do is avoid rewarding Clinton for her incredibly bad decisions that have killed lots of people.
I said that not reading the NIE was dumb, it would be a point for me, but she voted for putting pressure on Saddam to allow unconditional inspections. She specifically said that invading was wrong and should happen only when those things wouldn't happen. I really thought it was a good idea at the time, even though I thought there wouldn`t be significant amounts of WMD's, because I wanted those inspections. Putting all Iraqi deaths on her vote (without adding blame to Obama for voting the same ever since he became a senator) is so unbalanced that it makes it hard to take your points serious since you seem to care more for the score than the truth. Maybe you should add Benazir to the list of Clinton victims.

Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible.

Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely, and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause, I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction.

Blix in his book "Disarming Iraq":

What happened later in October 2002? Blix says the following in page 84:

Some said that the U.S. was only feigning interest in the UN and that its war plans were already made. Others said that the draft resolution was moving forward. I did not see that increasing military pressure and readiness for armed action necessarily excluded a desire for a peaceful solution. If that was what the U.S. wanted, strong inspections would be needed.
[...]

I walked over to the hotel from the UN and met Colin Powell alone for half an hour. He said that the U.S. was serious about wanting a solution without armed force and impressed on me how important it now was to beef up our inspection plans and machinery. The U.S. would help us in any way it could.

Obama had a similar reasoning about him supporting the Patriot Act.

anarch: Hilzoy is one of the most fair and balanced persons I know. Her posts have been most informative, but one-sided. I do take her info seriously, but feel in need of either balancing the info with some of the equally one-sided pro-Hillary sites or skipping much of the info. I think that is a shame because, as I said, I think you should be proud of both candidates. America has done a lot worse in the past. I also think that it is better to have an as complete as possible picture of both candidates. I've heard plenty about all perceived or real flaws of Hillary here, but have not seen Barack's flaws discussed, have not seen the things that bug me about him adressed (I would not like the 'present' voting, how he regularly missed important or controversial votes or how he appearantly voted wrong 5 times - is that normal? Or just him? I have no idea, but it bugs me). I don't think those things make him a bad candidate, but they will come up in the elections and should be properly addressed.

Brzezinski is named in the article as fervently against the Iraq war but a strong supporter of bombing yougoslavia and I have no idea what his actual positions on the WoT are

Well, this op-ed is recent, but I think it gives you an idea of what his opinion may have looked like a couple of years ago.

@Gary: "Gary: you show me polling results"

?

I posted a link here. It was addressed to no one, and made no argument.

That's silly. You post it here, so you show it to all readers and you know that I am one of them.

Yes, but in English, if that's what you meant, you should write "You show us." Plural.

Instead, you wrote that I was personally addressing just you. Singular. Which I wasn't, no offense. Thus my confusion. If you'd written "you show us," I'd have known what you meant, rather than what you wrote.

No problem; your English is 10,000 times better than my Dutch. (Though I find when using Google's translation program that a fair amount of Dutch is pretty explicable.)

I'm one of those directed here by links to the "Actually, I think we can" post, and I've been enjoying the blog since.

A lifelong independent, I'd love to get rid of Bush. Of course, he's not running, so I get that regardless. If the best the democrats can offer the country in an election that seems to go all their way is "Let's build a bridge back to the nineties!" that betrays an incredible lack of vision. And it doesn't run well against McCain's view that we should relive Reagan, instead. At least no one in his family has actually been president (and Reagan so far has not risen in zombie form), so it'd be a little more of a break with the past.

If a) the MI and FL delegates stay at 0, b) Clinton otherwise wins on pledged delegates, c) there's not too much blood on the floor at the convention, then I could see the party uniting behind her, albeit with a lot of grudging votes rather than enthusiastic ones.

Even I would hold my nose and vote for her if God intervenes to give Huckabee the nomination. He's more likeable, but I don't actually care about that in a president, as opposed to a next-door neighbor. But after the way she ran her campaign in January, I really don't want to. As suggested in comments above, it's not just people Obama won, it's the people Clinton lost.

Here's a good and detailed look at Clinton and Obama's foreign policy advisors.

Personally, I don't think counting people who served under Bill Clinton is all that informative. As the Democratic President, he employed the basic Dem. foreign policy establishment, so it stands to reason that unless one candidate got all the good people (which isn't the case), both would have a whole lot of ex-Bill Clinton people.

