What Has Been Seen Can Not Be Unseen

Via Alicublog, I see that the Cornerites are taking the time today to celebrate Vince Foster’s birthday as an excuse to bring up his suicide. You will have to read Edroso’s commentary to fully appreciate the right wing ability to raise “serious questions.”

In another thread earlier today about Roger Simon’s hit piece in the Politico about Geithner, commenter Conservatively Liberal said the following:

I think that some in the media world know when a story doesn’t have ‘legs’ and don’t bother with it where some know that it doesn’t have ‘legs’ so they splice a pair on. Why should Simon go check out something and find out that it is nothing when he can report it as if it is something and get his name out there to promote it? No matter that the story is later debunked, Simon isn’t really interested in that.

So while Simon and his ilk do their ‘reporting’, other outlets pick it up and hype it until cooler heads step in with the ‘real news’ that the story is no news at all. Everybody gets their minute in the spotlight and the slur lives on afterward. The system is so predictable that it is boring.

They have been doing this for a long time and they are really good at it. Problem is that the public is starting to catch on and the internet is the reason why. When you can’t control the ‘news’, you can’t control the masses.

What is the point of this post? Allow me to continue the stream of consciousness a bit more, with this post by James Joyner about the fact that the group of “liberals” who met with Obama included Andrew Sullivan, author of liberal screeds such as “The Conservative Soul“:

American conservatism, at least as represented by the Republican Party, has changed too much and not enough over the years. They’ve long stopped pretending to care about fiscal responsibility, merely pretend to care about limited government, and care perhaps a bit too much about fighting losing battles in the cultural wars.

Lots of us — Andy, John Cole, Steven Taylor, Steve Bainbridge come to mind — are less enthusiastic about The Cause as defined by the Republican agenda than we were even five years ago. The Steves and I have remained on the GOP bandwagon and Andy and John have jumped off. That’s a matter of slightly different ranking and weighting systems, methinks, rather than movement to the Left or Right.

I don’t know if I will ever be a member of “the cause” again.

On the eve of Obama’s inauguration, it is both funny and disturbing to look back to how things were eight years ago- I was so thrilled that a republican was about to be inaugurated. I was so excited to vote for Bush in 2000 that I literally could not sleep, and, as always, was at the voting booth at 6:30- 7:00 in the morning, the only person under 60 standing in line.

Now, today, I am so disgusted with the Republican party that I don’t think I will be able to vote for a national Republican for twenty years. I wouldn’t say my positions have changed completely, either. I really don’t feel like there has been a dramatic shift in my opinions. On several issues, I am certainly more to the “left” than I was before. For example, I was never a proponent of gay marriage, and felt that civil unions were more than an acceptable compromise. Not anymore- gay marriage is the future, it is the right thing to do, and those who can’t cope with that reality one day will just have to deal with it when we finally get there.

What has changed, however, is that I have seen a lot of the arguments that come from the Republicans for what they are- just bullshit. I have watched over the past few years and seen how nonsense bubbles up into the mainstream, and how distorted versions of events designed to distract and queer the debate turn an upside down version of events into the “conventional wisdom.” You don’t have to look any farther than the recent attempts to blame the entire financial crisis on Democrats, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and poor minority borrowers. We just spent an entire election season where prominent Republicans thought they really had something with Bill Ayers and Obama’s birth certificate. Of course, months could be spent documenting all the bullshit that has been churned up in the past eight years. The embrace by the right-wing of the idiotic tome “Liberal Fascism” could itself be the subject of lengthy study.

You all know by now what a dork I am, so I am not outing myself when I state that one of my favorite all-time episodes of the X-Files was a show called Folie a Deux, in which Scully and Mulder investigate a man who thinks his boss is a monster. Everyone thinks the man is insane because he insists that his boss is a zombie who eats people brains, and he is driven to madness that no one else can see his boss for the monster he is. He states frequently that the monster “hides in the light.” Eventually, Fox is able to see the monster as the show comes to a conclusion.

You see where this is going, don’t you? I understand now why the dirty fucking hippies were driven to near madness by the GOP and the election of Bush. Having watched things pan out the last few years and observed how truly perverted the beltway insiders who dominate our dysfunctional discourse are, I understand Bob Somersby and Glenn Greenwald and others.

I don’t know how much to “the left” I have actually moved on a lot of issues, but I do know one thing. When I see this nonsense from Byron York and Wideload Doughpants, raising their “serious questions” about Vince Foster’s suicide, I know clearly what I am seeing- I’m just watching the monsters hiding in the light, right where they always have been. This time, though, I see.






127 replies
  1. 1
    Comrade Stuck says:

    I don’t know if I will ever be a member of “the cause” again.

    You’re a member of a new "cause" as a democrat. Though it’s spelled a little different.

    "Chaos"

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    The thing that boggles me is that apparently the more the GOP loses, the more they think "hey, let’s keep doing the same thing!". It’s the "Obama won because we didn’t spend enough time accusing him of living in the same ZIP code as William Ayers" theory of political strategy. Otherwise known as Palinism.

    In a similar vein, the remnants of the GOP in Congress apparently believe that the solution to every problem from economic malaise to male pattern baldness involves reducing the capital gains tax and the estate tax.

    -dms

    -dms

  3. 3
    AnneLaurie says:

    I’d say the Plantation Party’s more like the aliens in THEY LIVE… not just one or a few monsters, but an organized infestation of a hive-mind that prospers as much through the unwillingness of Teh Sheeple to see what their lives have been reduced to as through their own manipulation of the public discourse.

  4. 4
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    […]the Cornerites are taking the time today to celebrate… the anniversary of Vince Foster’s suicide.

    It’s his birthday, not the anniversary of his death.

  5. 5
    grimc says:

    one of my favorite all-time episodes of the X-Files was a show called Folie a Deux

    I’ve always thought the last 8 years have been more like Carpenter’s They Live, but the X-Files episode works, too.

  6. 6
    grimc says:

    @AnneLaurie

    Good, I’m not the only one.

  7. 7
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Just keep in mind that you could be Dad Meiks in Frailty, killing demons that aren’t, ya know, really demons.

  8. 8
    Fwiffo says:

    John Cole appears to be all out of bubblegum.

  9. 9
    John O says:

    I sure enjoyed that post.

    I mean, Right. On.

    The Republican Party is nothing but a hierarchy of rich white dudes who have figured out how to dupe the homophobes, racists, and ignoramuses without whom the GOP would capture roughly 20% of the vote.

  10. 10
    JL says:

    Before Bush walked into that classroom on 9/11, he knew that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. He chose his time to read Our Pet Goat. Before he gave his speech, he lined up students behind him. When New Orleans was flooding, he took the time to give John McCain a birthday cake. The only time I can remember his interrupting a vacation on the ranch was to come back to Washington to try to save a brain dead girl. I expect to be disappointed by some of Obama’s policies but that will be a much different feeling than I have for President Bush. The Republican Party has become the party of Rush, Sean and Neal bozo Boortz. It’s the show me my money party and we don’t care who we hurt to achieve our goal.

  11. 11
    South of I-10 says:

    John, that was a great post. That is all.

  12. 12
    JL says:

    John, What exactly is "the cause"?

    I don’t know if I will ever be a member of “the cause” again.

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    @JL: Movement conservatism, aka brain-dead Republicanism.

  14. 14

    @John Cole: I’ve always thought of "brain-death" as the cause. "Brain-dead Republicanism" was the *effect*.

  15. 15
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Curiously, another X-files episode, Home, did an expose about how Republicans propagate themselves. Wonderful, wonderful!

  16. 16
    calipygian says:

    The out going President and Vice President inarguably and proudly committed war crimes and fat man and little boy are talking about Vince Motherfucking Foster.

    May the Republicans be out of power for a thousand years.

  17. 17
    HumboldtBlue says:

    The out going President and Vice President inarguably and proudly committed war crimes and fat man and little boy are talking about Vince Motherfucking Foster.

    Don’t forget the ghost of Elian Gonzalez, the Fairness Doctrine and the rumor that Democrats want to start the Spanish-American war all over again, this time without the acerbic newspaper cartoons and the ship-blowing-up-thing.

