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February 11, 2008

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I have also advocated a Constitutional Amendment stripping the teachings of Mohammed of the status of ‘religion’; welcoming Apostates as Citizens in good standing and giving those choosing to retain their allegiances to the ideology humane transport back to any Islamic country of their choice.

Can I declare Muslim for the weekend and get a free trip to Dubai? I've always wanted to visit Dubai.

Maybe some of that venom (negativity) is from the candidate and his wife, to the effect

From the Candidate: Her voters will vote for me but I don't know thay my voters will vote for her (Implied: and I won't do much to try to persuade them to do so)

From the Candidate's Wife (when asked if she would vote for Sen. Clinton if Sen. Clinton becomes the nominee): "...I'll have to think about that."

I wonder if a commenter can be banned for self parody. It's sorta like having a law against suicide--it's for their own good, really.

Maybe some of that venom (negativity) is from the candidate and his wife, to the effect

Hm. If that's venom, then I'd say you haven't been out much.

Jim Parish: "He [John Cole] has never been sparing in his condemnation of what he sees as stupidity, among his allies or among his foes, and this is as true now as it was before." That might be true, I don't know. It seems he's always cleaving the world into people who are exactly right and people who are total idiots. And after his road-to-Damascus moment, he switched the labels on the two bins. The tactics and the tone of his blog didn't changed. He just turned about-face and started firing the same weapons in the opposite direction. And people who used to cheer him on now find him unjust and simplistic.

Which is why I introduce him as an example of how it might feel to people who usually applaud Krugman and who now find him firing in their direction.

From the Candidate's Wife (when asked if she would vote for Sen. Clinton if Sen. Clinton becomes the nominee): "...I'll have to think about that."

IIRC, the question was not whether Michelle would "vote" for Clinton but whether she would "support" Clinton, and the context was actively campaigning for Clinton. Not unreasonable at all on its own, but according to MyDD of all places, followed by Mrs. Obama saying:

"Everyone in this party is going to work hard for whoever the nominee is. I think we're all working for the same thing. Our goal is to make sure the person in the White House is going to take this country in a different direction. I happen to believe Barack is the only person who can really do that."
One of the things that can contribute to unnecessary venom is quoting people out of context, in my experience. FYI, YMMV, etc.

I wonder if a commenter can be banned for self parody.

Be quiet! You're going to lose me my trip to Dubai.

Very regrettable that Krugman writes about an Obama cult when Obama has already been the subject of smears from the right about belonging to a secret Muslim cult.

As for Obama's campaign happily supporting the media's "Clinton Rules", I think that's unfounded, at best. In fact, Hillary's New Hampshire primary win was attributed by Rachel Maddow and others to the "Tweety effect", an outpouring of sympathy for Hillary against the excesses of media treatment. Democratic folks are on to the media's "Clinton Rules", and their anti-Hillary excesses are not helpful to the Obama campaign.

Fresh face + excitement = cult, huh?

*sigh*

Some folks are determined to take the fun out of politics....

Fresh face + excitement = cult, huh?

*sigh*

Some folks are determined to take the fun out of politics....

I trust you're aware that it's nothing so innocent. It's an extremely finely calculated line of attack, as are "he's not ready," "he's not really a Democrat," "he's untested," "he's all fluff," "he's just talk," "we can't trust him," "he's unreliable," "he's as corrupt as the rest of them," "he's just another politician," "he's unproven," "he's inexperienced," "he's just a weird fad," "he's creepy," and all the other lines of attack tried out to see which works, and then used by the Clinton campaign, and which will be adopted by the Republican campaign.

I trust you're aware that it's nothing so innocent.

Innocence has nothing to do with this, either with the leaders who create the idea, or the followers who carry it out. Response varies, of course, depending on who you're dealing with.

It seems he's always cleaving the world into people who are exactly right and people who are total idiots.

The total idiots I can understand, but who do you believe John Cole thinks is exactly right? Certainly no Democrat I've seen him write about.

"The total idiots I can understand, but who do you believe John Cole thinks is exactly right? Certainly no Democrat I've seen him write about."

Although John does tend to charge off in every direction, and can go from 0 to 120 mph in sputtering outrage instantaneously, one of his many admirable qualities is that he doesn't think John Cole is exactly right, but that he's instead often wrong.

The tactics and the tone of his blog didn't changed. He just turned about-face and started firing the same weapons in the opposite direction.

So if you change your opinions on something you also have to change your writing style and mannerisms. No wonder it's so difficult to change!

