September 19, 2004

The Hawkish Case for Kerry

I promised to write two essays: the hawkish case for John Kerry and the liberal case for George W. Bush. The first is published today as my newest Tech Central Station column. Have at it!

UPDATE: Centerfeud partly agrees. Patrick Lasswell dissents.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 19, 2004 08:12 PM
Comments

Michael, I don't want to criticize your article, but it sure didn't come across as an argument for Kerry. At best, it came across as: If we do happen to get stuck with Kerry, all hope is not lost, and the left will hopefully see that the problems of the world were not a scheme by the dark lord Rove and his minions.

On the other hand, I'm exhausted and nearly falling asleep, so I may just be having comprehension problems. :)

Posted by: Mason at September 19, 2004 08:33 PM

Mason,

Well, it isn't an argument for Kerry so much as it is an argument for a Democratic White House. And Kerry is the Democratic nominee, so he gets it by default.

I am still tempted to vote for George W. Bush, and I'm in the middle of writing "the liberal case for Bush" right now. In no way do I think what I just wrote is the last word on ths subject, but it does outline the reasons I am and have been a swing voter.

Go ahead and criticize the article! That's what the comments section is for.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 19, 2004 08:37 PM

Good article.You did what you could with what you had.As I have babbled on in the past about this particular issue I will save both of us the trouble now. I will just quote a man who knows the man(but not neccessary the Party):

"Predicting what a John Kerry foreign policy might look isn't easy. His ideas are nebulous, vague, and ever-changing, presumably in a Quixotic attempt to appeal to both the hawkish and pacifist wings of the Democratic Party -- no easy feat ...A hawkish case for Kerry is a tough case to make. He's a weak candidate. There is no getting around it."

No kidding. The problem is that his party is morally bankrupt despite your protestations and was only held together as a Clinton vehicle.Hillary will NEVER be President not if she lives forever and she is the only semi-national leader they have left.The few voices of reason in the party stand out simply because they are lonely figures attempting to hold back the tide of history. As someone recently said ' A National Party No More'. Pity.

Posted by: dougf at September 19, 2004 08:38 PM

Something I love to do (I'm a freak like that, I guess) is to take partisan comments like those of dougf and turn them around and show how every argument one side makes against the other has already been made against them. Example:

dougf said:

"Predicting what a John Kerry foreign policy might look isn't easy. His ideas are nebulous, vague, and ever-changing, presumably in a Quixotic attempt to appeal to both the hawkish and pacifist wings of the Democratic Party -- no easy feat ...A hawkish case for Kerry is a tough case to make. He's a weak candidate. There is no getting around it."

No kidding. The problem is that his party is morally bankrupt despite your protestations and was only held together as a Clinton vehicle.Hillary will NEVER be President not if she lives forever and she is the only semi-national leader they have left.The few voices of reason in the party stand out simply because they are lonely figures attempting to hold back the tide of history. As someone recently said ' A National Party No More'. Pity.

My twist (and it works great)

"Predicting what a George W. Bush foreign policy might look isn't easy. His ideas are nebulous, vague, and ever-changing, presumably in a Quixotic attempt to appeal to both the hawkish and isolationist wings of the Republican Party -- no easy feat ...A hawkish case for Bush is a tough case to make. He's a weak candidate. There is no getting around it."

No kidding. The problem is that his party is morally bankrupt despite your protestations and was only held together as a Rove vehicle.Schwartzenneger(sp?) will NEVER be President not if he lives forever and he is the only semi-national leader they have left.The few voices of reason in the party stand out simply because they are lonely figures attempting to hold back the tide of history. As someone recently said '[can't think of a quote as equally stupid]'. Pity.

Why don't you wingnuts on both sides come up with something new?

Posted by: Greg at September 19, 2004 09:42 PM

'Why don't you wingnuts on both sides come up with something new?'----Greg

How discouraging.I am forced to revert to my 'beating on a dead horse'post of an earlier thread.In some cases perjoratives are sadly not only optional but MANDATORY.
This Michael is the party as it truly exists.