    Oh, and I also heard a rumor that we are in for more Lewinsky revelations.

  18. 18

    I shifted parties as well, but from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. The next logical stop after a person gets disillusioned with his new party, is to think that both parties are the same, and become a political refugee.
    This is the point at which you start cutting down trees in your back yard, build a brick oven, grow a large garden, and buy some bulk rice, lentils, and canned tuna.

    The good news is that you can make a really good pizza for $1.81. That brick oven web-site that Comrade Darkness posted is very good, and was the one I used to design my oven. Rado is great. All I can add to his excellent site is a method to make the wooden templates upon which the arch is made. And the picture about how to create the passage through the lower arch to the chimney. The materials cost me $500.

    The templates can be made by laying the arch bricks out on a piece of paper, tracing, and then transferring the template to plywood. It was easier than I thought it would be.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    Joe Conason’s story about Travelgate is still available at CJR Online, and it’s pretty astounding. That poor, innocent head of the travel department who was so cruelly fired by the Clintons? Turned he was fired because $50,000 of the office’s money was found "resting" in his account, not to mention the several other incidents where he would magically find money when someone noticed it had gone missing. But a bunch of media figures (like Sam Donaldson) testified at his trial that he was a wonderful person, so he managed to get off.

    And what did Vince Foster say in his suicide note was one of the reasons? The way he was raked over the coals for "Travelgate."

  20. 20
    Radon Chong says:

    I like the one where Mulder and Scully are trapped underground and being digested by a giant, hallucinogenic, underground fungus. They think they’re fine, just going on with life, but, no, that’s the drugs. They are actually being slowly eaten. Like how Fox News eats Republicans’ brains.

  21. 21
    tinat says:

    John are you single? Straight?
    I think I’m in love, LOL

  22. 22
    calipygian says:

    Oh, and I also heard a rumor that we are in for more Lewinsky revelations.

    Given that Doughy Pantload earned his journalistic chops by enabling his mother’s obsession with what Bill Clinton did with his cock to whom, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

  23. 23
    John O says:

    Which John?

    LOL. Hey, at least I loved it too!

  24. 24
    Tsulagi says:

    I didn’t move to the left during the past eight years. Pretty much the same. It’s just that after 9/11 the RSSF type patriots moved the left-right dividing marker somewhere out to the idiot side of Pluto. A place where renaming fries and toast was a blow for freedom and the American way, and where dweebs dreaming of rough men at the ready try to intimidate with silly putty.

  25. 25
    Ash Can says:

    I don’t know how much to “the left” I have actually moved on a lot of issues…

    I’m betting (and I suspect you already recognize) that you haven’t moved very much at all. It’s the Overton Window that has moved, over the last few decades. You simply reached the point where it became clear to you that you’d been left behind.

    ETA: And, uh, what Tsulagi said. Also. ;)

  26. 26
    Tsulagi says:

    @tinat:
    Last I read he’s single, and about as straight as someone can be who eats Hola Fruta. Go for it. He needs a date so he’d spend less time fattening his cat.

  27. 27
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Your life is one giant non-sequitur, BOB.

  28. 28
    KRK says:

    Very nicely done, John. Thanks.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Steve V says:

    I don’t know what your positions on various issues were five years ago, but you must have broken with the party on much more than gay marriage. I especially wonder about your position on the Bush tax cut — I imagine every Republican of every stripe supported them at least for a while. The question was how Republicans reacted when the deficits started piling up. Some were practical, many sought comfort under the wing of an unbelievable belief that the Laffer Curve would supply a free lunch forever. And the departure from reality just kind of took off from there.

    Frankly, I have difficulty telling where the GOP’s messaging ends and its policy positions begin. They talk like they really do want to return to the Lochner era (when states couldn’t regulate child labor), or even to the pre-income tax era. They’re comparing a return to the Clinton tax structure as "socialism"! Maybe that’s just a position you take when you’re on your way out of power; I sure hope so. If that’s the case, however, then it does indeed bolster your point and make clear that there is a great deal spite being deployed for no productive end.

  31. 31
    Emma Anne says:

    What I don’t get John is why you didn’t see it before. I was horrified by the Vince Foster nonsense and travelgate and so on the first time around. Why weren’t you? This sounds snotty but I don’t mean it that way. I just can’t figure it out.

  32. 32
    Sean says:

    Excellent post. Many thanks.

  33. 33
    Cain says:

    @Garrigus Carraig:

    It’s his birthday, not the anniversary of his death.

    So you’re saying this is going to be a twice a year event then?

    cain

  34. 34
    Svensker says:

    @AnneLaurie:

    Yes, yes, you beat me to it. It’s They Live. I put on the right glasses a few years before John did, but yeah. They Live.

  35. 35

    A nice counterpoint to The Chimperor’s Farewell Whinge.

    The thing that boggles me is that apparently the more the GOP loses, the more they think "hey, let’s keep doing the same thing!"

    Isn’t it beeyootiful? It’s like watching some asshole repeatedly try to swat the fly that keeps landing on his nose. With a hammer. Frankly, I’m completely addicted to the long, drawn out, crashing, rending, breaking glass and scream filled blazing mushroom cloud of fucktastrophe that is the GOP.

    Palin/Plunger Jockey* 2012!

    H/T Betty Cracker.

    Oh. And if we’re going to talk about the X-Files and the GOP, I can’t help but think of Home.

  36. 36
    Sondra says:

    Bravo John. I’ve never heard anyone say something like this before. I guess you’ll be taking a lot of flak for this; probably have already, but I admire your honesty.

  37. 37
    Bobby says:

    John,

    I remember a quote you made last August that sums it up for me:

    "the GOP has become a lawless party of criminals and reprobates"

    Keep up the good work. Your blog is number one in my book.

  38. 38
    mclaren says:

    dmsilev says he’s amazed that "the more the GOP loses, the more they think it’s a good idea to keep doing the same thing." This isn’t surprising. It’s a well known feature of cults, religions and political movements. Take a look here for a great explanation of what’s going on.

    John Cole deserves a lot of credit forhis mind when faced with the facts of the last 8 years. A lot of people haven’t.

    Here’s what baffles me:

    Why didn’t someone as smart and perceptive as John Cole realize the drunk-driving C student was totally unfit for the office of president back in 2000, during the very first debate?

    I watched that debate. Didn’t have much of an opinion about the drunk-driving C student before that — had studied his record in Texas and it looked OK. He seemed to work with the Texas legislature. He talked about "compassionate conservatism," which sounded vaguely bogus, but didn’t have any hard evidence to show it wasn’t sincere.

    Then we got the first debate. And the drunk-driving C student sneered and jeered every time Al Gore brought up facts and figure. I remember particularly one instance when Gore cited some figures about U.S. government spending and the military, and the drunk-driving C student sneered and giggled dimissively, jeering, "Well, I don’t have my calculator, heh-heh-heh, but that just isn’t right." And then he went on to trash the Cliton administration’s record on the budget and defense etc, etc. It became instantly obvious at that moment that the drunk-driving C student had no concern for facts. No interest in reality. No patience for the truth. Regardless what he said, it gradually dawned on me over the course of the first presidential debate that the Republican candidate was a thuggish creepy vicious contemptuous clown with no concern for objective fact. In fact, I dubbed him "The man with the sniveling sneer." Everybody else in the room stared at me. "Yeah, that pretty much nailed it," one person muttered. They all watched the TV with outright disgust. As the debate ended, the one word that came to mind about the Republican nominee was "repellant."

    It mean, everybody in the room picked up on this.

    Here’s what I don’t get:

    Why didn’t smart sensible people like John Cole pick up on this vibe? It’s the same loathsome repellant vibe I got from Nixon back in the day, even though I was only a kid then. I knew there was just…something off about the guy. He was wrong. He had a reptilian thing going on. If I’d been trapped on a lifeboat with Nixon, I wouldn’t have turned my back on him, and I got exactly the same vibe from the drunk-driving C student back in 2000.

    Why didn’t people like John Cole pick on this? Al Gore wasn’t my favorite politician, but, damn! Compared to the repulsive thuggish sneering lout I saw in the first presidential debate…man, no choice. No choice at all.

