Why Democrats Matter

It seems like more than a year ago when George Bush took his second oath of office. Half the country thought things would go on getting better until Republicans died in a massive ejaculation and ascended to conservative heaven, while the other half got busy updating their passports. The connected Keepers of Conventional Wisdom nervously whispered phrases which hadn’t yet become embarrassing jokes, phrases like ‘privatization,’ and ‘nuclear option,’ and ‘Bill Frist.’ It seemed like a matter of time. What the hell happened? In a word, the Democrats became relevant.

How did that happen? It helps to start with how the Democrats became irrelevant. Beginning in 2000 Republicans set the agenda, made appointments and passed legislation, while simultaneously dismantling the traditional levers of minority power.

But still. Minority parties can have some influence, even after Orrin Hatch’s hackjobbery, but that only works when you have party discipline. If the GOP needed a few crossovers to make a particularly smelly bill appear ‘bipartisan’ they just picked up the phone and got what they needed. Think of the Medicare bill or the horrendous bankruptcy bill, a bill which freepers and Red Staters hated practically as much as kossacks. Maybe more.

If the Republicans hadn’t succeeded in peeling off Democrats those bills would be a much bigger problem for the GOP than they are now. 9/11, in terms of pure political advantage the greatest windfall of the Bush presidency, wiped out any chance the dems, led by arch-appeaser Tom Daschle, had to make any coherent response to practically any Republican initiative.

You can call the media craven, or you can call the media ‘liberal’ if you want to be wrong, but don’t call the media stupid. The media knew perfectly well that for the time frame bookended by 9/11 and Bush’s second inaugural, the debates that mattered in America took place between different branches of conservatism. Keith Olbermann has an illuminating anecdote:

I got called into a vice president‘s office here and told, “Hey, we don’t mind you interviewing these guys, but should you really have put liberals on, on consecutive nights?”

Franken was interviewed on September 2, and Garofalo on September 4. Apparently having them both on over three days–a period of time in which Olbermann’s show interviewed a total of 9 guests–was grounds for being called on the carpet at MSNBC.

I bet you could hear that conversation in every producer’s office in teeveeland, except for the part where the “talent” had the temerity to invite multiple liberals in the first place. Want to undercut your party? Here’s your mic. They loved Biden, and Lieberman. Just as often you had “panels” between two or three hacks with dubious rightwing ‘think tank’ credentials, and a journalist.

So if the Democrats ever want to become relevant they need to rein in the mavericks on important issues, and they need to pose a credible electoral threat (duh). In those terms things started going right at just about the same time as things looked about as hopeless as one of those spunky-but-inept youth-league teams in a low-budget kids’ movie. And you know how that always turns out.

Those great bugbears of January 2005, privatization (heh) and the “nuclear option” seemed like foregone conclusions. In the case of Social Security the Republicans merely needed to peel off enough Democrats to qualify (even barely) as ‘bipartisan,’ which ought to have been a no-brainer, and why the GOP failed says quite a bit about what changed. Think about the number of Democrats practically eager to meet Bush’s plan halfway – Josh Marshall’s ‘fainthearted faction,’ now a pale shadow of its former glory – despite the fact that any compromise involved in “meeting the president halfway” would would get strangled in committee. What happened? In a word, nothing happened. During those crucial first months while public perception gradually hardened against privatization, then ‘private accounts,’ then ‘personal accounts’ and ‘personalization,’ not a single Democrat took the bait and eventually, embarrassingly, the scheme died a quiet death.

A naïf could argue that voting to weaken Social Security constitutes a betrayal of the most fundamental values that define the party, but we’re talking about Democrats here. Other explanations? A ‘new media’ triumphalist would point out that blogs contributed by aggressively fact-checking each privatization argument before it could make a significant impact and by keeping the fainthearted in line a la Josh Marshall. I’m sure that’s true, but Reid’s almost DeLay-like ability to impose discipline when it matters shouldn’t be underestimated going forward. Rumor has it that Nancy Pelosi accomplished a similar change when she replaced Dick Gephardt, which would be very good for the Democrats if true.

When Frist tried to pull the trigger on the “nuclear option” the same thing happened. Which is to say, nothing. Frist got outplayed and eventually went down to a revolt within his own party. You could say that the resolution involved a Democratic revolt as well, but in the end Frist was seen as the bigger loser.

It’s true, that Reid didn’t have a proud moment on the bankruptcy bill. Was this an unwinnable battle that the many Senators bankrolled by MBNA couldn’t afford to fight? I don’t know, but it’s a significant caveat in my general enthusiasm for Reid’s leadership.

It stands to reason that if you want to matter you need to occasionally win an election. How is that going? Better than anybody would have guessed in Jan. 2005. Between Bill Frist’s hamfisted leadership, a deteriorating counterinsurgency in Iraq, the pervasive culture of corruption and idiotic antics like the Terry Schiavo spectacle the Republican electoral chances have dimmed so deeply that brilliant Republican pollmaster Frank Luntz predicts the house and the Senate could exchange hands in 2006 and Liddy Dole has practically struck out in recruiting Republicans to run in important races. Keep in mind that this comes before the Plame disaster fully arrived on the scene.

The Democrats, of course, didn’t accomplish all of this on their own. The first happened when Tom Daschle, always more of a compromiser than a fighter, was involuntarily retired by an upstart named Thune, some dishonest bloggers and a controversial Osama ad. Some unknown named Reid took his place, the Republicans made a halfhearted effort to swiftboat him and people moved on. The second, Republicans did to themselves.

So the Democrats discovered discipline, and the Republicans succeeded in murdering their own electoral chances. Or, if you believe the ideological-pendulum theory it was bound to happen no matter what. Anyway, it happened.

I said before that the media, rather than having a particular ideological bias, often serves as a good barometer for who matters and who doesn’t. Here is the part that I ellipsed out of Olbermann’s quote from above:

“Al, can you believe that the country was actually at that point that recently?” Later he would answer his own question, saying, “Thank goodness we have steered out of that time.”

KO’s producers didn’t suddenly un-wingnut themselves, because they never were wingnuts in the first place. They understood that Democrats didn’t matter in 2003 and that today, Democrats matter. And here I am, a liberal contributing to a conservative blog.

***addendum***

There’s much more to this story. Much, much more. What about Iraq, you ask. In my view Iraq contributed to the Republican fall from grace but it does nothing for the Democrats, who couldn’t form a coherent response before the war and can’t form a coherent strategy afterwards. We can’t win this issue simply by waiting for the Bushies to fully and completely screw the pooch. Also the Republican decision to focus on power over ideology or principle, coincident with the handover from Newt Gingrich to Tom DeLay, deserves a post of its own.

How about a larger Democratic agenda? A unifying legislative framework? That’s in the works, for better or for worse.

But for now, let me just reiterate the point that all the complaining in the world didn’t suddeny make the media care about liberals again. Harry Reid did, with a big assist from the Republicans themselves. If Democrats want that trend to continue we need to understand what we did wrong, and what we’re doing right.






116 replies
  1. 1
    ppGaz says:

    Well, the piece has been up for a while, and although I generally try to avoid being the first commenter …..

    Excellent article, and you’re off to a great start.

    Congrats to you for getting this gig, and congrats to John for doing this. Despite the impression creatd by my whiney pissing and moaning, I think this is the best interactive blog out there, and this step only makes it better.

