November 03, 2003

It Will Be About 9/11

Andrew Sullivan:

This presidential election will be the first since 9/11. It will be about 9/11.
Yep.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 3, 2003 11:37 PM
Comments

God, how I wish we could have a real discussion about 9/11, with the truth regarding our intelligence and political community's successes and failures, instead of the endless cynical manipulation of the deaths of 3,000 American citizens.

Posted by: Kimmitt at November 4, 2003 12:40 AM

Michael,

Right now, the Dhimmicrats have been successful in creating fear, uncertainty and doubt. That is because they hold the floor due to the primary. That will change when they have chosen their nominee and the race is one-on-one. The only two (so far) who won't be red meat for Karl Rove on the issue of national security are Gephardt and Lieberman. Neither looks likely to win the nomination. The Dhimmicrats are in real trouble.

Posted by: HA at November 4, 2003 04:08 AM

Kimmitt,

God, how I wish we could have a real discussion about 9/11, with the truth regarding our intelligence and political community's successes and failures, instead of the endless cynical manipulation of the deaths of 3,000 American citizens.

In other words you wish the discussion was about anything other than the terrorists. If anybody is using 9/11 for "cynical manipulation" it is you and your treasonous, socialist comrades. You are the ones using the deaths of 3000 Americans to wage a propoganda war against America. You're pathetic.

Posted by: HA at November 4, 2003 04:15 AM

Given the amount of discussion on 9/11 already, I assume you mean to say that you wish you could find a way to convince the American public of the 'truth' that 9/11 was the responsibility (one way or the other) of the Bush Administration, and by doing so ensure that President Bush loses the 2004 election.

It is interesting to note how any discussion of 9/11 that does not serve your purposes is a 'cynical manipulation of the deaths of 3,000 American citizens', whereas one that does serve you is 'real'.

Almost sounds cynical in and of itself, don't you think?

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 4, 2003 04:16 AM

I wish it were that simple. But I think we all know it's not...

Don't we?

Posted by: Gaijin at November 4, 2003 04:56 AM

"It is interesting to note how any discussion of 9/11 that does not serve your purposes is a 'cynical manipulation of the deaths of 3,000 American citizens', whereas one that does serve you is 'real'.

Almost sounds cynical in and of itself, don't you think?"

Bingo.

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 05:33 AM

re. Kimmitt quest for discussion

Kimmitt renders me speechless. Do all the good-doers of his kind are afflicted with this type of imbecility?

Posted by: marek at November 4, 2003 05:44 AM

More seriously, I think there is valid room for discussion on intelligence failures prior to 9/11. Some of those (exchange of information between the CIA and FBI, for example) have been addressed, at least in part, but there's always room for an overhaul in intel. Part of the reason that we're in dire need of it now, is that we've kind of gotten ourselves into a 'crying wolf' situation w/r/t Iraq, and a visible, messy, overhaul will be helpful in restoring the widespread credibility of our intel community. It might not produce any better intelligence, but it will help restore faith in their work.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation at November 4, 2003 06:31 AM

Yes Kimmett, we can blame our Intelligence organizations. Organizations we all know the former President did not like. Heck, he down right hated them, and spent a good bit of time insuring we would never have HumInt on the ground in the ME.

That failure, plus the failure of the FBI, during the Former President's reign to talk to the CIA about those Muslim learning to fly planes, but not land them are troubling. Mainly because they did not want to look like they were profiling.

Basically we were damned if we do and damned if we don't. Unless you are under the belief that it was all a CIA plot. In which case, seek help.

I mean the next thing you will be saying Kimmett is that Bush was selected not elected. Yet according to our Constitution and Florida Election Law, Bush won the Election. And those Florida Supremes tried to change Election law after the fact.

Reminder, today is Vote Day. Vote everyone. Even Kimmett.

Posted by: James Stephenson at November 4, 2003 06:47 AM

If the election was about everything that's happened since 9/11, Bush would lose for sure. That's why President Rove is gonna make sure it's "about 9/11," in the sense that the answer to any question posed will be "9/11." (With a subtext of "Shut up, you anti-American, you.")

If this country even attempted to force honesty from its leaders, even once, the whole goddamn place would collapse.

