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September 04, 2008

Comments

Dfp12, I will give your attempts to enlighten us about hatred as well as your psychonanalysis of all liberals the attention they deserve.

KC: Yes, Bedtime, I was being sarcastic. I think it's ridiculous when the media treats a focus group run by Luntz as some sort of neutral, scientific measure of public opinion.

I agree with that. But as long as you know where he's coming from, I think you can glean bits of what the so-called regular person is thinking.

Luntz is strongest when he sticks to his "power of words" riffs.

Peter Hart, on the left, does a good job of engaging focus groups.

---

Nell: "It's a measure of how far to the right the national media-political framework has been pushed since then that Hilzoy characterizes the speech as 'well written and well delivered' rather than as yet another seething screed of right-wing resentment."

Agreed: I was willing to give Palin the "well delivered" (although I found her sarcasm eventually went over the top) but not the "well written."


Hilzoy, could you please tell dfp21 that he (or she?) is talking to a mirror (and just in case also explain how such a device works)?
[drat! the sarcasm ate another hole into the carpet]

KCinDC: Dfp12, I will give your attempts to enlighten us about hatred as well as your psychonanalysis of all liberals the attention they deserve.

Now that was well delivered and well written...

I think I pay way more attention to bc than dfp12. He's managed to change my mind once or twice.

And I think he respects facts. No quotation marks.

My last comment in this thread

OK. Nice meeting you.

Rather than simply contribute some stuff tagged as “facts”

God forbid.

and accuse unbelievers as liars, I’m noting that to me it looks like the last week in America has been obscured in a “fog of hatred”.

You're just noticing this, what, now? Where have you been for the last 40 years?

Hey, since we're all unburdening ourselves, here's my point of view.

I think you're a rude, sanctimonious jerk who entertains himself by going to someone else's house and crapping on the rug.

I think you don't have the stones to hang out and explain yourself or defend your point of view. You're just going to drop a couple of incoherent tirades on us all and then you'll run away like a spineless little punk.

I think you and people like you have no idea how to function in a world where everyone isn't just like you, and you'll drive this country off a cliff before you'll get your heads out of your *sses and learn to deal.

That was my two cents. Are we cool now?

I think you all know what the source of the hatred is. It’s the belief by somebody that they can make political progress by righteously shouting down and belittling the unbelievers.

Whatever. You stay on your side of the road and I'll stay on mine, and we'll both be a lot happier.

And it's "Democratic" party, mf'er.

Thanks -

Dfp12 fills a much-needed gap in the ObWi commentariat.

I think I pay way more attention to bc than dfp12

There is no comparison between dfp12 and bc.

It ain't about agreeing about everything. That ain't gonna happen.

It's about dealing with each other with respect and honesty so we can all try to understand each other, or at least get along.

bc has hung in and paid his dues. He's damned sure earned my respect.

Thanks -

dfp12 is effective in catching the Deer Fly that circles your head & bites, so you can relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Well, actually, I do hate.

I hate stupidity. I hate willful denial of reality. I hate lazy idiots who throw aspersions and won't lift a finger to change my mind. It gives me the impression they themselves think their arguments aren't worth supporting.

KCinDC (@12:43): What... the idiot gap?

Ridiculing Obama's work as a community organizer in south-side Chicago while touting her experience in an Alaskan PTA? The two activities are extremely similar except for where they were done. It's hard for me to avoid thinking that she's very subtly tweaking racial prejuidice.

One thing that I think is important that is seldom commented on: many whites are much more comfortable with people of African ancestry who are not culturally African American (e.g. Colin Powell). Obama, raised by whites and and an Asian stepfather, and with a foreign father, is much more comfortable for them than someone who grew up in a black family. (Obama understands this- he constantly mentions his white relatives.) Palin is tweaking the inner city associations: slums! drugs! gangs!

Cleek,

How did you ever come up with that?

Anne E,

"Ridiculing Obama's work as a community organizer in south-side Chicago while touting her experience in an Alaskan PTA?"

We do have to be fair. Obama first went after her as a mayor of a small town.

It's not good to criticize her over a comment that Obama made.

And let's also face the truth before going off half-cocked. Hilzoy's first point turned out to be false. It only makes us look bad when we don't make sure we have all the facts straight.

It’s a losing proposition for the D presidential candidate to go on defense against the R VP candidate.

Which hasn't happened yet. The GOP campaign has made another short-term choice to a long-term problem- the need last night was for Palin to be introduced to the country. To tell a story about how she would make a good President.
They chose instead to have her define herself almost completely negatively- she is "a small-town person who attacks Obama".

It may have been delivered well, but the points themselves weren't anything novel. So IMO the short-term bump from a bully pulpit attack on Obama will come at far too high of a cost. In the future her highest profile speaking opportunities will either be when being questioned by journalists or in the debate against Biden, and she won't be able to just tell her story as easily.

She is good for firing up the base, that's very true. But I don't think her attack-dog intro is going to produce any converts in the middle. I mean, can you imagine an independent who was unsure of her qualifications feeling any better about her having watched that speech?

Xanax, wouldn't you say that having a gap in idiots is valuable?

I find it funny that our newfound troll is trying to liberate us from hate, since Palin's speech last night was (on reflection) one of the most hate-filled I think I've heard in mainstream American politics in some time.

It's not hate, anarch. They are 'Defending America' from all us who hate the flag, apple pie and puppies. We're not real Americans and we don't count.

Well, if you agree with that much, try to ask yourself the next time you feel contempt for someone whom you've never met, but you've only read about on a website or in the "news", ask yourself whether that feeling you have is the result of enlightenment or manipulation.

Wow, you're right! I've never met Stalin or Pol Pot, and I've got some really negative opinions about those fellas. Must be some kind of Orwellian groupthink- how can I hate someone without meeting them in the flesh?
Thanks for settings me straight on that.

If you want to understand how batsh1t your talking points sound to non-right-wingers, read Biden's speech. Read Obama's speech. Then read Palin's speech.
After that, see if you're still convinced that you need to be preaching to the left about running on hate. Maybe take care of that beam in your own eye first?