    Drinks all around, on me.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Tim F. says:

    JonBuck,

    Thank you for the link. In my opinion one of the driving reasons behind the ‘delerium’ that Sirota describes is in fact a deep schizophrenia, an inability for the multiple personalities to agree on practically anything. That’s why I think it’s so important for Reid, and Pelosi, to discover the joys of party discipline.

  4. 4
    Zifnab says:

    A blog that has a loud, yet intelligently sound conservative voice. A forum populated by enough conservatives to argue with but tolerance of liberals that you won’t get banned to the curb for being too left wing. And now you’ve got a liberal commentator too? Total blog heaven.

  5. 5
    Sojourner says:

    I’d like to share in Tim F’s optimism about the Dems but I just don’t see it. My biggest issue is the judiciary. True, Frist didn’t get to implement the nuclear option but, hell, he might as well have. Exactly what did the Dems win in that little go around? The crappiest judges (Brown, Owens) were confirmed. If that’s the Dems’ idea of a winning strategy, we might as well all join the Repub party and get it over with.

  6. 6
    ppGaz says:

    I am closer to Tim F than to David Sirota in thinking.

    The titles of the articles are telling: Tim talks about “Dems”, while Sirota talks about “the Left.”

    I still think that the politically middle third of the country is where the action is, and that the typical voter in that middle doesn’t care much about ideology and “left” versus “right.” I don’t agree that the “right” has been winnning, I think that a well run political machine has been winning. If I’m right about that then Tim’s blurb here is the thing that matters at the end of the day:

    I think it’s so important for Reid, and Pelosi, to discover the joys of party discipline.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    Yeah. I always appreciated the Democratic at-ease still of politics. But everyone going their own way has left the party very exposed and very vulnerable. Party discipline isn’t a joy, but it isn’t a luxury either anymore. DeLay and Frist made sure of that.

    At the end of the day, you have three options. Vote for the estabilished Republican Political Machine. Vote for the emerging Democratic Political Machine. Or vote Independent. Honestly, I think the seeds have been sown for a strong crop of independent candidates. Someone just has to come by and tend the soil. Limbaugh, Drudge, Fox News, and the rest of the right wing smear machine derive much of their power from making “liberal” a dirty word. And one of the reasons their so successful is because there’s a kernal of truth in their words. In the 1960s, Johnson and the Democrats caved to big business, false wars, and underhanded political machinery just as hard as the Bush White House is today. Changing parties will not make this world a better place, regardless of whether Democrats are finally getting their acts together. Halliburton can always just put a few freshmen Democratic senators on its payroll and start running its ex-VPs as Blue next voting season, and we won’t be any safer from corporate greed or special interests than we are today. Democrats ran on the “Anybody but Bush” platform in ’04 to disasterous results. The reason was because Republicans had been running on the “Anybody but a Democrat” platform for the past ten years. Now the country is primed for “Anyone”.

    We need more Independents. Kinky Friedman for Texas Governor. More Greenparty candidates in California and New York. Libertarians with greater office positions in Alaska. We need to decentralize our political system or we’ll just end up with a bunch of strongarming evil Democrats as our spendthrift, unaccountable overlords. We’ll just be changing the color of the sheets on a bed of nails.

  8. 8

    Sunday Reading – October 30th

    I haven’t done this in a while. Time to get back to touring a bit to see what is going on in the Blogsphere. Chad at In the Bullpen, does a Round the Reader edition. Remember Round the Reader? It…

  9. 9
    Stormy70 says:

    What is the Dem strategy on Iran, who just declared their intentions to wipe Israel off the map? What is the strategy for dealing with radical Muslims beheading Christian schoolgirls and blowing up Hindus in India? How do they address the corruption in the UN? While the Dems focus on the minutia, Bush is outflanking them in the judiciary and the world stage. Do the Dems have a stand on all the free trade agreements made in the last session of Congress, or the major military alliances being forged with Japan and India? Instead you try to fight the last battle, Iraq and the run up to the war. Meanwhile, even the idiotic liberal DJs on my morning radio station recognized the Iraqis voting on their own constitution was a cause worth fighting for. What are the Dems prepared to do for National Security, knowing that relying on Muslim-infested, anti-semitic Europe or the feckless UN will not be a valid position?

    These are legitimate questions that I would like to see some of you tackle here.

  10. 10
    Gary Farber says:

    “Liddy Dole has practically struck out in”

    Broken link there.

  11. 11
    Sojourner says:

    How do they address the corruption in the UN?

    Don’t you think we should address the corruption in the WH first?

    Seriously, the only way to address the issue of world terrorism is through a united front with other countries. That’s pretty hard to do with this administration. Bush has thumbed his nose at other countries for a long time. Now he’s the one who’s been caught in a serious ethical quagmire.

  12. 12
    Tim F. says:

    Strange, I can’t seem to repair that link. Here is the URL:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=5806

  13. 13
    Tim F. says:

    Stormy,

    Happy to oblige. I won’t be posting anywhere near as often as John does, but I’ll make an effort to answer some of those as time allows.

  14. 14
    Sojourner says:

    A question back to Stormy:

    What does Bush need to do to bring integrity back into the White House and to help this country regain its moral standing with the rest of the world?

  15. 15
    Stormy70 says:

    Thanks, Tim. I would like to know the stand on these issues for a real debate based on grand strategies from both parties. More fun than sniping all the time.

    What kind of moral standing do we need with anti-semitic, weak countries, anyway? Look at France and their immigrant riots of the past three days. Why should we try to be in their good graces? They are corrupt beyond hope, at this point.

  16. 16
    Darrell says:

    What does Bush need to do to bring integrity back into the White House and to help this country regain its moral standing with the rest of the world?

    Strange how toppling the world’s bloodiest living dictator translates to a loss of “moral standing” with many here and abroad. Tells you all you need to know about their moral compass.

  17. 17
    Sojourner says:

    What kind of moral standing do we need with anti-semitic, weak countries, anyway?

    So the US should no longer worry about being the great moral beacon? As long as we’re not as bad as the others?

    How far this country has fallen in the past five years.

  18. 18
    oscar wilde says:

    Tim F.
    Sir, the content of your article apart, the most salient point, BIpartisan, emphasis on BI.
    The two party system spawns what you are experiencing at this present time, and no doubt in times past.
    When one party finds itself as todays republicans find themselves, the abuse of power in forwarding the dogma of itself and its power base leads to, as what is so blatantly obvious, persuance of party ideals, before, and I deliberatly do not say country, the well being of the citizens. Isn’t it after all, the purpose of seeking power,
    is to raise the lot of all the said citizens of your country.
    There is little point in listing the failures of your present government, and I am not so niave as to be a total Republican basher.
    The major problem is the TWO party system, here in the UK and the rest of Europe we have a healthy, and sometimes quite powerful minority party lobby.
    The most healthy climate, for the good of the people is a government, though having the majority of seats, does not hold an overall majority.
    And now to be partisan. It does appear that here in the UK that any governement of either persausion refrains from trying to fill every post, make every law,dismantle every safeguard, whilst in power.
    The big wheel turns, inevitably, and that, I think is the measure of european politics, unfortunately for America it would seem that you must suffer the rape of your country by a “here and now” regime.