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 07:21 AM

Did I mention I'm a registered Republican?

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 07:22 AM

"That's why President Rove is gonna make sure it's "about 9/11," in the sense that the answer to any question posed will be "9/11." (With a subtext of "Shut up, you anti-American, you.")"

Please, keep up with the paranoid, aluminum tin foil hat wearing rhetoric. So far, the Democrats have managed to lose two major elections - and are following suit today with throwing away three governor's races, because they insist on sounding like Fox Moulder on a bad marijuana day.

"President Rove"?

I don't think the average American thinks the Democratic base - and the activist wing that is controlling the Democratic party at the moment - are unamerican. I think most American's believe they have left reality and are in a tailspin because they can't figure out who they want to claim is President - Karl Rove or Al Gore.

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 07:37 AM

Phil,

Deregister.

Posted by: marek at November 4, 2003 07:41 AM

>I don't think the average American thinks the Democratic base - and the activist wing that is controlling the Democratic party at the moment - are unamerican.

I don't think so, either. My evidence? The popular vote totals from the 2000 Presidential election. "The average American" didn't vote for George Bush. (Please note this is not a "Bush wasn't elected, he was selected" rant. It's just a statement of raw numbers.)

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 08:23 AM

I don't suppose that any Democrat running for President would have made the following statement?:

"We have to prevail," Mr. _______ told reporters. "We have to bring democracy to Iraq. We cannot fail. If you think Afghanistan was a terrorist training camp, you wait. If you leave Iraq, it will be a terrorist training camp the likes of which would make Afghanistan look simple. In our own deep self-interest, to prevent future acts of terrorism, we have to succeed.

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 4, 2003 08:31 AM

"I don't think so, either. My evidence? The popular vote totals from the 2000 Presidential election. "The average American" didn't vote for George Bush."

The popular vote totals have as much bearing on the theoretical drawing of the "average American" as does the geographic breakdown of counties that voted for Bush.

Gore did well in cities. Bush took all of the rural areas. Square mile by square mile, Bush ate Gore for breakfast. When we look at it this way, the "average American" might well be better repsented by those living outside of metropolitian areas, no?

But, as you pointed out, alterate ways of looking at the Presidential election have no bearing on who actually won the Presidential election. So why is a significant population of this country still obsessed with calling everyone and everyone except Bush "President X"?

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 08:49 AM

HA,

Stop accusing Kimmitt of treason. Save it for John Walker Lindh and Timothy McVeigh.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2003 08:52 AM

>The popular vote totals have as much bearing on the theoretical drawing of the "average American" as does the geographic breakdown of counties that voted for Bush.

Wrong. Averages are numbers. Thus, the only way to figure out "the average American" is to break down the numbers. If you wanna talk about "the typical American" being a half-literate, Fox-news-watching knuckle-dragger who loves Georgie the Boy King, well, you're probably right. But "average" is a strictly mathematical term.

>So why is a significant population of this country still obsessed with calling everyone and everyone except Bush "President X"?

For the same reason that a significant population of this country (the half-literate, Fox-news-watching knuckle-dragger population) is still obsessed with Bill Clinton's sex life. It's probably a genetic anomaly or something, but since Bushbaby effectively outlawed stem-cell research (I'm sure it's against site policy to bring up anything not related to "Da War On Terra", so I apologize), we'll probably never be able to cure it...but it's not exactly wild-eyed conspiracy-mongering to point out that K. Rove has a huge hand in Bush policy.

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 09:00 AM

"I don't suppose that any Democrat running for President would have made the following statement?:"

And perhaps if Mr. Gephardt was polling above the single digits, I might take some comfort that the Democratic party was returning to its senses.

Instead I get to listen to Mr. Gephardt make that statement - and then move back to the same "Bush is a horrible failure" garbage he has been spewing for the last six months. And I get to watch the entire Democrat party write him off as a has-been. And then I watch the AFL-CIO say that they intend to back Dean - or no one.

It is not looking good for Mr. Gephardt. Pandering to an audience with some words that sound like he might be interested in National Security - but only after he bribes every union worker in the country - does not impress me very much.