I repeat my challenge: fact-check Obama's acceptance speech (or Biden's: I'm not fussy) and show us where they were lying.

Here you go: Describing Al Quaeda as a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries is a lie, since we don't know squat about its organizational structure and most of what the US claims to know is based on the "testimony" of a very questionable witness called Al Fadl, who had several good reasons for simply making stuff up.

TV Alert:

Obama is doing O'Reilly tonight.

According to what I just read in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Murdoch himself brokered the deal.

"brokered" being a nice way of saying "begged on his hands and knees for a truce" according to what I've read.

Speaking of just plain folks, Cindy McCain was wearing a $300,000 outfit (it's mostly the earrings).

KCinDC, I've always loved that joke and this was the right place for it. Good one.

Conservative victimism is always an interesting phenomenon, in that it is so persuasive to so many people, yet so divorced from facts. A movement that can control all 3 branches of the federal government, most state and local governments, the national education curriculum (set by a combination of NCLB ukases and the market power of Texas schoolboards on textbooks), the entire AM radio spectrum, easily half of TV, the armed forces, most newspapers, and most businesses -- and yet consider itself unfairly oppressed, is miraculous. It is also pathetic.

When I can stomach it, I read right-wing blogs & books, listen to talk radio, etc. My unquantified but certain conclusion is that winger spokespersons, from Palin to Coulter to Limbaugh (and now dfp1) spend much more of their time sneering at, belittling, and dehumanizing liberals than prominent lefties spend on that sort of thing. Yet a consistent theme is that we are bad because we sneer at them. Most liberals, in contrast,blow off the endless right-wing sneers and hatred. We point out that it's inaccurate, but it doesn't mostly get under our skin.

When two (groups of) people hurl insults at each other, and only one is offended, it's because the other side is right and they both know it. Lies irritate, but the truth HURTS.

kc, I meant the "much-needed gap" line, not your intervening post about Cindy McC.

Palin's speech was quite good: well-written, well delivered. And, as I said earlier, I think she's a genuinely engaging person, and comes across very well.

Really? Because I found her speech to be a big, fat, unvarnished, nationally televised, sneering (literally) F-U to anyone not already on the team. I kind of hate her guts now actually, since that kind of feeling tends to be mutual. And oh yeah, she's also a bald-faced liar.

And talk about presumptuous --- who the hell does she think she is? A little humility would seem to be in order, simply as a matter of presenting herself as something other than a shrill, egomaniacal, obliviously out-of-her-league freak if nothing else.

I will be checking into rehab shortly for Palin Derangement Syndrome. But in the meantime, no; I do not see her aggressively ignorant personality winning a lot of friends and influencing people --- at least not in numbers equal to those she alienates.

Sarah Palin and her speech are an insult to civic decency and American optimism and anyone of at least fair to middling intelligence. So I hope we only get more of the same from this transparency between now and November because, come what may, no one can claim that they don't know exactly what they'd get with her.

John McCain, what a disgrace.

Conservative victimism is always an interesting phenomenon,

i think it's utter bullsh!t: ritualized scapegoating from people who pretend they could be the rugged individualist cowboy they've always dreamed of if only the libruls weren't keeping them down.

"From that point, I figured that too many on the right where too disillusioned with McCain and would just sit out this election. I thought that it was the base that was going to cost him the election in the end."

To repeat:

[...] The Democratic Party is currently the nation's largest party. In 2004, roughly 72 million (42.6 percent) Americans were registered Democrats, compared to 55 million (32.5 percent) Republicans and 42 million (24.8 percent) independents.[7]
If every single registered Republican is roused to fanaticism, and every single one goes to the pulls, but so do most Democrats, and most indepdents go for the Democrat, because they're pissed off, the Democrat wins: so how does your belief make sense?

Please show your work, using numbers, not your gut.

For bonus points, explain why I or anyone who isn't a diehard Republican should give a flying fig for what the loony "base" of Republicans thinks, including what they think is a "body blow," given their eagerness to swallow flattering lies. Thanks!

novakant,
Describing Al Quaeda as a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries is a lie, since we don't know squat about its organizational structure...

Do we have to know every detail about AQ's organizational structure to know that they're operating in, say, Afghanistan?
Of course not.

If this is the best you can come up with as a lie- a statement based on the best knowledge available, and you can't even refute it, merely suggest that it lacks perfect knowledge- well, I guess we can take that as a concession that Obama didn't lie, even if you can't bring yourself to admit it.

From that point, I figured that too many on the right where too disillusioned with McCain and would just sit out this election. I thought that it was the base that was going to cost him the election in the end.

I think that this is why McCain has such a hill to climb, and why his veep selection was so likely to be problematic: he needed to both placate the base and make a claim on the middle. There are so many factors making it hard to run as a Repub this cycle, he needs more than just his reputation as a maverick to overcome Obama's attempts to tie him to the current administration.
So, he needed someone satisfactory to the base that wouldn't alienate the middle. And such a creature doesn't really exist. They also needed to be young, but experienced enough to step in as President- again, it's not at all clear that she's passed this test yet. Will the middle accept adding years as a small-town mayor as 'experience' useful to being President?

For the moment, the base is excited, and are making much noise. But that's really only half of the equation. Maybe Palin can convince the middle that she's 1)competent and 2)ideologically acceptable- but that hasn't happened yet. She's going to have to explain a lot of positions and comments that aren't moderate.

Pollster.com's national map still looks pretty good for Obama- can she appeal to the economic woes of the middle class in Ohio, or the suburban voters in Colorado? The swing voters of Northern Virginia?

"It's a measure of how far to the right the national media-political framework has been pushed since then that Hilzoy characterizes the speech as "well written and well delivered" rather than as yet another seething screed of right-wing resentment."