  19. 19
    Sojourner says:

    Strange how toppling the world’s bloodiest living dictator translates to a loss of “moral standing” with many here and abroad. Tells you all you need to know about their moral compass.

    How odd that the Bush administration had to mislead the American people into supporting this fight. If it’s such a noble fight, why didn’t they argue the case on its mertis instead of frightening people into this war?

    And why didn’t the US address this bloody dictator during the height of his killing?

    And why doesn’t this administration go after all the murdering despots in Africa?

  20. 20
    Vladi G says:

    What is the Dem strategy on Iran, who just declared their intentions to wipe Israel off the map? What is the strategy for dealing with radical Muslims beheading Christian schoolgirls and blowing up Hindus in India?

    I don’t know about you, but I sure hope it involves sending a hundred thousand troops to neither of those places to deal with a non-existent threat, all while invoking 9/11 time after time. I think this is a proven strategy that really works.

  21. 21
    srv says:

    Implosion of one political party does not another party make. To the Reps credit, at least they had an agenda. As always, the majority of Americans are in the center, and both parties will cater to their extremes.

    A third party will never make it (beyond a presidential candidate) because moderates never do much of anything.

  22. 22
    John Cole says:

    Links should all be working now.

  23. 23
    Sojourner says:

    To the Reps credit, at least they had an agenda.

    An agenda that consists of ignoring the terrorist threat because of preoccupation with Iraq prior to 9/11, starting a war against a country that posed no threat, causing massive increases in the federal deficit through tax cuts for the very wealthy, failing to improve the security of ports and other terrorist targets, cutting the safety note for the working poor, and undermining national security through actions such as outing a CIA agent is hardly better than no agenda at all.

  24. 24
    OCSteve says:

    Seriously, the only way to address the issue of world terrorism is through a united front with other countries. That’s pretty hard to do with this administration. Bush has thumbed his nose at other countries for a long time.

    That’s exactly the viewpoint that the voters can’t trust. What does a united front get us? If it’s united around taking it to the terrorists, hunting them down and exterminating them then I’m all for it. But it wouldn’t be. It would be some insane system of arresting them and trying them in some international court that doesn’t even acknowledge the death penalty.

    What happens when the lunatics running around with those SA-18 missiles knock a couple of airliners out of the sky over France killing 500 people? Say they catch them. Guess what’s the worst they can do to them. Yup – prison.

    So there are just some areas where we will never be united. There are plenty of issues where I don’t agree with W – but I agree 100% with his persecution of the GWOT.

  25. 25
    Andrei says:

    These are legitimate questions that I would like to see some of you tackle here.

    It would be more appropriate if you are truly interested in having a more meaningful debate to not ask obvious leading questions aimed at mostly emotional responses instead of answers that beg more reasoned debate.

  26. 26
    srv says:

    An agenda that consists of ignoring the terrorist threat because of preoccupation with Iraq prior to 9/11, starting a war against a country that posed no threat, causing massive increases in the federal deficit through tax cuts for the very wealthy, failing to improve the security of ports and other terrorist targets, cutting the safety note for the working poor, and undermining national security through actions such as outing a CIA agent is hardly better than no agenda at all.

    It’s what politicians do. Darrell and Stormy will no doubt provide you quotes of all the Demsheep who agreed with all of this.

    I’d go back farther than 2000. The Congressional Democrats have been pretty irrelevant since 1994. It wasn’t the party that mattered, it was Bill. Bill was effective. Without him, they’d have been nothing. And today, Republican success hinges on on George. What we see here is that Congress really is a complete waste of space.

    If you disagree, tell me why one of the biggest congressional bills of the half century, the War Powers Act, has any relevancy today.

    Oscar Wilde has it right, we need a parliament – the more parties the better. The harder we make it for them to do anything, the better we’ll all be in the future. But more parties will never happen, because the ‘left’ MSM is counting dollars just as much as our congresspersons are.

  27. 27
    ppGaz says:

    don’t know about you, but I sure hope it involves sending a hundred thousand troops to neither of those places to deal with a non-existent threat, all while invoking 9/11 time after time. I think this is a proven strategy that really works.

    Well said, although I’m afraid the wisdom will be lost on Darrell and Stormy. And it’s worth mentioning … a war on Iran is going to take a lot more than 100k troops. Iran will not roll over the way Iraq did. Saddam was a faux power, Iran is not. And a war on Iran will be truly seen as a war on Islam, while the war on Iraq was not.

    So going to war with Iran will make Iraq look like the war on Grenada by comparison …. and at a time when Americans are not likely to rush to support a new call for war, having been hustled the last time. One of several reasons why it was unconscionable to do what these potatoheads did. Americans’ trust in their government is a precious commodity, and is wasted only by fools. LBJ, Nixon, and now Bush ….. men who sold that trust down the river for their own foolish purposes.

  28. 28
    Andrei says:

    What happens when the lunatics running around with those SA-18 missiles knock a couple of airliners out of the sky over France killing 500 people? Say they catch them. Guess what’s the worst they can do to them. Yup – prison.

    Given that other people of the world are dying at the hands of terrorist action more so than most Americans, I’d say many of those other countries have a right in the “just” punishment themselves just as much as we do. IOW, coming to compromises with them on just punishment seems not only reasonable, but required.

    If you think 250-300 million people in the United States can take on the world, you are sadly mistaken. That simply an absurd positiion. Heck, we can’t even get one country under control in Iraq! We need the rest of the civilized world as much as they need us and once you get over your bloodlust, maybe more people can figure out how to deal with a few bad apples. And the terrorists DO make up a FEW, they are not anywhere near the majority.

  29. 29
    oscar wilde says:

    ocsteve.
    George Bush hasn’t got the brains nor strength of character to have a war with anybody.
    He is such a nonentity, anyone with the slighest bit of savy could lead him anywhere. Thats why the US and the coaltion is in Iraq.
    For myself, liberal, aethiest, and being as such, aethiest that is, christianity, and all the the rest of the man made superstitions, can get back to where they were spawned, between the covers of a book, but particularly islam.
    I am sick to fucking death of islam, its fucking sheep believers, its fucking cruelty that knows no limits, its fucking dark age mentality. I dont know what the answer is, all I know the answer isn’t found at the end of a gun. Ask dubya, he’s the man.

  30. 30
    OCSteve says:

    If you think 250-300 million people in the United States can take on the world, you are sadly mistaken

    Who said anything about taking on the world? My point was that any formal international agreement on how to deal with terrorists would preclude the death penalty. If the French somehow found themselves in possession of OBL, they would not extradite him to the US without a promise he would not face the death penalty.

    I disagree with that – I want to be sure they get their 72 virgins. Bloodlust? You bet.

  31. 31
    Stormy70 says:

    A civilized world? Why is it only America that should give ground? No other country gets hammered for acting in their own self interest. Just America by the left. The rest of the civilized war can’t even field an effective army. Countries without armies will not get respect on the world stage. I really don’t care about what cowed, welfare spoiled people in other countries think about us. There young will continue to flood or borders to get a better life.

    Iran stepped in it big time this week, and Bolton didn’t even have to go nuclear on them, since Russia, China, Britain and the UN finally did it for us. Israel should be preparing for war after Iran’s bummbling this week, which is why the rest of the world finally called the Iranians on the carpet. They know Israel is right to take that as a declaration of war.