I voted for Obama for the reasons outlined in the link hilzoy gave right above me (12:32 post), but in the interests of fair play, what do the enthusiastic Obama supporters here (which leaves me out, btw) think about the claim that Clinton's position on health care is better than Obama's? That seems to be Krugman's position, for instance.


I'll vote for Clinton even if she steals the nomination with Michigan and Florida votes. Or I think I will. I live in a safe state for Clinton and could indulge in a third party vote if I wanted, but probably won't. I voted for Nader in 2000, but have since become a firm convert to lesser of two evilism. Though, incidentally, the motives attributed to many of us Nader voters are often wrong. I did it in part because I thought leftist desertion was a way of pressuring the Democrats to stop their rightward drift and not so much out of moral purity, though that made it feel good and that's what we're generally accused of. Those of you who won't vote for Clinton if she wins the nomination in a sleazy fashion would be acting the way we Nader voters were accused of acting. Bad as Clinton might be, McCain is more likely to start new wars.

"...but in the interests of fair play, what do the enthusiastic Obama supporters here (which leaves me out, btw) think about the claim that Clinton's position on health care is better than Obama's?"

The argument over the individual mandate is actually the only argument I think Clinton has going for her.

My estimation, which may be quite wrong, is that Obama made the calculation that an individual was too easy for the Republicans to savage, for obvious reasons: endless attacks and simple slogans against it are possible: "The Democrats want to take your health insurance away from you!" "The Democrats want to force you to buy what you don't want to!," and so on and so forth.

The arguments for the mandate, which while I think they're sound reasoning, are complicated, and politically difficult.

The argument over whether to stand or fall on it, politically, is therefore one that it seems to me that reasonable people can differ over. I think there are fair arguments on both sides, myself.

So while I actually agree that an individual mandate is better policy, and this is the sole issue I really agree Clinton has an arguably better position, I'm uncertain enough about the politics, and otherwise impressed enough with Obama, that this isn't close to a make-or-break issue with me. It's merely one where I agree Clinton has a fair argument.

Other than possibility environmental positions, where I haven't looked closely at either candidate, though, it's the only issue so far that I, at least, give Clinton any points for.

"My estimation, which may be quite wrong, is that Obama made the calculation that an individual was too easy for the Republicans to savage"

An "individual mandate," that is.

Basically: I think an individual mandate is better in principle. Otoh, it is, as Gary said, easy to turn into a whole lot of political trouble, since the whole idea is to compel people to do something, and the political problem with national health insurance is the idea that people will be herded willy-nilly into some evil incompetently run government program.

It's one of the few areas where I think Clinton is better on policy than Obama. I don't think it's as big a deal as other people seem to, basically for two reasons.

(1) Neither candidate's plan will be passed as is. So I can't see that it's worth sweating the details, unless those details show one candidate to be incompetent or appalling or something, which isn't the case here.

(2) The mandate itself doesn't seem to me to be the really significant bit. A mandate is just: telling people they have to do X. It doesn't do much absent, say, penalties for not doing X. A lot of the work of a mandate can be done by things like opt-out systems (you are enrolled by default but have to opt out). Likewise, a system without a mandate can have penalties for late registration (so that if, say, you don't get health insurance until you get sick, you are penalized.) When you think of all the things that might help get people to sign up for insurance -- opt-out, penalties for late signup, making it affordable, etc. -- and then say: if we had all this stuff in place, how much difference would it make to add the statement: everybody has to sign up?

My sense is: some, but not a lot.

Now: the effect of this last point is to shift concern from one thing (mandates) to another set of things, not to make the concerns go away. And there seem to be differences of opinion on whether Obama has these other things. (The plan on his website doesn't get into that level of detail.) I can't find it now, but iirc Ezra thought he didn't have opt-out, whereas some other health economist thought he did. I think that's much more important, personally.

Donald: That seems to be Krugman's position, for instance.

In my experience, going 180 from Krugman is pretty safe. ;) OK – snark off…

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s going to happen, so now I’m more interested in the how. I don’t believe that any kind of mandate will pass. In fact it will doom the plan it’s attached to.

"(1) Neither candidate's plan will be passed as is. So I can't see that it's worth sweating the details, unless those details show one candidate to be incompetent or appalling or something, which isn't the case here."

I took this as an absolute given, but Hilzoy's right to make it explicit, and I was wrong not to, since not everyone will automatically realize this.

