A kinder, gentler coup

Maybe I’m way off base on this, but in my opinion, the Conor Friedersdorfs and Nicole Wallaces of the right aren’t so different from coupmeister John L. Perry. The idea of David Petraeus sweeping in and becoming president in 2012 isn’t unethical or unconstitutional, but I can’t help but think that Friedersdorf and Wallace simply want an institution they see as Republican — the military — to depose a Democratic president they dislike. (Friedersorf’s other preferred candidate is Colin Powell.)

The desire to depose Obama runs much deeper on the right — even the so-called moderate right — than anyone is willing to admit. The Perry piece wasn’t any kind of outlier.

Update. To those who say Friedersdorf and Wallace are just rooting for a Republican to win, I quote commenter neil:

But David Petraeus is not, in fact, a politician, nor a candidate, nor even a Republican. So this isn’t just somebody rooting for his side.

Wanting Mitt Romney, a Republican and all-but-declared candidate, to win the election as a Republican in 2012 is nothing like wanting David Petraeus, who is not known to be a Republican and has not expressed interest in being a candidate, to come in and out of nowhere and become the new Republican president. It isn’t the same at all.

Supporting an actual candidate is very different from hoping that your favorite general will become the new president as a member of your party.

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151 replies
  1. 1
    Napoleon says:

    My entire life it has become apparent fairly quickly that those people in the 1/4 to 1/3 of the population of our country farthest to the right simply do not believe in what this country was founded on. They never have.

  2. 2
    Shinobi says:

    I doubt that the left’s Desire to depose Bush was any less fervent. Though perhaps we more realistically acknowledged that it was not legal or possible.

    But it’s not exactly apples to oranges to compare wanting to depose a man who started two wars, allowed torture, allowed domestic spying on citizens and a lot of other things, to a guy who is just trying to get people some affordable health care.

  3. 3
    KG says:

    I would sincerely hope that these people talking of deposing a duly elected president are not serious about it. But as each day passes, I find it harder and harder to accept that possibility. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again, I didn’t leave the party, the party left me.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    I agree, DougJ. I had the same feeling when I read Friedersdorf’s take this morning. They really want a military coup. They are a bit smarter than Perry, in that they know it’s crazy shit to say it out loud, in public. But I have no doubt that’s what all this garbage about Petraeus (and, totally insanely, Powell) is. They want Obama taken down in a coup and they have no problem with the idea of a military dictatorship. In fact, they are practically salivating. These people really are not sold on the American experiment.

    Meanwhile, OT and all, but I think I’ve unmasked BoB’s real identity. Read this and tell me it isn’t BoB:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/.....-suffrage/

  5. 5
    Joel says:

    As lowly as I regard their opinions, at least Friersdorf and Wallace are respecting the democratic process, which is more than we can say for Perry, Newsmax, and those goons.

  6. 6
    Zifnab says:

    Maybe if they could just get the SCOTUS to appoint the next President…

    I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but have the Republicans been building up a lot of political capital inside the armed forces over the last 8 years? All the rank and file guys coming back I’ve ever talked to seem to have a universal distaste for the way Bush has been running things – from the highly paid freelance mercs to the penny pinching intra-military bullshit policies.

    Am I the only one left asking of the 101st Chairborne, “Uh… you and which army?”

  7. 7
    Lev says:

    I don’t know. Honestly, I’d rather have Petraeus in office than, say, Mitt Romney. Partly for the reasons that Conor suggests, though partly because Petraeus didn’t spend his life in partisan politics, has proven able to adapt to new developments, is a competent manager, etc. Colin Powell will never happen–he’s 70, hated by the base, and missed his moment in 1996. But Petraeus doesn’t really scare me–since it’s historically common that people tend not to give one party the White House for more than eight years, Petraeus might well be the one Republican that wouldn’t be an enormous disappointment in, say, 2016.

    I don’t know what’s been up with Friersdorf these days–he was much more fun to read when he was at Culture11–but if he’s truly a reform-oriented conservative, he should realize that the worst thing from his perspective would be for the Becktard strategy to work in terms of getting Republicans elected. The Democrats have yet to truly earn their power, perhaps, but the Republicans have proven they really don’t deserve it.

  8. 8
    neil says:

    The right is always in favor of military dictatorships.

  9. 9
    EconWatcher says:

    Yes, you’re way off base. There is nothing wrong with hoping that your guys oust their guys in the next election. That’s not “deposing” a leader; that’s just winning more votes. (And it’s irrelevant whether your favored candidate comes from the military or some other walk of life.)

    But there is something very wrong and twisted with wishful thinking that the military will oust their guy and reverse a democratic election. The two have nothing at all in common.

    So yes, your first clause is correct. You’re way off base.

  10. 10
    Mike P says:

    I’m not sure about Nicole Wallace, but from what I know and have read of Conor, I think you’re reading to much into the military aspect. Powell, let’s recall, is a fairly moderate conservative and even though he sullied his reputation with his performance at the U.N. on Iraq, he’s no theocon or neocon. I think Conor is just looking for someone with crossover appeal and the only people who engender enough actual respect from non-conservatives are current or former military leaders. That says a lot about the GOP’s existing political class.

  11. 11
    jrg says:

    The desire to depose Obama runs much deeper on the right

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Of course they want to depose Obama – they are the opposition political party. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just want a sane opposition political party.

    There is a big difference between going to a different mechanic because you don’t like the way he works on your car and shooting your mechanic with a shotgun.

  12. 12
    neill says:

    Perry’s contribution isn’t so much the coup dealie as it was coining “the Obama problem.” Germany had the “Jewish problem” and Israel has the Palestinian problem.”

    The right wing of this country has always had an “Obama problem,” it’s just been difficult to say it among decent people over the last few decades — now they got code.

  13. 13
    Napoleon says:

    @KG:

    They tried it with Clinton. What do you think the whole impeachment thing was. Anyone who didn’t wake up to what the right was about by the late 90’s was sleepwalking through life.

    If the Republicans ran the house and senate I bet by this point someone would have filed articles of impeachment against Obama (I am not saying it would get anywhere though).

  14. 14
    Crashman06 says:

    I’ve heard a lot of people claiming or wishing (depending on where they lean politically) that Petraeus could run for President with the GOP and win… Is there even a shred of evidence that this guy is even somewhat interested in a career in politics? Or is this all some kind of pipe dream/nightmare?

  15. 15
    BDeevDad says:

    The right are now in full retreat from Perry saying he is a liberal because he worked for Democratic administrations 30-40 years ago. Sorry for even linking to them.

  16. 16
    Al Swearengen says:

    Why does this clown hate the U.S. military so much that he thinks they’re disloyal enough to break their oaths to get rid of a politician he doesn’t like?

    What an asshole.

  17. 17
    gwangung says:

    If they want to run Patreus so that they win an election to get Obama out of office–no problem. That’s how you play the game in this country.

    That’s entirely within the rules; you win elections to rule.

    They’re being moronic in that you win elections by showing you can rule and make the country better off–which is something they have failed utterly at. But a goal of “winning elections” is entirely appropriate.

  18. 18
    matoko_chan says:

    Isn’t treason punishable by execution in the United States?
    Lets string Perry up!

  19. 19
    Zifnab says:

    @BDeevDad: Wow. I love the manic attempt to whitewash the whole mess by screaming, “Democrats did it too! Democrats are worse!”

    You’d almost forget what the whole mess was about by the end of the Yankee article.

  20. 20

    All this bluster makes sense to people who chastise Obama for leaving the country for a day to PROMOTE our chances of hosting another Olympics, but worship Barbie Spice for fucking QUITTING.

    BTW best title I’ve read so far that Palin should have used for her “new” book: Resigning Women.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Has Friedersorf paid attention to differences between the Republican party / Colin Powell? If so he could see why Powell is a non-starter for the current incarnation of the GOP. While I won’t state this with any insider knowledge or insight – Powell seems quite a bit closer to Obama philosophically and temperamentally than to those on the Right that the Right loves. The party apparatus and many of those left over there would likely be (or are) outright hostile to him. So instead of wishing for the GOP of yore who gave Powell respect he needs to recognize the GOP is a different creature and either embrace the new party at worse or at least stop with this ridiculous nonsense at best. ‘Cause truthfully, this wishful thinking ain’t doing much for anyone.

