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February 07, 2008

Comments

By the time the election rolls around the economy will be so crippled by recession that economic issues will drive it. The appeal of spending $140B or more a year on forign adventures will undermine the whole Iraq, Afghanistan issue.

garbage in, garbage out.

"A surrender to terror"? Please.

Sorry, hilzoy: I think that, in passing, Mitt Romney has given us the 2008 Republican platform, in a nutshell.

And it will only get worse from here on.

And with that, Romney put his wife and five sons in the car, strapped the dog to the roof and drove off into the sunset.

So we are to assume that if someone supported Romney, they were supporting terrorism?

Indeed, CNN was reporting it as his "greatest speech yet". If blatant scare-mongering is the content of the Romney campaign's top, I'm just glad I never followed his earlier campaign.

seems clear what talking points he expects to be the focus of the election.

Under Islamic law, unbelievers are subjugated and forced to pay tribute (the jizya) to their Muslim masters.

Bush’s engagement policy amounts to paying the jizya. We are paying for new Mosques, new hospitals, new bridges, health care, food, and security. At this point, our financial support of their civilization is an expected tribute. Watch for the screams when the support is withdrawn.

The current policy is, for all practical purposes, surrendering to ‘terror’.

The only way to contain ‘terror’ is to exploit the multiple secretarian, ethnic, and regional fissures that exist throughout the Islamic world. Ironically, the best way to do this is to do nothing (go Democrats). Islamic ideology will keep their civilizations in the stone age. All we need to do is contain it.

Mitt Romney has dropped out with all the grace and insight that made him such a, cough, formidable opponent:

Remind me not to get on hilzoy's bad side; the woman goes for the jugular.

The last bit was uncalled for I agree. On the larger point he’s correct. McCain is now the R candidate and as of today can begin running a national campaign for president. HRC and Obama may be slugging it out with each other until August. McCain could have up to a six month lead on the D candidate by the time they sort it out.

I sort of can't believe he said that -- have majore political figures on the right said "electing democrats is aid and comfort to the enemy" before? I know right-wing talk radio and bloggers have been saying this for a while but I thought it was still taboo for a political leader.

OCSteve, on the bright side, the media won't be paying that much attention to McCain if the Obama-Clinton contest is more interesting, and we can get a head start on educating people about McCain while the Republicans are still having to split their smears between Obama and Clinton.

Also, with the Republican nomination wrapped up, independents have an easy decision about which party's primary to vote in in states with open primaries. That should help Obama.

Modesto Kid, does Cheney not count as a political leader?

Sorry, Mr. Romney and other knee-jerk Republicans, but you don't have a monopoly on national pride or concern for our national security. You don't even show that you actually care what happens to this country as you cheerlead for the multiple, repeated mistakes of our unthinking president and comnplain when people point out that he has been a failure.

Critics who object to Bush's abject failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are the ones who want America to succeed. Those who make excuses for failure, such as the Republicans, are only going to make certain that the failure continues.

That's right Bill, we shouldn't be encouraging health care, hospitals, food etc., you know, all those silly things, in the Middle East. After all, you know, the Arabs aren't really people or anything are they!
It's not as if any of us could have been born in that part of the world, to be brought up in that hell hole. No no, we were born in the West because we deserved to. It's because we're better people. Just couldn't have been any other way. So that's right, our main concern should be to keep that radical Islamic ideology trapped there, and just let those people suffer. Indeed. You've got to love "patriotism".

While certainly an ill-advised statement for
a politician, he's only saying what many of us including myself believe.

That is that for quite a while (and for Obama from the beginning) Democrats have took up the mantra that Islamic Terror is not that bad, US Soldiers are animals and like to torture people, we are spending too much money on defense and we should not be going out and looking for terrorists to vanquish them as an enemy, we should be nice and perhaps they won't hurt us.
We tried that, we got attacked, people killed just going to work...(not event to mention all the attacks before 9.11)

He believes that rather than being reactionary, it is the right move to go into the middle east and attack the enemy head on...it is working...and now since Patraeus new tactics are working quicker, our guys will be coming home sooner, hopefully leaving a free Iraq and grateful Iraqis in their wake.