  32. 32
    Stormy70 says:

    there , their. Insert where appropriate, please.

  33. 33
    Sojourner says:

    It would be some insane system of arresting them and trying them in some international court that doesn’t even acknowledge the death penalty.

    Wow. The death penalty other to be incredibly effective against people who want to die for their cause.

    I’m sure Bin Laden would be really frightened at the prospect of the death penalty – that’s assuming the Bush administration could catch him. Sneer all you want about those countries who choose imprisonment – at least they were able to catch the people who did it.

  34. 34
    srv says:

    Y’all worry about what France will do. Tell me, what are you going to do when someone shoots down four airliners over the US?

    Ah, I’m sure it’s just the death penalty that is detering them.

  35. 35
    oscar wilde says:

    svr.
    You cannot protect yourself from that kind of threat by looking down the right end of a gun.
    John Wain is dead, and so is that era,
    Wake up, smell the coffee.

  36. 36
    OCSteve says:

    Wow. The death penalty other to be incredibly effective against people who want to die for their cause.
    I’m sure Bin Laden would be really frightened at the prospect of the death penalty – that’s assuming the Bush administration could catch him. Sneer all you want about those countries who choose imprisonment – at least they were able to catch the people who did it.
    Obviously it is not a deterrent. I just want them dead – where ever and whenever that can be arranged. My preference is via a US Marine, not a court, international or otherwise.
    Personally, I think OBL is a smear on a cave wall. My point is that uniting with other nations is not effective. Look at that UN report last week. Does Kopi come down on Syria? He edits the names out of the report. The UN would be the natural focus of any ‘united front’ and that institution has become so useless and corrupt that it dooms any such effort to failure before it gets out of the gate.

    What has cleaned more terrorist scum off the earth in the last few years? The UN or the “flytrap” strategy in Iraq?

    Keeping to the topic of the original post… The only thing the Dems could do to lure me back to the fold would be to come up with a coherent strategy for dealing with the GWOT. They simply don’t have one. Calling to cut and run is not going to do it either. The job has to be finished.

    Unfortunately, the Hildabeast knows this. Look for her to become more supportive for the war right after ’06.

  37. 37
    oscar wilde says:

    stormy70
    It wasn’t in Amerca’s interest that you are now embroiled
    in Iraq.
    It was because it gave a little man a hard on.
    Nothing more

  38. 38
    srv says:

    Some people try, but it just isn’t the same as DougJ

  39. 39
    ppGaz says:

    GWOT. They simply don’t have one

    Nobody has one. The thing (GWOT)is a marketing slogan. I’ve never seen the thing described, nor any coherent plan laid out for it, nor any model in history upon which to base it. If there were such a thing, and there isn’t, but if there were, I have exactly zero reason to think that anyone in Washington, DC knows how it works. Neocons? They think that just willing something to happen is all that is necessary. Slogans, Mission Accomplished banners, tough talk, Bring It On chest beating … not helpful. Invasions of countries that had really no interest in global terror, not helpful. Support of despotic regimes for convenience — selling American policy toward Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for oil — not helpful. Allowing porous borders, not helpful. Putting billions into useless wars overseas and pennies into hardening and preparing critical infrastructure at home (food distribution, power distribution, transportation, etc) …. not helpful. Color coded “terror levels”, not helpful.

    In short, it’s just bullshit. It’s the equivalent of exterminators telling you they’ve declared GWOC .. global war on cockroaches. They can even show you piles of dead roaches. But if you really think that you are somehow “protected” from roaches by exterminators, then …. well, then you’re a Republican, I guess.

    Apologies to Tom Delay, Leading Exterminator.

  40. 40
    Sojourner says:

    What has cleaned more terrorist scum off the earth in the last few years? The UN or the “flytrap” strategy in Iraq?

    C. None of the above.

    Which strategy has created more terrorist scum in the last few years? The UN or the “Flytrap” strategy in Iraq?

    b. The “flytrap” strategy

  41. 41
    Stormy70 says:

    Oscar – Bush would have not been reelected if he left Saddam in power taunting us as an ineffectual fighting country. The Joint Resolution from Congress stated that Iraq should be dealt with if it did not comply with the UN Resolutions. Iraq was still in breach of the cease fire from the first Gulf War.
    On 9/12 the entire country knew Iraq was going to be dealt with, considering Bush was in office, and not a pathetic Al Gore.
    You can believe what you want, but your country seems to be neck deep in coddled terrorists that other countries would like to get their hands on for crimes of terrorism. Try dealing with the mess in your yard before claiming moral superiority over America. Isn’t Londonstan your capital?

  42. 42
    ppGaz says:

    On 9/12 the entire country knew Iraq was going to be dealt with

    Your month is up. Stop pulling nonsense out of your ass.

  43. 43
    oscar wilde says:

    TWOT. GWOT. FLYTRAP. and whatever else you want to call it.
    It’s all academic.
    The world was never going to be the same after the first airoplane hit the tower.
    The Rubicon was crossed.
    Any hope that mankind could cling on to any vestige of civilisation went down the tubes forever.
    No amount of war, of gesturing, or diplomacy will alter anything.
    The world and its people are fucked.
    Civilisations have come and gone, the world has recovered.
    But I am afraid recovery this time will be just a dream,
    and I believe that our deathknell will be the result of what we are so good at, advancing technology.
    The poorest, the brainwashed, or the ideaoligist has the means to wage war against any society he thinks fit.
    Can he be stopped?

  44. 44
    oscar wilde says:

    stormy
    “Bush would have not been reelected if he left Sadam in power” I think those words say it all.

  45. 45
    OCSteve says:

    ppGaz:

    The thing (GWOT)is a marketing slogan

    I can agree with most of that with the exception of “Invasions of countries that had really no interest in global terror, not helpful”. Plenty of evidence, more every day that Iraq did.

    Nobody has one

    Sorry – wrong. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”. That consolidated my thinking post 9/11 and I hold to it today. That’s all I need.

    If that had been taken to its ultimate and logical conclusion, it would be a different world today. So I ding Bush on follow through, Saudi Arabia should have been transformed by now, Iran and Syria should have had a few visits from stealth bombers.

    But if anyone, even a dem, wants to run on that slogan in 06/08 they have my vote.

  46. 46
    Sojourner says:

    “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”.

    This is exactly the kind of simplistic thinking we don’t need.

    Do you seriously intend to declare war on everyone who disagrees with you/W? If so, you’d better start with the majority who are against Bush’s Iraq policy.

  47. 47
    ppGaz says:

    “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists”. That consolidated my thinking post 9/11 and I hold to it today. That’s all I need.

    That’s a slogan, not a policy.

    Slogans are easy, you can find all the ones you need at the supermarket on the sides of cereal and detergent boxes.

    Slogans are not going to protect you from anything. Except maybe having to think hard thoughts.

  48. 48
    OCSteve says:

    ppGaz:
    That’s a slogan, not a policy.

    I am saying that is one of my big beefs with W – I want it to be policy. It should be policy. He started out right but has not followed through.

    Sojourner:
    This is exactly the kind of simplistic thinking we don’t need.Do you seriously intend to declare war on everyone who disagrees with you/W?