Posted by: dougf at September 19, 2004 09:57 PM

Great article Michael. I take it not as an arguement for a Kerry presidency per se, but how the domestic political calculus resulting from a Democrat in the White House might work in our
(the nation's )favor in the terror war.

My problem with Kerry is that I have doubts he would agressively pursue a proactive war on terror.

My problem with Bush right now is that I believe he is not being sufficiently aggressive in Iraq, probably for political reasons. (Who wants to send more troops to Iraq just before an election ?). Maybe that will change if Bush is reelected. But maybe not.

Bottom line for me though, is that Bush's response to terrorism is clear. Kerry's is not. And Kerry's shifting rhetoric is not helping his case.

Posted by: freeguy at September 19, 2004 10:08 PM

Freeguy: I take it not as an arguement for a Kerry presidency per se, but how the domestic political calculus resulting from a Democrat in the White House might work in our (the nation's )favor in the terror war.

Exactly.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 19, 2004 10:10 PM

Preemption, as a policy, is dead for a number of reasons. You might have mentioned that, should two of the three possibilities for the future of Iraq mentioned in the CIA report come to pass, Bush will be discredited and we will have a president unable to lead for the next three or four years (depending on when the last wheel comes off). Should the best of the three happen we will still have our assets tied up for a while and our options limited. Kerry would have the advantage of a fresh start. No matter what Kerry may say his plan is, Bush will have till Jan. 20 to continue to screw it up so no real plans can happen untill a fresh assessment can be made. The best case for Kerry is that, should he win, the adults would be back running things - hopefully in the Senate also - I'm pretty much resigned to the House being run by thugs for the rest of my life.

Posted by: alan aronson at September 19, 2004 10:48 PM

Hi Michael,

I have to say that your article is the best pro-Kerry (Dem) argument I've read, bar none. When you mention that Kerry may be able to carry out the Bush doctrine with more support that Bush... (I'm paraphrasing), that really struck me as being possibly true. As sad as that is.

However, as I've always done, I vote for the candidate that has the underlying morals most similar to mine. That's what we should ALL be doing. Because we can't vote on every single thing that comes to the President's desk, so we have to have the man we feel will make the right decision, given the information they are handed. Many times, these decisions require fundamental, core beliefs of universal right and wrong. I don't want the President of the United States making decisions based on poll numbers.

If I could ask Senator Kerry one thing, it would be this... "If you felt the safety and security of the United States was being jeopardized, based on current intelligence estimates at the time, and not ONE country in the entire world supported an act of pre-emption, would you hesitate to go it alone?

I feel our President made a very tough decision regarding the invasion of Iraq and one based on a deep sense of a universal right and wrong. It was simply a task he couldn't shirk and I thank him for having the courage to do that. Let's face it, his life would have been much more simple had he just taken the tact of the UN and allow Saddam to continue to snub his nose at their resolutions.

It takes a strong leader to move forward when the opposition is overwhelming. But it takes moral clarity to do it when he knows the cause is just in the long run. He's my man!

Posted by: Dan Sherman at September 19, 2004 11:52 PM

MT,

I don't know. If I grant every premise you make in your article, I still don't think there is much of a case for Kerry. Things like shutting up the radicals/BDS'ers/journalists etc don't seem like very important things in ANY circumstances and you simply assert Kerry might be able to reunite America without supporting it (only that Bush can't do it).

Your stronger case is the "only Nixon could go to China" arguments for being able to continue to ignore the UN in the future cheering and making preemption another possible strategy. But the notion that Kerry would act on either of those is laughable. Lieberman yes, Biden perhaps, but Kerry? Come on.

I appreciate the effort as I tried to make the Conservative's case for Kerry a while back over on Tacitus, I failed too.

Posted by: spc67 at September 19, 2004 11:54 PM

spc67: I appreciate the effort as I tried to make the Conservative's case for Kerry a while back over on Tacitus, I failed too.

I'm sure most liberals won't find my "liberal case for Bush" very convincing either. I can't blame you or them. I can only work with what I am given to work with.