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 09:03 AM

Why is it the leftists and the Democrats are always complaining about the lack of dialogues and discussions... and yet they have nothing to say? Seems like the only type of dialogues the left is really good at is shouting down people with a different opinion.

Posted by: JJ Walker at November 4, 2003 09:04 AM

Half literate, Fox-watching knuckle draggers? I love your egalitarian, democratic sensibility. Take your stubby black crayon and just rub out most of the map of the U.S. After all, they're troglodytes and don't count. What a clever boy you are. Milk of magnesia would be a mind-expanding drug for you.

Posted by: Zacek at November 4, 2003 09:09 AM

"Wrong. Averages are numbers. Thus, the only way to figure out "the average American" is to break down the numbers."

Square mile area is a number too. Who won when you break down those numbers?

If we are going to play the alternate election game, we get to play with all of the numbers. We aren't just going to play with the ones that show the a Democrat would have won - despite the fact that you guys started the game.

And more importantly, it is just that. A game. And it has nothing to do with who is and who is not the President.

"For the same reason that a significant population of this country (the half-literate, Fox-news-watching knuckle-dragger population) is still obsessed with Bill Clinton's sex life."

And who brought up Clinton's sex life?

Who is obsessed?

"but since Bushbaby effectively outlawed stem-cell research (I'm sure it's against site policy to bring up anything not related to "Da War On Terra", so I apologize), we'll probably never be able to cure it...but it's not exactly wild-eyed conspiracy-mongering to point out that K. Rove has a huge hand in Bush policy."

"Bushbaby"?

Bushbaby. Sure. You guys have a good time in early 2005 figuring out why you got your asses handed to you. I'll give you a hint - it involves a moral bankruptcy that manifests itself in a pathological hatred that clouds your judgment and makes you sound like a raving lunatic.

The guy's name is President Bush. And while you are coming up with new and original names for him, dubbing everyone except him President and trying to find some line of hysteria that will appeal to anyone other than the extreme far left, President Bush will be leading our military, securing Iraq, hunting down terrorists and demonstrating everything that is best about America.

In the end, you all have Bush because he is more "liberal" than you are. While you are engaging in the same tactics you accuse Republicans of engaging in, Bush is out stealing your thunder and making you look bad while he is doing it.

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 09:13 AM

>Seems like the only type of dialogues the left is really good at is shouting down people with a different opinion.

You mean like what just happened with CBS and the Reagan movie? Oh, wait, that was a right-wing thing, so it's A-OK. Never mind. You're absolutely right, "the left" is the party that's all about lockstep thinking.

>I love your egalitarian, democratic sensibility.

When and where did I ever claim to be egalitarian? A lot of people are way too stupid to be allowed to choose their own leaders. Trouble is, most politicians (from every part of the spectrum) cater to the stupidest members of their constituencies, because it's easier than having to defend complex or contradictory positions.

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 09:14 AM

>you guys started the game...You guys have a good time in early 2005 figuring out why you got your asses handed to you...While you are engaging in the same tactics you accuse Republicans of engaging in...

Look upthread again. I'm a registered Republican.

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 09:17 AM

Phil, that comment was meant as irony, but I guess irony is beyond your wavelength. Did you get the part about the crayon and milk of magnesia?

Posted by: Zacek at November 4, 2003 09:17 AM

"Look upthread again. I'm a registered Republican."

You look upthread again as well. Someone told you to deregister.

I agree.

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 09:23 AM

>Someone told you to deregister. I agree.

Why? Because I went for a piss when they were passing out the Kool-Aid?

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 09:24 AM

No. Because I would much rather be a part of a political party that wins the sometime, hard fought semi approval of thinking men like Michael Totten than I would be settled down next to someone who refers to our President as "Bushbaby" and spews forth idiotic ramblings about Kool Aid and can so easily fall into stereotypical, two dimensional constructs like "half-literate, Fox-news-watching knuckle-dragger".

That, and as everyone else on this thread knows, you are about as much of a registered Republican as I am Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass.

Posted by: Roark at November 4, 2003 09:41 AM

"You guys have a good time in early 2005 figuring out why you got your asses handed to you...President Bush will be...demonstrating everything that is best about America."