    War? No. Sanctions, Trade embargoes, war where appropriate. Enforce it to the letter. You want to be a friend of America? OK – here are the requirements. If you are not our friend then you are against us and we act appropriately based on the circumstances / level of threat. For the Saudis that means sanctions and economic embargo (yes, even oil). For Syria and Iran it means late night visits by stealth bombers.
    It is as simple as that.

  49. 49
    Sojourner says:

    How do you define “friend of America”?

  50. 50
    Otto Man says:

    On 9/12 the entire country knew Iraq was going to be dealt with, considering Bush was in office, and not a pathetic Al Gore.

    You’ve got another they’re/their typo in this sentence Stormy. You typed “pathetic” when you must have meant “sane.”

  51. 51
    whatsleft says:

    Amerika – agree with us or we’ll crush you. Sounds like a plan, Steve. The Founders would be proud.

  52. 52
    SLE says:

    The terrorists are a small minority. Some of the best live in “allied” countries – Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, etc. Others live in countries that we (probably) won’t invade – Iran, Somalia and other East African countries, European countries.

    To win this war, we have to win an ideological battle, we cannot win it militarily. To me, this requires good policy, smart P.R., and … time. Sure, the military where appropriate, but we won’t win the GWOT in Iraq, no matter how many bad guys we kill, unless we fight the other dimensions.

    The downside of Iraq is simply that we also create enemies simply by being there. Not all of our opponents are jihadis.

  53. 53
    OCSteve says:

    Sojourner:
    How do you define “friend of America”?

    Easy. You do not sponsor, support, or even off-handedly justify terrorism. That’s item one. Item two is human rights – how do you treat your own people. Then we can talk about other things like trade policies, etc.
    Is it sad that I put terrorism before human rights? Yup. Let’s all be truthful. It’s more important to me that you are not trying to kill me than if you are killing your own people.

  54. 54
    Otto Man says:

    It’s more important to me that you are not trying to kill me than if you are killing your own people.

    Well, that would explain our happy alliance with the Bolier of Uzbekistan and the good people of Pakistan.

  55. 55
    OCSteve says:

    Whatsleft:

    Amerika – agree with us or we’ll crush you. Sounds like a plan, Steve. The Founders would be proud.
    Works for me. I don’t need everyone to agree with me or America – just stop trying to killing me and mine. I think the founders would agree.

  56. 56
    ppGaz says:

    For the Saudis that means sanctions and economic embargo (yes, even oil). For Syria and Iran it means late night visits by stealth bombers.
    It is as simple as that.

    Good lord. That’t neocon gone berserk. Gasoline at $7 a gallon, just for starters. Probably world war. Great solution.

    I don’t think even DougJ would propose that … under your name, I mean.

  57. 57
    Kimmitt says:

    No other country gets hammered for acting in their own self interest.

    Are you genuinely psychotic or just utterly ignorant? This is the sort of crucial policy question which Republicans need to address before I’d be willing to vote for them.

  58. 58
    Sojourner says:

    Easy. You do not sponsor, support, or even off-handedly justify terrorism.

    Define “terrorism.”

  59. 59
    OCSteve says:

    Otto Man:
    Well, that would explain our happy alliance with the Bolier of Uzbekistan and the good people of Pakistan.

    Yes. Can you honestly say you are more concerned about Pakistan’s human rights record than your life and the lives of those you love? If you can than you are the ultimate humanitarian and should be running the UN instead of Kofi (what genocide) Anan.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    For Syria and Iran it means late night visits by stealth bombers.

    Ah yes. Blowing up brown people. Because surely, if we kill enough suicide bombers, they will begin to fear for their lives and stop the assault.

    The War on Terror is classic Vietnam. Protect your moneyed interests – be they arms dealers or oil companies – and bomb everyone without political clout so you can make it look like you’re achieving something. A whole lot of Iraqis get racked up as the inevitable causalties of war, and their infurreated family members run off to join insurgencies to avenge their deaths.

    I’ll admit that a final Iraqi constitution being passed is progress. But is it progress in the right direction or are we just moving off in a tangent. It seems like classic ‘rich get richer, poor get screwed’ politics to me. But then what do I know?

  61. 61
    ppGaz says:

    OCSteve, I am going to need to see a photo ID …..

    You’ve set off certain alarms over here in the control room ….

    Would you mind coming downtown for questioning?

  62. 62
    Mac Buckets says:

    A whole lot of Iraqis get racked up as the inevitable causalties of war, and their infurreated family members run off to join insurgencies to avenge their deaths.

    Then we have notihng to worry about. The terrorist insurgents are doing the bulk of the Iraqi-killing, so by your reasoning, all the relatives of the deceased victims will join the Iraqi Army and support the new Iraq, out of a sense of vengeance on the “insurgents.”

  63. 63
    oscar wilde says:

    ppgaz
    7 bucks a gallon, that would be a welcome cut for us long suffering limies. 9 bucks a gallon, 20 cigarettes 9 bucks
    bottle of liquor 20 bucks. I say bucks cos I dont have a dollar sign on the keyboard.

  64. 64
    Tim F. says:

    I smelled put-on the moment Steve mentioned flypaper. For what that’s worth.

  65. 65
    OCSteve says:

    Zifnab:

    Ah yes. Blowing up brown people. Because surely, if we kill enough suicide bombers, they will begin to fear for their lives and stop the assault.

    “Stealth bomber” was the point. I did not say B-52 carpet bombing. The stealth bomber is a discriminatory weapons system. i.e. go after the leadership and C&C. Keep it up until they knock it off.

    ppGaz:
    OCSteve, I am going to need to see a photo ID …..

    Sure thing. I’ll fax you my VRWC membership card.

    Can you not admit that your life and the lives of those you love are THE most important thing? Can you tell your spouse, children, friends and family that?
    It really is that simple.

  66. 66
    Tim F. says:

    all the relatives of the deceased victims will join the Iraqi Army and support the new Iraq, out of a sense of vengeance on the “insurgents.”

    That is more or less the idea. If you appreciate that there is more than one kind of Iraqi, it begins to make sense.

  67. 67
    ppGaz says:

    Can you not admit that your life and the lives of those you love are THE most important thing?

    It used to be. But now outing you is the most important thing ;-)

  68. 68
    Otto Man says:

    Can you honestly say you are more concerned about Pakistan’s human rights record than your life and the lives of those you love?

    And how exactly was Hussein posing a threat to me and my loved ones? Are you claiming he really had WMDs or a reconstituted nuclear program?

    Invading Iraq has made the threat of global terrorism worse, and not better. The number of terrorist acts tripled over the last year. Great. I feel so much safer.

  69. 69
    OCSteve says:

    ppGaz:

    It used to be. But now outing you is the most important thing

    I’ve tried to make an honest argument here. The point being if you boil it down, you and yours are the most important thing. Altruism is great, after your family is secure. Please be honest about that.

  70. 70
    Otto Man says:

    Can you not admit that your life and the lives of those you love are THE most important thing? Can you tell your spouse, children, friends and family that? It really is that simple.

    No, your arguments are really simple. That’s all.

    I live in New York City, and I’m still waiting on the adminsitration to catch the people who actually attacked us. Instead, they’ve been off chasing their little neocon wet dream and, in the process, making things much less safe here.

    You want to talk about my safety? How about if we get some actual port security? How about if we do something to prevent terrorists from targeting the chemical plants in New Jersey or the Indian River nuclear facility? How about making the Department of Homeland Security something that provided, you know, security for the homeland?