Of course, it was a key part of my reasoning: policy statements in campaign really don't mean all that much, other than insofar as they give one insight in to the candidate's reasoning, assumptions, who they'll draw advice from, their preferences, and so on.

As regards actual translation into policy, anyone who thinks there's much more than vague correlation, at best, between what's said in a campaign about policy, and what the elected President ends up doing when faced with new information, input from government departments, changing events, the reality of Congress, and a vast web of other constraints, pressures, and inputs, has little familiarity with history.

Franklin Roosevelt ran in 1932 on a platform of cutting government expenditures, and balancing the budget, for god's sake.

Time:

[...] But the Democratic platform of 1932 committed Roosevelt to Hooverian solutions: a balanced budget and a 25% cut in Government spending.

Indeed, while Hoover fulminated against "socalled new deals," it was Roosevelt who accused the President of "reckless and extravagant" spending, and of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible." Roosevelt's running mate, Congressman John Nance Garner of Texas, 63, even claimed that Hoover was "leading the country down the path of socialism." Eleanor Roosevelt best summed up her husband's uncertain command of the future when she wrote at the time of his Inauguration: "One has a tremendous feeling of going it blindly, because we're in a tremendous stream, and none of us knows where we're going to land."

George W. Bush ran on a platform of not doing nation building, and a "humble foreign policy."

Ronald Reagan didn't campaign on a platform of offering to eliminate all nuclear weapons along with the Russians.

Nixon didn't campaign on reversing his demonization as a "traitor" of anyone who wanted to talk to Red China.

JFK campaigned neither to get us entrenched in Vietnam, nor to make sure we didn't.

Etc., and so on. So I'm not fanatically concerned about campaign policy positions literally necessarily becoming policy, although I don't dismiss what's said in the campaign as having no significant effect, either, because it can and often does; it simply doesn't remotely control, however.

tnxs LJ, I read it, but it seems to be what all the democrats are saying (and what I totally agree with). It was an example anyway - I allready put more time in the US primaries than I inteded too ;)

Personally, I don't think counting people who served under Bill Clinton is all that informative. As the Democratic President, he employed the basic Dem. foreign policy establishment, so it stands to reason that unless one candidate got all the good people (which isn't the case), both would have a whole lot of ex-Bill Clinton people.

But Anarch said that he was uneasy about her advisors and I've seen other people claim that she would just 'bring back the 90s with all the bad folk and policies' so appearantly it has meaning for some.

I looked at your link, don't have time to do extensive research. However, just reading through it: Do you really claim that is a neutral comparison?

I compare Hillary's and Barack's piece in Foreign Affairs and do not see what he points out.

I said that not reading the NIE was dumb, it would be a point for me, but she voted for putting pressure on Saddam to allow unconditional inspections.

dutchmarbel,

Thanks for your response. I'll be blunt. I didn't care about weapons inspectors in 2002 and I didn't think that the US Senate should have cared either. Everyone with a brain, including the NIE authors, had concluded the Iraq had no nuclear weapons. So the only possible debate could have been chemical and bio weapons. In 1998, UNSCOM had concluded that 90-95% of Iraq's WMD had been destroyed. I really didn't think that 100% verified destruction was ever even possible, so that was good enough for me. Saddam didn't force inspectors out of the country: they left, on order of the US government because the US was going to launch the Desert Fox attack no matter what. This was widely lied about in the press at the time and by Bush in his Axis of Evil speech.

I knew that there was a small probability that Iraq might still have chemical weapons and I still didn't care. Why? Because chemical weapons are not as militarily useful as their cheaper conventional counterparts. They're more difficult to acquire, they're more likely to leak and injure your own soldiers, they're more fragile, and they're more expensive. Chemical weapons are the things a nation buys if it is not being rational or if it wants to scare someone else. Yes, I know that Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people. But the technique doesn't matter; what matters is using the military to annihilate tens of thousands of people. If Saddam didn't have chemical weapons in the 1980s, he could have killed those people just as effectively with conventional ordnance. In fact, using conventional weapons would have been cheaper.

As for bio weapons, no one in recent history has successfully used them. They're difficult to make and incredibly difficult to deploy without endangering your own soldiers. For that matter, serious attempts to develop them risked infecting the general population.