  22. 22
    soonergrunt says:

    @Crashman06: What even makes them think that Petraeus would run on their party ticket? Has anyone ever seen him say one thing that wasn’t strictly supportive of his CinC?
    I have no idea what politics, if any, to which GEN Petraeus subscribes. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.

  23. 23
    jl says:

    But, but, wasn’t Colin Powell dropped from administration for its second term for treason by thinking and not putting up with the BS anymore?

    Or, has the Republic come to such a state that it must be saved by replacing major traitors with lessor traitors.

    I don’t think it would be safe for Powell to appear at GOP rallies. The very idea is a ridiculous suggestion.

    And what will happen when Petraeus says something sane, and does not have the excuse that his treasonous CIC made him say it?

    If you cancelled the GOP primaries, it might make for an interesting race. But otherwise?

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    @Napoleon:
    @geg6:

    Bingo. These people have always thought they were better than democracy.

    @Lev: I don’t know; I’m very leery of Petraeus. Considering that his own troops thought highly enough of his command to hang the “Betray-us” sobriquet on him, considering that he was something like fifth in line even for Bush’s fire-him-if-he-doesn’t-tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear Iraqi command position, and considering that he now sees fit to put someone else (viz. McChrystal) up to public insubordination of the president, I don’t see him as an asset to the Oval Office at all.

  25. 25
    Shygetz says:

    DougJ, you are so off-base it’s not even close. If you can’t see the difference between promoting a Presidential candidate and advocating a military coup, then perhaps you need to take a little break to recalibrate.

  26. 26
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Shinobi:

    I doubt that the left’s Desire to depose Bush was any less fervent. Though perhaps we more realistically acknowledged that it was not legal or possible.

    Or, more importantly, the left’s “fervent” desire to “depose” Bush was channeled over the course of his administration into working towards having “good” Democrats elected and a constant vigilance against the Imperial Presidency. I don’t think you can make one of those Village-like comparisons here, with “Well, the left wanted Bush out just as badly.” Which leads to your next point…

    But it’s not exactly apples to oranges to compare wanting to depose a man who started two wars, allowed torture, allowed domestic spying on citizens and a lot of other things, to a guy who is just trying to get people some affordable health care.

    I think the biggest key to this entire thing is in the word “depose.” The left (and sane, rational people all over the country) wanted Bush out of office, but not in any kind of militaristic or undemocratic fashion. Depose makes me think of dictators and Imperial Presidencies. Not someone elected with a healthy mandate to substantially reform and revitialize a country staggering ever more dangerously towards an epic collapse.

  27. 27
    sacman701 says:

    You’re off base, see #9.

    I think Petraeus would make a good president in 2016. He’s a serious thinker, a good administrator, a pragmatist, and a realist. Assuming that the congressional GOP will still be clueless and useless, a reasonable GOP president would provide a useful check on a Democratic congress going forward.

  28. 28
    Don says:

    If they think the military rank and file is still staunchly R they are in for an unpleasant surprise. I’m sure it’s still more conservative (where’s the concern over this like there is over campuses, I wonder?) but based on my entirely unscientific personal encounters a lot of people who used to be straight-ticket voters are now much more skeptical.

  29. 29
    nitpicker says:

    Um, it’s not just Obama. Thomas Sowell suggested a coup might be necessary in the pages of the supposedly sane National Review more than two years ago.

  30. 30
    JK says:

    Doug,

    You’re not off base at all. Conor Friedersdorf and Nicole Wallace are simply more polished in their prose than John L. Perry. During the presidential campaign, I found Nicole Wallace to be the most obnoxious, repulsive, and nauseating of all McCain’s spokespersons.

    Honestly, I don’t know how you have the stomach to keep reading this garbage from the likes of Friedersdorf, Wallace, and Perry. You must take very long showers to remove the stench and filth that the writings of Friedersdorf and Wallace emit.

  31. 31
    John Harrold says:

    Of course encouraging the military to overthrow the rightfully elected legitimate government is essentially the same as having ex-military leaders run for office and win the majority of the vote.

  32. 32
    Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “Partly for the reasons that Conor suggests, though partly because Petraeus didn’t spend his life in partisan politics, has proven able to adapt to new developments, is a competent manager, etc.”

    Yeah, but remember the fate of Gen. Wesley Clark. Being a four-star means being a politician, but of an intra-bureaucracy politician than a kissing babies one.

    Petraeus would be one gaffe away from putting himself out of contention in the Iowa Caucuses or the NH primary. Prediction: he’ll piss off the base for one reason or another and blow the NH primary and the caucuses, but his campaign will limp on for four months like Guiliani’s did because of the worship of the villagers. He might end up on the VP ticket, if he doesn’t piss off the birthers too much.

    They’ll then be crushed in the 2012 elections, because the economy will be recovering (and growing faster than trend as we start using a lot of slack capacity from about 2 years of recession), and we’ll have some form of healthcare reform.

    But his best bet would be to wait until 2016.

  33. 33
    Napoleon says:

    @Shygetz:

    Not to pick on you, but since you were the last one to post what others have I will use your post. I think what DougJ is saying is basically that they are saying one thing but it is DougJ’s belief (one fwiw, I agree with) that in reality they actually believe what Perry said, even though it is not what they said (read his post carefully).

  34. 34
    Jerry 101 says:

    @Shinobi: However, no one on the left wanted to depose Bush via military coup (at least no one that I’m aware of – there may have been some very weird kooks who claim leftiness who did).

    The left wanted to depose Bush and Cheney through Constitutional means – impeachment and removal or electorally. Or at least by forced resignation a la Nixon.

    I don’t think anyone on the left wants to install a military dictatorship in Washington D.C.

    I do believe that there are many on the right who want just that.

  35. 35
    gopher2b says:

    Republican-leaning military general winning legal election and tanks rolling up to the White House and forcibly overthrowing a sitting President are same thing in DougJ’s head.

    God, you are tool.

    The desire to depose Obama runs much deeper on the right—even the so-called moderate right—than anyone is willing to admit. The Perry piece wasn’t any kind of outlier.

    Based on your thorough research and “analysis” — I’m sure.

  36. 36
    JK says:

    @Comrade Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    Interesting analysis. I was thinking more or less along the same lines regarding Petraeus’ political prospects. Brilliant fucking screen name, by the way.

  37. 37
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Shinobi:

    I doubt that the left’s Desire to depose Bush was any less fervent. Though perhaps we more realistically acknowledged that it was not legal or possible.

    The difference is that most of us DFH’s were calling for impeachment, not a coup. We wanted to use an established legal process for removing a bad President from office, and by God we had a case (honest-to-God lawbreaking and abuse of power).

    What’s interesting is that nobody on the right has even hinted at impeaching Obama; this time around, they’ve immediately gone the banana republican route.

  38. 38
    Penfold says:

    Assuming that the congressional GOP will still be clueless and useless, a reasonable GOP president would provide a useful check on a Democratic congress going forward.

    I’m not sure what this even really means in the current political context. The Democratic congress is doing a great job of keeping itself “in check”, i.e. defeating measures that most of the party (and often most of the public at large) want while dragging the debate to the right. Not sure we need any more “help” in that regard from a Republican president.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @jl:

    But, but, wasn’t Colin Powell dropped from administration for its second term for treason by thinking and not putting up with the BS anymore?
     
    Or, has the Republic come to such a state that it must be saved by replacing major traitors with lessor traitors.

    Some folks could really stand to brush up on their US political history, and specifically the GOP nominating convention of 1952. The whole Eisenhower-is-a-Communist thing got started when the mouthbreathers were this close to getting their favorite paleocon (Taft) nominated and had the prize snatched away at the last minute so the East Coast wing of the GOP could substitute the vastly more electable Ike instead.

    I don’t see why the Palin-ite right would be any less furious if forced to settle for a more middle of the road candidate just because he wears a uniform. They aren’t going to settle for anything less than full bore purity of essence this time around – I expect to hear speeches at the 2012 convention that make Pat Buchanan’s “Culture War” speech sound moderate by comparison.

    Hasn’t anybody in pundit land read Perlstein’s Gathering Storm?

  40. 40
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @gopher2b:

    Republican-leaning military general winning legal election and tanks rolling up to the White House and forcibly overthrowing a sitting President are same thing in DougJ’s head.

    Seriously?