Just a comment on the Stanley Fish columns Andy linked to: fair enough that you can't blame Hillary for Bill. But, to affirm the point Vanya made, you can reasonably say that no matter what really good things Hillary brings to the table, the need for new blood, and the need to resist the dynastic formation that has begun to blight American politics at all levels outweighs it. Sometimes, one person, however good, represents in themselves an unacceptable political trend.

Consider: the Bush family, the Podhoretz family, the Kristol family, the Kennedy family, the Clinton family; nine more families and we have the ruling class of El Salvador. Americans who say that, however good a job Hillary Clinton might do, they want a name they haven't seen before really do have a point. Saying not another Clinton doesn't necessarily mean blaming Hillary for Bill. It may well mean resisting a dynastic trend that has the potential to seriously compromise American democracy.

If you can't blame Hillary for Bill (which is fair enough), you also can't credit Hillary for Bill, which is what she seems to want. From the feminist point of view, one of the more worrying bits about the 'dynasty' argument is how many of Hillary's supporters may be voting for her because they actually want a third term of Bill. There would be a better argument for her as a politician in her own right, if, like female heads of state in a number of other countries, she was an ex-president's widow, not his wife. (Note, this is not a call to assasinate Bill).

As an Obama supporter I still have to say that Krugman is right.

Krugman is as hard as anyone I have seen on Obama, and that is not very hard.

On the other hand Andrew Sullivan and Frank Rich spray spittle whenver they talk of Hillary. I hear Maureen Dowd is just as bad but I won't read her. I just haven't seen anything comparable aimed at Obama. CDS is real.

It seems that Krugman is as incredibly evil as you say he is...

Perhaps you can show me where I said Krugman was evil, Turb. What I actually did say was that Krugman lack evenhandedness, which is a supportable statement. Whether you're convinced or not, that's your choice.

Charles then

In any case, you don't have to read that many columns to know the agenda of this bitter and vengeful man.

I guess 'bitter and vengeful' doesn't equal 'evil', but I think it is in the same neighborhood...

I'm not sure what that link is supposed to prove, Charles, unless we are supposed to accept that partisanship or "even-handedness" is reducible to a math problem. Does any reasonable person believe that Michelle Malkin is, thanks to some arbitrary numerical index, less partisan than Paul Krugman? Or Coulter?

Um, dude, if you're using those yardsticks to measure Krugman...well, I don't think even Charles would go there.

Possibly I'm wrong, though.

Tends to depend on how one defines "evenhandedness." CB apparently thinks it means saying the same number of positive things about both sides, or the same number of negative things about both sides, which of course is nonsense.

That type of thinking implies that both sides are identical in goodness or something.

By that definition, CB is one of the most unevenhanded people I know.

On the other hand Andrew Sullivan and Frank Rich spray spittle whenver they talk of Hillary. I hear Maureen Dowd is just as bad but I won't read her. I just haven't seen anything comparable aimed at Obama. CDS is real.

I wouldn't deny that, and I don't think anyone else here would deny that. I just think that conflating that with Obama supporters as a whole is unsupported and illogical. CDS may lead to support of Obama, but support for Obama does not mea you have CDS.

Slarti, I'm not using that yardstick -- Charles's link is. Click on through: Using their special formula, they rank Coulter and Krugman as equally partisan (a "61," whatever that is), and Malkin some 13 points less partisan. So save your mockery for Chuck and his link.

But...it was playful mockery, Phil.

Sure, Charles' link shows just balance of positive and negative commentary w/no weighting for extremism of the comment. I think that throws off the whole discussion of "evenhandedness". I mean, I could be evenhanded, by that definition, if I made one perfectly reasonable criticism of Democratic tax policy, for instance, followed by a dig at baby-raping Republicans.

Which is why Coulter falls anywhere on the scale at all, most likely.

Waitaminnit -- you mean Republicans don't rape babies?

Well fsck me.

"if I made one perfectly reasonable criticism of Democratic tax policy, for instance,"

I didn't know there was such a thing. And by that you could read either reasonable criticism or Democratic tax policy. :)

Well fsck me.

Why, are you a baby?

Tony P,

Methinks you're missing the forest for the trees.

I love liberal/progressive policies. I hold many liberal/progressive principles. I have identified as liberal/progressive ever since I found myself rooting for Dukakis over Bush I, as an eight year old. That being said, I think Hillary will do more to damage liberal/progressive policies and principles than to advance them, and it is because of her method of politics. Using triangulation, manipulation, half-truths, fear-mongering and obfuscation (which have all been on full display by her campaign so far, albeit not nearly on the level of the Bush Administration), might get some of those policies enacted, but it will not get them to take root in the minds of the American people.