I'm mystified, Roark:
If Democratic policy is so self-defeating and unpopular, why does it make you so angry? Shouldn't you be ecstatic that Bush will have a cakewalk election, allowing him to demonstrate everything that is best about America?
I remember back in 1992, as a clinton supporter, being ecstatic after pat buchanan's culture war speech.

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 4, 2003 10:33 AM

Mr. Rose:

Is this close enough?

"The security of all Americans depends on the successful reconstruction of Iraq."

Posted by: Kimmitt at November 4, 2003 10:46 AM

Markus: I remember back in 1992, as a clinton supporter, being ecstatic after pat buchanan's culture war speech.

I was utterly appalled. I was a Clinton supporter then, too. And I would certainly vote for him again under the same circumstances. Still, I was appalled at that right-wing horror show and I still haven't really gotten over it.

I'm sure there are people on the right who feel the same way now that I did then. That's one of the biggest reasons I'm gunning for the left more than I'm gunning for the right - to do what I can to halt the Buchananization of the party before it's too late. It is a more important project than defeating Bush now. The aftershocks of the present will be felt for at least the next decade.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2003 12:50 PM

Phil – you say ‘A lot of people are way too stupid to be allowed to choose their own leaders.’

..and you’re a registered Republican.

Thanks for making that comment. More proof that the extremist/stasists from the right and the left despise the American public and liberal democracy in general. They agree with each other more than they agree with liberal and conservative moderates (that knuckle-dragging majority).

More proof that the moderate majority should stop wasting its time trying to cater to extremists.

Just out of curiosity, who do you like better – Pat Buchanan or Dennis Kucinich? Or do you agree with Newsweek when they say that the two are pretty much the same?

Posted by: mary at November 4, 2003 01:38 PM

As a Republican, the thought of a Republican cakewalk in 2004 does make me ecstatic. As an American, however, watching the Democratic Party implode concerns me. The Republicans, like any political party, need a credible opposition party to keep them honest, both intellectually as well as ethically. Unfortunately, we currently don't have a credible opposition party as the Democratic Party is neither credible nor serious right now.

As a Georgia Republican, I would love to see Zell Miller switch parties but I can also respect his reasons for not switching. I can also respect (and appreciate) his attempt to reclaim the Democratic Party and drag it back to the center. Unfortunately, I think his chances of success in the current environment is almost nil.

There is an old joke that goes somewhat as follows:

"One time there was a farmer was complaining to a friend about the trouble he was having in getting his stubborn mule to move. After listening to the farmer's complaint, the friend said he knew just what to do.

"'Get a two-by-four and whack the mule across the head with all your might,' advised the friend. The farmer was taken aback. 'But how will that get him to move?' asked the farmer. 'Well, you see,' the friend said, 'first you've got to get his attention!'"

From what I read, many Democrats don't understand why Zell Miller has endorsed Bush and published his new book. Think of these acts as his version of a two-by-four as he tries to get the attention of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Atlanta Lawyer at November 4, 2003 01:44 PM

>Just out of curiosity, who do you like better – Pat Buchanan or Dennis Kucinich?

I agree with Buchanan w/r/t Israel and w/r/t some economic issues. I'm a registered Republican because I'm a fiscal conservative. My hatred for Bush is based on his seeming obsession with expanding the federal government and exploding the budget, to such a point that it doesn't even matter whether we defend ourselves against terrorism, because there won't be anything left to defend. He's going to bankrupt the country, and all we'll have to show for it is a "Mission Accomplished" banner that he won't even take responsibility for hanging up.

Posted by: Phil at November 4, 2003 02:07 PM

Phil, you may in fact be a registered Republican.

But IIRC Perle and VHD are both registered Democrats.

Intelligence doesn't occupy itself with party lines, as Michael and others have shown repeatedly.

Posted by: FH at November 4, 2003 02:15 PM

Michael J.-

As a member of the Republican Party who hallucinates far, far less than Phil does, let me assure you that the "Buchananization" of the Republican Party failed over 10 years ago. His influence in the area of either domestic or foreign policy is zilch. Frankly, Buchanan doesn't even rate lip service amongst Republican operatives.

Simply look at Bush and his closest advisors to see just how far removed Buchanan is from Republican reality: Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz and Cheney. These people are as far removed from the Buchanan ideal in terms of ideology, race and religion as you can get.