Again, where's the dichotomy? It was a well-written, well-delivered seething screed of right-wing resentment. I don't get where the "rather" comes from: that it was hateful doesn't mean it was badly written or badly delivered. Claiming otherwise is just incorrect.

Stuff doesn't become badly written or badly delivered because we don't like it.

It really doesn't help one's analysis to confuse these things. Hitler gave speeches that were tremendously effective with Germans. Goebbels gave very well-constructed, persuasive, speeches. Saying these things doesn't mean I agree with them.

And especially the latter was able to fine-tune his speeches to the specific audience at hand. He could both screech and speak softly without effort. The modern GOP seems to lose the latter capability more and more (for lack of need, I fear). Iirc Goebbels thought about emigrating to the US before he became Hitler's man. That could have been interesting ;-)

Well, that was an interesting week. After years of being told to get a spine, we overreached and made this dangerous fundamentalist a sympathetic figure, setting her up perfectly to deliver that hate aria.

Now we're back to our normal selves and once again the Democrats are going to bring a peer-reviewed study on handgun fatalities to a gun fight.

I can't believe they're trying to attack Obama's years as a community organizer. This is work that shows he's serious about helping people, understands their needs and has the strength and resolve to get results. That's not the sort of point you want to make about your opponent.

Do you seriously not realize that "community organizer" means "black troublemaker?" Get a dog. The bleeding ears'll tip you off to these sorts of things.

Do you seriously not realize that "community organizer" means "black troublemaker?"

more than that, it means "radical", and "radical instigator".

you know, like a certain Mr. Ayers.

Do we have to know every detail about AQ's organizational structure to know that they're operating in, say, Afghanistan?
Of course not.

What are you talking about? Nobody is denying that. But Obama made a claim about a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries. He has no way of knowing that. There is no expert on the issue who would ever make such a claim. Yet he presents it as if it were an indisputable fact and that's called lying.

Well, many will hear "communist" organizer or think that organized in Chicago can only mean the mob.

The most notable thing to me is the focus on what she said and how she said it (and Trig getting passed around for a photo op)

And here I thought that decent people left politicians' children out of the campaign.

here is no expert on the issue who would ever make such a claim.

Council On Foreign Relations 4/08:

    Al-Qaeda has autonomous underground cells in some 100 countries, including the United States, officials say.

more than that, it means "radical"

Yeah, but they're using it to evoke Sharpton. When they roll out the Ayers stuff they'll go right for "terrorist." Republican barnburners are always good case studies in KISSism.

There's a side benefit to using the word "community" that I won't go into so as not to out myself as just the sort of knee-jerk contrarian tool they're trying to peel off.

The insult did provide a profit opportunity for some.

"Do you seriously not realize that 'community organizer' means 'black troublemaker?'"

At least it's not sexist.

"KCinDC, I've always loved that joke and this was the right place for it. Good one."

It's a line from a Dorothy Parker review, not a joke.

How many countries was Al Qaeda in before Bush started acting as their PR agent and motivated every gang of vaguely Muslim malcontents to call themselves an Al Qaeda affiliate?

"Sarah Palin and her speech are an insult to civic decency and American optimism and anyone of at least fair to middling intelligence."

Margarita: I'm guessing you didn't buy her claim that Obama wants to "forfeit Iraq."

russell and gwangung: Thanks and back at ya. I've had my share of opinion changes here. Although russell is getting a bit testy lately. ;) Even that testiness has caused me to reevaluate. That being said, it's not hard to look better by comparison to that certain conservative. And, no, that's not what I meant by needing more conservative voices here in my comments in a previous thread.

However, I do note that with all the legitimate points being made on the left, there are points that are simply bunk. With those in the mix, IMHO there is a much larger emotional reaction to Palin from the left than I thought there would be. Objectivity is not the watchword (not that I would expect that, but at least some semblance).

Here's my short take on Palin's speech: On a global level, it was well delivered and apparently exactly what was intended. As the teleprompter apparently failed, she showed great composure. She did her role very well as attack dog (pit bull with lipstick!!). In this sense, she crushed it.

Looking at the particulars, I liked some of the jabs (what was Obama thinking with the Greek columns!) and not others. O.k., I'll admit I liked all of the jabs at some level, but I thought an opportunity was lost. There weren't any "lies" of any significance. Just typical distortions. I thought the community organizer stuff was well written and was set up by Obama himself.

I would have written a similar speech but at the same time shown a bit more respect and certainly more substance (but not a lot; it's not the purpose of the speech). There is a legitimate argument on drilling in ANWR SLIGHTLY more intellectual than "Drill, drill, drill!" In short, I think the powers that be thought a building a bridge to moderates was a bridge to nowhere during the convention where I would have earmarked some of the speech to do exactly that. There was a "somewhere" there. All it would have taken is one small true policy discussion on any one of a number of topics to show her ability to reason on a policy level. In fact, she could have used the "bridge to somewhere" quite effectively as a theme . . .

But maybe the plan is for the "kinder, gentler, more sophisticated" Palin to come out later, maybe in the debates. But that doesn't take away from a tremendously effective speech. Show me where there is any discussion of her qualifications in the media now. I didn't expect her to change anyone's mind here and it comes as no surprise that that didn't happen.

The amount of time spent on a) illegitimate arguments about Palin; b) silly things like the pot shot at community organizers etc. makes me think there is a bit of hysteria on the left, which reinforces my take that the speech was quite good from a strategy standpoint. But then again, I understand why it annoyed the hell out of a lot here. I'm not one to go crazy with all the red meat that was thrown out there even if I did find it entertaining rather than annoying.

I hadn't heard that those preparing the TelePrompTer text had specifically shifted her away from the Bush pronunciation of "nuclear".

There was http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0908/The_teleprompter_did_not_break.html>nothing wrong with the TelePromTer. Care to revisit any part of your assessment, bc? Or at least join me in wondering why the pretense that it failed? Did "they" not think she did well enough as it was?

Usually Newsweek is pretty good, but this seems like a hit piece to me.