I wish I could vote for Tony Blair.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 20, 2004 12:12 AM

I wish I could vote for Tony Blair.

Or Joe Lieberman or John McCain or Evan Bayh or Richard Lugar or Owens of Colorado or...

Posted by: spc67 at September 20, 2004 12:20 AM

Greg,

Why don't you wingnuts on both sides come up with something new?

This is the impasse. All the arguments have been made and most people have picked sides. There won't be any new ARGUMENTS, only new EVENTS that will prove one side or the other correct.

I happen to think the events that have already taken place prove dougf's position. Therefore, I dispute your characterization of his as the "wingnut" position. You may not like his rhetoric, but it is fully justified in my opinion.

I have yet to see a single person persuaded one way or the other EITHER through dispassionate arguments OR polemics. The divisions in this country are to deep.

Posted by: HA at September 20, 2004 03:59 AM

MJT,

I disagree with everything you said in that article. But if I made my arguments, you would ban me.

Posted by: HA at September 20, 2004 04:05 AM

One more thing. We live in a democoratic republic. That means that we the people hold ultimate responsibility for the sleazy politicians we vote in.

I think a Kerry presidency would be a disaster. If it works out that way, I wonder if the people who will have voted Kerry into power will have the strength of character to look in the mirror and admit that they made a terrible mistake by voting for him in spite of all the warnings about him from his opponents.

So go ahead, Kerry supporters vote him into office. But remember that Kerry and the entire Democratic party will be held accountable if he turns out to be a failure as I expect. Many of you will look past Kerry's fatal flaws because you are pro-choice, or support gay marriage or want expanded government programs or whatever. Well you better be right about Kerry. Because if you are wrong, all of those other issues you care about will be set back for a generation beginning in 2006 or 2008.

Kerry will be a disaster and he will be held accountable. The Democrats will be held accountable too. Just as they were in the wake of the Carter presidency. Jimmy Carter paved the way for the Reagan Revolution and the Demcorats have been in decline ever since. They have lost control of all three branches of the federal government. They have lost control of a majority of the states. John Kerry would make these changes permanent.

But don't blame me, I'm voting for Bush.

So here is my advice to Democrats. Send Kerry to the ash heap of history in 2004 or march there with him in 2008.

Posted by: HA at September 20, 2004 04:41 AM

Michael,

What I see is that you seem to be saying that electing John Kerry would quash the lunatic fringe anti-war types (with aluminum foil hats) who seem to have taken over the Democratic party. I'm unclear why the alternate scenario wouldn't happen: the extreme left takes over the reigns of power.

I also don't understand why we can be assured that John Kerry is not the same guy that met with the North Vietnamese in Paris, demostrated with Jane Fonda, and met with the Sandinistas in 1986 (and voted against the first Gulf war).

Posted by: Jim Bender at September 20, 2004 04:52 AM

Michael, fine job, "with what you had."

You nicely note on pre-emption needs that "it won't sink in while they're on the bench."

The re-uniting the country would be a big benefit.
The relief and feeling of victory ... of the terrorists, would be a huge negative.

You note LOTS of good things Kerry could do; but I see little evidence he would try to do any of them (Iran, UN, pre-emption), until AFTER Iran gets nukes. I agree with you a Pres. Kerry could; I don't believe he would.

Please try to write your own probabilities on Iran developing nukes, in the next 4 years. For Bush, for Kerry.

Americans supporting Kerry empowers the Islamofascists.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 20, 2004 06:33 AM

MJT,

Liked the article- I'm going to send it to my fiance, because she seems totally convinced that a Kerry victory = US surrender to terrorists. I've tried my best to convince her otherwise, but your article makes a better case than I ever could. I think Kerry would do what needed to be done, but I'm convinced that he'd always be thinking of himself (his re-election, his legacy, his poll numbers) a lot more than he should. I say this because, at least in my view, he's been a glory-seeker and an opportunist all his life. Bush has proven that he'll do what needs to be done no matter how badly his numbers fall. This is a man who puts his country well ahead of personal agenda, and I'm convinced we need that right now.