    How the hell could anyone be so eager to vote for such a repulsive thug that they got up at 6:300 in the morning to wait in line at the voting booth…?

  39. 39
    gnomedad says:

    @Emma Anne:

    What I don’t get John is why you didn’t see it before.

    I think Bill Clinton’s tawdry personal life helped give credibility to a lot of Republican BS that might otherwise have been laughed off. (Obviously, I don’t know if this was true of John.)

    Another possibility is that John was on a deep cover mission to infiltrate Pajamas Media. A Manchurian blogger, so to speak.

  40. 40
    Augie says:

    Though I know John has better things to do than to respond to inane comments from posters like myself, I do have two questions that immediately come to mind after this last post.
    1) As a self-confessed converted wingnut yourself (and, in my opinion, one of the greatest advocates for our cause now), how do we convince other conservatives to see Republican ideology for what it is. Seriously, how did you "see the light"? I feel we can make real progress in this country if we could convince Republicans to discuss policy in good faith. But what arguments/strategies could possibly convince them? How did you convert? I admit I have occasionally renounced my Democratic party affiliation but that’s because I’m embarrassed by the party’s behavior not their (professed) ideology.
    2) I’ve been reading your blog a lot these days. I prefer my Republican criticism to be filled with bitterness, sarcasm and wit so I’m here reading all of the time. Yet, I fail to see a lot of policy space between liberal causes and your professed causes, despite your claims to the contrary. I know you cited your transition on gay marriage, and I know you probably don’t want to alienate specific audience sets by naming certain policies, but where is it that you really differ on the liberal-conservative ideology scale from those of your current core audience? We certainly seem to be aligned on foreign policy and even most social issues. Is it primarily economy/tax based?

  41. 41
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    And if we’re going to talk about the X-Files and the GOP, I can’t help but think of Home.

    Apparently, you and me are the only ones that find that amusing.

  42. 42
    DRD 1812 says:

    The good news is that you can make a really good pizza for $1.81.

    Brick Oven Bill, under the new Medicare prescription drug plan, you should be getting a good deal on your meds. There’s really no excuse for cutting back so much.

  43. 43
    Nellcote says:

    I will never understand the morality of people who would mock a good man’s suicide.

  44. 44
    Augie says:

    I would like to respond to McLaren’s post in regards to why people didn’t see Bush for who he was sooner. Well the answer is ideology. And just to state for the record, I thin people should vote PURELY on ideology. I sincerely don’t care about character issues (drunk-driving/C- student/etc.) as long as my representative (legislative/executive/etc.) votes for my policy preferences. In this regard, at least to Republicans, Bush has been a MAJOR success. Huge tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of business – CHECK. Money for faith-based initiatives and an increased injection of religion in government – CHECK. Increased use of the military abroad – CHECK. Increased appointment of conservative justices – CHECK. Reduction in environmental regulations – CHECK.
    I could go on and on. The point is, Republicans believe in these policies. It would be foolish for them to vote otherwise, even if the person signing the legislation is a doofus. Indeed, I would argue that I don’t care what doofus signs SCHIP legislation, increases educational funding, reduces voting barriers, increases union membership, and increases environmental protections as long as the policies are enacted.
    Now it would seem (surprise, surprise) that the Republican ideology and policies mentioned previously are turning out to be incredibly catastrophic for the country and, as a consequence, Republicans are being punished. This is as things should be. That’s why its more important (as a political strategy) to tie current American conditions with Republicanism, not Bushism. But Americans, despite media protestations, should and do vote ideology preferences. And that is as it should be, regardless of the name at the top of the ballot.

  45. 45
    John Cole says:

    @Augie:I will have to think about this.

    I was never supportive of the death penalty, because I thought no government should have the right to kill its citizens. I still can’t figure out why that is not the default “conservative” position, if not the libertarian one.

    I always felt the war on drugs was just a war on the public, and again, never figured out why that is not the default conservative position. ditto for all the nonsense intruding into our sex lives.

    I haven’t changed on those.

    On abortion, I suppose you could characterize me as becoming more liberal on the issue, but my position has never really changed. I will never have one, and I will do everything Ican to not cause one, or if should someone I am involved with become pregnant, I will do my best to carry the fetus to term and then raise the kid. having said that, I am now no longer will to give any quarter to the religious nuts and the anti-abortion crusades. The flip side of anti-abortion stances are not the pro-choice stance, as I used to believe. The flip side to anti-abortion is mandatory abortion, and pro-choice is in the middle. People get to decide what to do in their own circumstances. A pro-choice position IS THE COMPROMISE with the anti-abortion crowd. That seems to me to be a shift to the left.

    I am still in favor of low taxes. What I am not in favor of are tax rates so low we can not fulfill our responsibilities.

    I am less in favor of the use of military force than I used to be. Not sure where that is on the left right continuum, since folks like Larison are as anti-use of force as many on the left. See Pat Buchanan.

    I still oppose torture and other various abuses of human rights. I thought that was the conservative position, or at least they used to pretend it was as an excuse to use military force against other nations.

    If I could say that one thing really changed, it is that so much more is at stake now (things were pretty good in 2000, now not so much) and I have eight years of watching the GOP try to destroy this country. And the hostility to science and all things liberal as well as the rise of the fundamentals has just soured me on the GOP forever.

  46. 46
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Wow, I made the front page a second time? I am humbled that one of my incoherent postings actually made sense for once. ;)

    A lot of people are ‘seeing’ their parties (both the left and right) with the ability for the internet to lift the wool from their eyes, and it ain’t pretty. While both parties are in sad shape, the rabid right has gone over the edge where the rabid left keeps trying to. There is one positive about the Democrats not having spines, they don’t let the extremists run the party. The right let the extremists take the helm and they promptly drove the world off a cliff.

    The Democrats will have an easier job of growing spines than the Republicans will have of recovering from their cliff dive into oblivion. I think the Democrats are positioned to soar but the question is will they have the guts to head for the front and lead? IMO, Obama seems to be a leader and that is what the Democrats need. While I am hearing some Democratic leaders voicing their early opposition (read: growing a spine now that a Democrat is President) I already know that they are full of shit and I bet Obama knows that too. All bluster and no action, all it is is posturing and preening for the press and their constituents. Obama will knock that shit down in a second, but I have a feeling he will do it very ‘nicely’.

    The events in Tennessee and Texas (Repubs working with Dems to wrest control from the crazies on the right) are heartening to read. It means that some of the Republicans are regaining their sanity. The reaction of the wingnuts is predictable and about as off-key as you can get. People know that we are in trouble now and they want the bullshit to stop. They want to see both sides working together, as Obama said is his goal as President. Some of the sane Republicans have received the message, loud and clear, and are acting on it to save not only their party but the country.

    We are in a world of hurt right now and the same old shit ain’t gonna to cut it any more. The nuts on the right, left and in the media don’t care because they are only looking out for themselves. We have to wade through the shit they dish out to find the truth behind the smoke and mirrors they pile it in front of. Places like Balloon Juice are where we dig into the shit and find the truth behind it.

    Thanks John. :)

  47. 47

    […] you’ll ruin everything,” mode I went into before the election so for now you should read this or this or you can even flirt with dangerous levels of snark […]

  48. 48
    Josh Hueco says:

    I voted for Bush in 2000. Looking back on it, I can’t figure out how I didn’t recognize the warning signs that the McLarens of the world saw so instantly. All I know is that it was a thrill and honor to cast my vote for Obama in 2008, even though I knew it wouldn’t make much of a difference here in Texas.

  49. 49
    Incertus says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    The events in Tennessee and Texas (Repubs working with Dems to wrest control from the crazies on the right) are heartening to read. It means that some of the Republicans are regaining their sanity.

    Even before those states, you had Kansas, which has a moderate Dem for a governor (and potentially a Senator in 2010), and Dems have either taken over or made huge gains in the state legislature because the nutbags drove off the moderates, and hey, a moderate Kansas is a damn sight better than a nutbag one.