    The idea of David Petraeus sweeping in and becoming president in 2012 isn’t unethical or unconstitutional, but I can’t help but think that Friedersdorf and Wallace simply want an institution they see as Republican—the military—to depose a Democratic president they dislike.

  41. 41
    jrg says:

    DougJ is saying is basically that they are saying one thing but it is DougJ’s belief (one fwiw, I agree with) that in reality they actually believe what Perry said, even though it is not what they said (read his post carefully).

    He’s still putting words in people’s mouths. It’s bad enough that we have people on the right calling for a coup. We don’t need to make it worse by acting shrill and pretending that view is held across the full spectrum of the right. Doing so undermines the (very valid) view that John Perry is unhinged and seditious.

  42. 42
    camchuck says:

    In case the military coup option doesn’t gain traction, John Derbyshire is working on Plan B:

    “The Case Against Female Suffrage”… with bonus fantasies of a repeal of the Civil Rights Act.

  43. 43
    WereBear says:

    @sacman701: I dunno.

    reasonable GOP president would provide a useful check on a Democratic congress going forward.

    Seems like they’re doing just fine body-checking themselves.

    However, after so many years of going backwards, I’d like to see some unchecked Progressive action, just to pull even with the other First World countries.

  44. 44
    geg6 says:

    @Napoleon:

    I think what DougJ is saying is basically that they are saying one thing but it is DougJ’s belief (one fwiw, I agree with) that in reality they actually believe what Perry said, even though it is not what they said (read his post carefully).

    Bingo! No doubt in my mind that they whisper it amongst themselves when no one is around but wingers. But they totally want exactly what Perry said. No doubt at all, IMHO.

  45. 45
    Shygetz says:

    @Napoleon: Ah, so now we’re a party of mind-readers here. Good to know.

    This is ridiculous. We are equating support for a rival candidate with advocating a coup, and claiming to use our Jedi mind powers to determine their “true” motives when neither the text nor the subtext of their linked works indicates any support for a coup. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I always thought this kind of thing was beneath us. Is there not enough idiocy on the right for us to rail against without using our mind bullets to penetrate their super-secret unexpressed thoughts?

  46. 46
    Rhoda says:

    It’s a huge part of the MSM too, now.

    They want to take this administration DOWN as far as Bush went; they didn’t do it to Bush. The public did. So, they’re determined to get it right and bring the next president down and then build the next one up.

    Funny, how it’s a democrat they’re always trying to screw.

  47. 47
    Girth says:

    Just when the nutters are really starting to out themselves with crap like Perry’s borderline treasonous piece, here comes DougJ trying to out-stupid them. Because obviously winning an election with a retired general as your candidate is the same as a coup de’tat.

    Really, pull your head out of your ass.

  48. 48
    BethanyAnne says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: A great Twitter thread for the Palin book: http://twitter.com/search?q=%23RejectedPalinTitles

  49. 49
    EconWatcher says:

    Shygetz:

    I’m with you. The comparative advantage our side has to offer is supposed to be rationality. Wild and speculative accusations are what THEY do well. Let’s leave that to them.

  50. 50
    geg6 says:

    @camchuck:

    See my post @#4. I’m convinced now that BoB is really Derbyshire. This is almost verbatim BoB.

  51. 51
    Penfold says:

    I would just like to point out a minor, but amusing point (I think). We used to elect generals that, you know, actually won wars. Apparently being top banana in a contender for Neocolonial Quagmire of the Century is a really good qualification for the being elected head of the Executive?

    Also, on a more specific note, as others have pointed out, Petraeus was like 87th in line for the command, after Bush/Cheney disposed of everyone who wouldn’t whisper sweet neocon nothing in their ear. After all didn’t Zinni call Feith (or was it Perle or Bremer? they all blend together) “the fucking stupidest person on the face of the earth.” There’s a man we could run for president.

  52. 52
    JK says:

    @gopher2b:

    Your analysis of what Doug wrote is dead wrong.

    NO SOUP FOR YOU.

  53. 53
    neil says:

    But David Petraeus is not, in fact, a politician, nor a candidate, nor even a Republican. So this isn’t just somebody rooting for his side.

  54. 54
    Napoleon says:

    @Shygetz:

    I am not defending his mind reading abilities.

    I assume though that like me when you start talking to winger and scratch the surface that underneath you often find someone who does not share the believes and assumptions our society was founded on (and speaking more broadly a society founded on Enlightenment principals). And now you don’t even need to try to find a daily example of the above since the Republicans are not even trying to hide it. From dismissing science, trying to destroy the separation of church and state and what appears to me attempting to whip up political violence, every day there is a new example.

  55. 55
    Penfold says:

    F*&(*&#(*$. I meant Tommy Franks. Not Zinni. Total history+logic fail there.

  56. 56
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @BDeevDad: Yeah, because Racist old Southern Democrat==Liberal. * rolls eyes *

  57. 57
    freelancer says:

    I’m reposting this since it got modded in the last thread but is more appropriate in this one anyways:

    Democrats are typically the Big Tent party where everyone gets accepted but can’t get anything done legislatively b/c each member has their own pet project, and usually the GOP is the march In lockstep, loyal to one cause, even if it’s stupid and right off of a cliff, it is now almost funny to see how fractious the right is.
    Every conservative voice is trumpeting something different: Secede! Sockalism! End the Fed! Bailout Boo! They’re Pulling the Plug on Grandma! It’s Obama’s Recession! Where’s the Birth Certificate?!
    The latest head-scratcher comes from National Review writer John Derbyshire:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/…..-suffrage/

    DERBYSHIRE: Among the hopes that I do not realistically nurse is the hope that female suffrage will be repealed. But I’ll say this – if it were to be, I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep.
    COLMES: We’d be a better country if women didn’t vote?
    DERBYSHIRE: Probably. Don’t you think so?
    COLMES: No, I do not think so whatsoever.
    DERBYSHIRE: Come on Alan. Come clean here [laughing].
    COLMES: We would be a better country? John Derbyshire making the statement, we would be a better country if women did not vote.
    DERBYSHIRE: Yeah, probably.

  58. 58
    wasabi gasp says:

    OT: anyone catch that American Police Force story at TPM.

    Strange days.

    Also, I just found out that you can buy single flavor Dum Dums online.

    Yin Yang.

  59. 59
    Zifnab says:

    @Penfold:

    We used to elect generals that, you know, actually won wars. Apparently being top banana in a contender for Neocolonial Quagmire of the Century is a really good qualification for the being elected head of the Executive?

    Hey, General Fuckup MacArthur made some decent political hay out of losing the Philippines and screwing up in Korea. He was also leading the charge in the Nuke ‘Nam winger camp of the 70s.

    Petreaus wouldn’t be the first General to run as political campaign on A-for-effort.

  60. 60
    JK says:

    @BethanyAnne:

    That was fucking brilliant. My favorite rejected Palin book title was I CAN HAZ PRESIDENCY.

  61. 61
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @freelancer:

    better country if women did not vote.

    or drive.

    or own property.

    or hold office.

    Osama bin Derbyshire… titularly head of the American Taliban.

    (I say titular because he seems too stupid actually run an operation of any kind.)

  62. 62
    kay says:

    I feel as if the David Petraeus idea is fairly easy to figure out. The economic dogma was a bigger failure than I ever imagined in my worst nightmares, and the data on that is still coming in.
    From 1999 to 2009 may come to be known as the “jobless decade“.
    My goodness. That’s massive failure. We effectively lost ten years. No growth at all.
    The economic theory is in tatters, they never had any domestic social policy, other than trying to install Christianity as the state religion, leaving…the general.

  63. 63
    Shygetz says:

    @Napoleon: Please point out in the linked Friedersdorf and Wallace pieces the subtext that supports military coups to overthrow the Obama administration. Unfair? Okay, I’ll make it easier for you…please point out in any Friedersdorf or Wallace piece the subtext that supports military coups to overthrow the Obama administration.

    Is this the beginning of DougJ’s “Jane Hamshers of the Left” moment?

  64. 64
    SenyorDave says:

    The thing that seems different this time is the tone and timing. The assumption on much of the right isn’t just that Obama is naive, it’s that he actually is opposed to the country in some way.

    A congressman recently called Obama an “enemy of humanity”, and I do believe that is how some see him. God knows why, it can’t be based on his policies. Some of it is the current tone that idealogues take, some is his skin color, some is that some of these people are dumber than stumps.