It does however remain to be seen if an Islamic country can govern itself freely. The world will be watching.

Oh yeah -- I always forget about Cheney.

While certainly an ill-advised statement for
a politician, he's only saying what many of us including myself believe.

That is that for quite a while (and for Obama from the beginning) Democrats have took up the mantra that Islamic Terror is not that bad, US Soldiers are animals and like to torture people, we are spending too much money on defense and we should not be going out and looking for terrorists to vanquish them as an enemy, we should be nice and perhaps they won't hurt us.
We tried that, we got attacked, people killed just going to work...(not event to mention all the attacks before 9.11)

He believes that rather than being reactionary, it is the right move to go into the middle east and attack the enemy head on...it is working...and now since Patraeus new tactics are working quicker, our guys will be coming home sooner, hopefully leaving a free Iraq and grateful Iraqis in their wake.

It does however remain to be seen if an Islamic country can govern itself freely. The world will be watching.

The last bit was uncalled for I agree. On the larger point he’s correct.

That the demise of the US military is all the fault of Bill Clinton?


Err... OK Steve..

Mr Bob, thank you for the satire.

And by the way, it doesn't remain to be seen as several Islamic countries have no problem governing themselves freely.

That is that for quite a while (and for Obama from the beginning) Democrats have took up the mantra that Islamic Terror is not that bad, US Soldiers are animals and like to torture people, we are spending too much money on defense and we should not be going out and looking for terrorists to vanquish them as an enemy, we should be nice and perhaps they won't hurt us.

Nice summary but you left out the part about forced abortions, men marrying box turtles, and of course, bloated government.

I thought it was still taboo for a political leader etc.

You're kidding, right? That was the 2004 campaign in a nutshell -- Cheney, Hastert, Cole, Bush, Thune, Hatch, to name a few, all said one version or another of "a vote for the Democrats is a vote for terrah."

KCinDC: Also, with the Republican nomination wrapped up, independents have an easy decision about which party's primary to vote in in states with open primaries. That should help Obama.

Ahh. Good point!


Davebo: That the demise of the US military is all the fault of Bill Clinton?

That’s a rather creative reading of my comment. Creative enough that I can’t really grasp on to anything to respond to….

He believes that rather than being reactionary, it is the right move to go into the middle east and attack the enemy head on...

Yes but Romney is just a weak, cowardly appeaser beacause he believes that Iraq is the only place where al-Qaeda is not located that is worthy of being attacked head on. But you see, al-Qaeda is also not in other countries as well, and they need to be attacked head on there too.

For example: al-Qaeda is not in Jordan, so we should waste no time in attacking them head on there. Also: Turkey. Why aren't we attacking the enemy in Turkey? What, just because al-Qaeda is not there? That, my friends, is the pre-9/11 blindness that will only lead to more attacks in the future!!!

Get back to me when you've got a plan for that Mr. Smarty Bob.

Oh yeah -- I always forget about Cheney.

But Cheney hasn't forgotten about you...

OCSteve, the DNC is already anticipating what needs to be done now to start hitting McCain hard while the Democratic primaries play out. dday wrote about it at Digby's recently.

Eric, I hear there are Muslims in Canada also, and Al Qaeda is not there. In fact, the same is true of Massachusetts. And Texas. The course is clear.

No you're cooking with napalm KC!!!!

Finally one of you dirty f'in hippies understands the war on Islamofascicommunifemminenvirogayabortionism

Where are Hillary and Barack???

Romney is out there equating their presidency with certain death for us all and they have no response?

Musakey is up on the Hill arguing that anything the administration says is legal can't be investigated, equating the executive branch with the legislative branch, and they have no response?

Where are Hillary and Barack???

Are they counting on that standing unchallenged to benefit themselves should they win the White House?

Romney's gone, or so he says today. I won't be surprised if tomorrow his opinion on that has changed as well.

Mukasey, even...

Edward--probably napping, on a plane from one rally to another. But yeah, they should put out a response.

Phil: Thanks for the link. Question though – has the DNC been that effective the last few years?

And money wise, they have $3M on hand and $2.2M in debt. That’s a pittance in this day and age for a national campaign. I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is that people tend to give to the candidate more than to the national committee so I don’t see a lot of fundraising prospects for them.