  50. 50

    […] Cole: What Has Been Seen Can Not Be Unseen […]

  51. 51
    Tim F. says:

    Why didn’t people like John Cole pick on this?

    Normative modeling.

    wikipedia

    Nobody ever experiences a fact as a pure unadorned nugget of information. We color every incoming piece of information with conscious expectations and subconscious emotional weighting for or against.

    Here’s an example. When you hear that unfamiliar Congressman X went apeshit and took a dump on the counter at Starbucks, you check his party affiliation. How you feel about the story, emotionally, in your gut, depends strongly on whether the turd bandit is one of us or one of them.

    It can be incredibly difficult, often insurmountably so, for plain fact to overcome inbuilt normative models. People ignore truth or grasp at flimsy straws because they literally cannot process something that runs strongly enough against their normative models. Think of it as swimming upstream.

    The nakedest normative thinking on the internet has to be Mark Noonan. After that look to Hugh Hewitt and the Powerline freaks.

    It takes a force of will that most people will never pull off to rewrite normative models as thoroughly as John has.

  52. 52
    Augie says:

    Thanks John – I appreciate the response. I guess my confusion is caused by the fact that I agree with almost every single one of your policy positions and I’m considered to be a bleeding heart liberal. Admittedly, I am a lot less hawkish than I used to be (I supported the Iraq War for humanitarian reasons – embarrassingly, the movie Three Kings had a lot to do with this), and I am rabidly free trade (which I think SHOULD be the liberal position for the same, perhaps misguided humanitarian reasons), but on pretty much every other issue, I am orthodox liberal. But I suspect you are simply slightly more libertarian from an economic standpoint than the rest of us. No harm there!

  53. 53
    bootlegger says:

    The Left-Right, Liberal-Conservative dichotomies are hopelessly simplistic. One of the major developments that has alienated men like Cole from the GOP is the abject failure of the Libertarian-Evangelical coalition. There are simply too many contradictions between these groups. Reagan helped build it and from there they used smoke and mirrors to sustain it. There was also the blue collar/white collar GOP coalition that was also doomed to failure as the Blues realized the Whites didn’t exactly have their interests in mind. So I’m not surprised at all to see some defections.

    Back to the oversimplified Liberal-Conservative dichotomy, a lot of libertarian-minded folks (such as myself) also have a strong sense of social justice and we recognize that government can play a good role in people’s lives if done properly. This doesn’t mean that we side with the neo-liberal who believes in things like "speech codes" and the evil "white man". But we do believe that the "free market" is not a magical Force that automatically arrives at the moral outcome. We do believe that the US should do less global bullying and engage in more cooperation. We believe that taxes are fine as long as they are spent wisely. And we believe in the worth and dignity of every individual and that consenting adults are free to make choices as long as they don’t harm others.

    I call this position Pragmatism and believe that Obama has this worldview as do people like Colin Powell, Andrew Bacevich and Michael Parenti. Its not pragmatism as in "no values, do whatever yields the best outcome", but rather the philosophical pragmatism of James and Dewey who argued that people experience the world differently and that we should expect people to act on those differences. Efficacy in politics and policy comes from trying to bring these viewpoints into the same frame.

    If I may be so presumptuous, our host is very much an American Pragmatist.

  54. 54
    calipygian says:

    embarrassingly, the movie Three Kings had a lot to do with this

    Why embarrassingly? The analysis of how we fucked the Iraqis in 91 was spot on. But what was relevant in 99 was OBE by 2003. No shame in feeling guilty about how we fucked Iraq in the early to mid 90s. Invading Iraq wasn’t the right answer though.

  55. 55
    gnomedad says:

    Great thread, everyone.

  56. 56
    Cain says:

    @gnomedad:

    Another possibility is that John was on a deep cover mission to infiltrate Pajamas Media. A Manchurian blogger, so to speak.

    Shit, that sounds so dirty. I’m not sure if I want to go on any deep cover mission in anything that has ‘pajamas’ in it.

    cain

  57. 57
    DougJ says:

    That crap from Byron York just blows me away. I can’t articulate just what is so fucked up about it, but there’s something about it that gets to the heart of what is so deranged about modern conservatism.

  58. 58
    Cain says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    Wow, I made the front page a second time? I am humbled that one of my incoherent postings actually made sense for once. ;)

    It’s a sign dude. Time to start your own blog. :) :)

    cain

  59. 59
    DougJ says:

    The good news is that you can make a really good pizza for $1.81.

    As pieces of timeless wisdom, that is almost up there with “The Dude abides”. That may become my new status message on gmail.

  60. 60
    Cain says:

    @John Cole:

    John, those are not so different from mine. I’m not sure if I’m a bleeding heart liberal, but I tend to go with common sense. Most of the time that’s tend to be moderate. But I do tend to believe the theories of the DFMs. :-)

    cain

  61. 61
    TheAssInTheHatOnMyCat(Formerly Comrade Tax Analyst) says:

    I’ve always thought the last 8 years have been more like Carpenter’s "They Live"

    Me, three. And I always have liked that movie, too.

    But when it came out I certainly associated in with the Reagan years. I guess that wasn’t a real stretch, considering Carpenter has a scene near the end with Ronnie on a TV in the background (while one of those creatures was banging this rather well-endowed blonde – she was on top, as I recall).

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:

    I’ve always thought the last 8 years have been more like Carpenter’s "They Live"

    Invasion of the Pod People.

  63. 63

    —Jay Rockefeller once attended a fund raiser with Aaron Broussard.
    —Jay Rockefeller gave $500 to MoveOn.org during the last election cycle.
    —Jay Rockefeller forged the CBS Bush National Guard documents.
    —Jay Rockefeller says he spent Christmas in Morgantown, but he was really in Charleston.
    —Jay Rockefeller is a French spy.
    —Jay Rockefeller killed Vince Foster.

    2005

    Now, who wrote that?

  64. 64
    EdTheRed says:

    *slow clap*

    Bravo, sir. Brav-O.

  65. 65
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    @Cain: "It’s a sign dude. Time to start your own blog. :) :) "

    Yeah, right. You are just trying to get rid of me. ;)

    Hell, if I did that then this fun stuff would seem like work!

  66. 66
    Comrade grumpy realist says:

    John, I think it’s also that the Republican Party used to be populated by reasonable people. Maybe I’d disagree with them on where lines should be drawn, or who had what rights, but I had the basic feeling that rationality and reason were considered Good Things and that if I had solid data that showed their policies weren’t working out, or that something that was claimed to be true wasn’t, they’d change their minds.

    Over the years, the Republican party has drifted more and more into the hands of whackos who actually do seem to believe that the world they make up in their heads is more truthful than reality, and if the two clash, reality has to take a hike. Witness Cheney still claiming a link between Bin Laden and Iraq.

    The problem is, Reality always wins. It may take a long time, but at some point, the Urals WILL go radioactive, the real estate bubble WILL burst, and companies like Enron WILL go under….

  67. 67
    Cain says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    Yeah, right. You are just trying to get rid of me. ;)

    haha.. naw, you’d have at least one reader, and you wouldn’t be able to get rid of me unless you diss Vishnu.

    cain

  68. 68
    TheAssInTheHatOnMyCat(Formerly Comrade Tax Analyst) says:

    OH, let me just add that the mutative process the GOP has gone through since the days of Reagan has truly blown my mind. I THOUGHT that much of what Reagan was doing was as bad as we would ever see – the made-up anecdotes ("Welfare Queens in Cadillacs") and throwing out total gibberish as though it were fact. And I didn’t like the way he seemed to wink and approve of scapegoating the poor, but underneath it all I don’t think Reagan held the middle-class and general public as being beneath him…I don’t think his policies were healthy for the nation, although they certainly pumped up some short-term prosperity for some folks. His most positive contribution was his "positive-ism". Yeah, that hokey-sounding "Shining House on the Hill". He encouraged people to look forward and take pride in our country. I think we needed that in 1980, although I think it is sad that he used much of the capital he gained from it to promote wrong-headed policies. So although I really didn’t like him and feel he did a fair share of long-term harm, I don’t view him in anywhere near the same negative light as that cancerous tumor to the heart of America, George W. Bush.