Look, I'll be very blunt: I thought the whole sanctions regime was a way to strangle the Iraqi people until they submitted to our will and kicked out Saddam. And to me, that sounded like terrorism ("the systemic use of violence to coerce a civilian population into adopting policies that they otherwise would not tolerate"). When I heard the US or UN talk about eliminating Iraq's CAPACITY to develop weapons of mass destruction, I was enraged. Any third rate chemist can make chemical weapons in their kitchen. My roommate made chemical weapons precursors everyday because he was working in a pharmaceutical lab. You can't have a modern industrial society in which it is impossible to make chemical weapons: they're far too easy to make. And ensuring that Iraq can't make bio weapons is even worse: that boils down to a decree that Iraq can't have medical technology less than 50 years old.

So yes, I thought "putting pressure on Saddam" was stupid and possibly immoral and I thought a US Senator should have been expected to know that.


She specifically said that invading was wrong and should happen only when those things wouldn't happen.

Hillary said a lot of things to different people at different times regarding Iraq. Talking about what should happen is pointless: she empowered George Bush to decide when there would be a war. I mean, let's be realistic here: Bush's administration was stocked full of the same Project for a New American Century lunatics that had been advocating for war with Iraq since Clinton's presidency.

I really thought it was a good idea at the time, even though I thought there wouldn`t be significant amounts of WMD's, because I wanted those inspections.

I don't understand. Can you explain to me why you wanted inspections if you didn't think there were significant amounts of WMD? Was it because you thought there was a small possibility that there might be lots of WMD?

Putting all Iraqi deaths on her vote (without adding blame to Obama for voting the same ever since he became a senator) is so unbalanced that it makes it hard to take your points serious since you seem to care more for the score than the truth. Maybe you should add Benazir to the list of Clinton victims.

I'm sorry you don't take me seriously. In my assessment, once we went into Iraq with George Bush as President, there was very little the Senate Democrats could do that would materially affect the course of the war. Senate Democrats are constrained, and while I disagree with Obama on some of his votes, I don't think those votes would have made much difference in the total death toll.

Once you go to war, the political calculus changes: people throw their support behind the executive in the name of supporting the troops. That means that you should be extremely careful about going to war since you effectively lose some ability to procure good policy after soldiers deploy.

In addition, once we toppled Saddam's regime and screwed up the first year, I think that the eventual death toll was mostly set. I honestly don't know what the US could have done after the first year that would have significantly reduced the death toll. I mean, I have ideas, but they're not things that the Senate can effect. Once the nation goes to war, the executive is in control.

dutchmarbel,

Regarding foreign policy, I think Clinton's plans for the Israel-Palestinian conflict are...bad. She put out a position paper recently where she committed herself to the position that Jerusalem must be under complete Israeli control as the Israeli capital.

That position is to the right of Bill Clinton's policy as President. It is to the right of George W Bush's policy as President. It is to the right of Ehud Olmert's policy as Prime Minister of Israel. I don't see how anyone can look at that and even pretend that America is a neutral broker: in writing that statement, Clinton just hung every Palestinian moderate out to dry.

Turbulence:

I totally agree with you about the WMD's and have said so repeatedly at the time. I usually link to Robin Cooks speech to express my PoV.

I also totally agree with what you say about the sanctions against Iraq. I recommend this piece in Harpers Magazine, which made quite an impression on my at the time.
Which is actually also why it scares me slightly if Barack seems to imply that he is in favour of sanctions against Iran as part of the 'toolkit'.

But those inspections weren't for MY convenience. I felt they were needed to establish with certainty (for everybody) that there was no danger, so that policies could be adapted. I also felt that it was important to have a good example for other countries, to show them that it is better to comply with inspections - and a little 'or else' can be helpfull.

And I also agree with the fact that Clintons idea's for Israel are less than admirable. I don't know why you think her position on Jerusalem is new though: she allready held it in 1999.

I had hoped that Obama's position was more enlightened, but his current statements and speeches don't indicate that.

You do realize that I'm only an innocent bystander though? I'll have to make do with whomever you elect. For the sake of the ObWi readership I hope your guy wins, everybody seems to be terribly dissapointed if that doesn't happen. I just expressed my suprise at the Hillary-bashing and the Obama-bias. It is toe-curling when people you hold in high regard disappoint like that.

I'm not wedded to Hillary either and will freely admit to the things I don't like about her. I just thing that both candidates have flaws and both have things that worry me slightly. But both are good candidates and I am amazed that the bias in a lot of people is so strong that they cannot perceive that. I don't think that is good for the Democratic party either - and I prefer Democrats to Republicans in the USA.