    All I know is I loathed what 8 years of Bush policies did, but I at least waited until he put policies in place before I formed by opinions. And I never fantasized about some coup to overthrow him.

    The other issue is the overt Orwellian disregard (and comtempt) for actual facts. Remember, we’ve always been at war with Oceania!

  65. 65
    gopher2b says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I know when I talk about Reagan’s win over Carter and Clinton’s win over Bush, I use the word depose to describe the means with which the transfer of power was achieved.

  66. 66
    JK says:

    @freelancer:

    Derbyshire is one sick bastard. When that lunatic went on a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, Derbyshire called the students cowards for not trying to rush and tackle him.

  67. 67
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @neil: Further, Petraeus has stated that he is not at all interested in running for office.

    Not that I expect these little facts to inconvenience the morans who are calling for a fucking coup in the first place…

  68. 68
    Penfold says:

    @Zifnab:

    Hey, General Fuckup MacArthur made some decent political hay out of losing the Philippines and screwing up in Korea. He was also leading the charge in the Nuke ‘Nam winger camp of the 70s.

    LOL. You make a good point, sir. I was thinking more of those that actually reached elected office, but yeah…MacArthur, I think, believed it was destiny/divine right to run this country. And let’s not overlook his brilliant strategic thinking in Korea, either. To paraphrase the joke about Custer: “How many Chinese could there be?”

  69. 69
    Napoleon says:

    @Shygetz:

    You really are a total dumb fuck. Read my post you retard, I said that DougJ was saying what he thought the THINK not what they WROTE.

    No wonder you are the right totally screwed this country up when you were in charge. Your literally morons.

  70. 70
    Rick Taylor says:

    I’m kind of relieved Newsmax is frantically moving to distance itself from Perry’s piece. I wasn’t sure there was anything to extreme or nutty that it would embarrass right wingers. They were fine with questioning whether the president was born in America, but I guess there really still are limits.

  71. 71
    JK says:

    @SenyorDave:

    A congressman recently called Obama an “enemy of humanity”

    That congressman was Trent Franks (R-AZ) who watched the Super Bowl at the White House at the invitation of that enemy of humanity Barack Obama. Franks’ spokesperson later said Franks meant to say that Obama was the enemy of unborn humanity. Franks is trying to outdo Joe Wilson in a valiant bid to become the biggest Republican asshole in the House of Repesentaives.

  72. 72
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @gopher2b:

    I know when I talk about Reagan’s win over Carter and Clinton’s win over Bush, I use the word depose to describe the means with which the transfer of power was achieved.

    And that’s perfectly valid. I understand the word doesn’t have any overtly nefarious meanings or anything along those lines. I was just stating a proclivity that I have towards the term.

    That’s all.

  73. 73
    Jacquelyn says:

    You know…it’s “nice” to suppose that the left was doing the same thing after Dubya “won”. Actually, I recall that I, in the left, was LAMENTING a bad court decision that gave him the Presidency.

  74. 74
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Shygetz:
    What he said.

    DougJ,

    The Right already makes a game out of denying (without a trace of shame) things that they’ve said in public and for which solid evidence exists. Don’t make it easier for them by pointing at smoke and saying you see fire. Wait for the fire – it will be along in due time if you are right, and if not, then you avoid looking foolish and giving them more ammunition to attack you with.

  75. 75
    racrecir says:

    A couple for the lexicon:

    They Only Understand Force : A psychological projection of the Right attributed to their enemies. An accurate description of how right-wingers perceive each other across nations and cultures. A mutually self-reinforcing perception that is the cause of all escalating tensions and wars.

    dog-whistle politics : Political language, or ‘code’, that is understood by only a subgroup of the population, e.g. when George Bush cited the Dred Scott decision to signal that he would appoint judges amenable to overturning Roe v. Wade.

  76. 76
    Penfold says:

    So, I was just reading these articles more closely because of all the arguments about subtext, and I didn’t find the Freidersdorf article especially problematic. Wallace’s piece though is awful on a number of levels, but here’s something a bit OT that really annoyed me:

    And I don’t recall a similar volume of coverage about the Democratic Party facing a choice between remaining true to its ideals and moderating itself to appeal to independent voters.

    Really? She doesn’t? The language was a little different, true, but there was an endless narrative about how the blue states were just stuck on the margins of the country, the coasts (and the Great Lakes), and much discussion of the permanent Republican majority–and not just by Rove, but by a lot of Democrats and lefties scared of what seemed like might be a real possibility.

  77. 77
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @SenyorDave: God knows why, it can’t be based on his policies.

    It isn’t. It never is. Otherwise they would actually squawk when the republicans repeatedly violate their own rhetoric. Instead they sit quiet and pretend ignorance.

    The real issue is the stroke. These guys need their worldview unceasingly reinforced. They have to hear that being an American is the bees knees and the rest of the world lives in shit. They have to hear that they are the only moral ones, and everyone else is going to rot in hell. If they get that, they fall into passive authoritarian mode. Watch Bush’s speeches, or any successful personality republican. It’s: Stroke stroke. Code Word. Stroke Stroke. Jesus talk. Stroke stroke.

    Basically, if a pol is not a cheerleader telling them repeatedly, personally, that they’ve got it all, just by luck of birth, they will hate their guts. This is why any hint that another country might have some better idea about something puts them totally into freak out mode. This is a very fragile worldview they are clinging to.

  78. 78
    Stefan says:

    Assuming that the congressional GOP will still be clueless and useless,

    They’re not clueless and useless — stupid and evil, yes, but not useless, because they’re actually quite useful to their corporate overlords in doing their anti-reform bidding.

    a reasonable GOP president would provide a useful check on a Democratic congress going forward.

    Why would I want a check on a Democratic Congress? I’m a Democrat, I think the Democratic solutions are the best for the country, and hence I want a Democratic Congress to enact those solutions. Why on Earth would I want a Republican president to put a brake on that?

    Hell, right now we have an overwhelming Democratic majority and a popular Democratic president, and we still can’t get simple and practical progressive policies like universal health care enacted — we can’t even get the compromise public option enacted, much less our preferred single-payer plan. I think Blue Dog Democrats are quite enough of a check on a Democratic congress, thank you very much.

  79. 79
    neil says:

    I think my beautiful mind also belongs in the lexicon.

  80. 80
    freelancer says:

    @JK:

    No, I think Think Progress brought that up, referencing other wingers whose reaction was in the vein of, STFU tard!

    In that same spirit, I give you Rick Moran, saying something half-right.

    To casually toss about the terms “Marxist” and “Nazi” shows that those who do so are wildly exaggerating what the liberals are doing. Mrs. Werthmann may be a witness to history but her analogies are childlike in their logic. Exaggeration is not argument. It is emotionalism run rampant. And at its base is simple, unreasoning fear. Fear of change, fear that the powerlessness conservatives feel right now is a permanent feature of American politics, and, I am sorry to say, fear of Obama because he is a black man.
    The emotional state of conservatism now coupled with the hyper partisan atmosphere in the country (and the already excessive ideological nature of the opposition to Obama) is a combination that afflicts the reason centers of the mind and is proving to be a block to thinking logically. What is there to “fear” about Obama and the Democrats? They are proposing the same liberal crap that the left has been promoting for more than 30 years. We have fought them before using reason and logic. What is so different now?

    Right about putting the kibosh on the crazy, but reason and logic defeated liberalism since 1980? Pffft!
    Democrats have been repeatedly defeating liberalism since 1980. Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill speech was where the GOP started embracing Jesus linguistic tendencies.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    It’s better that he’s not a registered Republican. Republicans aren’t conservatives, remember?

    But only when the policy fails.

    I think it’s purely political, and completely predictable. They love authority figures, and they consider Iraq one of two successes of the Bush Years, the Supreme Court being the other.

    They can’t have John Roberts, so that leaves the general.

  82. 82
    inkadu says:

    @gopher2b: You say “depose,” I say, “bloodless electoral coup.” Sometimes I use “metaphorical tyrannicide,” “toppled by voters”, “discharged at ballot-point,” or “dethroned by the majority mob.”

    Its good to have words. They avoid confusion.