Just look at Reagan. Say what you will about the man, but he didn't just enact conservative policies, he convinced Americans to be conservatives. On the other hand look at Bush...he did the half-assed method of enacting his policies based upon the above faulty methods instead of laying out prerequisite intellectual arguments. The result is that he has lost popular support for almost every principle he stood for.

I worry that Clinton will do the same for liberals as Bush did for conservatives. And unfortunately for her, no amount of competence or ambition will help her in this regard. It is born out of her tactics and methods, and her history, and it is a phenomenon not entirely of her own making. Throughout the years, the most hatred directed at her has been from those on the right using her same tactics to the nth degree. That is not to say that we should vindicate those on the right who use those tactics, but rather, that we merely recognize it on our side and make a conscious decision to rebuke it. When we do that, we will forge a new Democratic party that's not only based on liberal/progressive policies, but on fostering a truly informed and enfranchised electorate, which will beget more responsive and accountable representative government in the longterm.

We have to think long-term here. Not just the next four-years-worth of policies.

Ben: it doesn't get more long-term than the Supreme Court.

Ben: it doesn't get more long-term than the Supreme Court.

True, and it's my main worry about a McCain presidency. But I also have hope that a more empowered House and Senate will at least be able to pass some reasonable justices along the lines of Souter, Kennedy or O'Conner, rather than Scalia, Thomas, or Alito.

I have always liked Krugman, but he has been petty in some cases. That is not to say some of his points are not correct -- they are. His close relationship with the Clintons, Hillary in particular, is clouding his objectivity, at times, and likewise many of Hillary's supporters -- some I suspect may be republicans. I do not notice that as much with Obama's supporters, but that is not to say it does not exist; it does.

It is bothersome when someone is critical of Hillary, her supporters consider it hatred. And But least we forget that is the same scenario when criticism of Bush was considered spewing hatred. It is intended to shut-down discourse which is not a good sign. Thus I cannot help but wonder if the same would occur should Hillary become president. If so it would be disastrous for the country.

Iam a middle-aged female who is voting for Obama. I believe if anyone can unite the country he can. That is one of his appealing qualities among many others. If -- god forbid -- he does not win the nomination I will vote for Hillary because of the SCOTUS. With 6 of the Justices over 70 years of age it is highly likely at least one or two will step down.

I believe in social justice. However the 5-4 rulings have been unfavourable to the individual. Their rulings have empowered corporations and increased police powers. Today I read that Justice Scalia said, "It is "extraordinary" to assume that the U.S. Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment" also applies to "so-called" torture." That is scary.

Speaking of Scalia, he subscibes wholeheartedly to the 24 theory of ticking-time-bomb scenarios. Well, given that, I'm sure that if any of those cases ever make it to the Supreme Court, he'll recuse himself.

HAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahahah!


Sorry, I almost believed it for a second.

Ben:

As I said at the start: I voted for Obama, and I hope he wins. I did not do so to "stop Hillary", although I do accept much of the case you make against her. If she ends up being the nominee, I will gladly back her in the general, because there's a good case to be made FOR her, as well.

But "the forest" I have in fact been addressing is the question of what it means to be a Democrat. Not who should win THIS primary, but how the Democratic Party should pick its nominees in general. I say "Democrats" should pick the Democratic nominee, and I say "Democrat" should mean, at minimum, "not-Republican". And I say people who declare they will vote for McCain unless the Democratic Party nominates X are NOT "not-Republican".

Consider this asymmetry:
"I will vote for the Democrat in the general EVEN IF it's not X", versus
"I will vote for the Democrat in the general ONLY IF it is X".
Some people consider the latter to be somehow more honorable or principled a stance than the former. The problem is, there are other people whose honorable and principled position is:
"I will vote for the Democrat in the general ONLY IF it is Y".
Since there's no way to satisfy BOTH the Xs and the Ys, my suggestion is that the best the Democratic Party can do is to find a way to let the EVEN IF crowd dominate its primary process. The EVEN IF crowd is neither apathetic nor monolithic -- witness Krugman and Kleiman. I don't know if it's a large or small fraction of the party. But it is at least the "not-Republican" wing of the Democratic Party.

-- TP

TP,

Within your postulation, there seems to be no room for reason beyond partisan lines. I'm as liberal/progressive as they come but I could easily see myself voting for Eisenhower over Carter in a hypothetical matchup. You seem to assume that only Democratic candidates can advance your ideals, and that Republicans will only impede your ideals, but often the opposite is true. I doubt a Republican would have credibly been able to pass Welfare Reform, or NAFTA, or the TeleCommunications Act with the credibility of Bill Clinton. Or conversely, and Andrew Sullivan made this argument on his blog today, no Presidential nominee would be able to leave Iraq as cleanly, quickly and decisively as McCain, regardless of his stated position on the Iraq War.