    Invading Iraq has distracted money and personnel from the real job of protecting me and my family, and what’s more, created lots more terrorists to worry about.

    But we pulled down that statue, so I sleep so much better at night.

  71. 71
    oscar wilde says:

    ottoman.
    Thank you. the first guy who has come out with wherewithall. In our heart of hearts, given the cost, how many people would TRUTHFULLY say “I really do give a fuck that Iraq might one day be a democracy”

  72. 72
    ppGaz says:

    I’ve tried to make an honest argument here.

    BANQUO:

    Were such things here as we do speak about?
    Or have we eaten on the insane root
    That takes the reason prisoner?

  73. 73
    whatsleft says:

    I’m with you, ppgaz. Right after I posted, I thought “rats, sucked in again by that devious Dougj”. Sigh, I guess Earthgirls ARE easy.

  74. 74
    ppGaz says:

    As I said yesterday …. he’s bagged me so often, I have a band around my left leg, with a phone number on it.

  75. 75
    oscar wilde says:

    A poem written in 1918 by sassoon, all you staunch suppoters of this obscenity of a war, the last verse is for you.

    Suicide in the Trenches

    I knew a simple soldier boy
    Who grinned at life in empty joy,
    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
    He put a bullet through his brain.
    No one spoke of him again.

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
    Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
    The hell where youth and laughter go.

  76. 76
    ppGaz says:

    A poem written in 1918 by sassoon

    If you don’t look good,
    we don’t look good?

  77. 77
    oscar wilde says:

    ppgaz
    I don’t follow you

  78. 78
    Otto Man says:

    Vidal Sassoon. Patriot. Poet. Hair Care Product Conglomerate.

  79. 79
    oscar wilde says:

    Very droll

  80. 80
    Otto Man says:

    It’s not exactly “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do,” but close enough.

  81. 81
    ppGaz says:

    Very droll

    It’s the DougJ Effect.

    After a round of shooters, things will get back to normal.

  82. 82
    oscar wilde says:

    Enough, I’m off to my pit, bedtime over here, its been fun.

  83. 83
    OCSteve says:

    Otto Man:

    No, your arguments are really simple. That’s all.

    Thank You. That is what I am going for. Boil it down to the simplest proposition.
    -My self and my family and friends are THE most important things in my life.
    -I pay taxes so that the federal government will protect me and mine. That is in line with what the founding fathers opined. Buy lots of bombers and tanks. Are they doing a good job?
    -No. More bombers and tanks. Defend the borders.

    Otto Man:

    I live in New York City, and I’m still waiting on the adminsitration to catch the people who actually attacked us

    Well, they are pretty much emolliated. How about if we go after their sponsors etc.

    Is your family more important than any altruism or Dem talking point? Yes or No. If Yes then the rest of my argument follows naturally.

  84. 84
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    Stormy blurts: Meanwhile, even the idiotic liberal DJs on my morning radio station recognized the Iraqis voting on their own constitution was a cause worth fighting for.

    Well, I don’t. Or at least, I’d put it behind getting a Constitution for Zimbabwe, Burma, Uzbekistan, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, and half a dozen other countries where life is even more wretched than Saddam’s Iraq.

    Did you call for an invasion of Zimbabwe, Stormy? I must have missed it. The Iraq constitution is just the latest attempt to salvage something from the IraqWagmire, and I doubt if it will succeed. Do you think the United States could be governed under a constitution where 90 percent of America’s blacks, Jews, and Muslims voted no? Well, the percentage of Sunni Arabs in Iraq is a little greater than the total percentage of blacks, Jews, and Muslims in America.

  85. 85
    ppGaz says:

    Meanwhile, even the idiotic liberal DJs on my morning radio station recogn

    They have liberal DJ’s down there in Big Hair, Texas?

    Nahh.

  86. 86
    Slide says:

    We are fighting in Iraq for this:

    Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed.

    The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

    It demonstrates for the first time the true strength of anti-Western feeling in Iraq after more than two and a half years of bloody occupation.

  87. 87
    Slide says:

    Well, they are pretty much emolliated. How about if we go after their sponsors etc.

    Great, but why then did we take this detour into Iraq that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, 911 or Bin Laden?

  88. 88
    Otto Man says:

    Thanks, OCSteve, for completely ducking my argument.

    I agree with you that protecting myself and my family is my top priority, and I outlined the multiple ways in which this clusterfuck of an administration has left me and my family vulnerable to terrorism and, worse, the ways in which their asinine adventure in Iraq has made things worse.

    But Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda have been “emolliated,” so I should be happy? I’m all for a muscular response to 9/11 and I fully supported the invasion of Afghanistan. I just wish Bush had been able to suppress his hard-on for Iraq and his desire to one-up his daddy and finished the job.

    They can put all the bombers and all the tanks they want in Iraq, and it’s still going to do nothing to make the ports around here secure, or to provide real protection of the chemical plants, or to provide security of the vulnerable rail lines along the Northeast Corridor and the subways in New York City.

    And guess what, genius — that’s where my family lives, and works, and plays. They’re not in Basra. They’re not in Fallujah. They’re here, and they’re still vulnerable.

    You may believe that third-grade idiocy about how “we’re fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” but the bombings of the London Underground and the Madrid trains make me think that, golly, maybe they can be in two places at once. And since they can do that, then maybe we should be defending things here at home too.

    This isn’t altruism or some Dem talking point. This is your own standard — let’s look out for our own safety. How in God’s name can you insist that the war in Iraq has made things safer here when every bit of data says otherwise?

  89. 89
    ppGaz says:

    Question: How can DougJ sleep at night?

  90. 90
    Otto Man says:

    If you’re talking about OCS, well, it’s easy to sleep when you don’t let pesky things like facts and information into your head.

  91. 91
    ppGaz says:

    He’s a figment of our imagination ….

  92. 92
    Sojourner says:

    Stormy blurts: Meanwhile, even the idiotic liberal DJs on my morning radio station recognized the Iraqis voting on their own constitution was a cause worth fighting for.

    And wait ’til more than half the Iraqi population ends up with fewer rights than they did under Hussein.

    I can’t wait to hear Stormy and her ilk explain why that’s a good thing. But then defending this administration is an unthinking reflect for people like her. Much easier than thinking.

  93. 93
    ppGaz says:

    What Stormy fails to see, in regard to her DJ’s, is that the Iraqi gov’t needs to be something Iraquis will be willing to fight for. It does no good for us to be willing, unless we plan to make Iraq the 51st state.

    And of course, we aren’t willing. Last time saw I saw a survey on this, the majority of Americans was not willing to stay there, even if leaving meant a bad outcome.

    Who’s going to rally the citizens? George Bush? Right now he can’t persuade anybody of anything. He’s the lamest duck since Donald tripped over Huey’s tricycle.

  94. 94
    Stormy70 says:

    They are fighting for it, but since noone here seems to read anything but Kos or Balloon Juice all day, they don’t know half of what goes on in Iraq. The Iraqis are fighting and dying for their country, but since the minority Sunnis are unhappy it is ok for the left to piss all over the rest of the country. Let’s ask South Africa how a country whose minority oppressed them should be coddled when they are finally kicked out. By all means, if you can’t invade all the bad countries, then sit back and listen to the Shins and burn incense all day. Saddam is gone and Libya gave up the biggest black market in nukes and let us in, so the same fate does not befall them. You guys are so myopic that no one will trust you to run the War on Terror, ever. You’d be too busy making sure the UN could continue having cocktail parties and champaigne summits. Meanwhile, our citizens would continue to be fodder for terrorists.