I can also tell you that the more I learn about the electoral system in the USA, the more I appreciate our own system, with flaws and all.

But those inspections weren't for MY convenience. I felt they were needed to establish with certainty (for everybody) that there was no danger, so that policies could be adapted.

This make no sense to me. Everyone who was paying attention already knew that Iraq posed no threat. Furthermore, everyone also knew that the US government's stated policy in Iraq was regime-change. That was true for both the Clinton and Bush administrations. The disarmament was done for all practical purposes by 1998; talk of disarmament after 98 was a sham, a figleaf to cover American aggression. Who else needed convincing? Who would have benefited from more inspections? And if you believe that inspectors were done by 98, why would you think that inspections were being honestly managed after 98?

There have been credible reports that UN inspectors were being used by American intelligence. If the process really had been corrupted to such a degree, why on Earth would we continue it?

I also felt that it was important to have a good example for other countries, to show them that it is better to comply with inspections - and a little 'or else' can be helpfull.

I don't understand this at all. There is no generic requirement for countries to submit to inspections; the only reason Iraq was forced to was because they lost a war. What other countries are you thinking of? And given that everyone knew or at least suspected that the UNSCOM process was being rigged to satisfy the American obsession with ousting Saddam at all costs, why would you think this was a good example?

And I also agree with the fact that Clintons idea's for Israel are less than admirable. I don't know why you think her position on Jerusalem is new though: she allready held it in 1999.

Less than admirable? Um, she's made it impossible for a Clinton administration to act as an honest broker.

I never said this was a new policy, but it was written down in a policy paper that her campaign put out recently.


I just expressed my suprise at the Hillary-bashing and the Obama-bias. It is toe-curling when people you hold in high regard disappoint like that.

I'm not wedded to Hillary either and will freely admit to the things I don't like about her. I just thing that both candidates have flaws and both have things that worry me slightly.

Obviously both candidates have flaws. I think everyone understands that.

I'm sorry but I don't see this bias you talk about. Your explanations for why I don't like Clinton's candidacy doesn't really make sense to me. I can't agree to the proposition that I'm demonstrating an irrational bias until you can do a better job convincing me that my reasons for disliking Clinton's candidacy are irrational...

Everyone who was paying attention already knew that Iraq posed no threat.

Everyone paying attention usually is a small minority. Lot's of people were scared, lots of countries felt that he could be a threat at that time and there was a general feeling that the inspections were important.

At the time I was the person giving all the arguments you give, but it was a minority position in a lot of places.

You forget the IAEA, who regularly sends inspections, and incidental inspections like the ones for Lebanon.

And given that everyone knew or at least suspected that the UNSCOM process was being rigged to satisfy the American obsession with ousting Saddam at all costs, why would you think this was a good example?

Maybe because hardly anybody I talked to agreed that they were rigged for the US? Lots of people thought Scott Ritter was a lying scoundrel.

Less than admirable? Um, she's made it impossible for a Clinton administration to act as an honest broker.

America has not been (or been seen as) an honest broker in a long time. I had hoped that Obama would be more inclined to be fair to the Palestinians, but so far all he has said and written the last few years show that he is not. So whilst I agree with you that Clintons position is bad, I don't think Obama is better so it would not be a point in favour of one of the candidates.

I'm sorry but I don't see this bias you talk about. Your explanations for why I don't like Clinton's candidacy doesn't really make sense to me. I can't agree to the proposition that I'm demonstrating an irrational bias until you can do a better job convincing me that my reasons for disliking Clinton's candidacy are irrational...

I spoke in general, not about you in particular. I would never dare to explain to you why you like or don't like things since I hardly know you and definately don't know what goes on in your mind. I have not said that your reasons for disliking Clintons candidacy are irrational, I've said that (in general) I see a bias where the good things about candidate B are given a lot of attantion and the bad things about candidate H are given a lot of attention. That does not make any of the points untrue but that creates a bias.

When you say that Hillary is a bad candidate because she supports X without mentioning that Barack does more or less the same thing, you create a bias.

As I said earlier: I'm not going to dig into all the points and policies of both candidates. I just balance ObWi with strong pro-Hillary sites to get more or less an idea of what really goes on. It's just a rather new experience for me to have to include another blog to feel properly informed, at least about the 'leftist' views (I do scan through other sites for a more rightwing viewpoint).

dutchmarbel,

Thanks for continuing the discussion. I do appreciate your arguments.