It's not just about getting people elected to advance your ideals. You need to determine where your ideas fall along the ideological spectrum, and gauge how you think each of the candidates will inspire the electorate, and thereby alter the trajectory of the country, towards those goals.

I read a great quote recently that sums it all up:

"Politics is the art of getting morons to do the right thing."

It's not merely about picking the right policy and enacting it. If policy can't be sold to the public, regardless of it's actual merits or benefits, there is little chance it will take hold as an ideology among the American people. And if, through either clumsy rhetoric or underhanded tactics, a politician manages to destroy all public credibility for a policy, then he has done more harm then good for his cause.

Bottom line, I will always consider myself a liberal/progressive, and as such I will always have a home in the Democratic party, but I can think of plenty of scenarios where I think it would be helpful for me, my political ideology, and the Democratic Party, to vote Republican. We might not win every election with that philosophy, but it's not enough just to win elections and enact policies. It's about advancing a strong, coherent, politically stable, liberal/progressive ideology into the next generation and beyond.

Ben,

Like you, I can imagine a hypothetical Republican who is a better choice for progressive/liberal causes than his Democratic opponent. I've just never seen a real case in my voting lifetime.

I've tried to find the point about McCain that you say Sullivan made on his blog. Did I miss something? You seem to refer to a point he QUOTES from one of his readers, apparently so he can REFUTE it. In theory, it's true that "McCain Leaves Iraq" would be akin to "Nixon Goes to China" in one particular way: selling it to the Neanderthal base of the GOP. But Nixon did not run on an "I will not go to China" platform the way McCain is running on his "We have to stay in Iraq" platform. It's not remotely plausible that John McCain would get us out of Iraq as quickly as a President Obama (or even a President Hillary) would.

Incidentally, I call to your attention a different post on Sullivan's blog today -- the one titled "Republicans for Clinton". Tell me whether the reader he quotes in THAT one ought to have a say in selecting our nominee.

-- TP

I have no doubt that most of the venom that Krugman sees comes from Obama supporters. He has, after all, been on an anti-Obama tear for several months now. But he is an economist, and economists should know enough about basic social science techniques to be able to ask: am I working from a genuinely random sample? In the case of, say, Krugman's email, the answer would have to be: no.

You've apparently learned a lot about basic social science since March 2007.

Wow, someone's had a hard-on for the better part of a year...

You're supposed to see your doctor if it lasts more than 24 hours. Now that swelling will never go down.

TP,

Here's the Sullivan post I was talking about...

Which of the three remaining candidates would be most able to withdraw troops from Iraq? I didn't say most likely, I said most able. To my mind, the answer is John McCain. When he says the war is done, it will be. If he decides we have done all we can, he will be able to muster a majority to get out. Would he ever do such a thing? Probably not. But Jon Chait reminds us that McCain's neocon credentials are of relatively new vintage and coincided suspiciously with his own personal career needs:
McCain originally opposed intervention in Bosnia and worried about a bloody ground campaign before the first Gulf war (see "Neo-McCain," October 16, 2006). McCain's advisers include not only neoconservatives but also the likes of Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. It would hardly be unimaginable for McCain to revert to his old realism, especially if Iraq continues to fail at political reconciliation. He could easily be the president who ends the war.

I agree. Especially if the military leadership persuades him the alternative could be the destruction of US global readiness. Of the three leading candidates, I think Clinton has the least chance of withdrawing. She's too weak and polarizing to bring the country together on the matter, and too afraid to do anything that could be used, however unfairly, to taint the Democrats as weak on security. Her promise to end the war is about a bankable as her husband's promise to end the gay ban.

I'm more apt to believe McCain's military-imperialist tendencies are a little more deep-seeded than that (going by his family history), but it's a thought-provoking point.

Ben,

Thanks. I really did miss it when I looked the first time.

I can't resists pointing out that, by Andrew's logic, the President most able (rather than most likely) to "declare victory and get out" is in fact George W. Bush. He declared "Mission Accomplished" once, he can easily do it again.

And what the hell does Andrew mean by "muster a majority"? No President has to MUSTER a majority for getting out of Iraq -- just stop thwarting it.

Oh, and by the way, the President most able (not most likely) to muster a majority for universal health insurance is ... Ron Paul :-)

-- TP

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