Pat Buchanan constitutes the Republican Party's Jackson/Sharpton/Kucinich/Kennedy/Pelosi/Boxer/Daschle/McKinney character...you know, the embarrassing relative that will not leave (no matter what hints are dropped).

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 4, 2003 02:20 PM

"As an American, however, watching the Democratic Party implode concerns me. The Republicans, like any political party, need a credible opposition party to keep them honest, both intellectually as well as ethically. Unfortunately, we currently don't have a credible opposition party as the Democratic Party is neither credible nor serious right now."

Atlanta Lawyer, I'd like to know if you can give me an example of some issues in which Democrats in your mind could sharply oppose the Republicans, without losing their credibility. According to Zell Miller, we have no right to disagree with Bush on Iraq, or civil service protections for homeland security workers, or abortion, or tax cuts...so tell me, why does there need to be an opposition party?

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 4, 2003 03:00 PM

According to Zell Miller, we have no right to disagree with Bush on Iraq

Markus, it's not that the Democrats can't or shoultn't disagree. It's the reactionary and irresponsible nature of much of the criticism that's the problem. You are a much better critic than the vast majority. I don't know if you realize that or not. I don't always agree with you, but I have never thought you were being reactionary, dumb, or illiberal. If the rest of the Democrats were like you, I would change my own tune completely.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2003 03:25 PM

Re: The average American:

The average American doesn't vote, dumbasses.

Posted by: grs at November 4, 2003 04:16 PM

Thanks for your kind words, Michael.

The key is to be more interested in the truth than to winning the argument.

Its a pity and a cause for concern that at this rather perilous time in our history we have a President, a ruling party (Republican) and an opposition party (Democratic), all with very little appreciation for the need to bring Americans together, and to avoid exacerbating political, ideological, racial, regional and class differences. "Two countries, red and blue" is no big deal in peacetime, it gives us all a reason to stay interested in politics. Not now!
Much as it might prevent some liberal initiatives that I like from getting passed, this country would probably be best served by a middle of the road president and a Congress split between two parties. And it doesn't look like we're gonna get that anytime soon.

Posted by: Markus Rose at November 4, 2003 05:11 PM

Michael J.-

Your point is valid, but it does not strike me as the crux of the bisquit. The point is that the war in Iraq has been initiated. There is no undoing that. There are, citizens who support and oppose the course of action the Bush Administration took. But what has been overlooked, most importantly by the Democratic candidates, is that all of the arguments back and forth as to whether it was the correct course of action ARE NOT RELEVANT to the 2004 election.

What is relevant, and what none of the Democratic candidates has come close to addressing meaningfully is this: If not The Bush Way, then WHAT WAY? The Dean/Kerry/Kucinich/etc. strategy of trying to 'prove Bush wrong' on Iraq will not work for the simple reason that it doesn't matter to what happens in Iraq in 2004 and beyond.

So I would argue that the Democratic obsession with 'proving' Bush was wrong to invade Iraq is worse than counterproductive because IT IS NOT RELEVANT. Put simply, the 2004 election will be a referendum on the course of action in the future, not the past. Whoever articulates their vision of the future most persuasively wins. Period.

If any of the Democratic candidates really wants to deprive Karl Rove of some sleep, all he/she has to do at the next debate is say the following when the invasion of Iraq comes up for discussion (and you know it will):

"Screw that, it doesn't matter. What matters is how we prosecute the war from today on, and how we build a safe, properous and democratic Iraqi state. Here is what I plan to do..."

Heads will turn. Amongst Republicans, undecideds and Democratics alike.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at November 4, 2003 05:28 PM

AtlantaLawyer --

Right on about the Democrats. I, too, am a Republican who laments the lack of a credible opposition. I fear that the Dems need a much more thorough thrashing than they are likely to get in order to obtain the necessary incentive to change, however.

Posted by: Ben at November 4, 2003 06:04 PM

"Heads will turn. Amongst Republicans, undecideds and Democratics alike."

And it still won't matter. Bush-hate won't win, Bush-lite won't win, and it's both too late and too early for a Democrat to try Bushier than Bush.