Fact Checking Obama
He stuck to the facts, except when he stretched them.

http://www.newsweek.com

Newsweek's Howard Fineman set forth an interesting observation late last night on MSNBC -- that, being so used to having the "phenom" candidate, the Obama campaign was taken aback by the media/public reaction to Palin and that it took them a few days to re-gain their footing.

---

Given the postive reviews Palin is receiving, is it naive to think that the bar should be raised in her debate with Biden?

Also, does anyone think the GOP is making headway exploiting the absence of executive experience on the Democratic ticket? If you put any merit on that -- or even if you think it's working as a strategy -- I guess Tim Kaine would have been a worthy choice; but then, we'd hear about his lack of experience.

makes me think there is a bit of hysteria on the left, which reinforces my take that the speech was quite good from a strategy standpoint.

So name one thing she will do as vice president. Did she even address that in her speech? Nope, instead we see what the gop has arrived at - if it pisses off liberals it is good. That's worked so well for the last 8 years.

The amount of time spent on a) illegitimate arguments about Palin; b) silly things like the pot shot at community organizers etc. makes me think there is a bit of hysteria on the left, which reinforces my take that the speech was quite good from a strategy standpoint.

bc, this comment makes no sense to me at all. I don't think it is wrong; I just don't know what it means. Even if there was hysteria amongst a random group of left-leaning blog commenters on the internet, how could that possibly affect anything that happens in the real world? I mean, a left-leaning group of blog commenters were not going to vote for McCain no matter how good Palin turned out to be, so it is not like hysteria costs or gained any votes for McCain. Most of us don't live in places where our votes actually matter, so the most that most of us can do is donate or maybe volunteer at a call center. But making us hysterical increases the probability that we will do those things! So how can making left leaning blog commenters hysterical be good from a strategy standpoint?

Do you understand why I can't make sense of this argument? It seems like your metric for good strategy is "it must be good if it pisses off leftists" which doesn't seem like the kind of thing that you'd believe in.

Care to revisit any part of your assessment, bc?

No, that's why I said "apparently." there are others that said there were problems. Even without any problems it was well-delivered which is what I expected and predicted.

However, if this were simply made up and put out there by "Rove," i would wonder why. It certainly wasn't necessary.

The amount of time spent on a) illegitimate arguments about Palin; b) silly things like the pot shot at community organizers etc. makes me think there is a bit of hysteria on the left

Oh, so I'm hysterical now? SHUT YOUR FAT FACE YOU SON OF A

Seriously though, gotta dock you points for b). That's a racist dogwhistle so overt it might as well be a Ricola horn.

But boy, you nailed it with a). I've been sitting here all week utterly slack-jawed in amazement at the way liberals have been forging a weapon to be used against Obama.

I realize this is backhanded, and I apologize for that, but I can't believe how much sense right-wingers have been making on left-leaning comment threads lately.

bc: "But maybe the plan is for the 'kinder, gentler, more sophisticated' Palin to come out later, maybe in the debates."

I would think that would mark her as inconsistent, but then if the media remains impresssed, it might say she's showing "depth."

P.S. That "Greek columns" line didn't have a whit of substance to it but sure did sting.

Newsweek's Howard Fineman set forth an interesting observation late last night on MSNBC -- that, being so used to having the "phenom" candidate, the Obama campaign was taken aback by the media/public reaction to Palin and that it took them a few days to re-gain their footing.

This seems a little bit ridiculous. The only way it makes sense to me is if you had a specific model of the Obama campaign's behavior that predicted strong responses after the Palin announcement while at the same time documenting many fewer strong responses than your model predicted. In other words, you have to demonstrate both those things, and really, to be convincing, you'd have to demonstrate that your model did a good job of predicting the Obama campaign's behavior during the rest of the campaign. Both of those tasks are difficult and I think they're both well beyond the limited capabilities of Howard Fineman, or indeed, most people who talk on TV for a living.

turb,

jinx! you owe me a coke

Jes: I repeat my challenge: fact-check Obama's acceptance speech (or Biden's: I'm not fussy) and show us where they were lying.

Yeah – that would be a useful exercise. Look – maybe things are different on your side of the pond. But I’m going to stand by the statement that it is not at all uncommon, at least in American politics, for politicians to exaggerate, obfuscate, and even lie in speeches. And the public is used to it, and doesn’t normally hold a politician to account for it at the polls.

We’re looking for the same outcome here… What’s with the nit-picking? I just don’t believe that things are going as well as many here apparently do. You don’t have to believe my gut (or my butt), it’s just my opinion.

OK – I’ll play for a minute.

Biden: Because Barack made that choice, 150,000 more children and parents have health care in Illinois. He fought to make that happen.

The Health Care Justice Act came out of a coalition of nonprofits, labor, and healthcare advocates. Obama sponsored it. It narrowly passed, after Obama amended it to be more to the liking of the insurance industry. Might be an example of wrangling competing interests – hardly proof he was primarily responsible for it. All the act actually did was “encourage” the General Assembly to get something done by July 2007. It created a task force in 2004 that submitted a report in Jan 2007 which again just “calls for expanding health care coverage in Illinois” and makes recommendations. No mandate passed into law. It’s a report that took 29 people almost 3 years to write. That’s it. No there there.

So where does the number 150,000 come from? Besides Obama’s fact check site - I don’t know. All I find is this (repeated several places):

He sponsored the legislation expanding Kid Care and Family Care that added 20,000 children to the state health insurance program.

20,000 more kids covered is great – but it’s not “150,000 more children and parents”. So - lie or exaggeration? It is not verifiable that Obama is responsible for 150,000 more children and parents having health care in Illinois. So that’s a “lie” right?


Biden: And because Barack made that choice, working families in Illinois pay less taxes, and more people have moved from welfare to the dignity of work.

In 2000 Obama was a minor cosponsor of a bill that gave a tax credit to low income workers. Welfare to work: partly due to Clinton Welfare Act, Obama one of five state senators cosponsoring state bill signed by Republican Governor. Lie or exaggeration?