  83. 83
    DougJ says:

    And I don’t recall a similar volume of coverage about the Democratic Party facing a choice between remaining true to its ideals and moderating itself to appeal to independent voters.

    What’s weird is that the coverage now isn’t even about the Republican party remaining true to its ideals, unless you consider birtherism and Palinism to be ideals. It’s about not running crazy people.

  84. 84
    neil says:

    Mr. Friersdorf is actually something of a non-interventionist paleocon, if I’m not mistaken (here he is explaining why the Pentagon shouldn’t be self-governing and defense spending should be cut). So it’s kind of weird for him to be lusting after an active-duty general to become a politician. But he’s also very critical of literally every facet of the Republican party today. So perhaps he’s reaching out to the only conservative institution in the U.S. that is not already committed to the Republicans, for leadership.

  85. 85
    gopher2b says:

    HOLY SHIT!!! Wallace even suggested that Gary Sinese, THE ACTOR, could be the party savior. Apparently, he’s part of an “underground group of conservatives in Hollywood.”

    I know (like DougJ) what you’re thinking. This is just some lame brain fart brainstorming article about “what if” scenarios. I don’t think so. This plot runs much, much deeper than one crackpot columist. Clearly there is a conspiracy and it includes taking over the movies and bad television.

    Wanting Mitt Romney, a Republican and all-but-declared candidate, to win the election as a Republican in 2012 is nothing like wanting David Petraeus, who is not known to be a Republican and has not expressed interest in being a candidate, to come in and out of nowhere and become the new Republican president. It isn’t the same at all.Supporting an actual candidate is very different from hoping that your favorite general will become the new president as a member of your party.

    Of course, to make this specific point, you can ignore the fact that Petraeus is mentioned in the same breath as Powell, a known Republican, but hey — why let facts get in the way of a good knee jerk , paranoid reaction.

  86. 86
    cleek says:

    they’re all just reliving the 90’s, when they got on Clinton’s nerves so much that he made some crazy statement about some crazy imaginary “vast right-wing conspiracy” that everybody had a good chuckle over, at his expense. oh that crazy, wacky Clinton.

  87. 87
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @kay: They can’t have John Roberts, so that leaves the general.

    What? The court can’t just write a random decision, claim it does not set precedent, and put whomever the hell they want in there?

    Did I hallucinate the Bush years?111??

  88. 88
    KG says:

    @Napoleon: in my defense, I wasn’t sleepwalking through life in the late 90s. I was in high school (graduated in ’96) and college (class of 2000) at the time. It was more a state of permastoned/drunk than anything else.

  89. 89
    JK says:

    @freelancer:

    I remember Keith Olbermann naming Debyshire Worst Person in the World for his comments about the Virginia Tech shooting.

    With respect to Rick Moran, I agree with John Cole. Once in a while, he’ll make sense, but visit his site 5 minutes later and he’s making some idiotic rant.

  90. 90
    jwb says:

    @Penfold: Never mind the moderation, weren’t Democrats continuously called unpatriotic for not being sufficiently fervent in their support of President Bush? That’s what I remember.

  91. 91
    freelancer says:

    @DougJ:

    What’s weird is that the coverage now isn’t even about the Republican party remaining true to its ideals, unless you consider birtherism and Palinism to be ideals. It’s about not running crazy people.

    O11FSH

    I see a new tag on the horizon.

    the acronym is a link to LGM.

  92. 92
    FPN says:

    In a New Yorker feature on Gen. Petraeus, the General identified himself as a “Rockefeller Republican” or “Northeast Republican”. He technically may be neutral because of his position, but when it comes down to it, he’s a Republican*.

    *maybe he’s had a change of heart, who knows.

  93. 93
    valdivia says:

    Can someone explain to me why a general or military man is considered to be an apt political leader at a time when our worst crisis are no military but economic and about national policy? How can the republicans think that *this* is what will win them the election this time around? Is he a savant on economic policy? This is what is so wrong about wanting him as the candidate even if the military fixation is creepy is just not very logical given the challenges we face now.

  94. 94
    Zifnab says:

    DougJ:

    Supporting an actual candidate is very different from hoping that your favorite general will become the new president as a member of your party.

    Oh please, that’s just ridiculous. Democrats were running the “Draft Wes Clark” movement straight back to 2002. That doesn’t mean they’re rooting for a military coup.

    Petraeus has been speculated as a candidate for VP or Prez for years as well, and he was Bush’s pet general after Franks decided to grow a pair and Peter Pace scrubbed out. The idea of Petraeus running for President isn’t in itself some affirmation of a military coup.

    Wallace:

    So, who is that hero? Republicans agree that it must be someone who can move the entire discussion into the future and away from the past. This leader must convey our party’s most essential beliefs… blah blah blah

    isn’t foolish because he’s nominated the GOP’s favorite general for being a general. He’s foolish because he’s making the same mistake McCain made when he selected Sarah Palin. Petraeus is a complete political unknown. No one has heard his opinion on tax cuts or abortion or oil drilling. And in a party that’s beating the drum on purity more and more, you’re basically setting yourself up for disappointment.

    Friedersdorfs:

    My somewhat uninformed guesses: David Petraeus and Colin Powell (who’d have all kinds of difficulty winning the primary). These accomplished generals share one related trait: deep credibility as men who are serious about national security, enabling them to run as sane, experienced stewards, rather than bellicose idiots so desperate to seem toughest on terrorism that they spend the primaries calling for “doubling Gitmo” and competing to see who would torture in more contrived ticking time bomb situations.

    actually shows some elements of sanity, asking for candidates that can play to the national security strong suite that’s really the last sane card in the GOP deck, while openly condemning demagogues like Romney more interested in shouting platitudes than developing policy.

    Petraeus as a candidate isn’t the problem. Petraeus as magic GOP unity pony is the problem. And it’s not a problem for the Dem Party or even the US. It’s a problem for the GOP. After two consecutive defeats they still have no idea how to both maintain an ideology and win elections.

  95. 95
    DougJ says:

    Of course, to make this specific point, you can ignore the fact that Petraeus is mentioned in the same breath as Powell, a known Republican, but hey—why let facts get in the way of a good knee jerk , paranoid reaction.

    I don’t follow your logic here.

  96. 96
    inkadu says:

    @gopher2b: Of course Gary Sinise is their candidate. He’s just a Centauri clone of Gary Sinise and he’s carrying a thermonuclear bomb inside his chest cavity. As soon as he reaches the Whitehouse, it’s kaboom! for the United States and the GOP will have it’s United Confederacies of the Patriarchy like its always wanted.

    If the Centauri don’t get through our space shield first.

  97. 97
    linda says:

    bummer, there goes a big chunk of bernie’s defense…lol:

    September 30, 2009
    Federal Judge Forbids Kerik’s Lawyers to Mention 9/11 at Trial
    By STACEY STOWE

    WHITE PLAINS — Until his indictment on conspiracy and fraud charges and his abortive nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security, Bernard B. Kerik was perhaps best known for being New York City’s police commissioner during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    Yet the federal judge overseeing his case has ruled that once the trial begins, Mr. Kerik’s lawyers cannot mention 9/11 in relation to their client.

  98. 98
    dadanarchist says:

    Another proposed lexicon entry of lefty ironic usage:

    Now Watch this Drive – Famous comment uttered by George W. Bush on a golf course following a serious interview with reporters about Iraq and his administration’s terrorism policy. After answering their questions he instructed the gathered press gaggle to watch as he whacked a ball off the tee. Now used both as a non sequitur to end comments or blog postings, or as a means to highlight the glibness of politicians and pundits who casually discuss policies that will lead to the deaths of countless people. See also: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”

  99. 99
    Ash Can says:

    In other news, via GOS, the WSJ’s John Fund is all starbursty after talking to Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter, who says the upcoming book…

    “…will describe Ms. Palin’s frustration over her treatment by the staffers she inherited from the McCain campaign after her surprise pick as the GOP vice presidential nominee last year. Ms. Palin was booked on grueling interviews with hostile reporters while talk-show hosts such as Glenn Beck couldn’t even get through to her aides.”

  100. 100
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Penfold:

    Wallace’s piece though is awful on a number of levels

    That’s putting it mildly. My favorite part was:

    Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need. I need a hero.

    Ohhhh-kay! I guess Boulangerism it is, then. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Maybe DougJ is on to something after all.