Posted by: Colin MacLeod at November 4, 2003 06:33 PM

Michael,

Stop accusing Kimmitt of treason.

Why? Are you starting to feel sorry for him?

Maybe you should just go ahead and post a speech code detailing which words or phrases are acceptable to you, and to whom they can be applied. If you're looking for some ideas for banned words, here are some suggestions from George Carlin:

http://www.erenkrantz.com/Humor/SevenDirtyWords.shtml

If you want to ban the word "treasonous" which is typically used by the right to characterize the left, then to be balanced you should also ban words like "fascist", "theocrat", "racist" and "McArthyism" that are used by the left to characterize the right - usually with far less justification.

I've already I said I will not censor myself. However, this is your blog and you have every right to censor or ban me. But if you do so, you will be well on your way to turning your blog into the kind of oppressive ideological ghetto that our campuses have turned into.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-11-02-free-speech-cover_x.htm

Posted by: HA at November 4, 2003 06:47 PM

DennisThePeasant,

If not The Bush Way, then WHAT WAY? The Dean/Kerry/Kucinich/etc. strategy of trying to 'prove Bush wrong' on Iraq will not work for the simple reason that it doesn't matter to what happens in Iraq in 2004 and beyond.

Here is the Democrat's "plan." Its called "Progressive Internationalism":

http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=124&subid=158&contentid=252144

I bet Osama and Saddam are quivering at the mere thought of the Dhimmicrats coming to get them with the forces of "Progressive Internationalism." Do you think the Dhimmicrats will resort to unilateral and preemptive progressive internationalism if they can't get UN approval? You just can't make this shit up.

Posted by: HA at November 4, 2003 07:05 PM

HA,

I have already banned two people from this site. I do not want to ban a third person, not you or anyone else. But I would rather do that than watch my comments section deteriorate into a flame war forum. Ever see the comments on LGF and Atrios? Not gonna happen here.

I am asking you to stop accusing Kimmitt or anyone else of treason unless they explicitly state they support anti-American terorrism. If you cannot comply with this simple request, then I am going to have to ban you.

The same goes for anyone who calls my conservatives guests "fascists."

And don't give me this line about me turning my blog into an "oppressive ideological ghetto." I am not banning conservative opinion, and you know it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2003 07:25 PM

I would guess that Michael is being patient (I saw a mention on Oct. 23) with HA because he recognizes that HA's posts are high quality, argument- and content-wise.

I've been as angry as HA, and for the same reasons. I even share his Oct 23 view that venom is more often warranted than Michael believes. But during the last couple of months I've taken the advice of someone who's wiser than me, who suggested I check the ill-temper and turn the vitriol down just a notch. I've decided to believe that amongst people who hold terrible views, somwhat more of them are not themselves terrible people than I previously thought. It was good advice.

Anyway, I hope to read more HA posts. This is clearly one of the best blogs going. Michael, your comments section is very fine.

Posted by: Jim at November 4, 2003 07:59 PM

Michael,

I am not banning conservative opinion, and you know it.

Orwell would dispute that. Words are opinions. If you ban words you are banning opinions, ideas and thought. You're rationalizing and you know it.

I have a great deal of respect for many of your opinions. But don't flatter yourself that you have upheld some objective standard of "civil" debate. You are insisting on one-sided debate. I doubt that you will hold your left-leaning particpants to the same standard. You and they will continue to characterize conservatives as fascists, theocrats, xenophobes, homophobes, racists and McArthists for holding opionions you and they disagree with.

I've always said that if you don't want me here just say so. I'll take your insistence on self-censorship under threat of banning as your indication that you no longer want me or my opinions here. I won't be participating any further.

Good luck with your blog. In spite of our disagreement I mean that sincerely.

Posted by: HA at November 4, 2003 08:26 PM

Look folks,

I don't enjoy policing the comments. I really don't. It makes me feel like a jerk. So please help me out here.

We are discussing ideas and there is no reason to personalize disagreements. I have friends to the left of Kimmitt and to the right of HA. We all get along. It's just not worth it to turn political disagreements into a bar fight. And it isn't right to reduce a complex human being down to their political opinions. We are all so much more complicated than that.