That is that for quite a while (and for Obama from the beginning) Democrats have took up the mantra that Islamic Terror is not that bad, US Soldiers are animals and like to torture people, we are spending too much money on defense and we should not be going out and looking for terrorists to vanquish them as an enemy, we should be nice and perhaps they won't hurt us

This is horsepuckey. When Bill Clinton came within a hairsbreadth of killing Bin Laden (and succeeded in killing a bunch of his followers) with cruise missile strikes rightwingers derided his efforts. GWB still hasn't killed or captured him, or the Anthrax terrorist(s).

The difference between the GOP and the Democratic party is that the GOP believes in tough talk and aggressive action, while the Dems believe in effective action. Aggression is easy and makes you feel like you're tough. Effective action is what gets results, and aggression is only sometimes the most effective approach, and is often quite counterproductive (see the latest Islamist hands-on training ground brought to you courtesy of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, i.e. Iraq).

Musakey is up on the Hill arguing that anything the administration says is legal can't be investigated, equating the executive branch with the legislative branch, and they have no response?

Hmmm...while certainly this is a problem, I think Mukasey's point is a little more subtle, at least based upon reading TPMMuck. He's saying that if the Justice Department can reneg on its advice that X is legal and turn around and prosecute someone who relied on that advice, then it presents a whole host of problems and would essentially paralyze the executive branch when the law was unclear (which it often is). Thus the OLC, which (generally) worked fine until you had people put in there who were willing to start with the desired conclusion and reason backward, no matter how thin (or nonexistent) said reasoning might be (see, Yoo, John).

Not sure what we do about this.

"All in all, this would be a day Mittens The Fearmongering Asswad would never forget."

"Mittens gives Morbo gas."

"By the time the election rolls around the economy will be so crippled by recession that economic issues will drive it."

By the time? I take it you've read none of the exit polls.

"That's right Bill, we shouldn't be encouraging health care, hospitals, food etc., you know, all those silly things, in the Middle East. After all, you know, the Arabs aren't really people or anything are they!"

The largest Islamic country (by population) in the world is nowhere near the Middle East, and isn't Arab. Neither is the second largest Islamic country. Neither is the third largest Islamic country. Neither is the fourth largest Islamic country.

Thanks for playing Stereotype The World's People. For extra points, name those four countries!

"It does however remain to be seen if an Islamic country can govern itself freely."

Hint: Turkey isn't one of the four largest Islamic countries, though it comes close (6th). But the largest one is a democracy, and so is the third. (The second is rather up in the air these days.)

"That is that for quite a while (and for Obama from the beginning) Democrats have took up the mantra that Islamic Terror is not that bad, US Soldiers are animals and like to torture people, we are spending too much money on defense and we should not be going out and looking for terrorists to vanquish them as an enemy, we should be nice and perhaps they won't hurt us."

Clearly, you know no actual Democrats, and read nothing from actual Democrats, save through filters. If you read the archives of this blog, you'll find that nobody here has ever held any of those views even remotely (we can argue over which bits of defense spending are wise or not, is the only place you come remotely near reality in the slightest).

It's unlikely you'll stick around to discuss this, or be interested in the actual views of actual Democrats, though. But feel free to do the reading.

"That’s a rather creative reading of my comment."

Steve, your comment was freefloating, with no referent whatever.

You wrote "The last bit was uncalled for I agree."

You left no clue what the hell that was in response to.

People wouldn't be "creative" if you didn't leave out what it was you were talking about.

"On the larger point he’s correct."

Who is "he" and what is he correct about?

Not sure the DNC, Clinton, Obama etc. will go with it, but they might note that the Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masr brigade said this back in 2004:

We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections. [... Addressing Bush:] We know that a heavyweight operation would destroy your government, and this is what we don't want. We are not going to find a bigger idiot than you.

Plus, of course, the CIA conclusion that Bin Laden's 2004 election-eve statement was intended to give Bush a boost (mentioned in Ron Suskind's "One Percent Doctrine" book, IIRC).