Those are like the first two claims in Biden’s speech once you get past the opening fluff. I guess we could play this all day. I don’t think those are lies. I think they are exaggerations typical of any political speech I have heard my entire life.


Barack Obama will put more cops on the streets

Whoa! No factual verification for that – that’s a lie! (No – it’s promise.)


Back to Palin and this post:

“you will have a friend and advocate in the White House” – promise, not a lie.

“you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man” – context was “guns and religion”. She didn’t say he never changed his position; just that he didn’t have different things to say to voters in different parts of the country.

“Bridge to Nowhere” – lie, IMO.

“authored two memoirs” – wiggle room on “authored”.

“opponent is against producing it” – opponent is certainly against new drilling.

“supports plans to raise income taxes” – I didn’t think this was in dispute.

So what’s the takeaway here? IMO – it takes more experience in Washington to be a smooth liar (exaggerator).

Al-Qaeda has autonomous underground cells in some 100 countries, including the United States, officials say.

Well, maybe I should have said "independent experts without vested interests". The CFR is just regurgitating politically convenient hearsay, as in "officials say".

They present no proof apart from:

Law enforcement has broken up al-Qaeda cells in the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Albania, Uganda, and elsewhere.

That's eight countries and what counts as an "al-Qaeda cell" is hotly disputed, since of course every group is eager to claim that they are al-Qaeda to increase their importance.

On the size of Al-Qaeda they say:

How big is al-Qaeda?

It’s impossible to say precisely, because al-Qaeda is decentralized. Estimates range from several hundred to several thousand members.

Make of that what you want, but the proof for Obama's claim is about as solid as the proof for WMD was.

Fledermaus, maybe we can convince them we'd be really pissed off if they enacted universal health care.

What are you talking about? Nobody is denying that. But Obama made a claim about a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries. He has no way of knowing that. There is no expert on the issue who would ever make such a claim. Yet he presents it as if it were an indisputable fact and that's called lying.

So he's lying because your gut feeling is that no experts believe what he said. Got any, you know, *experts* to actually back up your claim, or are you satisfied with using your hypothetical experts? I mean, care to present these so-called indisputable facts of yours?
Oh, and he's also lying because "he has no way of knowing that", like information about where AQ is active is unknowable in some sense. Yet, it's easy to see many countries where AQ is active based on publicly-available information... which you seem to simultaneously admit (since it's undeniable) and then deny. How many countries do you (oh, sorry, your 'experts') think AQ is active in?

[btw, here's George Tenet putting the number of countries AQ was active in at "more than 60" in 2002. Guess he's a big ole liar too, according to your fictional experts.]

So name one thing she will do as vice president. Did she even address that in her speech?

Well, she did say that she would be an 'advocate' for special-needs children and their families as VP. You can count that as something she will 'do' -- or not.

But somebody ought to ask her: advocate to whom? It's not like Democrats need browbeating to support programs for special-needs kids. Not as much as Republicans, anyway.

--TP

Turb: I'd hate to think that Fineman might be able to offer any insight through old-fashioned reporting and experience.

So how can making left leaning blog commenters hysterical be good from a strategy standpoint?

I see where you're coming from. No, I meant it in a "blood in the water" sort of way. If it were simply "nice try you little conservative poseur" that would be one thing. I sense (just my opinion) that the race just got a lot more interesting.


That's a racist dogwhistle so overt it might as well be a Ricola horn.

Interesting. I didn't take it that way. I thought it was just a nice counter to Obama's "Mayor of Wassilly" comment. but then I grew up in the sticks of Alaska, not Chicago. We had community organizers of sorts, like those starting the youth soccer league, getting people together to improve parks, that sort of thing, but obviously not the same issues as inner-city Chicago. But, then, since the dig was simply aimed at responsibilities, can't it still be a valid point? Does it HAVE to be racist?

*Pondering and reassessing*

She didn’t say he never changed his position; just that he didn’t have different things to say to voters in different parts of the country.

If McCain changed his positions for political advantage, which I think it's clear that he has, on a huge range of topics, then he's telling people what they want to hear, which is what she's accusing Obama of. That's not being "the same man".

Objectivity is not the watchword (not that I would expect that, but at least some semblance).

We're not referees, we're players. A fair-minded discussion of how elegantly she just high-sticked us is really a lot to ask.

Well, maybe I should have said "independent experts without vested interests". The CFR is just regurgitating politically convenient hearsay, as in "officials say".

Ah, yes, any experts that disagree with your fictional experts have a vested interest. Since they're in the national security field. And anyone outside of the national security field wouldn't be an expert? And if the world-renown expert on AQ with the Nobel in Evil-Related Activities said so, you'd ask to see his list. And if you got it, you'd ask why X, Y, and Z were included. And if he told you you'd ask for citations for the facts that led to inclusion. If given those, you'd attack the journalists, media outlets, or experts cited. Rinse and repeat.

Or, you could save everyone a lot of trouble and admit that 1)you've got no experts with a lower number and 2)you are completely unwilling to admit that you were making stuff up.
In return, I will admit that it is impossible to prove anything, as sources can always be doubted.

Make of that what you want, but the proof for Obama's claim is about as solid as the proof for WMD was.

So, your claim is that it's possible that there is no Al Qaeda whatsoever! Remarkable. I must speak to your experts about that, too.
Sure, there's some variation. Apparently, Obama's statement falls within the variation- according to experts. Like many complex things, there won't be a single number here, any more than there'd be a single number for 'members of the mafia' or 'diehard Bengals' fans'. That certainly doesn't make Obama a liar, it just makes him *correct*.

That's not being "the same man".

Depends on the definition: "consistent opportunist", i.e. always saying what he thinks will help him, would fit the bill.
That would of course not be a compliment.
Same as somebody who will never ever tell the truth can be considered 'reliable' until that person is caught to speak the truth occasionally.

OC,
In 2000 Obama was a minor cosponsor of a bill that gave a tax credit to low income workers. Welfare to work: partly due to Clinton Welfare Act, Obama one of five state senators cosponsoring state bill signed by Republican Governor. Lie or exaggeration?