  95. 95
    Otto Man says:

    Put down the scotch, Stormy.

  96. 96
    Stormy70 says:

    Not drinking it tonight. Just gearing myself up for another long week. Have to vent on the weekends.

    Still no answer to what the Dems will do with the Iranian President’s near declaration of war on Israel. Hell, even Turkey and China called the ambassadors in to ask them what in the hell they think they are doing. Missed the big to do while dreaming of Rove indictments, did you?

    This is not directed at Tim, since he said he would address this later. All I’ve heard is the usual hatred toward Bush, but no real foreign policy suggestions.

  97. 97
    TJIT says:

    Tim F,

    The democrats have forgotten the lesson they taught the republicans when Clinton was in office. The lesson is you won’t win many elections by just being against something. If the democrats want to win they need to develop and push some policies of their own. Just opposing everything the republicans propose does not count as developing vote winning new ideas.

    A quote from your link to Kevin Drum

    “House Democratic leaders are holding a closed-door meeting with members of their caucus this afternoon to discuss a new slogan for the 2006 midterm elections:”

    Unfortunately for the democrats I don’t think coming up with a new slogan counts as a vote winning new policy either.

  98. 98
    Otto Man says:

    Still no answer to what the Dems will do with the Iranian President’s near declaration of war on Israel. Hell, even Turkey and China called the ambassadors in to ask them what in the hell they think they are doing.

    I’m sure the Democratic Ambassador to Iran will get right on this.

  99. 99
    TJIT says:

    Could someone please explain while so many commenters think the UN is a serious organization that has any hope of bringing a diplomatic solution to some of the problems facing the international community?

    They have not been able to stop genocide (Rwanda, Sudan, incipient genocide in Mozambique). They coddle dictators, Sudan and libya have both sat on the UN human rights commission. In a bitter moment of irony they invited the president of Mozambique (who keeps food aid from going to his political opponents, starving out the opposition)speak at a UN conference on hunger.

    The UN is a hinderance to human rights not a help. The sooner current UN supporters realize that the faster the UN can be reformed or at least be put in a position where it minimizes the damage it does.

  100. 100
    Sojourner says:

    Still no answer to what the Dems will do with the Iranian President’s near declaration of war on Israel.

    The Iranian President clarified his statement by saying that this has been Iranian policy since Khomeni was prez. In other words, nothing has changed, Bush is still a liar, and the sun will come up tomorrow.

  101. 101
    UNCoRRELATED says:

    New to the Blogosphere

    Just want to extend a welcom to Tim F, a new sometime author John Cole has added to Balloon Juice.

  102. 102
    Tim F. says:

    I don’t think coming up with a new slogan counts as a vote winning new policy either.

    It’s funny, but I think that you’re completely right about that. At times Democratic efforts to get their shit together can seem amateur and cringe-inducing.

    About the idea of being ‘against,’ I don’t buy that so much. You can do just fine being ‘against’ as long as you’re against in unison. My larger message is that the Democrats’ main problem is managing to be for or against anything together.

  103. 103
    ppGaz says:

    Yet another possum in DougJ’s bag tonight?

    (DougJ: “Mmmmmm, posters. Slurp.” etc)

  104. 104
    Jess says:

    How do we know if the Dems do or do not have useful answers to questions like the ones Stormy is asking? We’re depending on media coverage to hear what they have to offer, and when has the media ever focused on sensible discussion rather than outrageous or outraged posturing? Stormy and the rest of us need to get off our butts, look past the rhetoric and talking points, and do our own research into what BOTH sides are offering and how they’re actually following through on their promises (which includes properly funding programs, among other things). Stormy, have you and your fellow travelers actually looked at the records of the elected officials you have such strong opinions about? Have you checked out the real-world consequences of the policies?

  105. 105
    Beej says:

    Tim F., for my money, you and Sirota are both right. Ideology is essential to a party platform. We, the voters, have to know what the Dems stand for. But Tim is also right. Ideology alone is of no consequence if a party cannot impose discipline.

    One of the problems with the Democratic party has been that when it does have an ideological point to make, it doesn’t make that point very well. The Republicans state their positions clearly, succinctly, and in terms everyone can understand. Ex.: “We oppose abortion because we believe that life begins at conception and so abortion takes a human life.” You can either agree or disagree, but you don’t have any trouble understanding the message.

    Democrats, on the other hand, are prone to over-explaining and over-analyzing their positions. Ex.:”We believe in a woman’s right to choose, but of course, we think abortion is a poor solution, and every effort should be made to decrease the number of abortions, and while we don’t want to impose values on anyone, we think that education about contraception should be available to everyone, but, of course abstinence is an admirable goal.”

    Is it any wonder people don’t think the Democratic party stands for anything?

  106. 106
    Off Colfax says:

    Stormy,

    Tell you what. Support a) the demand that DHS do more on the actual homeland security part (specifically dealing with porous borders and physical defense of chemical/oil industries) and b) a reconcentration on the issue of Killing Osama bin Laden At All Costs. In return, I’ll gladly support coming to the defense of Israel should the new Iranian government decide to attack, as per our Mutual Defense Agreement that entered into force on 23 JUL 1952.

    Deal?

    Of course, that’s not really what you wanted, was it? You wanted me to come out and say “Damn them! Damn them all to hell! DROP THE FRIGGIN’ BOMB NOW!” Right?

    Sorry, but unless and until Iran decides to make a move, diplomacy should be our first option. Once they decide to put up or shut up, THEN we can bomb them into the Stone Age. (Or the Kansas Board of Education, whichever one is closer to the actual Stone Age. [/ID snark]) Aside from that, all any saber-rattling will accomplish is yet further distraction from the elimination of Public Enemy #1: OBL himself.

    Hell, if Bush comes out with Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter and mounts it on a borrowed Vatican long axe in the middle of the Rose Garden just so he and all of America can take turns pissing on it, I’ll personally kiss Bush’s ass (and that of his designated successors) for the next 10 years.

    Once I get the chance to relieve myself on the skull of the man responsible for 9/11, that is.

    And that is my ONLY foreign policy requirement. Anything less than that, and Saddam is a hell of a lot less, and my support for the platform disappears.

    Beej:

    Pretty much what I’ve always thought, even as a life-long Democrat. Let me do a little bit more thought and I’ll shove something onto my own blog about that in addition to what I’ve already posted. (So far, all I’ve got is that the GOP base has 3 main parts to please, whilst the Demo base has approximately 15 to 20, thus making it more difficult for us to come up with a 200-words-or-less platform.) Look for something approximately 3pm MST.

  107. 107
    Stormy70 says:

    So Bin Laden’s capture or death ends Islamic terrorism? Tell that to the dead Christian girls or the bombed Hindus in India. Tell that to women being stoned to death for rape. Tell that to the gays being hung in the town square in Iran. Tell them only Bin Laden is responsible for the festering sore the Middle East has become. Osama has been sidelined for three years, but your whole foreign policy having to do with terrorism will revolve around his capture. That is not a solution, but a band aid. Bush is changing the face of the Middle East with his foreign policy, and the Dems are just carping “Where’s Bin Laden?”