Professor Fate:

"And with that, Romney put his wife and five sons in the car, strapped the dog to the roof, and drove off into the sunset."

Hmmm. The sun sets in the West. So now that his sons are done defending the country by hiding out on the campaign bus, he's whisking them safely in the opposite direction of the Middle East.

I'll bet they ARE terrified.

I saw a Romney clip on Colbert the other day in which he says this about a letter Bob Dole wrote to Rush Limbaugh (he of the combat-sensitive hemorrhoids) defending John McCain: "That's the last person I would want defending me."

True, Dole wouldn't be available this time around to defend Romney's hide, considering the Senator lost an arm defending it 65 years ago so that Mitt could grow up to be an a##ho%e.

Mitt's success in business puzzles me; surely no one could stand to do more than one deal with this guy before devoting themselves to his downfall.

Mitt and company are more afraid of tax hikes than they are of al Qaeda.

"That is that for quite a while (and for Obama from the beginning) Democrats have took up the mantra that Islamic Terror is not that bad, US Soldiers are animals and like to torture people, we are spending too much money on defense and we should not be going out and looking for terrorists to vanquish them as an enemy"

I hope this is parody, rather than slander. For what it's worth, Obama has a great record on veterans' issues, as does Clinton. I am a Democrat, and if you want to tell me I think that American soldiers are animals and like to torture people, try saying so to my face.

If you want to say things like this about specific people, and you can back it up with cites, be my guest. Say it about Democrats (or Republicans) as a whole again, and I will ban you.

It looks like the Conservatives against McCain movement had a shelf life of about 72 hours.

Who would have thunk it?

Gary: Steve, your comment was freefloating, with no referent whatever.

Hmm. Maybe I’m not up to date on my blogging rules, but if no other comment or commentor is referenced, the comment would apply to the main post by default.

Hilzoy quoted this blurb:
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror,"

Last part uncalled for. The rest of my comment discussed how yes, McCain is now free to run a national campaign while H and O go at each other. I thought the context was pretty clear but I’ll try to be more explicit in the future.

"Hmm. Maybe I’m not up to date on my blogging rules, but if no other comment or commentor is referenced, the comment would apply to the main post by default."

Or the last comment made. Or the last comment that responded to yours. Or the last comment that you responded to.

Who knows? Either it's clear in context, or it's only in the writer's head.

Generally speaking, unless you're absolutely sure it's clear in context that you're responding to the most immediate previous comment, and that no one will slip in a comment before yours, and you don't quote at least four or five words of what you're responding to, you're going to wind up with puzzled readers.

Counting on people to figure out that in the middle of a discussion, you're suddenly talking about the main post, doesn't work. No, it doesn't. Observe the evidence.

It was about as classless a speech as I've seen.

I knew exactly what OCSteve meant, Gary. And I don't think you should extrapolate from yourself to "readers" generally, and categorically exclaim that what he wrote "doesn't work," without an explicit expression of confusion by at least one other person.

You'd like to be able to say that nothing in his campaign became him like the leaving of it. No such luck; he was classless to the end.

Davebo: Sorry about any confusion before. Gary makes a compelling case it was my fault. ;)

It looks like the Conservatives against McCain movement had a shelf life of about 72 hours.

OTOH – he didn’t exactly tell them to go pound sand. Sounds like he told them exactly what they wanted to hear.

On the third hand – Rush says he may fundraise for HRC. ;)

"And I don't think you should extrapolate from yourself to 'readers' generally, and categorically exclaim that what he wrote 'doesn't work,' without an explicit expression of confusion by at least one other person."

Me, too. Good thing I was responding to OCSteve's "That’s a rather creative reading of my comment," complaint about the response from one other person.

Thanks for thinking I'm stupid enough to extrapolate just from myself, rather than from decades of observation of thread dynamics.

Rush says he may fundraise for HRC.

Only in the primary, because he wants to unite the Republicans against her in the general. That still works out to supporting McCain.

"Sounds like he told them exactly what they wanted to hear."

Digressing to the Day By Day cartoon, and the notion that McCain is "180" degrees from Reagan, I have to say that most of the conservatives seem to be on acid when they talk about Reagan.