First, I've no idea what a 'minor cosponsor' is. Does 'minor' serve any actual function here?
Second, by this standard no one can ever claim credit for any bill. Executives only sign the bills. Legislators will always need many votes from others in order to pass the bill.

I think we all understand that Obama did not singlehandedly create Illinois law. Just as we understand that when McCain says he'll drill on the outer continental shelf, that doesn't mean he'll do it personally. When there's a clear meaning to a text that doesn't make it a lie, I think you would do well to assume that meaning absent any reason to think otherwise.

Might be an example of wrangling competing interests – hardly proof he was primarily responsible for it.

You've turned Biden's "because he made that choice" into a claim for primary responsibility (where I can at best read it as a claim for being necessary, not sufficient), and then questioned the truth value of your exaggerated reading.

In short, I think the powers that be thought a building a bridge to moderates was a bridge to nowhere

I think that's about right.

I tuned in Palin's speech with the best approximation of an open mind that I could muster. There are things in her gubernatorial resume that I find interesting, I was curious to see what she had to say for herself.

In a nutshell, her speech was all about firing up the base by trotting out the usual "liberals bad" talking points.

That's all well and good but in addition to firing up the conservative base, she's fired me up as well. I will do whatever I can to make sure she doesn't come within 100 miles of the White House.

Obama will be getting my money and my time between now and November. He wasn't before, because I wasn't really that enthusiastic about him on all the issues. Specifically, he kind of turned me off with the FISA vote. But I'll be damned if I'll put up with another four or eight years of Palin's brand of garbage.

And yes, it shows up on both sides, but it's basically been the heart of what Republicans have been running on for so long that IMO it's their reason for existence at this point.

Why should I put up with that crap? The answer is no good reason, and I won't.

I can't count the number of times that both Obama and Biden have spoken respectfully of McCain, even while criticizing his positions. Palin's speech was a big raised middle finger to anyone not in her tribe.

If she wants to play that way, bring it. I'm not in her tribe, and I have a middle finger, too. It's called a checkbook.

She didn’t say he never changed his position; just that he didn’t have different things to say to voters in different parts of the country.

Look, this is sophistry.

McCain would tell you your farts smelled like roses if it would get him one step closer to the White House. He'd even let you pick the color of the roses.

And I say that with all due respect for his service to our country.

I think it's fair to say that Obama tailors his rhetoric to the situation. He's also backtracked on a number of positions that are, frankly, important to me.

But I think McCain's in another league altogether.

Thanks -

Does it HAVE to be racist?

Yes, it absolutely does, but I should've mentioned I was using shorthand. "Racist," in this instance, doesn't mean "dislikes colored people," it's more subtle. Whoever wrote that speech wants white people (who might not have a shred of hate in 'em) to picture Obama out in front of a bunch of blacks. They might even consider it perfectly valuable work to do whatever it is a community organizer does. The point, though, is that they'll have an image of Obama leading his people instead of the country.

The Republicans haven't been bringing their A game lately but I still wouldn't accuse them of wasting time on Klan outreach. There's a black guy in the race. No need to gild that lily.

Interesting. I didn't take it that way. I thought it was just a nice counter to Obama's "Mayor of Wassilly" comment. but then I grew up in the sticks of Alaska, not Chicago. We had community organizers of sorts, like those starting the youth soccer league, getting people together to improve parks, that sort of thing, but obviously not the same issues as inner-city Chicago. But, then, since the dig was simply aimed at responsibilities, can't it still be a valid point? Does it HAVE to be racist?

No, but I think it elitist and out of touch. The one thing that community organizers will tell you is that they have a lot of responsibilities, but not a lot of power. They have to do a lot of things, but they don't have a lot of clout, either economic, political, social or legal, to carry them out.

She didn’t say he never changed his position; just that he didn’t have different things to say to voters in different parts of the country.

Um. That's what Alaska voters accused Palin of....

She didn’t say he never changed his position; just that he didn’t have different things to say to voters in different parts of the country.

Is that claiming that it has to be geographically-based? Because that's no even clear about Obama's comment- there are small towns everywhere.

Make of that what you want, but the proof for Obama's claim is about as solid as the proof for WMD was.

So Obama used an unverifiable number, a high estimate that strengthened his side of the argument. It seems strange that Republicans would be accusing Obama of overestimating the threat of Islamic terrorism, but if you want to go there...

Compare with this bit of Giuliani's speech:

And I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that when they gave up on Iraq they were giving up on America. The Democratic leader in the Senate said so: "America has lost."

Well, if America lost, who won? Al Qaida? Bin Laden?

So many lies in so few words. He's characterizing the Iraq war as a fight against bin Laden, he's calling those who questioned the effectiveness of a surge traitors and he's presenting Harry Reid's opinions on Iraq as identical to Obama's.

I maintain that this is different in kind from the example that you offered and that holds true for much of what I've heard so far.

"Looking at the particulars, I liked some of the jabs (what was Obama thinking with the Greek columns!)"

The same thing George W. Bush was?

But it's OKIYAR. No hypocrisy here.

I see where you're coming from. No, I meant it in a "blood in the water" sort of way. If it were simply "nice try you little conservative poseur" that would be one thing. I sense (just my opinion) that the race just got a lot more interesting.

Thanks for explaining bc; I have a better idea of where you're coming from now.

I dunno...if I saw some evidence that Obama and Biden or their campaign staff or their surrogates on TV were acting irrationally because of Palin, I'd agree with you that picking her was a good strategy. But I haven't really seen any indication of that. He's been very good at running an organization that stays cool under pressure and doesn't expose its inner workings much at all.