Everyone paying attention usually is a small minority. Lot's of people were scared, lots of countries felt that he could be a threat at that time and there was a general feeling that the inspections were important.

I don't find this persuasive. While lots of Americans and maybe Europeans might have been scared, I haven't seen any evidence that other governments were scared. And while random citizen may not have been paying attention, I assure you that defense and foreign ministries around the world were paying close attention.

At the time I believe Iraq's neighbors were not at all thrilled at the prospect of an invasion. And while some countries did claim to be concerned that Iraq was a threat, there was substantial pressure imposed by the US government on nations around the world to express concern. Before the Bush administration entered office, I didn't hear lots of countries besides the UK and US worrying overmuch about Iraq.

I really don't think "a general feeling that inspections were important" is sufficient basis for conducting inspections. Also, I don't know how you can quantify a general feeling or even what that means.

Maybe because hardly anybody I talked to agreed that they were rigged for the US? Lots of people thought Scott Ritter was a lying scoundrel.

Bill Clinton has said that the only acceptable outcome in Iraq was Saddam losing power. There were plenty of other reasons to believe that the inspections process was being manipulated besides trusting Ritter.

I don't think that IAEA inspections were the issue. Were they? In any event, the IAEA can only conduct inspections in countries that have signed on to the non proliferation treaty and such countries can withdraw at any time, so IAEA inspections are not binding.

America has not been (or been seen as) an honest broker in a long time. I had hoped that Obama would be more inclined to be fair to the Palestinians, but so far all he has said and written the last few years show that he is not. So whilst I agree with you that Clintons position is bad, I don't think Obama is better so it would not be a point in favour of one of the candidates.

Um, do you have any cites for how awful Obama's Israel-Palestine policy is? Or, even without cites, can you just describe what it is that is so problematic?

While he counts Dennis Ross among his advisers, he also counts Robert Malley and his other advisers seem to have very sane ideas. Look, the truth is that no candidate for President in the US is going to be able to have only advisers that have sane I-P views. But Obama's advisers appear better than Hillary's on that score...

Regardless of whether America is seen as an honest broker, America is seen as necessary for reaching a final agreement. It bothers me that Clinton has managed to make the US look significantly less trustworthy in negotiations than George Bush. I didn't even think that was possible.

When you say that Hillary is a bad candidate because she supports X without mentioning that Barack does more or less the same thing, you create a bias.

I just don't see how Obama is the same as Clinton on the issues we've discussed. Your insistence that they are looks like bias to me.

Thanks for continuing the discussion. I do appreciate your arguments.

Well, I'm gonna stop now. I've decided to follow Jes' example and stay out of the election threads. These are not my elections, it takes too much time and I'm not gonna show you what you do not want to see anyway. I'll reply to your post, but I'm not going to dedicate a lot of my precious time to these discussions.

You say you don't think anybody saw Saddam as a threat in those days. I remember being there and being utterly frustrated because I felt that way - and so many people didn't. To keep it close at home (and because it is easy to find and most of my resources of those days are in Dutch) I'll give you Garys opinion at the time. Does Gary strike you as an uninformed a-political person?

I don't think that IAEA inspections were the issue. Were they? In any event, the IAEA can only conduct inspections in countries that have signed on to the non proliferation treaty and such countries can withdraw at any time, so IAEA inspections are not binding.

well, jolly gosh, why on earth are we having problems with places like North-Korea and Iran?

Um, do you have any cites for how awful Obama's Israel-Palestine policy is? Or, even without cites, can you just describe what it is that is so problematic?

I thought this was were you were supposed to come with some facts and policies to show me I was completely wrong?
His AIPAC speech was a disappointment for me. The foreign affairs piece I linked to earlier was much the same:

For more than three decades, Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders, and the rest of the world have looked to America to lead the effort to build the road to a lasting peace. In recent years, they have all too often looked in vain. Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That commitment is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region -- a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. Now more than ever, we must strive to secure a lasting settlement of the conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security. To do so, we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient effort and the personal commitment of the president of the United States. That is a commitment I will make.

I just don't see how Obama is the same as Clinton on the issues we've discussed. Your insistence that they are looks like bias to me.

I cannot do more than link to quotes and statements, show some comparisons and ask for more scrutiny. You choose how objective you try to be, not me. I can merely note what I, as someone who is not directly involved, see.

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