My biggest concern, however, is Theresa Heinz-Kerry. I can't imagine 4 years with her in the media spotlight. I wouldn't be able to watch TV. Ever. That woman scares the absolute living crap out of me...

Posted by: $lick at September 20, 2004 06:35 AM

Nice try. But you (seem to me) make more a case for President Bush than you do for Senator Kerry.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 20, 2004 06:45 AM

A good college try and I look forward to the Bush one too. This is gonna be one tough call in November for many of us.

But a godo part of it seems to be about defusing less-than-steady arguments against Bush by handing them the wheel and expecting them to suddenly come to their senses. It it works, and your secion on "Making the Heckler's Drive" and "Deflating [the saner parts] of the AntiWar movment" may be valid arguments. But Sometimes it doesn't.

Case in point:

"Ending Bush Derangement Syndrome"

Sorry, but that section just doesn't work for me. When you're dealing with headcases who are losing their grip (BDS or something more mundane), satisfying their paranoia and "issues" in the hope that they'll settle down often doesn't work. I've had to deal with xDS more recently and when x is dealt with there will always be something else. That x can be anything and if it doesn't work they can always substitue a complex equation, y, that only they can fathom (and we aren't even starting with the "boundary conditions" if you'll pardon the DiffEq joke). If W carried the popular vote, even then the BDSers would be going after soemthing else, if 9/11 hadn't happend, it would be something else, if he supported a gay marriage or broadened stem cell research, etc. There is a sizable block of the left, that won't get over the fact that the infinitely "smarter" Gore, got bested by the likable idiot [with the MBA].

Sometimes you gotta smack the hysterical xDS patient and tell em to snap out of it, and handing them what they want is just going to validate their model of the world. To me, if anything, BDS is a reason to vote for B.

To paraphrase Lee Harris, x (be it B or G's 2-inch-two-wide-for-the-covenants-deck-when-it's-really-OK) is their "issue," not -- ours.

But one thing I definitely agree with

"I wish I could vote for Tony Blair"

well... Bush/Blair in 2004 maybe. A little of one, a little of other...

Besides Francis Urquart isn't available.

Posted by: Bill at September 20, 2004 06:51 AM

Michael,

Good effort at a difficult task. It is pretty eye-opening that the best case to be made for Kerry is that (1) he won't let the rabid anti-American left into his administration and (2) he'll sort of pacify the giant paper mache puppet head crowd provided that (3) he actually comes up with some sort of stated foreign and security policy.

One of the reader above said:

"If I could ask Senator Kerry one thing, it would be this... "If you felt the safety and security of the United States was being jeopardized, based on current intelligence estimates at the time, and not ONE country in the entire world supported an act of pre-emption, would you hesitate to go it alone?"

We're weeks away from the election and we don't have an answer (or at least we don't have much confidence in the answer) to this the most basic of questions. At a time of war no less.

I believe you are right to say that a Kerry presidency would not frighteningly suck. But that's an awful hard platform to run on.

Posted by: Hacksaw at September 20, 2004 06:58 AM

Michael, I agree with you that reality should b****-slap the knee-jerk elements in each party to act responsibly, but history doesn't seem to support the theory.

For instance, Kerry's sister went to Australia to promote the idea that the US 'endangers Australians' as long as the Howard Administration supports Bush.

Now, that's Kerry's sister and not Kerry, but she is "heading a campaign called Americans Overseas for Kerry" and it would be nice if Kerry's Campaign here in the States issued some kind of statement to soften that rhetoric. But I'm not holding my breath.

Besides for current irresponsibilities, there are similarities between this election and the election in 1976. The country then was deeply divided, recovering from a blow to our national self-image, and faced with rising hostilities from the rest of the world, especially the Middle East. The candidates of 76 bore little resemblance to the current pair on the surface, but the attitude toward power that lay at each parties' core has remained remarkably consistent. (The Republican challenger Ronald Reagan more clearly represented the classical Republican attitude to power than Ford, but Carter proved to be very true to the emerging Democratic loathing of power as something corrupting in and of itself.)