They talk about some mythological figure who bears no resemblance to the real Reagan, who signed laws guaranteeing abortion rights, raised taxes in California, made huge tax increases in 1982, 1984, and 1987, pulled our troops out of Lebanon after they were attacked, and made no further response, negotiated like mad with our enemies, the Soviets, and on and on and on.

It's bizarre. Their Reagan is a complete fantasy, with no connection to reality, so far as I can tell. What's up with that, do you think?

"What's up with that, do you think?'

The myth is always greater than the reality. And Reagan did something that other Republicans were unable to do, not just win the Presidency but change the balance of power in Congress.

They acknowledge the tax cuts, and conveniently forget the tax increaes. They remember the facing up to the Soviet Union and forget the retreat and surrendering to terroists in Lebanon.

Reagan is the only person in the recent Republican/conservative pantheon that can even come close to being portrayed as larger than life. They don't want this almost godlike figure to be discovered to have feet of clay.

It would bring the whole structure tumbling down.

Oh, and there is a certain irony that many of the same people criticizing the cult like nature of the Obama phenomenom are members of the Reagan worshipping cult.

No problem OCSteve.

And of course he told them what they wanted to hear! The feds may have to buy some more land in Cuba to quadruple the size of Gitmo!

John,

I would add that they also conveniently forget about amnesty for illegal aliens.

Thread dynamics has to be an advanced qualification...

John Thullen: Mitt and company are more afraid of tax hikes than they are of al Qaeda.

And rightly so! After all, which is more likely to harm them?

But da*n, wasn't Reagan just, just wonderful, when he stood up tall to a bankrupt, tottering superpower from a safe distance, protected only by the might of the entire U.S. armed forces, and said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"? Not that saying it got the wall torn down or anything, but we all felt so GOOD about it.

And can we ever forget his equally-stirring rendition of the line "I don't recall," in the Iran-Contra hearings? A sound-bite so effective, he used it again and again. We never got tired of listening.

Y'know, some Democratic Presidents quibbled over the meaning of their words in testimony, but not Our Ronnie, when he didn't want to answer a question, he just went ahead and lied. Because that's what a real leader does. Thank G-d we have a President who understands that.

Ack! Italics begone!

negotiated like mad with our enemies

That's the real irony. The single best thing Reagan did as president, the one for which the whole world should be grateful to him, was to understand that Gorbachev was sincere and willing to negotiate in good faith. Without that, there would have been no peaceful end to the Cold War, no graceful withdrawal of Soviet power from Eastern Europe and dissolution of the U.S.S.R.

And who was screaming at the time that Gorbachev had duped a naive Reagan? Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, and the rest of the neo-cons. They were as stupid then as they are now, only now instead of insulting Reagan they invoke him.

Gary: What's up with that, do you think?

I think its implicit acknowledgement that Republicans just were not able to field a viable candidate this time around. Reagan is the giant killer, the unbeatable candidate. He is a mythological figure at this point. Invoking his name is supposed to somehow bring forth someone to save the party. Or something.

OCSteve: I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is that people tend to give to the candidate more than to the national committee so I don’t see a lot of fundraising prospects for them.

People do tend to give to the candidates more than to the committee. Especially during the primary season, and especially during a primary season this enthusiastic/intense.

But the DNC will begin to rake in money once the nominee is clear, or at a minimum from the convention onward (fingers crossed that that won't amount to the same thing).

This is a year in which the national committee shouldn't have much problem raising money, particularly when they're actually doing something visibly useful for the general already at this point.

Kudos Mike Schilling.

Oh, Jesus F. Christ, Gary, why do we need to do this?

OCSteve's first comment in its entirety:

The last bit was uncalled for I agree. On the larger point he’s correct. McCain is now the R candidate and as of today can begin running a national campaign for president. HRC and Obama may be slugging it out with each other until August. McCain could have up to a six month lead on the D candidate by the time they sort it out.

Then you come along with:

Steve, your comment was freefloating, with no referent whatever.

You wrote "The last bit was uncalled for I agree."

You left no clue what the hell that was in response to.

People wouldn't be "creative" if you didn't leave out what it was you were talking about.

OK. We're on the same page? Cool.

Now.