Obama needs his base hungry because that's what keeps them donating and volunteering; if his supporters reaction to Palin's speech was 'yawn...nice try poser' that doesn't help him nearly so much. By condescending to us and insulting us and implying that we're not real Americans, Palin is helping Obama. You won't see it, but there will be clips of her doing all those things being sent out over a million local Obama supporter discussion email lists and it will harden people's resolve. In contrast, if she had painted herself as a nice little centrist, eager to bridge the partisan divide, it would have been harder for Obama supporters to get motivated; that would have deflated them.

The race may very well have gotten more interesting, but in a sense, I think that was bound to happen no matter what. I mean, if McCain had picked Romney or Huckabee, I'd guess that would definitely make the race more interesting. Multiple choice Mitt has some fascinating policy positions and I think Huckabee is a genuinely interesting guy; certainly, watching Grover Norquist's head explode would be interesting. I see both of those picks as worse for Obama and better for McCain than Palin FWIW.

And since small towns are the same everywhere, experience in one can be seen as truly national. Big cities on the other hand are individuals, so experience in one will not necessarily help you in others.
=> Palin can claim nationwide experience while Obama is limited to one part of two US cities each (Southern Chicago and the inside of the Beltway).
Btw, I would not mind if the Son of Cain and the Plain One would do all the drilling by themselves. That would keep them from doing harm in other places, and two people without help might be unable to do too much damage even in Alaska.

I think Turbulence is spot on. Her polarizing nature is going to energize the Democratic base as well.

P.S. That "Greek columns" line didn't have a whit of substance to it but sure did sting.

Did it? For the 98% of the audience who don't obsessively follow right-wing commentators, I'd think it would be mystifying. I don't think any of the 40 million people who watched Obama's speech noticed any Greek columns unless they had been tipped off ahead of time to keep an eye out.

"The amount of time spent on a) illegitimate arguments about Palin; b) silly things like the pot shot at community organizers etc. makes me think there is a bit of hysteria on the left,"

Actually, I think the fact that Republicans think community organizing and community organizing is inherently mockable to be quite salient. It simply shows contempt for non-rich people, and their attempts to politically organize. Why do you consider that to be either effective, or a legitimate point? What legitimate point do you believe it makes to mock community organizing?

I think it goes to the heart of the point that most Republicans appear to have no clue how people other than themselves live, or struggle, or what it's like to live as a poor person in an city, or what it's like to be a minority.

Did you know, incidentally, that there were all of 36 African-American delegates at the Republican convention, out of 2,380 total?

Why do you think that is, given that the Republican Party is the party of Lincoln? Delusion? Brainwashing? Or recognition of who is actually here to help the non-rich and those who are not among the economically elite?

And may I again, with the greatest possible strength, recommend to you and everyone that you read Dreams From My Father for Obama's own account? I'd really like to hear back from you after you've read it as to what you think is funny, rather than deeply moving, about what he did.

care to present these so-called indisputable facts of yours?

So it's on me now to disprove the not further substantiated claims of people who rely on what "officials say"? That's interesting - normally if someone makes such a strong claim as Obama has, we would expect him to be able to back it up with proof. It's awfully hard to prove a negative, you know and relying on what government "officials say" hasn't exactly been a great way to get to the bottom of things in the past years.

Got any, you know, "experts" to actually back up your claim, or are you satisfied with using your hypothetical experts?

How about Jason Burke, chief foreign correspondent of The Observer in London and author of no less than 3 books on radical Islam and Al Qaeda in particular:

There's an understanding among the Western public that Al-Qaeda is a coherent, organized terrorist network with a hierarchy, a command and control structure, a degree of commission and execution of terrorist acts by a few individuals.

That simply isn't the case.

The biggest myth is that all the various incidents that we are seeing are linked to some kind of central organization.

One of the reasons the myth is so prevalent is that it's a very comforting one.

(...)

Unfortunately, that idea is indeed a myth and bears very little resemblance to what's happening on the ground.

When Obama speaks of a a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries in a speech like this, he is clearly trying to perpetuate this myth for political gain, namely to appear tough in the so-called "war on terror", and he should know better.

I would certainly be willing to discuss these matters with people who are actually interested in this matter, but it seems to me that you are less interested in the subject matter and more in backing up Obama no matter what he says.

I have no general problem with Obama and prefer him over both McCain and Clinton, but when he is regurgitating the exact same stuff we have heard for 8 years coming from "administration officials", then I'm willing to call him on it. If only Democrats would show the same critical spirit they displayed when Bush was playing up the Iraq threat.

KCinDC: If McCain changed his positions for political advantage, which I think it's clear that he has, on a huge range of topics, then he's telling people what they want to hear, which is what she's accusing Obama of. That's not being "the same man".

I agree that McCain has flipped flopped. The “lie”, in context:

We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man. I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment.

Not the same thing.


Carleton: “because he made that choice” [going into politics, being in the state Senate] seems to clearly imply to me that what follows would not have occurred had he not made that choice. I’ll defer to the house editor if he says I’m wrong.

But that’s kind of my whole point, and why I noted that the exercise wouldn’t be very useful. What appears to be misleading to me in their speeches will be defended by most here. And what are labeled lies here are some things I’ll defend.

OK all – I give up on the “liar” issue. It’s a side-track. I said from the start that she lied in her speech. The rest is degree and number. It just amazes at times what people will jump on to argue about for half a day.

You people are impossible to agree with most days.
;)

Sorry about the italics, I think that was me

italics off

one more try, else, please somebody help

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) isn't exactly expert with the dog whistle:

"Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said.

Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”

novakent, I'm having trouble understanding what part of that sentence from Obama's speech is inconsistent with viewing AQ as a franchise operation. To the extent that the AQ network consists of a popular brand with lots of local franchises, it seems clear that invading Iraq will not lessen the brand's appeal to the franchises or lessen the individual franchises' interest in conducting terrorism operations like 9/11 based on the AQ model.

I mean, if you assume that the phrase "terrorist network that operates in 80 countries" really means "centralized hierarchical organization with strong command and control" than I can totally understand your point. I just...don't see that as the only or even primary fair reading. It is not what I thought of when I heard the speech. It might be if you could find a bunch of other statements that Obama made that indicated he was clearly confused about the nature of AQ, but it seems like you're relying heavily on one particular interpretation of a half dozen words.