  69. 69
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    He chose his time to read Our Pet Goat. Before he gave his speech, he lined up students behind him.

    And remember he said he sat there for seven minutes because he didn’t want to upset the kids.

  70. 70
    LiberalTarian says:

    John Cole:

    I fully expect a decent Republican to come along, Obama-esque. I think he will be of sound mind and wonk, and able to fix a lot of things that need fixing.

    The trick, you see, will be in our ability to SEE him. I guess I am repeating myself, that we need a both a functioning RIGHT and a functioning LEFT, just like we need both sides of our brain to function. There is a whole lotta bullshit out there, and until we get that cleared away we are sucking canal water.

    So, do me a favor, although I don’t think it will be too hard for you: keep your ideals intact. Your ideals don’t belong to a party–they are good solid reasoning. Vote for your ideals, go to rhetorical war with "them," the wrong-headed ideologues, if you must, and heap scorn on the fakers who purport to want to enact your ideals but fail to.

    Besides, I have fun disagreeing with you. If you go too far left, where will I get my jollies? :D

  71. 71

    I hate Jonah Goldberg. But I didn’t really start to hate him until he wrote this:

    As for why my sorry a** isn’t in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give — I’m 35 years old, my family couldn’t afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few — ever seem to suffice.
    – Jonah Goldberg

    The fact that so many Republicans count this worthless coward as one of their own shows what utterly worthless garbage they are. Republicans who listen to Goldberg aren’t human beings, they’re hypocritical filth, reeking bags of sewage wrapped in human skin. I know guys who were in National Guard units who were activated to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have kids, they have jobs that paid well (jobs that they earned on their own merits and not because their psycho-hosebeast mother hired them), they have families and they went to serve. In 1942 my grandfather, who was 31 years old and had a job and a pregnant wife joined the US Navy and spent the next three years serving his country. My grandfather and millions like him put their civilian lives aside and made sacrifices during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. We have thousands of National Guardmen and Army Reservists have made sacrifices but Jonah apparently feels that he doesn’t have to because it would be really inconvenient for him and doesn’t understand why this is so contemptible.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    LiberalTarian says:

    Rather OT …

    If you have some disposable income, you should buy a copy of John Gorka’s The Company You Keep. It is an amazing effort, with "Oh Abraham," and "Let them in."

    I think the best thing is that you won’t be fooled again by a pretty face and phony rhetoric. Should we all be that lucky!

  74. 74
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    @Cain: " haha.. naw, you’d have at least one reader, and you wouldn’t be able to get rid of me unless you diss Vishnu. "

    I’ll leave that to Jeebus, he seems to be doing his part…lol

    Seth is a comic genius and an equal opportunity offender. His new site is a laugh. I think of it as a place for stuff that is even too extreme for Faux.

    The trick, you see, will be in our ability to SEE him. I guess I am repeating myself, that we need a both a functioning RIGHT and a functioning LEFT, just like we need both sides of our brain to function. There is a whole lotta bullshit out there, and until we get that cleared away we are sucking canal water.

    If you take into account the number of Democrats who would not vote for Obama based on race/Hillary or whatever and then contrast that with his win in November, it is clear that there are a lot of people on the right who are sick and tired of the direction that the Republican party has taken us with their divide and conquer style of politics. Their ruling rather than governing our nation has trashed our country, our environment, our standing in the world and our economy.

    We need both parties functioning and acting responsibly if we are to steer our way out of this mess. Obama is coming into office and he is going to have a huge load to shoulder and people all around him ready and willing to kneecap him at the first sign of weakness. I fully expect Obama to beat them to the punch and to play the game of politics in a way that they are not prepared to deal with. We need both sides of our political ‘brain’ working and Obama seems to be the guy with the answers (for now). I sure as hell hope so.

    The wingnuts and moonbats are going to fight over which side of the brain to perform the lobotomy on. We in the middle need to take our ‘medicine’ to dim down the voices of insanity on both sides so we can steer a course through the looming disaster of the economy that minimizes the suffering and fixes the problems. We need reasonable voices from both sides of the ‘brain’, not more "Us" versus "Them" bullshit.

  75. 75
    Jess says:

    one of my favorite all-time episodes of the X-Files was a show called Folie a Deux

    One of my favorites too–the thing I loved most about the X-Files was the sly allegories of the current state of affairs.

    John, I have to say how much I appreciate these soul-searching posts. I’ve learned a lot from them about how the "other side" sees things. I think one of the virtues sincere conservatives suffer from is an excess of loyalty, just as sincere liberals tend to suffer from too much self-questioning. I’m distinguishing between liberals and radicals here, though–far too many lefties were reluctant to condemn Stalin, back in the day.

    One of the more successful propaganda projects of the right was to conflate liberal with radical; this is as bad a fit as the libertarians and the theocrats/authoritarians. As others have pointed out, there’s really not that much of a gap between John’s positions and those of most moderate liberals.

  76. 76
    John Cole says:

    You know the surest sign this country was gripped by madness in 2003-2004? People liked Cold Mountain.

    Good lord what a steaming heap.

  77. 77
    Laura W says:

    @John Cole: Well it’s so freakin’ COLD here in NC tonight, coupled with a recent bout of insomnia, I can’t sleep. Brought the mac to bed, looked at this comment, and for 15 min have been wondering why you did not like Brokeback Mountain. Was all set to make gay cowboy and "can’t quit you" quips, and then I see Cold, not Brokeback.
    Now I can see nothing in my mind’s eye but Nicole Kidman.
    Godspeed my Advil PM.

  78. 78
    Tim in SF says:

    Excellent post, John.

  79. 79
    Tim in SF says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:Just Some Fuckhead @kommrade reproductive vigor: And if we’re going to talk about the X-Files and the GOP, I can’t help but think of Home.

    Apparently, you and me are the only ones that find that amusing.

    I had to look it up, but I remember that episode now. Ugh. Keereeepy. Thanks a pantsful for putting that back in my head.

  80. 80
    blogreeder says:

    One thing I never liked about the Bush administration is how it got off the path of fiscal responsibility. This just show’s how easy it is to spend other people’s money. There were hard decision’s he had to make outside of this that I applaud.

    I may be wrong, but I can’t see Obama making tough decisions. I can’t. I know, he hasn’t even been in office yet. All I have to go on is his performance during his 600 million dollar campaign. Now he want’s to spend 350 billion. Congress another 850 billion. Do you realize this is 1.2 trillion dollars? It is easy spending other people’s money.

    Having watched things pan out the last few years and observed how truly perverted the beltway insiders who dominate our dysfunctional discourse are, I understand Bob Somersby and Glenn Greenwald and others.

    I like your use of the term beltway insiders. Exactly. It’s non-partisan. You know Sarah Palin isn’t an insider.

  81. 81
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    You know Sarah Palin isn’t an insider.

    It’s Borgreefer! Hey, they finally let you out of the zoo? Thank goodness, I was worried for the animals.

    No, Caribou Barbie isn’t an insider but she sure tried to be one and massively failed in a historically (and hysterically) epic way. For trying the way she did she has earned my eternal enmity, but I am sure that she could care less about me.

    I sure as hell won’t forget her though I wish I could.

  82. 82
    AnotherBruce says:

    It is true that Sarah Palin is not a beltway insider. But that doesn’t mean that Sarah Palin is not too well connected with reality.

  83. 83
    blogreeder says:

    @C Liberal

    You can get people to care about you more if you get their names right.

    For trying the way she did she has earned my eternal enmity, but I am sure that she could care less about me.

    So does this mean the only beef you have is the way she did it? If she did it another way, there might be more respect and less name calling? Please, enlighten me.

    Aren’t you being a little dramatic using historically, epic and eternal? Anyway, I think we can both agree she wasn’t an insider. No?

  84. 84
    bago says:

    It seems odd that people frame Glenn Greenwald as a Liberal. It seems he’s more of a "Seriously, the constitution means things" kind of libertarian, rather than a "oh noes, tha gubmint gettin mah monies" kind of libertarian. The dude knows how to do his research, and and calls out people who are disengenuous.