This is a really long-winded way of saying that right now we can't trust a Kerry administration not to channel the Carter administration in a crisis. Not a gamble I want to take.

Personally, I hope a really good thrashing of Kerry this year will make the Democrats rethink the "power is bad" reflex. I guess hope springs eternal.

Posted by: Mark Poling at September 20, 2004 07:21 AM

"Some conservatives will say I'm urging appeasement by rewarding obnoxious behavior on the activist left with votes."

I didn't get the impression that you were arguing appeasment but rather that you were advocating a form of co-dependency. In much the same way a battered spouse will blame themselves for the abuse they suffer and rationalize that if only they were to change their own behavior the abuse will stop, so to was the sentiment I felt while reading your article.

Hoping that the Democrats will behave differently is not a convincing enough argument for me to even consider changing my mind.

Posted by: MB at September 20, 2004 07:53 AM

I have been Democratic all my life, but after 911 it looked like Bush was doing a good job and I supported him for awhile. However, I took someone's advice to watch what politicans do and not what they say. By any measure, Bush has been a diaster as a leader. Attacking Iraq was a major policy error. We are now attached to the tar baby of the ME and will not be able to get out in any dignified shape or form. Any intelligent person would have put a lot of resources into Afghanistan and put a lot of resources into energy independence which will truly get us out of the Mideast.

In additon, I dislike Bush because he is taking wealth from labor and giving it to capital. Unequal societies are weak societies. I think that he cares not at all about American citizens and only cares about American Empire. He has a very unattractive personality and has never been allowed to suffer the bad consequences of his decisions.

I am also sick of this Vietman stuff and I wish the most self asorbed generation in history would stop thinking about themselves so much and start thinking about the future.

Kerry seems to be a much more serious person than Bush. He seems to be a dedicated public servant and has a dignified manner which would be a nice change in a president. I am so tired of southern good old boys who run our country like Tara. I want a serious northern liberal in office and I am from the western part of the U.S.

Posted by: Lynne at September 20, 2004 07:58 AM

As if on cue, Kerry is delivering a barn-burner of a speech on Iraq right now, and he's being serious, and not really including any of the knee-jerk antiwar crapola.

Posted by: Undertoad at September 20, 2004 07:58 AM

I want Kerry to win. Here's why.

The war is only one issue among many. This country has a lot of domestic problems, and Bush is intent (one could say hell-bent) on exacerbating them all. Kerry would be equal to the task of fighting the war, but he would be vastly better on economic issues, on health care, on gay and other civil rights (none of which affect me - I'm straight and married, with no kids and no plans to have any). He would make the USA a better place in which to live, and he would defend it from outside enemies. Bush would defend it from outside enemies, but the country would be worse off under him, especially with one-party rule (I don't expect the Democrats to pick up many Senate seats) and no need to moderate his "supply-side Christian" approach to domestic issues in order to win another term.

If Bush wins a second term, we will see Bush unfettered, beholden to no one but the corporations and the radical right-wing Christians who put him there, and the nation will suffer terribly. I want a President who'll defend the country, but I also want to live in a country worth defending. I gotta vote for Kerry.

By the way, I am predicting now that if Kerry wins, the Republicans will suddenly become Buchananites, and attempt to stymie any anti-terror initiatives he proposes, just like they hammered Clinton on Kosovo. I hope they prove me wrong, but I remain wary. Anybody wanna argue for or against that possibility?

Posted by: pdf at September 20, 2004 08:12 AM

Simplified your article argues Kerry in office would quell the radical left and ease international anti-Americanism and if something bad happens on his watch there will be no one else to blame but themselves. What kind of foreign policy is that? Sounds like a return to Carterism.

Posted by: Kim at September 20, 2004 08:40 AM

Apparently there is no Hawkish argument for Kerry. If he gets elected, our VP has already pointed out that we'll likely get attacked by Terrorists. Our dear House Speaker Mr. Hastert said this weekend that Al Queda wants Kerry to win...