OCSteve: I said from the start that she lied in her speech. The rest is degree and number.

No, the rest is your trying to make out that all other political speeches are equally just lies. Eh.

(Novakant, I agree with you that "over 80 countries" is just plain wrong. )

"Most of us don't live in places where our votes actually matter, so the most that most of us can do is donate or maybe volunteer at a call center."

Nobody needs to go to a "call center"; volunteers call from home via a dial-in number; everyone can do it, as much or little as you like, at any time convenient to you, including you.

And there's lots more you can do; please volunteer, via above links, if you want Obama to win, if you're not signed up or aware of this.

I order all present italics to vanish into the pit they came from!

The biggest myth is that all the various incidents that we are seeing are linked to some kind of central organization.

One of the reasons the myth is so prevalent is that it's a very comforting one.

(...)

Unfortunately, that idea is indeed a myth and bears very little resemblance to what's happening on the ground.

When Obama speaks of a a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries in a speech like this, he is clearly trying to perpetuate this myth for political gain, namely to appear tough in the so-called "war on terror", and he should know better.

You're mixing up two issues here: how (or perhaps whether) al Qaeda is internally organized, and how far its geographical reach extends. I don't see Obama saying anything about the former, and what he says is consistent with this from Burke:

So the hardcore Al-Qaeda...defined in that narrow sense, is over effectively as a really powerful force in modern Islamic militancy.

But if you're talking about Al Qaeda as in a general phenomena, as in something far broader, something that involves groups all over the world, many of which predate bin Laden's involvement in Islamic militancy by decades. Others that have sprung up subsequently to the end of 2001. Others that can be seen as individuals who are attracted by bin Laden's ideas and bin Laden's tactics.

If you're looking at Al Qaeda in that sense...then it's immeasurably strengthened, and has been by the war on terror.

Unless you're taking "network" to mean "top-down hierarchical organization," which is not the usual meaning (it's actually the opposite), Obama appears to agree with Burke.

dag nabbit.

What Turbulence said without the supererogatory italics.

"Actually, I think the fact that Republicans think community organizing and community organizing is inherently mockable" should be "Actually, I think the fact that Republicans think community organizing and community organizers...."

Sorry.

New posting rule I propose:
Each poster has to start his or her post with
[/i] (replace ] with > and [ with <)

As the teleprompter apparently failed, she showed great composure.

Wrong. Points off for already-fact-checked right-wing, victimology bullshvt.

I would certainly be willing to discuss these matters with people who are actually interested in this matter, but it seems to me that you are less interested in the subject matter and more in backing up Obama no matter what he says.

Yeah, calling him a liar was a great way to start of the intelligent discussion you claim to have wanted. I suppose you could call me a [email protected] and then wonder why we aren't having a pleasant discussion about our respective family trees.

It couldve gone something like
n- 80 sounds high to me, maybe an exaggeration?
w- here's the CIA saying 60 in 2002
n- oh, I hadnt realized that

btw, are the CIA a bunch of liars as well, for saying AQ was in 60+ countries back in 2002? Or do they count as 'experts with vested interests' since they disagree with you?

So it's on me now to disprove the not further substantiated claims of people who rely on what "officials say"?

You called the guy a liar. Said that no experts would agree with his number. The CIA has a number in that ballpark. You've yet to come up with an expert with numbers that would dispute that ballpark.
But maybe I misunderstood you. Maybe you meant that it was impossible to prove that number beyond any possible doubt to someone committed to disputing it, and that you could muddy the water with off-point quotes about how AQ is a relatively dispersed organization.
And I agree with that; you've amply demonstrated it.

bc: I thought it was just a nice counter to Obama's "Mayor of Wassilly" comment.

Please provide a cite with the comment itself quoted.

If you can't: nice try, you conservative poseur.

But it's OKIYAR. No hypocrisy here.

No, see, there is no religious symbolism in Bush's set. Just a lot of Americanisms like the presidential seal with some columns added in reminiscent of the WH or Capitol Building.

Obama's, OTOH, looks like a Greek temple, similar to the one he took so much grief over in his world tour. With the video monitors going, there were three of him but really only one, a clear appeal to the Nicean nature of much of the American voter populace. They couldn't have set up him up for Obamassiah jokes any better than they did.

What legitimate point do you believe it makes to mock community organizing

I didn't take it to necessarily mock community organizing, but the degree to which Obama relies on that particular part of his resume to bolster his claims to the WH. Look, I'm not one to harp on experience that much anyway. I like to shake things up. But his slaps at her "small red neck town" experience deserved,IMHO, a response of like kind, which he got.

I lived in downtown LA for a while (Korea Town, near Pico and Olympic). I understand the value and utility of community organizing. Still a fair point.

Why do you think that is, given that the Republican Party is the party of Lincoln?

I'd like to think that it was as simple as that. I don't think most African Americans view it that way (as an inner city vs. red state/rich life experience sort of thing). But I don't really know that.

I agree that it is in part due to the perception of genuine caring for the community coming from the left. The RNC could do a lot more on that front, no question. And there's lots of past history, no doubt, that's hard to erase even though it does not exemplify the typical republican today.

But the DNC panders to that particular demographic. One refreshing aspect of this campaign is the relative lack of that because of the candidate himself. That vote is locked up already.

I was planning to read the book anyway (getting to it is kind of hard because I have a tendency to read too many books at once and bounce back and forth and am currently reading five). I'll let you know what I think.

According to CNN

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/01/obama-defends-natural-disaster-experience/>http://cnn.com

“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month,” Obama responded.

I can't find the video. Often, they edit these comments to clean them up a bit.

It does seem obvious that when asked about her experience he ignored her time as governor and talked about when she was mayor.

I would need the video to reach a real conclusion.

I linked to your post in my "Civics Lesson for Sarah Palin" post at the CA NOW blog: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2008/09/a-civics-lesson.html

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