  101. 101
    Rick Taylor says:

    Maybe I’m way off base on this, . . .

    Yeah I’d say so. There’s plenty of explicit nuttiness on the right to be appalled by without drawing conclusions about hidden motivations.

    Actually, what strikes me about Friedersdorfs piece is he seems to be admitting that the likely Republican candidates have little credibility, are not serious on national security, and are bellicose idiots so desperate to sound tough on terrorism they talk about doubling Gitmo. All sentiments I agree with, but surprising to see from a Republican.

  102. 102
    gopher2b says:

    @DougJ:

    That’s not at all surprising.

  103. 103
    freelancer says:

    @JK:

    No, I think that was the crux of my opinion on dear old Rick: Even the Morans can see that the Right is looney tunes right now.

  104. 104
    Penfold says:

    @gopher2b:

    I’m not really sure what your deal is. I would grant that, standing on its own, the Friedersdorf article is not, I don’t think, particularly objectionable. Arguably, it may contain fascist dog whistles. I’m not familiar enough with the rest of his work to deduce any kind of patterns.

    That said:

    1) The Wallace article is terrible in a million ways, and I’m more suspicious of her motives.

    2) You are totally misrepresenting what DougJ said in the first place.

    3) You are arguing in a vacuum. The point is that these seem to be part of a larger part of behavior. The analogy to race and racism is an important and valid one, because issues of coded language and symbology are always prominent when a “respectable” person wants to voice opinions that are currently verboten in the larger discourse.

    So, while DougJ’s estimation of what they’re thinking may or may not be right, it’s not really an absurd or unlikley assertion that he’s making. And also, you should stop engaging with strawmen of your own creation.

  105. 105
    neil says:

    Wes Clark was not an acting general when he was ‘drafted’ to run for President. He was, instead, a civilian pursuing a career in politics. David Petraeus is an active-duty general who is not currently pursing a career in politics.

  106. 106
    handy says:

    Ms. Palin was booked on grueling interviews with hostile reporters

    HAHAHA. WATB Award Nominee ++

  107. 107
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @gopher2b:

    Of course, to make this specific point, you can ignore the fact that Petraeus is mentioned in the same breath as Powell, a known Republican, but hey—why let facts get in the way of a good knee jerk , paranoid reaction.

    Colin Powell endorsed Obama.

  108. 108
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T as all get-out (and sorry if someone has already posted this, I won’t have a chance to review messages until late tonight, and TOMORROW I’ll tell you all why — but I digress . . . )

    Sad news for all of us Saturn owners who had hoped that GM and Pennske could keep the brand going. Pennske pulled out a short time ago.

    I’ll keep my 1999 SL-1 going as long as I can (currently has 165,000 miles on it) but if dealers are going to close and parts perhaps hard to come by, I’m not sure how many more years that’s going to be feasible.

    Okay, I’m off to my exciting evening :-)

    See y’all later.

  109. 109
    neil says:

    I’m not really on board with DougJ’s theory when it comes down to it. I agree that wishing for Petraeus to be President is nothing like wishing for a politician to be President, but I don’t think it’s anything like wishing for a military coup either. I think (in Friedersdorf’s case, anyway) it’s more a reflection of the simple fact that the rot in the Republican party has already spread to every organization which remains linked to it. Many people who recognize this fact become Democrats, but others do not care for the Democratic party either, so where else to turn? Industry leaders aren’t looking too hot lately — sorry, Steve Forbes. The entertainment industry would work in circumstances less grave than the current ones. What else is there, other than the military?

  110. 110
    DougJ says:

    Sad news for all of us Saturn owners who had hoped that GM and Pennske could keep the brand going. Pennske pulled out a short time ago.

    Shit! I drive a 1998 Saturn.

  111. 111
    Martin says:

    I’ve always taken their wish for Petraeus to run as an admission that everyone who does have the (R) after their name is a lost cause in their view. Petraeus will always get the veneer of competence simply due to the usual worship of the military by Republicans, but he also gets it because, well, he comes off as pretty competent.

    Now, maybe DougJ is reading this as a request that Petraeus take the top job *as a military officer* and not as an elected official, but they’ve been trying to recruit him as a politician long enough now that I don’t think that’s really a fair shake. It’d also be fair to question the knee-jerk acceptance of anyone in uniform by the right, but that’s not what Doug is getting at here.

    Maybe I’ve just gotten accustomed to Republicans acting this way, but the articles seem pretty down-the-middle GOP to me.

  112. 112
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Why the fascination with military personnel, I wonder? Also, how do they know that Petraeus is a Republican or they just assuming it?

  113. 113
    KG says:

    it’s not like we don’t have a long tradition of former military men becoming president. Washington, Jackson, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower. And that’s just among the higher ups. Ford, Nixon, Carter, Kennedy, Reagan (sort of), GHW Bush all served. And that’s just off the top of my head.

    Actually, Eisenhower is a decent parallel for Peatreus. Both parties tried to draft Eisenhower in ’48, and the GOP pulled it off in ’52.

  114. 114
    freelancer says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’m willing to bet Steve Schmidt has started a War Room.

    The McCain Camp was awful, but if Palin doesn’t accept any of the blame, they are going to have a field day with her.

  115. 115
    cincyanon says:

    Full disclosure: I officially became a democrat in 2004 because I wanted to vote for Wesley Clark in the primary. I hadn’t voted in a primary in over 25 years before Clark.

  116. 116
    valdivia says:

    @KG:

    isn’t this a function of generations that all served in the military because of world scale military conflicts?

  117. 117
    gopher2b says:

    @Penfold:

    You’re right. The two articles are either (a) an expression of hope (or belief) that Petraeus is a Republican who can win the Presidency in 2012, or (b) a code word for a military coup. And I’m being unreasonable here.

  118. 118
  119. 119
    ironranger says:

    @geg6:
    omg. I immediately thought that guy sounded just like BoB when I read that too, also.

  120. 120
    eric k says:

    Doug,

    I generally agree with you but I think in this case your off base.

    IMHO Conor is something of a buffoon in the Ross Douhat, Reihan Salam and all the other supposedly hip young conservatives mode, but in this case I don’t think he is saying anything like what Perry is.

    He is saying who he thinks can defeat Obama in 2012. Which as a conservative is of course what he wants.

    It is a classic example of conservatives of his ilk remaining in denial about the actual base of the Repiblican party. It is similar to the people who actually thought Guiliani could win a republican primary. They seem to think the base really only cares about foreign policy and will ignore the social issues. When the reality is of course exactly the opposite.

  121. 121
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Ash Can:

    As always, the real fun is in the comments. For example, it enlightened me to the existence of this unintentionally hilarious website.

  122. 122
    SenyorDave says:

    Ms. Palin was booked on grueling interviews with hostile reporters while talk-show hosts such as Glenn Beck couldn’t even get through to her aides.”

    COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

    PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

    COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

    PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

    COURIC: Can you name any of them?

    What a trooper! Putting up with the “what do you read” question, the journalistic equivalent of “what’s your favorite color”.

    At this point the question asked of someone on the right to weed out the partisan hacks should be “do you think Palin was a serious VP candidate”. If they say yes, just dsimiss them (even worse, if they say “she could learn”, like someone I work with).

  123. 123
    MNPundit says:

    The interesting thing is that when Sully talked about it his first comment was to express concern at the militarism of it.

    Who says Petraeus is a Republican? And he has publicly vowed to not run for high office. I’m also creeped out by the militarism of this, and know full well that Powell would be more anathema to the base than even McCain. And can you see Petraeus – an educated, civilized, humane man – presiding over the party of Beck and Limbaugh? Only if the elites had any power. But the elites have either left or have thrown their lot in with the populist maniacs. Conor can dream, I guess. And the future is always unpredictable. But there are forces that have to run their course. Even into an abyss.

  124. 124
    jibeaux says:

    I am not at all sure what makes people think Powell would be either interested in elected office, or interested in running as a Republican. Lord knows the man has his failings, but his discussion of why he was voting for Obama was distilled common sense. There is absolutely zero room for that kind of thing in the modern Republican party.

  125. 125
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @SenyorDave:

    What a trooper! Putting up with the “what do you read” question, the journalistic equivalent of “what’s your favorite color”.

    You mean like this:
    “Blue! No, yellow! Ahhhhhhh..”