If you vote for Kerry you'll make the terrorists happy and they'll attack again.

I'm sure he was just misquoted by the MSM as well....

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at September 20, 2004 08:59 AM

Michael – from another undecided voter, thanks for writing this. It’s one of very few ‘thinking out of the box’ arguments I’ve read in favor of Kerry.

Trent Lott really said ‘give peace a chance’? I’d pay good money to see a clip of that

A lot of the anti-Bush derangement syndrome erupted after the November 2002 elections, when Republicans basically won control of the government. In my opinion, Democrats lost power due to their anti-war/pro-UN leanings. Their recent efforts to move away from the anti-war crowd, to emphasize Kerry’s war record may be successful, but many Americans might also remember that pacifist McGovern was also a war hero.

I agree with many of the Democrats’ domestic policies, especially their determination to keep church and state separate. Kerry would make a great peacetime president. Unfortunately, 9/11 was proof that ‘peacetime’ is never guaranteed. Foreign policy wise, I fear that Kerry could have genuine anti-war leanings – he could be another Jimmy Carter.

Still, our democracy doesn’t function very well when one party is in such total control. We need checks and balances. That’s why I plan to vote democrat for everything but President. (unless one or both candidates make some kind of colossal Nixonian gaffe in the next month or so, which is possible. If that happens I write in Giuliani)

I’m not convinced that the Democrats are still ‘liberal’ (as in anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian). The entire party appears to have shifted to the left, and old-style real-JFK style liberal hawks are denounced as being neo-cons and traitors.

You’ve pointed out that an old liberal slogan was ‘fascism means war’. How many modern Democrats would agree with that? I don't hear them saying it..

Posted by: mary at September 20, 2004 09:06 AM

Michael --
You may be interested in this article in this week's National Journal, by Paul Starobin, on how Kerry is likely to be a much more hawkish President than people may think.

http://nationaljournal.com/members/news/2004/09/0917nj1.htm

Regarding your essay:
By focusing on the domestic ramifications of our foreign/military policy issues ("deflating the anti-war movement", "checkmating radicals", "ending the Bush derangement syndrome", "making the hecklers drive" -- aren't these more or less the same issue?) you miss I think the real dilemma faced by swing voters, at least the intelligent, politically interested ones. That is, they like Bush on dealing with the terrorists, but they are much more comfortable with Kerry's views on a whole range of other issues. Many conservatives have a related problem: they trust Bush on foreign policy, but hate his fiscal irresponsibility, or some other issue where Dubya isn't hard right enough. For them, the reason to vote for Kerry is that a Democratic president allows Republicans in Congress to find their inner Newt Gingrich again (it's name is Tom DeLay), start talking again about balancing budgets, block-granting Medicare and programs for poor people, and the other reptilian causes dear to their hearts.

But if your paramount issue is how to fight terrorism, and you're a supporter of Bush on this single issue, I can't see how you're a swing voter at this point!

I would also have added in your article under the "reuniting the country" section the general point that Democratic President, if they want to be successful, HAVE to govern moderately, while Republican simply do not. Three reasons. First, there are fewer hard-core liberals in this country than hard-core conservatives, and as a result Democrats have a smaller base. Second, Congress is now Republican controlled and probably will remain so. Third, any President has to be careful about pissing off Wall Street and the US Chamber of Commerce.

With Bush, on the other hand, the only things I see stopping HIM from morphing into a DeLay/Gingrich is:
1. Need 60 votes in the Senate.
2. Americans won't tolerate too many body bags on the evening news.
3. Americans hate taxes, but tend to appreciate the big government programs they or their parents count on, as long as its not "welfare", especially when politicians start to make noises about taking it away or radically restructuring it.

These are much less effective checks on playing to one's extremist base than what a President Kerry would face in playing with his.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 20, 2004 09:21 AM
A lot of the anti-Bush derangement syndrome erupted after the November 2002 elections, when Republicans basically won control of the government.