  85. 85
    Johanys says:

    John,

    That’s gotta be one of the greatest posts I ever read. I, too, voted for Bush. Iraq radicalized me. Before we invaded someone made the comment that a five-year old child could tell we shouldn’t be invading Iraq. Yeah. That image of the monster finally visible in the half-light—grand.

    Been reading you since I realized you and Juan Cole weren’t the same person.

  86. 86
    Xenos says:

    The trick, you see, will be in our ability to SEE him. I guess I am repeating myself, that we need a both a functioning RIGHT and a functioning LEFT, just like we need both sides of our brain to function. There is a whole lotta bullshit out there, and until we get that cleared away we are sucking canal water.

    There is a correlation between entrenched power and the intellectual and fiscal corruption that we saw with the Republicans from 2002 to 2006. Although the scale of the corruption was less with Dan Rostenkowski, the dogmatic rigidity maintained by such leadership is incredibly toxic for the young politicians who need to toe the line in order to get established within the national political scene.

    A whole generation of Democratic leadership was soiled and tainted in the 70s, just like a whole generation of Republican leadership was soiled and tainted by Delay’s congress. You need an outsider, like Clinton, Reagan, or putatively, Palin, in order to break the logjam and revive the party. I have no expectation of the GOP coming up within anyone with Clinton or Reagan’s political skill in the next few years.

    What have they got, David Vitter? Pawlenty?

  87. 87
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Aren’t you being a little dramatic using historically, epic and eternal? Anyway, I think we can both agree she wasn’t an insider. No?

    Her qualifications aside (not that she even has any), Sarah is among the worst of the worst when it comes to the tone deafness on the right and the playing of people against each other to win at all costs. She is a vapid, incoherent moron who has learned the wrong things about what a person needs to do to win. She is the poster child for what is wrong with the rabid right. She is an opportunistic, shallow, petty and mean spirited person who has used her looks to gain access in a party that only cares about appearances and nothing for substance. She was to be the savior for McCain and this POS remnant of what was once the Grand Old Party and not America. She was about as eminently unqualified for the position she was chosen for and she was stupid enough to think otherwise. She was a Hail Mary pass that was a fumble from the moment it was thrown.

    Thirty years ago, her campaign would have been a hilarious skit on SNL.

    Dramatic? Naah. Just reality. Of course, for some reality is too dramatic to take so they wrap themselves in their comforting blanket of disillusionment. Right Borgreefer?

    Regarding your last two points, no and yes.

  88. 88
    wilfred the shoe throwing Norwegian says:

    On the eve of Obama’s inauguration, it is both funny and disturbing to look back to how things were eight years ago- I was so thrilled that a republican was about to be inaugurated…Now, today, I am so disgusted with the Republican party that I don’t think I will be able to vote for a national Republican for twenty years. I wouldn’t say my positions have changed completely, either

    I see a lot of this coming from Republicans. It’s a good lesson for people who voted for Obama and the Democrats.

    They need to be held to the fire from day one. If they’re not, we should start preparing posts that begin:

    "On the eve of so and so’s inauguration it is both funny and disturbing to…"

  89. 89
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    On the eve of Obama’s inauguration, it is both funny and disturbing to look back to how things were eight years ago- I was so thrilled that a republican was about to be inaugurated.

    I look back to what I was doing eight years ago too. I flew cross country and stood for hours in the sleet and snow to protest the disgraceful entrance of GWB into office. I held my "SHAME" banner high as his limo drove by; at the end of the day I went and hung it in front of the Supreme Court.

    This time I’ll be dancing around the living room…what a difference!

  90. 90

    @Tim in SF: But you must admit, a group of people that engaged in persistent inbreeding to remain pure and as a result have turned into unreasoning shambling beast-things that viciously attack any perceived threat is an appropriate analogy for the GOP.

    Creepy? Youbetcha!

  91. 91
    Napoleon says:

    Excellent post which I have bookmarked for the ages.

  92. 92
    Zzyzx says:

    I don’t think it’s so much that the ideology has changed as much as the problems have. The Reagan revolution – as much as I hated it at the time – did make sense. Tax rates for the upper brackets were set way too high. Welfare might very well have reached the point of creating a permanent underclass. I hated the man when he was elected, thought his 8 years were a disgrace, but I was a college student and flirting with radicalism is what you do at that age. Looking back at that era, I can see why he was so popular and see that some of what he did was important and needed.

    The problem though is that he won his debates. The huge increase in taxes Obama is talking about is a minor shift that few people will notice. No one is calling for the return of a 70% tax rate. Unfortunately, that’s the only way conservatives seem to understand how to run these days. I listened to Rush the other day and every other word out of his mouth was "Reagan." Reagan this, Reagan that. Is it any wonder that the youth vote is moving so rapidly towards the Democrats when all the Republicans seem to want to do is talk about a president who served before they were born?

    The problems have changed since 1980. Either the Republicans can catch on to that and start looking for new solutions for our current issues, or they can keep making the same three or four rote responses – tax cuts for the wealthy [1], military solutions to all problems, prayer in school, etc – and look less and less relevant in each passing election. The problem with deifying a past president is that it makes it impossible to move on to the challenges of the future.

    [1] Maybe one of these days it’ll occur to someone that even if you buy into the concept of the Laffer Curve, it is a curve. Even under that theory, at some point tax cuts cut revenue. Then again, I’m still hoping at some point that they see the fact that the reason why our system works at all is because people feel secure enough in their economy safety to take risks. Without the stability of a middle class, there’s no great economy to provide the opportunities for the rich. Try to imagine what our economy would look like if people were terrified to leave their houses because they think their children might be kidnapped because there are so many angry people out there starving who need some way to get food.

  93. 93
    DougJ says:

    You know the surest sign this country was gripped by madness in 2003-2004? People liked Cold Mountain.

    They liked Snow Falling On Cedars (which may be the worst book I’ve ever read, no exaggeration) during the Clinton administration. Maybe that was caused by the Gingrich revolution.

  94. 94
    DougJ says:

    Aren’t you being a little dramatic using historically, epic and eternal?

    Blogreeder, Sarah Palin is by far the most frightening person to get close to the White House in our lifetimes, possibly in American history. It has nothing to do with her being “conservative” (I’m not sure she even has a political philosophy) and everything to do with her being a nasty, vindictive, power-hungry, know-nothing. John McCain is lucky he wasn’t elected, because Sarah Palin would have been scheming to get rid of him if he had.

  95. 95
    Aaron says:

    Hello, first post here . . .

    It seems to me like one of the major problems we are facing, as a nation, is that we have gotten locked in, mentally, to the two party system. People assume that if you become less conservative, you are becoming more liberal (leaving out, for now, the near meaninglessness of these words). There are more options than just two – and out of those options I find it very rare that someone agrees with a party on every issue. Many people are socially liberal and economically conservative, or vice versa.

    It seems there is a brand loyalty that plagues both the democrats and republicans, leaving all of us with more nuanced or heterogeneous perspectives out in the cold.

  96. 96
    Rick Taylor says:

    I was surprised when Bush was first nominated to be the Republican candidate. I couldn’t believe the Republicans had nominated someone so obviously unfit for the office. It seemed to me they’d given up all principles, selecting someone purely for his name recognition rather than his ability to lead. There was a web-site back then which unfortunately I haven’t been able to find for years that detailed his history, his failures in business, that explained in excruciating detail why he was unqualified. Molly Ivins, a Texan who knew him very well, wrote columns increasingly frantic describing his record, and towards the end was practically begging the country, ""Don’t Vote for George W. Bush — He’s Not Up to the Job." She wrote:

    I’m sorry — the man is inadequate. You cannot slide through life on your daddy’s name, turning in a poor performance in school and the military, and a distinctly questionable performance in the business world, loaf through a few years in baseball trading Sammy Sosa and then tell outrageous lies about your part-time performance in a powerless job. This is silly.

    One of the few truly eerie things about W. is his inability to admit that he did it all on luck. Lots of people are born lucky in life, but they’re not born blind to that fact. No one is asking him to feel guilty about it; awareness would suffice.