Harsh rhetoric in an op-ed piece against politicians and public figures is one thing. Down here in the comments we are addressing each other one-on-one. It is a much more personal space.

There are some blogs that I like to read, and yet I have to steer clear of the comments. It's just too nasty down there. I can't let that happen here, for my sake and for yours.

I like my comments, and I want to continue liking them. Thanks, everyone, for being reasonable. I enjoy these discussions, and I learn more from them than you might think.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2003 08:39 PM

It looks like HA and I posted at the same time. I wrote the above post before I read his.

If HA can't handle a civil discussion, that's his problem and his burden. I wish he could have calmed it down a notch instead of walking away, but I can't control what other people do.

I guess that makes three people who aren't coming back. One is a leftist. One is a liberal. And one is conservative. Ideology has nothing to do with what I find objectionable down here. Unless someone shows up and posts bigoted or terror-supporting comments, that will remain the case.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 4, 2003 08:48 PM

HA, please review a large sample of Michael's comments to satisfy yourself that he enforces his rule as lopsidedly as you say. If you can't find sufficient proof, then please come back, and try turning the attack knob on your amp down from 9 to 8. No one will think you've been cowed. You can slice and dice your opponents' terrible views just as effectively. Many of your opponents deserve the vitriol, but a good number do not and will gradually listen to reason if and only if you turn the knob down a notch. For the last few years my hatred had been up at 10, until very recently. I recommend 8. I don't think I could handle being at 10 for much longer. Plus, 8 is sufficient to nail the ones who genuinely deserve it.

Example: A dippy acquaintance told me the other day, "Oh! You've lived in Canada? They have a better healthcare system, don't they?" I said no. She: "But Michael Moore says it's better." I didn't lay into her. She wasn't evil. She was merely a dip. I calmly uttered, "Well, he would say that, since he's a leftist." Shock leapt to her eyes with the ghastly recognition that I must be a conservative, one of those awful creatures she’d read about in The Nation and seen on TV. But I hadn’t dumped vitriol on her and the wheels were turning. I explained the severe drawbacks of Canadian healthcare to her. She actually had something to think about instead of hating my guts.

HA on Oct 21, this site:
“What is so great about ‘civility’ in debates regarding poverty versus prosperity, tyranny versus freedom, war versus peace? As I see it, the policies of appeasement, socialism and subordination of sovereignty advanced by the far left will lead to poverty, tyranny and war rather than prosperity, freedom and peace. In this debate, I want passion, not civility. To be flattered for ‘civility’ in this context is to be damned by faint praise indeed.”

All true. You “want passion” because certain views are deserving of hatred. You are right. But this has nothing to do with flattery. The point is that venom levels above 8 might be less functional than you realize. I denied it for years. I was wrong.

Your policing is not jerkish in the least, Michael. You come across as one of those bobbies without a gun or something.

Posted by: Jim at November 4, 2003 10:13 PM

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It’s not so much that they disagree with Bush (after all, what’s an opposition party for) but how and why they go about it. When they oppose Bush, whether it’s on homeland security workers, judges, abortions or otherwise, it is abundantly clear that it is either simply to benefit a special interest group or to gain a tactical political advantage over the Republicans. It is certainly true that all political parties engage in that behavior to a certain extent, but the Democrats haven’t taken it to an extreme degree.

Iraq is a good example. There is a lot you could criticize about what is going on there, criticisms that would be directed toward making our work there more effective. Instead, the Democrats (not all, but the vocal majority of the party) seem to want us to lose because that would hurt Bush. I’m sorry, but for a major political party to be expressing those sentiments is beyond the pale. That is sacrificing our national security in the pursuant of partisan advantage and I view that as unacceptable.

If the Democrats would articulate a vision for the nation and pursue that vision then that would be one thing. The Democratic Party, however, does not seem to have any such vision and it is this intellectual bankruptcy that is the Democratic Party’s real problem. Their old vision, that the government is the solution to all social problems, is simply one that voters are not accepting anymore. Without a new vision, all the Democrats are left with are tactical moves to gain partisan advantage (for example, filibustering judges that a majority of Senators are prepared to approve) and buying votes by prostituting themselves to various special interest groups. Clinton was a master at this process.

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