Given that Steve's comment SPECIFICALLY INVOLVED McCain now being the de facto nominee, and Obama and Clinton continuing to have a primary battle perhaps until the convention -- which happens to be EXACTLY THE SAME THING THAT ROMNEY TALKED ABOUT IN HILZOY'S QUOTED PORTION OF ROMNEY'S SPEECH -- I'm at a loss as to how a reasonably intelligent person can conclude that Steve's comment had "no referent" and that he "left out what it was he was talking about."

Steve's comment, and Romney's quote, concerned precisely the same subject matter, and named precisely the same people, and concerned precisely the same situations. It really, really doesn't take a PhD in literature to get from A to B.

How much more specific did you need him to be in making clear that, in discussing a quote in which Romney speculates that nominee McCain will benefit from a primary battle between Obama and Clinton, he agrees that McCain could benefit from a primary battle between Obama and Clinton?

OCSteve used the specific words and phrases "McCain," "R Candidate," "national campaign," "HRC and Obama," and "six month lead."

You know, the same concepts that Romney discussed. In the post by hilzoy. That started the thread.

Which of these words, concepts and phrases was the confusing one?

And so, given that OCSteve did, in fact, get very specific as to just what it was he agreed with and what he was talking about, Davebo's comment was, in fact, a very "creative reading," and had nothing to do -- unless you can read Davebo's mind, which I am reasonably certain you cannot -- with any lack of referents or specificity.

So, we are left with a couple of potential conclusions:

-- That you are easily confused and lose track of a thread easily, which I don't think is the case;

-- That your short term memory of the original post doesn't hold long enough for you to read ten whole comments, which I also don't think is the case;

-- That you jumped the gun and got persnickety with OCSteve over something that you and, maybe, Davebo, but nobody else, appear to have gotten confused about. I DO think this is the case.

Thanks for thinking I'm stupid enough to extrapolate just from myself, rather than from decades of observation of thread dynamics.

I don't think you're stupid. I think you're finicky and hasty, and jumped down OCSteve's throat for, essentially, nothing but your own offended sense of netiquette.

"OK. We're on the same page? Cool."

No. You deliberately elided the exchange:

"That’s a rather creative reading of my comment."

Steve, your comment was freefloating, with no referent whatever.

Thus, I was responding to an entirely different comment than what you claim.

Moreover, you elide the entire previous exchange:

[...] Davebo: That the demise of the US military is all the fault of Bill Clinton?

That’s a rather creative reading of my comment. Creative enough that I can’t really grasp on to anything to respond to….

Whether you're either mistaken in what you read, or you're presenting it deliberately dishonestly, I have no interest in further discussion of this with you.

Everyone has a point.

Gary has a point. It’s probably better to be absolutely clear. That Davebo seemed to misunderstand me tends to highlight that.

Phil has a point. It probably should have been left to Davebo to point out to me why he read it as he did.

I may have had a point, but I forget now. ;)

I said sorry Davebo if that was the case. He said s’OK.

Anyway, I’ll certainly strive to be clearer in the future now.

OT--

OK.


Here's a rough update on the status of the Blog Swarm for Mid-South Tornado Relief...

I'm shocked, awed, and overwhelmed tonight!

At least a HUNDRED blogs from every aspect of the political spectrum have taken part in this swarm of goodness. I want to take a moment to thank Chuck Adkins, a blogger at the Town Hall Blog Community and other places for picking up my plea, and spreading it far and wide through the Conservative 'sphere. He's right-- this isn't about politics, but I had to somewhere.

It will be days before I get everyone thanked properly. But, I'm starting right now, and every day, I will post another set of Thank Yous, until either my fingers fall off and my eyes go blind, or I get to the end of the list. Let's hope for the latter.

In the past 24-hours, we raised between $13,000 (minimum) to somewhere in the neighborhood of $92,000 for the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Mid-South Chapter of United Way.

I thank each and every one of you who participated in this immense act of Kindness-- Bloggers and Donors alike. We made an enormous difference between HOPE and Despair today.

Damn, I'm proud of you all. I've never been so impressed and touched like this in my life. If there is a Statistician in the house, I'd LOVE for you to put the calipers on my numbers.