    That election made clear there is something badly broken in the way we choose our President. It’s that Bush was a conservative, it’s that his record showed he was unfit. But he had name recognition, was an affable guy, and promised to reduce taxes. Paul Krugman screamed that Bush was being dishonest about the effects of his proposed tax cuts would have both on income distribution and the long term deficit, but what did he know? The "debate" in this country was carried out on such an appallingly superficial level. Things ren’t much better now. It’s true the right guy won, but of course he is also an extremely charismatic skillful politician. The level of debate in the country about who is going to be the most powerful person in the world still isn’t that sophisticated. And judging by the right wing’s endorsement of Sara Palin and Joe the Plumper, many of them think that’s a good thing.

  97. 97
    khead says:

    If I could say that one thing really changed, it is that so much more is at stake now (things were pretty good in 2000, now not so much) and I have eight years of watching the GOP try to destroy this country. And the hostility to science and all things liberal as well as the rise of the fundamentals has just soured me on the GOP forever.

    You are missing one other thing. You touched on it in your previous post though: the victimhood. Once a person goes from being the victim to mocking the Perpetual Outrage Machine that is the 21st century GOP, that person’s days in the GOP are numbered. Pretty easy to see the monsters then.

  98. 98
    Napoleon says:

    Read this article that came out a month or 2 before the 2000 election. Staring everyone right in the face in this article are all the personality deficiencies that have brought near ruin to this nation since then. How this information was out there and anyone voted for him is beyond me.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/poli.....bush200010

  99. 99
    Robin G. says:

    This must have been a hard post to write, and I tip my cap to you for doing so.

    There’s a lot of people — a *lot* of people — who have been proven wrong about their ideologies and loyalties in the past eight years. Some of them have dug in their heels and stubbornly insisted that the sky is neon orange, in spite of that the commie liberal fascists say. Others have pretended that they were never wrong in the first place. You, however, are admitting that you were wrong, wrong in a huge way that I imagine will keep you up at night questioning your judgment for a very long time to come. To even admit that to yourself is brave, let alone to the intertubes.

    Just, you know, don’t forget this stuff on down the road.

  100. 100
    Cyrus says:

    Early in his term in office, Bill Clinton reportedly said "We are all Eisenhower Republicans now." Just in case John or the other ex-Republicans here need reassurance that their party really did leave them rather than the reverse.

  101. 101
    shortstop says:

    This morning I’ve been reading, in various places, the right’s latest version of reality: "Obama’s foreign policy will be exactly like Bush’s, vindicating Bush," and wondering how far people will go in hoping for more death, lawlessness, misery and international disgrace just to avoid saying, "I called that one wrong."

    It is so unbelievably rare to see someone walk away without qualifications or excuses. It’s overwhelmingly hard to do that. I know this isn’t the first time you’ve said something like this. But it’s still worth warmly congratulating you for.

  102. 102
    Cyrus says:

    And I think my previous post explains why John has a hard time naming issues on which he disagrees with Democrats.

    For example, Cole is pro-choice overall, but it’s more complicated than just legal or illegal. What about the Hyde Amendment? Good or bad or not ideal but within the bounds of an acceptable compromise? Because considering where the Overton Window has been for the past few years, a lot of effort has been needed to prevent outright or de facto abortion bans; few people on the left have had the time or energy to try to make improvements to the status quo. So if you liked the status quo on abortion rights circa 2000 then you should support the Democratic Party, and if you thought the status quo in 2000 was too conservative then you should also support the Democratic Party.

    Over the past few years of jingoism and kleptocracy, the Democratic Party has had to be a catch-all for everything to the left of Olympia Snowe.

  103. 103
    sparky says:

    a. Congratulations and thank you, John.
    b. what Tim F. said.
    c. my contribution: much of the silliness of US political discourse was facilitated by the country’s wealth in the 1980s and 1990s. We were able to have silly discussions about silly trivial things because we had already, under Ronnie, started to eat our seed corn (we are just now getting the bill), and because we were wealthy enough to afford various inanities like destroying the unions, fetishizing lower taxes, borrowing money no one would ever repay, building houses no one would ever live in and speculate with paper profits. This was true under Reagan, Clinton (note Bush I lost because of a recession–a moment of truth intervened) and Bush II. In this sense the GOP strategy was brilliant and incredibly stupid at the same time. It was brilliant because after 9/11 Bush told everyone to just go back to buying SUVs and houses they couldn’t afford and that he would take care of the scary stuff. This was what we wanted to hear. Incredibly stupid because the whole edifice was false from start to finish. Inane contrarianism and half-baked sophmoric thinking is not a coherent governance strategy, whether you are talking about foreign policy or infrastructure. But the US had such a head start that it didn’t matter and the GOP was foolish enough to think that it could go on this way forever. What is alarming is not that they were idiots, but that even this past November they managed to garner 40% of the popular vote on a political platform of circuses. Not even bread this time, just circuses.

    Now we are perhaps poised for another chapter in American silliness. Apparently everyone seems to think BHO is going to make everything just dandy. How will the public react when our new elected emperor isn’t superhuman? It would be nice to think that we will be patient. But we’ve had 25 years of free lunch, and there may be some snapping as the trays are emptied out so as to keep JPM and GS full.

  104. 104
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    But it’s still worth warmly congratulating you for.

    Yes, congratulations indeed. John is seeing the difference between being on the inside looking out and the outside looking in. The Palace of Lies looks a lot different from the outside, eh? You would swear it looks like an unguarded inmate population wandering aimlessly around an insane asylum, each mental case muttering to themselves, yelling or listening solely to the discordant noise they generate.

    What has happened to the Republican party is really sad to see but my sympathy stops there. This is a disaster that they willingly courted, nobody put a gun to their heads and made them do it. I hope there are enough ‘real’ Republicans left to try and save the party from the lunatics in the asylum. This DFH wants a viable opposition party, but not run by the nutjobs that have the helm.

    The Republican party of yore would shudder in horror at what has happened to their party and our country under its ‘leadership’.

  105. 105
    bootlegger says:

    @Aaron: A good point Aaron, and welcome to the circus. Scientific surveys (i.e. not Faux News) like the General Social Survey consistently show that about 20% of Americans are "extremely liberal" and 20% of Americans are "extremely conservative" and the rest range across the middle. Moreover there is not a single Left-Right, or Liberal-Conservative dimension, but rather several dimensions like individualism v. collectivism, or tradition v. change (and others, lots of research and theory on this). So most Americans, 60%, are in this pragmatic middle and all we want is an effective and efficient government, which we’ll pay for if it is in fact effective and efficient, and to be left alone to do what we want as long as we don’t harm others. The wingnuts, on both sides, are the ones trying to drive the wedge in there and pull that 60% one way or the other.
    But that is what happens in a plural society, and since this the form of political and social organization that we prefer, we have to take the crap with the gold.

  106. 106
    bootlegger says:

    @Rick Taylor: Democracy is messy and this sometimes happens. When the movement was first afoot for universal suffrage in the late 17th century, the aristocracy argued that you couldn’t let the common man vote because he would be given over to his passion and choose the biggest blithering idiot to follow. Our Founders of course challenged this notion but history has shown that the old aristocracy was right in that respect, from time to time we select a blithering idiot to lead us. The beauty of the program, however, is that every four years we get a chance to rectify the situation.

  107. 107
    jrg says:

    John – Unsee this

    It’s also a sign that Obama can talk to and understand Americans at all social levels. For example, that night with us, he had an elegant dinner filled with sophisticated ideas and complex policy conversation with a bunch of right-leaning commentators. Then the next day, he had a meeting with some liberal commentators where, I presume, he was just as fluid while using much simpler sentences, shorter words and serving Froot Loops and Hostess Twinkies. There are pundits at all levels of cognitive distinction, and Obama has to learn to address all of them.

    Plus, Obama doesn’t turn every policy dispute into a status or culture war. That alone will have a huge effect on changing the tone.

    According to Brooks, the party that put Creationism, Palin, hatred of the "educated elites", and Joe the Plumber center stage is actually the party of "educated elites". Who knew?

    Not to mention the fact that Brooks insults the intelligence of the majority of voters (on the basis of no evidence at all), then turns around and praises Obama’s efforts to "change the tone".