    I’m sure Israel feels grateful that Iran has permission to send a nuke their way under your scenario, before anyone can do anything about them. Sometimes preemption is warranted, and I hope Iran’s Mullahs get hammered. Diplomacy is what is going on now, why do you think all those countries went into a tizzy? Iran stepped in it, and said their true intentions. So, in the future, is your position America must be hit hard before we can defend ourselves? I disagree with that position.

  108. 108
    Otto Man says:

    So Bin Laden’s capture or death ends Islamic terrorism?

    Of course not. No single individual’s death or capture ends Islamic terrorism. That’s a ridiculous argument, and you know it.

    But I will say that if we’re going to take down a single leader in the region, then yes, I would’ve prefered it be the al Qaeda leader who actually attacked us, and not the Iraqi dictator we’d kept at bay for over a decade. And I seem to recall Bush saying something about getting him “dead or alive.” Whatever happened to that?

    What Osama’s capture or death would do is demonstrate (a) that there are real consequences for attacking the United States, (b) that we’re competent in our counterterrorism work, and (c) we can actually tell the difference between the different peoples of the Middle East. By not getting him and stumbling clumsily through the region, we look like an ineffective giant.

    Bush is certainly changing the face of the Middle East. Iraq is going from a secular state to a new theocracy, and our occupation there is going to create, in the words of Hosni Mubarak, “a thousand Bin Ladens.”

    Awesome.

  109. 109
    Sojourner says:

    Tell that to women being stoned to death for rape.

    Funny how Stormy doesn’t give a shit about women being raped but does care about them being stoned to death if they were raped.

    There must be logic in there somewhere.

    Maybe next to the missing WMD.

  110. 110
    Off Colfax says:

    See Stormy, that’s the thing. My foreign policy is not about terrorism as a whole, but a specific terrorist mastermind who caused the deaths of over 200 Americans. Period.

    He is a loose end that has been untied for far too long. And our own American sense of justice still demands his capture, trial, and judicial execution. Although I personally will be just as happy with his accidental death in combat while resisting arrest.

  111. 111

    […] This represents a huge black eye for the new House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, and invites unwelcome comparisons to the erstwhile Hammer’s famous skills at maintaining party discipline. The defeat suggests that the Democrats’ move towards relevance, and the Republicans’ slide away from it, is picking up steam, but there are dangers in celebrating this victory too soon. […]

  112. 112

    […] Harkening back to my first post here, recall my point that the party that votes together matters. […]

  113. 113
    Utterly Cynical says:

    Hey, I’ve got an idea! How about everyone plays partisan politics and works too hard to point out that everyone else is wrong? Oh, I see that’s already been done. Okay, how about arguing a complex, multi-layered problem from only two points of view (Ass and Elephant)? Ah, that’s been done as well. Fine, last try: Let’s reduce the national discourse to polar opposites so we end up whistlin’ dixie with our dicks in our hands while people die. Oops…that’s covered as well. Guess I’ll have to vote Bull Moose. Have a nice day, kids.

  114. 114

    […] As everybody knows by now I think Russ Feingold’s motion to censure the rpesident for knowingly breaking the law is a great idea. You also had to know that some Democrats would run away scared and some whose initials are Joe Lieberman would come at Feingold with all ten fingernails. Greenwald points out why that’s stupid, but he’s basically recapitulating what I wrote in my second post at this site. In brief, in a legislative battle where one party manages to find or impose unanimity and the other doesn’t, the party with unanimity usually wins. If you’re a party that can’t manage to find accord on practically any issue then it doesn’t matter how thin your minority status might be, you simply don’t matter. Opponents who want a solid vote on whatever issue can always count on peeling off a few caucus members trying to appear ‘reasonable.’ […]

  115. 115

    […] Politics like Voltron rewards the team that works together. Insipid point, sure. It bears reminding only because; A) that more or less explains why people want to get rid of Lieberman, B) that was the thesis for my second post on this site, and C) the GOP just lost it (via Americablog). […]

  116. 116

    […] Newt largely dismissed bipartisanship but his spiritual successor, Tom DeLay, plainly loathed it. In fact most recognize that Tom DeLay’s most important accomplishment had nothing to do with Democratic adversaries but came from his ability to intimidate moderate/left-leaning Republicans into hiding or primary them out of the party altogether. Refer to the Nick Smith bribery/blackmail scandal for DeLayism in action. This totalitarian approach to party doctrine is plainly anathema to independent-minded moderates like Joe Gandelman but as I pointed out a long time back, it works. The party with discipline usually wins, even if discipline calls for a very big and slightly-illegal stick. Even rightwing commenters on this site acknowledge that Gingrich hit on an ugly but winning formula and as long as the Dems never bother to read Newt’s memo the GOP comes out ahead. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Newt largely dismissed bipartisanship but his spiritual successor, Tom DeLay, plainly loathed it. In fact most recognize that Tom DeLay’s most important accomplishment had nothing to do with Democratic adversaries but came from his ability to intimidate moderate/left-leaning Republicans into hiding or primary them out of the party altogether. Refer to the Nick Smith bribery/blackmail scandal for DeLayism in action. This totalitarian approach to party doctrine is plainly anathema to independent-minded moderates like Joe Gandelman but as I pointed out a long time back, it works. The party with discipline usually wins, even if discipline calls for a very big and slightly-illegal stick. Even rightwing commenters on this site acknowledge that Gingrich hit on an ugly but winning formula and as long as the Dems never bother to read Newt’s memo the GOP comes out ahead. […]

  2. […] Politics like Voltron rewards the team that works together. Insipid point, sure. It bears reminding only because; A) that more or less explains why people want to get rid of Lieberman, B) that was the thesis for my second post on this site, and C) the GOP just lost it (via Americablog). […]

  3. […] As everybody knows by now I think Russ Feingold’s motion to censure the rpesident for knowingly breaking the law is a great idea. You also had to know that some Democrats would run away scared and some whose initials are Joe Lieberman would come at Feingold with all ten fingernails. Greenwald points out why that’s stupid, but he’s basically recapitulating what I wrote in my second post at this site. In brief, in a legislative battle where one party manages to find or impose unanimity and the other doesn’t, the party with unanimity usually wins. If you’re a party that can’t manage to find accord on practically any issue then it doesn’t matter how thin your minority status might be, you simply don’t matter. Opponents who want a solid vote on whatever issue can always count on peeling off a few caucus members trying to appear ‘reasonable.’ […]

  4. […] Harkening back to my first post here, recall my point that the party that votes together matters. […]

  5. […] This represents a huge black eye for the new House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, and invites unwelcome comparisons to the erstwhile Hammer’s famous skills at maintaining party discipline. The defeat suggests that the Democrats’ move towards relevance, and the Republicans’ slide away from it, is picking up steam, but there are dangers in celebrating this victory too soon. […]

  6. UNCoRRELATED says:

    New to the Blogosphere

    Just want to extend a welcom to Tim F, a new sometime author John Cole has added to Balloon Juice.

  7. Sunday Reading – October 30th

    I haven’t done this in a while. Time to get back to touring a bit to see what is going on in the Blogsphere. Chad at In the Bullpen, does a Round the Reader edition. Remember Round the Reader? It…

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