You can see how I derived this large range-spread at my place:

Monkeyfister

I don't think that I am far off.

PLEASE pass this around, as there is no way in hell that I can reach everyone who has participated in this action in any sensible way.

All of my love, and two scoops of IOU to each and every one of you.

Your Friend, Fan and Admirer,

~Monkeyfister~

Good to hear Monkeyfister

And jeez guys, let's not pick at the pebbles!

If you get my drift...

Gary Farber;

Responding to your earlier post, the biggest Islamic countries are not Arab. But all Islamic countries have something in common. They have all been conquered by the teachings of Mohammed and his successors in interest. Islam is not a race; it is an ideology, one that I consider it to be incompatible with our Constitution. Extra credit question for you: Bibles are starting to be confiscated at Malaysian customs: True or false? See the link for the answer.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22993135/from/ET/

‘Terror’ is intrinsic in the ideology as its teachings mandate the entire world to be either converted, subjugated, or killed. The ‘War on Terror’ will be pretty hard to win if we cannot face this reality.

In any case, as promised, if you feel that I did not address any of your past challenges adequately, feel free to post them at:

www.billanswersgary.blogspot.com

Just trying to keep things on-topic and make an occasional buck. If anybody cares, they can look. Now please stop accusing me of dodging questions.

They talk about some mythological figure who bears no resemblance to the real Reagan . . .

They don't want this almost godlike figure to be discovered to have feet of clay.

It would bring the whole structure tumbling down.

Putting aside what comes awfully close to the "category error" Gary had such a problem with in a recent thread, comments like these show a basic misunderstanding of MY support and respect of Reagan. I don't know if I am representative of "most conservatives" (whatever that is :)), but I don't put Reagan in a godlike position. Just a darn good president. One of the best.

Obama had it right. Reagan was a transformer as a leader. He changed the vision of the country.

Sure, I acknowledge the tax increases. I also acknowledge the huge tax decrease. My understanding is that Reagan was reluctant on the latter increases and apparently thought he had a commitment by Congress to cut spending.

And pulling out of Lebanon was not a simple matter. Congress was on his case to get out of there and he only left after shelling the crud out of Syrian positions using the New Jersey, if I remember (or was it the Iowa?). Reagan even acknowledged that leaving could make matters worse in the future.

Although there are many points to counter, I find Reagan easy to understand if one simply focuses on his battle against communism. Many criticisms of his presidency are easy to understand in that context. Like his support for the government of El Salvador, or the zealous support of the Contras, or even Iran-Contra.

I toured the U.S.S.R., which included the "Republics" of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in 1990. They were on the verge of freedom then and protesting daily. The people I spoke to gave Reagan credit for there even being a chance for freedom (not Harry Truman, not Tip O'Neill, not . . .) Even if all of the criticisms voiced here of Reagan were true, America owes a deep debt of gratitude for the man who ended the cold war without going to war (and since when do liberals start criticizing a president for negotiating?)

bc, I wasn't criticizing Reagan for those things.

I was criticizing the conservatives who have created a mythical Reagan who never did any of those things.

And specifically, the candidates at the Republican debates who went on and on and on about how a candidate running in the Reagan tradition would never do those things.

That's factually wrong. Reagan did those things, so the only way to be true to the actual Reagan tradition, rather than the untrue version, would be to be open to doing what Reagan did.

Any honest person would have to admit that.

That's all.

Although it does occur to me that there's an argument that since Reagan himself was frequently, and seriously, confused about what was real and what was fiction, that doing that is in the Reagan tradition.

So you may have me there, if you make that argument.

On the McCain campaign -- I don't really worry about either Obama's or Clinton's chances against McCain.

They only need two ads to ensure a win.

Ad One: That lovely clip of McCain singing "Bomb Iran".

Ad Two: A clip of McCain stating "We'll be in Iraq for a hundred years" (or whatever his specific statement was).

Jon Stewart had the best reaction to Romney's speech. He also highlighted nicely the contradictions through comparison and contrast of the different parts of Romney's speech.

Stewart's concluding synopsis about Romney's theme: "And about God, America is like Baby Bear."