  126. 126
    Demo Woman says:

    @neil: Wes Clark also taught economics at West Point and he could speak to the issues.
    @jibeaux: When Powell hinted at running years ago, the Republicans linked personal information about his wife suffering at times from depression.

  127. 127

    “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome nig….um…er…President?”

  128. 128
    Penfold says:

    @gopher2b:

    Ok, here’s the thing. I’m not actually saying that I think DougJ is right on this one. See Neil @109 for a similar view, or Zifnab @94 bringing up the Wesley Clark issue. Also, as I said, I don’t have enough familiarity with total body of work of either writer to say whether or not there’s anything extra buried in there.

    I also, as I said, really don’t see anything objectionable in Conor’s article.

    Nicole Wallace strikes more as an opportunistic ditz than a proto-fascist, but then again, Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” doesn’t necessarily seem racially motivated until you look at his background and love of the Confederate flag. The point I was making was about context both horizontally, across the rightwing punditsphere (which is where DougJ’s argument originates) and vertically, in terms of whether or not the writers have a history of espousing authoritarian views. That was really all I was getting at. And barring extensive research on the matter, I don’t have any judgement on the latter question, but I’m not in a rush to indict them unless I see other evidence, which if DougJ has, it would be nice for him to link.

    But I was also saying that your argument which is ZOMG CONSPIRACY THEORY doesn’t really deal with those salient details, either. So, better luck next time.

  129. 129
    KG says:

    @valdivia: with respect to the presidents of the second half of the twentieth century, I’d say yes. It also has to do with the fact that, until very recently, we did not have a volunteer military. But even if you look at the first five I mentioned, that’s better than 10% of our presidents being military men of a rather high order. And I’m sure there’s probably a few more that I’m missing with some significant military experience.

  130. 130

    @Zifnab

    Hey, General Fuckup MacArthur made some decent political hay out of losing the Philippines and screwing up in Korea. He was also leading the charge in the Nuke ‘Nam winger camp of the 70s.

    What the fuck are you talking about? The sheer ignorance of this post is worthy of inclusion at Redstate. Let’s see, we have your charge that Douglas MacArthur was “…leading the charge in the Nuke ‘Nam winger camp of the 70s.” A neat trick for a man who died in 1964. Aside from the fact that Douglas MacArthur was a bit too dead to be leading any putative Nuke ‘Nam movement among the wingers there’s also the fact that MacArthur advised Kennedy against getting involved in Vietnam. MacArthur reportedly told Kennedy that anyone who wanted to get involved in a land war in Asia should have his head examined. Kennedy was a fucking idiot though and didn’t listen, and please don’t tell me that he would have withdrawn troops in 1965 after the election. The only “proof” for that statement is the writings of a bunch of Kennedy hagiographers. If Kennedy hadn’t died in Dallas he probably would have handled the Gulf of Tonkin in the same way Lyndon Johnson did.

    Then there’s your contention that MacArthur was a fuckup. Well let’s see, he graduated at the top of his class at West Point in 1903 and set an academic record that was not to be matched for 50 years. He fucked up in the Philippines, but no worse than anyone else in the Pacific Theatre was fucking up in December of 1941, and MacArthur redeemed himself by implementing the strategy necessary to win the war in the Pacific. He then pacified Japan after the war and broke the back of the militarist tradition. Then there’s Korea, MacArthur did fuck up later in the war when he blew off the CIA’s estimates of Chinese troop strength and CIA warnings that the Chinese would attack and instead listened to his coterie of advisors. However early in the war he was brilliant. Inchon was brilliantly planned and executed, Korea was a fucking disaster before MacArthur got involved, the US was getting it’s ass kicked, and if Harry S. Truman hadn’t indirectly signaled that South Korea was outside of the US’s sphere of interest the North might never have attacked.

    MacArthur did fuck up when he went up against Truman, it was the biggest fuckup he ever made and the one that is completely and totally unforgivable for a military officer. He forgot who he worked for and what he served, and Truman’s firing of him is one of the most courageous things an American president has ever done.

    Your post is one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever seen on BJ that wasn’t written by Paul L. or Brick Oven Bill, congratulations.

  131. 131
  132. 132
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    MacArthur redeemed himself by implementing the strategy necessary to win the war in the Pacific.

    Minor nitpick:

    Most of the accounts I’ve read of the war in the Pacific take the position that MacArthur was a major PR asset for the US (read: morale booster) but that the offensives he directed against the southern wing of the Japanese empire were at best a strategic sideshow and at worst a counter-productive diversion of men and resources compared with what was happening in the Central Pacific. And that the invasion and retaking of the Phillipines which was so dear to his heart was much more of a civilian catastrophe that it needed to be in large part due to his errors in planning and execution of that operation.

  133. 133
    Shygetz says:

    Wanting Mitt Romney, a Republican and all-but-declared candidate, to win the election as a Republican in 2012 is nothing like wanting David Petraeus, who is not known to be a Republican and has not expressed interest in being a candidate, to come in and out of nowhere and become the new Republican president. It isn’t the same at all.

    Bull. Shit. Correct me if I’m wrong,but post-Desert Storm, both parties were talking about wooing non-politician, non-candidate Colin Powell.

    But then again, that was just code-speak from both sides wishing for a coup, amirite?

    This is a really pathetic post from a usually consistently good front-pager. You’re better than that, DougJ. Hang ’em for what they do and say, not for what you think they are secretly thinking but never say except for in whispered asides that you are not party to.

    @Napoleon: Wait, I thought you said this wasn’t about mind-reading at all. Now, it’s about what they thought, which you admit is not present in either their text or subtext. So, pray tell, what insight do you have into their secret heart of hearts that doesn’t involve mind-reading?

  134. 134
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: I can’t necessarily agree, as MacArthur was merely one of many capable (more or less) military leaders that prosecuted the war for the Allies. That the US was able to support two separate campaigns against Japan, all while devoting the better part of resources (or so they told their allies) to the war effort in Europe and N. Africa. This is in addition to providing materiel and supplies to Britain and Russia. From virtually the moment that the US joined Russia in war against the axis power, the outcome was decided. Russia had the people, the territory, while the US had the resources and the manufacturing capacity. (Major) Allied nations had twice the territory, almost three times the GDP, and twenty-five the territory of the (major) Axis powers (the source for these figures is Mark Harrisons Accounting for War, and do not include Canada, Australia, or India, which would add significantly to the margin for superiority. Offensive action in the Pacific was a luxury for the US War effort, as was the dual strategy, as was, to some extent, MacArthur.

    His success in the Postwar era reflects three factors:
    1. A massive effort by the American Occupation forces,
    2. the fertility of Japanese society for change, which was far more prepared for democratic institutions, and far more open to massive societal transformation, than was accepted at the time, and
    3. that MacArthur was exactly the sort of unthinkingly arrogant S.O.B that Japanese society was prepared to accept as a figurehead.

    It’s not that MacArthur was totally incapable, but he was, at times, a vain and foolish man. However, he also had enough popularity to be difficult to remove from command when he was being a pain in the ass or screwing up by the numbers.

  135. 135
    Will says:

    Maybe I’m way off base on this, but in my opinion, the Conor Friedersdorfs and Nicole Wallaces of the right aren’t so different from coupmeister John L. Perry.

    No, they are so different. There is a world of difference between hoping a Republican general you like wins a fair presidential election, and hoping a Republican general you like plots and executes a coup d’etat on an elected president, imposing a military dictatorship on all of us.

  136. 136
    Deborah says:

    I think the focus on Petraeus has a strong dose of the following:
    RNC: Do we have any people who are not crazy?
    Ans: Mitt. And Pawlenty, maybe.
    RNC: Okay, how about someone who isn’t crazy but people actually like them?
    Ans: Hmmmm.
    RNC: They don’t have to be Republicans. Or politicians.

    There’s the military element. But I think Tom Delay had a good point–they’ve got nothin’ on the bench. The serious people are the people who were on top when DeLay was on top. We’re looking at Gingrich.

  137. 137
    gopher2b says:

    @Penfold:

    First, I don’t know why you keep bringing up race. I understand your basic point but your desire to inject it into every post is odd. Second, my problem with this post is that DougJ imputes his little conspiracy theory not only on these “writers” (and I use that term loosely because I, too, think Wallace is borderline retarded) but on approximately 40% of the country. (See “The desire to depose Obama runs much deeper on the right—even the so-called moderate right—than anyone is willing to admit. The Perry piece wasn’t any kind of outlier.”) This absurd – better, it’s just plain stupid. If you want to defend it, go ahead. I’m calling it out for what it is: lazy, reactionary, paranoid, inflammatory “thinking.”