    It’s truly appalling how stupid David Brooks is. Lucky for him, wingnut welfare ensures that his stupidity will be rewarded with employment.

  108. 108

    I wish I could unsee this… it’s a little bit rude, quite possibly horribly sexist, and ultimately very disturbing.

    It’s jiggleicious.

  109. 109
    tim says:

    John, do you get a kickback for each of Sully’s books you help to sell with your tacky link to Amazon?

    Jeez…it really has been sad over the last few years to watch the gradual sellout of the blogosphere.

  110. 110
    John Cole says:

    @tim: Tim- No. It was just a link to the damned book so people could see what it was.

    As a side note, is there ANYTHING that you will not whine about? Anything?

  111. 111
    El Cid says:

    @bootlegger: The old aristocracy was, of course, jealous, because the choosing of the biggest idiot used to be their exclusive province.

  112. 112
    Laura W says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    I look back to what I was doing eight years ago too. I flew cross country and stood for hours in the sleet and snow to protest the disgraceful entrance of GWB into office. I held my "SHAME" banner high as his limo drove by; at the end of the day I went and hung it in front of the Supreme Court.

    You are something else, ZuZu.
    I hope you are keeping a journal or some sort of memoir for the grandbaby. Can you imagine when she (she, right?) comes of age to vote for the first time being able to say:

    "My Grama was there with a SHAME banner in 2000."
    "My Grama was there protecting polls in Ohio on election day of 2008."

    I get chills just thinking of it.
    Hopefully you have photos to go with your recount-als. (HA!)

  113. 113
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Laura W:

    Laura, I’m blushing ! It’s true, I think my next step might be to join the Raging Grannies.

    I actually do have a picture of my SHAME banner hanging on the barricades in front of the USSC…I just can’t figure out how to post it online. Tell you what, I’ll see if I can send it to you to upload to your Flickr account if you’re interested.

  114. 114
  115. 115
    PWT says:

    I wish you the best of luck, see you later, bye.

  116. 116
    eyelessgame says:

    @38 McLaren:

    "why didn’t someone as bright as John Cole see Bush for what he was?"

    If I am brutally honest with myself, I have to say that were the Democrats to nominate someone as manifestly unfit as Bush — especially had that person been running after a Republican administration as successful and popular as Clinton’s was — I would find it extremely difficult to see my candidate’s flaws for what they were.

    And the thing is, I could see a leader of my party do the same thing: with a succession of horrible ideas and good political fortune (e.g. an event that hands him as much political capital as 9/11 handed Bush, and he uses it to do a succession of things as awful as the Iraq war), I could see the entire party being poisoned by the desire and need to stand by him.

    I could see it happening to us. I could see taking a few years, as John did, to realize just how wrong I was to support the moron.

    (I do not believe I would abandon progressive principles. But the Democratic Party could certainly pervert those principles into policies I didn’t recognize.)

    So I don’t blame John for taking a while. If Clinton had been a Republican and W a Democrat, a lot of us might have had to overcome the same difficulty.

  117. 117
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Very good observation, eyelessgame. I would suggest though that Bill Clinton *was* that basically unprogressive unfit character you hypothetically describe. And he is exremely popular with Democrats.

    Definitely not an incompent, incurious idealogue like Danger Monkey, but he passed scads of Republican legislation, started the financial dereg. nonsense and had huge personal failings, including being a pathological liar, that may have helped cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000.

    So if open-minded Democrats can’t hold Bill Clinton to a fair reckoning, it doesn’t seem possible for close-minded Republicans to do the same with Danger Monkey.

    But.. but, the 90s were prosperous..

  118. 118

    […] on his feelings upon Bush being elected: sheer happiness. He then contrasts them with his feelings now. On the eve of Obama’s inauguration, it is both funny and disturbing to look back to how things […]

  119. 119
    nicethugbert says:

    But, Cole, have you figured out how you fell for the B.S. to begin with? How did they hood wink you? Did they pander to any formerly held false views? Or, did they simply pull off a bait and switch?

  120. 120
    tim says:

    John,

    So the only way to link to any information on Sully’s book is thru an Amazon page where one is encourage to buy buy buy a copy?

    Please.

    Lots of things I don’t whine about, John; just not many that show up on your blog.

    Well, I guess I could also whine about YOUR endless whining about how you were so viciously hoodwinked by those mean, mean, deceitful republicans of which you were a very zealous one. Anyone as allegedly gullible as you claim to be, and who allegedlly now claims to have seen the light, and with such an increasingly large bully pulpit, deserves to have his credibility constantly questioned, and deserves to have an eye kept on him.

    Just doing my part. Sorry you’re so insecure that my teensy criticisms among the endless bumhole licking among your commentariat/fanboys and girls causes you to experience stress and whine that all I do is whine.

    Surely you can put up with one whiner.

    Oh, and you never did answer my question, John: changed any diapers or done anything else to help out all the american boys and girls you helped maim in Iraq? Come on, anything at all to make real ammends?

    Didn’t think so.

  121. 121
    tim says:

    And I love that my comments have to "await moderation (censorship)" before being posted. Hilarious. What the hell are you afraid of?

  122. 122
    Mark Gisleson says:

    I don’t think your personal politics seem to have shifted much at all since you rid yourself of your wingnuttish tendencies (the groupthink on Bush and Iraq).

    I left the ‘pugs when Nixon went with his Southern strategy. In the ’60s, the whole point of being a Republican was that it meant you weren’t a dirty stinking Southern racist. When Dick reached out to those psychotic losers, I left.

    Much has been made ot the David Horowitzs who went from radical left to hard right, but less has been said of Republicans who became Democrats because of Nixon. I think that’s because — until blogging — our voices weren’t being heard.

    There is no major conservative party in the U.S., and that’s why the Dems have moved so far right. They’re filling a vacuum, but the result is that politicians like Obama now represent the left when he is clearly a moderate.

  123. 123
    Laura W says:

    @tim: FOOTWEAR!
    I, myself, who know better, just used the "s" word that refers to things some of us wear on our feet.
    I join you in moderation hell.

  124. 124
    tim says:

    Laura:

    "shitters?" "Slippers?" "mules?" "strap-ons?"

    what was the offending term?

  125. 125
    Laura W says:

    @tim: Nice try but you have to get up pretty early in the morning to trick me into making the same mistake for the umpteenth time.

  126. 126
    blogreeder says:

    @ Conservatively Liberal

    She is the poster child for what is wrong with the rabid right. She is an opportunistic, shallow, petty and mean spirited person who has used her looks to gain access in a party that only cares about appearances and nothing for substance

    That could really be said for either party. There are plenty of opportunistic, shallow, petty people on both sides of the aisle. I’m sure Henry Waxman got in on his good looks.

    I can’t see how you can call her mean spirited. If you’re talking about the Wooten issue, that was family. Maybe, her statement about "palling around with terrorists"? Don’t you think that was campaign rhetoric? Her style is attack. That’s why the Republicans brought her in for Chambliss. Anyway, I don’t think we’ll ever agree on this. What does borgreefer mean anyway?

  127. 127
    blogreeder says:

    @McLaren

    Why didn’t someone as smart and perceptive as John Cole realize the drunk-driving C student was totally unfit for the office of president back in 2000, during the very first debate?
    …It became instantly obvious at that moment that the drunk-driving C student had no concern for facts… I mean, everybody in the room picked up on this.

    This is the kind of stuff that the left is famous for. Here John already said he regrets what he did yet this Jackass has to go on and on with the superiority attitude that people who don’t agree must be stupid. That’s the first label the left puts on someone they disagree. They did it with Reagan. He won twice. They did it with W. and he won twice.
    There’s another recently, some woman from up North whose name I can’t recall.

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  1. […] on his feelings upon Bush being elected: sheer happiness. He then contrasts them with his feelings now. On the eve of Obama’s inauguration, it is both funny and disturbing to look back to how things […]

  2. […] Cole: What Has Been Seen Can Not Be Unseen […]

  3. […] you’ll ruin everything,” mode I went into before the election so for now you should read this or this or you can even flirt with dangerous levels of snark […]

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