But he also had a nice "FU" for Romney's surrendering to terrorists.

bc, I wasn't criticizing Reagan for those things.

I was criticizing the conservatives who have created a mythical Reagan who never did any of those things.

I appreciate that and have similar feelings about putting too much gloss on a President however great. Every president must compromise and perhaps it is best to judge them on their ideals combined with how far they actually go to compromise. Focusing on the "truth" in terms of what he did must be balanced with what he really wanted to do.

In a very broad brush sense, Reagan was true to his "big picture." He clearly (IMHO) felt that communism was the single biggest threat to our nation. Compromising on the domestic agenda was easier if his big picture remained intact. He kept his big picture intact.

I think understanding Reagan and acknowledging his apparently non-conservative actions ("apparently" because some of them were done grudgingly) doesn't take away at all from his stature. I agree mythologizing him doesn't help (i.e. making it look like he never took those actions). But the same can be said for not giving him his due. Lately, I have heard too much of the latter. Maybe that is just a reaction to the former. Although I remember the hue and cry regarding his policies from the left, America was more united in its approbation (or grudging approbation)for Reagan as president during his terms. That's missing today and perhaps it's partly the fault of over-lionizing him.

I took one of my daughters to the Reagan museum when a work trip took me near Simi Valley. What she learned about the cold war and President Reagan left a deep impression. Let's just say that I was finally able to convince her just this past week to get another sweatshirt to replace the Air Force 1 sweatshirt she bought there that is two sizes too small.

We had to go with a brand sweatshirt. But after writing this comment, I think I'm going to see if the museum has online ordering to get her another AF1 :)

bc, your comments above indicate that you are not one of those Republicans or conservatives that Gary was talking about.

I may not agree with you about Reagan's good or bad qualities, but at least you are willing to agree that he shouldn't be placed on too high a pedestal. (Nor should any President.)

However, looking at the way that the Republican primaries went, looking at an organization such as CPAC, it is obvious that there is a subclass of Republicans that do just that with Reagan. And they do it by emphasizing certains supposed traits or policies of Reagan that were really only a small part of his approach to his Presidency.

Yes, for example, he did make a large tax cut possible. But he also realized that, due to the rather significant resulting deficit, that taxes had to be raised. He may have done it reluctantly, but he did it.

The current crop of Republicans that Gary is talking about only focus on the tax cut and believe that despite the deepening deficit the tax cuts should be made permanent and they use Reagan's name as justification.

I think Mike Schilling's 5:49 post summarizes what was genuinely good about Reagan's Presidency a--it was the fact that he ended the Cold War by recognizing that Gorby was serious about peace, despite what hysterical conservatives were saying. (A friend of mine told me at the time that Gorby's policies were a deep Commie plot to get us to lower our guard).

It was another Nixon goes to China moment--Reagan, the great liberal peacemaker.

Of course he was also the man who denied a genocide in Guatemala and supported mass murderers in El Salvador and the contra terrorists and thought Jonas Savimbi was a freedom fighter. Nobody's perfect.

Reagan fetishization is one of the rare things in American politics that genuinely creeps me out. I don't mean thinking that he was a good President -- I think that's horribly misguided, but that's cerebral on my part -- I mean declaring him an honest-to-God saint of our times. The kind of fetishization that requires him to be put on Mount Rushmore, to be put on the dime, to change street (and airport) names, to saturate the country with his image; that will brook absolutely no commentary on his negative qualities (viz. Donald above), the kind of fetishization that causes people to create super-patriotic/jingoistically ultranationalist webpages memorializing him with flights of eagles and rife with angelic symbolism [no, I'm not kidding, though the page I'm thinking of appears to have been taken down]; the kind of fetishization that says, hey, if Jesus doesn't come back from Heaven to forgive our sins, maybe Ronnie will.

There's something deeply, spiritually icky about that that I can't quite articulate, something about hubris and false idols and blasphemy in the eyes of the Lord, which is odd considering that I'm at most agnostic. And finding in Reagan one's personal Jesus -- someone who cares -- well... it's pathetic, the scrabbling of an apostate trying to recover his faith. I feel both sorry and unclean whenever I see it.

If only they didn't have any clout...

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