  138. 138
    DougJ says:

    Hang ‘em for what they do and say, not for what you think they are secretly thinking but never say except for in whispered asides that you are not party to.

    I hear what you’re saying, but this is not about hanging anybody. I realize this may seem vague and bullshitty (hence the “I may be way off-base”) but I think in a few years when we see the rhetoric from the right, you’ll see what I mean.

  139. 139

    […] Doug J at Balloon Juice, a reasonably popular blog, who read the post I excerpted above and wrote this: Maybe I’m way off base on this, but in my opinion, the Conor Friedersdorfs and Nicole Wallaces […]

  140. 140
    Margolis says:

    Doug J,
    You are incredibly off-base. I read and enjoy this blog, but you guys are so prone to hysteria. Though my politics are infinitely closer to yours, I have infinitely more respect for Friedersdorf, who is thoughtful, intellectually honest, and tries to give the benefit of the doubt to what political opponents are saying. Next time, please, think before you write. You too, Cole.

  141. 141
    bob says:

    Hey Margolis, the context is that the Right is advocating treason through a military coup. Was that missed somehow? Another context is that we fought WWII against the Right, and another is that the Right has a long storied history of destroying nations through military coups.

    So I find it strange how you and other Sophists are simply letting all that fly and giving it a pass in favor of rushing to defend various “thoughtful, intellectually honest” fellow-travelers of this sedition. There isn’t a higher crime than these traitorous mumblings; there isn’t a more treasonous desire that agitating for a military coup … so basically you may blow it out your hole.

  142. 142
    RememberNovember says:

    They have this mythopoetic fanboy fantasy of Chuck Norris and Chuck Heston as Pres/Vice Pres and all is right with the world. Trouble is, everyone else has moved on from the 1980’s. It’s their version of nostalgiac “Happy Days”…

  143. 143
    comrade thalarctos says:

    “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” — Henry Kissinger

    Substitute “American” for “Chilean”, and you can see that Perry and Sowell are just channeling Kissinger.

  144. 144
    RememberNovember says:

    @Al Swearengen:

    Because while their bodies remain on Earth, their minds have gone Holy Galt Rapture.

  145. 145
    Margolis says:

    Bob, the context of Friedersdorf’s statement has nothing to do with anything that you mentioned. The context is that he is speculating on what candidates running as Republicans might have the best chance to beat Obama in an election. Friedesdorf, in this very post, makes it clear that he despises many of the same people most of the readers of this blog do. Yes, he’s a conservative, but to describe him as a fellow traveler of cretins promoting coups is an exercise in counterproductive emotionalism, rather than useful thinking.

  146. 146
    Margolis says:

    By the way, Bob, it’s nifty the way you capitalize Sophist. It’s always helpful to know what level of brain power one is dealing with.

  147. 147
    Crust says:

    Yes, you are way, way off base. Wanting a general to win a presidential election via the usual democratic process (e.g. Eisenhower) is a world away from wanting a general to seize power in a coup (e.g. Pinochet). Is it really necessary to point this out?

  148. 148
    Crust says:

    DougJ:

    Supporting an actual candidate is very different from hoping that your favorite general will become the new president as a member of your party.

    Fine. But that distinction requires an electron microscope to see compared to the distinction between winning a fair election and taking power in a coup.

  149. 149
    DFH no. 6 says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    The real issue is the stroke. These guys need their worldview unceasingly reinforced. They have to hear that being an American is the bees knees and the rest of the world lives in shit. They have to hear that they are the only moral ones, and everyone else is going to rot in hell. If they get that, they fall into passive authoritarian mode. Watch Bush’s speeches, or any successful personality republican. It’s: Stroke stroke. Code Word. Stroke Stroke. Jesus talk. Stroke stroke. Basically, if a pol is not a cheerleader telling them repeatedly, personally, that they’ve got it all, just by luck of birth, they will hate their guts. This is why any hint that another country might have some better idea about something puts them totally into freak out mode. This is a very fragile worldview they are clinging to.

    Comrade Darkness has this exactly right, and gets at the larger, more important issue here. As did Napoleon more succinctly in the very first comment, a bit more expansively in his comment 54 in regards to the rightwing’s war with Enlightenment principles, and geg6 in comment 4 with, “These people really are not sold on the American experiment“.

    While a number of commenters, like gopher2b, Zifnab, and Shygetz, make some salient points — at least in Friedersdorf’s case — about the somewhat hyperbolic nature of DougJ’s post (Margolis’ concern-trolling not so much) we can’t pretend we don’t know what we’re dealing with.

    Sure, a lot of what rightwing commentators of all stripes spew is Red Dawn “Wolverines!” masturbatory fantasy bullshit with no real (fortunately) chance of anything like what they wish for happening (there will be no coups or civil wars in the U.S.).

    But these expressions , like all the nasty, hate-filled rantings from Limbaugh and all the lesser-Limbaughs, and at the Teabagger gatherings, townhalls, ad infinitum, are simply manifestations of the underlying value-system that animates America’s far right:

    An essentially tribalistic counter-Enlightenment movement that is deeply suspicious — often actually paranoid — parochial, exceptionalist, selfish (“I’ve got mine Jack. Devil take the hindmost”) proudly — smugly — ignorant, and, not least, authoritarian.

    It’s that last characteristic that’s the narrower point of DougJ’s post, and if he overstates it (I think he does, a little) in deducing what Friedersdorf, et al were getting at, the tell is what ThatLeftTurnInABQ found in Wallace and quoted in comment 100: “I need a hero”.

    It’s the source of the animus behind the right’s projection onto liberals that we “venerate” Obama as some sort of “messiah” (or even more ridiculously, Stalin or Hitler). They did it with their cult of Bush until he faded from view in 2008, and they can’t imagine liberals wouldn’t do the same.

    To paraphrase Sideshow Bob, they really do want a cold-hearted Republican to rule them (and us) like a king. Shygetz’s and gopher2b’s nitpicking aside, that’s what DougJ has accurately detected in these rightwing posts.

  150. 150
    Margolis says:

    I’m so not surprised to be accused of concern-trolling.
    I would eat my own foot before ever voting for a Republican. However, I do believe that there are Republicans who have worthwhile things to say. I believe that listening to them, and even entering into dialogue with them, may be worthwhile. And I believe that, even if we don’t enter into dialogue with them, we remain more intelligent ourselves by reading what they actually have to say, rather than making assumptions and running with them.
    What Doug J seems to have done is read the words “Petraeus” and “president,” and invented a fantasy that Friedersdorf has something in common with the coup-crazy folks.
    Friedersdorf actually describes some potential Republican candidates, in that very post, as
    “bellicose idiots so desperate to seem toughest on terrorism that they spend the primaries calling for “doubling Gitmo” and competing to see who would torture in more contrived ticking time bomb situations.”
    Put simply, no-one who reads this can come to the conclusions that Doug J does. Maybe what he says is true of some other Republicans. it probably is. If so, he should make his point using THEIR names.
    All I’m asking is that, when faced with the choice between
    a) see a link, read one sentence, and write a post
    and b) read the whole thing
    he chooses b.

  151. 151
    Justin says:

    Jesus, this depresses me. I didn’t have time to read past the first 20 comments on here, which are mindlessly agreeing with Doug and condemning Conor.

    Conor is an incredibly productive commentator in the blogosphere. Yes, he’s a conservative/libertarian (probably more of the latter), but I can put up with him telling me to pay attention to public choice theory once in awhile. Why? Well, he does a lot of great work.

    He takes on Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Steyn, and so on, and argues that they’re dishonest. Sure, it’s partially selfish, because he thinks they’re hurting the Republican party, but he’s also doing something hard. Levin at least has targeted him as a “fake republican” and an idiot. He’s also a super consistent opponent of torture, and routinely condemns the pro-torture right.

    He could take the easy route of spending all his time bashing liberals, and not picking fights with his own side. But he doesn’t, because he has a code of ethics, and a sense of his responsibilities. That’s a hell of a lot more than I see on display in this post.

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