A couple of my friends and I talked about BDS not long ago and things got intersting, esp when we got to when we thought it started.

Some of the votes were for when the first sign of the "sniffles" set on were

1) The 1994 Congresional Elections (making it RDS and not BDS - a couple of them are like this - alternatively it was further back when Clarence Thomas getting on the Supreme Court making it TBS).

2) W entering the race as a more viable candidate than Dole was in 96 (my vote) -- to borrow from Mark Stein when talking about Kerry, Gore's supporters would have had kittens over anyone giving Gore a run for the prize. Gore's own huffing during the debates was a good example of it. This was Gore's presdiency even withouth the Florida recount.

3) W winning the electoral vote, of course... and the most interesting...

4) Clinton winning in 92 (starting CDS, the cold that created the mental knockdown in politics that made for the coming of BSD). However, the main symptom of CDS was in dispute between HillaryCare, Hillary-Herself, or "Hillary's Hair in Fort Marcy Park", the last of which would paint only a modest fraction of republicans as having it. That tangent was an interesting one to say the least since we figured that it was more HDS than CDS. The symptoms for BDS are much clearer (BushHitler, BushMoron, etc).

Note that in a couple of these cases, it's not the B in the BDS, but the DS that's the problem. Hence my earlier argument that defeating Bush in favor of Kerry or anyone isn't going to solve the ABB's problems. On both sides of the aisle there are people who at war with the way the world really is and only their utopian/dystopian visions will suffice. Disagree with them and you're the one that's nuts.

Label me a pessimist, but in the past decade, there have been a lot of people walking around the Times Square of Politics who haven't been on their meds for a LONG time.

Posted by: Bill at September 20, 2004 09:43 AM

WaPo reports Kerry's plan for Iraq:

"Kerry said Monday that Bush's invasion of Iraq has created a crisis that could lead to unending war and has raised questions about whether Bush's judgment is up to presidential standards. He offered his own four-point plan starting with pressing other nations for help.

-- Get more help from other nations.
-- Provide better training for Iraqi security forces.
-- Provide benefits to the Iraqi people.
-- Ensure that democratic elections can be held next year as promised.

"If the president would move in this direction ... we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years," Kerry said. "

Link:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34964-2004Sep20.html

Okay, isn't this what the adminstration is already trying to do? Yet how would JFK II deal with French opposition to the plan for NATO training? How would he get better training for Iraqi security forces faster? Provide benefits? Like opening firehouses in Baghdad, which he opposed in his speech? And didn't Allawi already say, and US officials agreed, that elections would take place. And hasn't Kerry already lambasted Bush for a "secret" plan to deploy more troops to seen that happen? Lordy, I am confused.

But, the last quote is the kicker: this is Kerry's position, get out as soon as possible and if things go bad he can blame Bush.

At least here JFK II is not a flopper. His actions and words over the last 4 decades show that he believes there is not a problem or crisis in the world that cannot be made better by the US ignoring it.

I have lots of reasons not to vote for Bush, but I am coming to believe that I have one big reason for not voting for Kerry.

Posted by: lancer at September 20, 2004 09:46 AM

Michael, how about penning "the centrist case to reject both as hopelessly inadequate?"

Posted by: bk at September 20, 2004 09:47 AM

MJT
Am I mistaken, or did your argument boil down to "grease the squeaky wheel"?

I'm Republican, and I'm not new at it, just so you know my bias. I realize that the Dems are the opposition party and all; but they don't seem to have a opposing position, just opposition. I see no need to grease a wheel like that.

I don't particularly like the behavior of the Repub party lately, and nothing would thrill me more than to have some real competition with some real ideas. The thought that a Dem could get elected by merely claiming "Bush is Bad" doesn't bode well for my desire of having a real debate over ideas.

Maybe you can explain why the anti-war left, et al should be rewarded for their behavior.

Posted by: Ron at September 20, 2004 10:00 AM

Just saw the Kerry speech where he outlines his Iraq plan (referenced above), on C-SPAN. Will be rebroadcast at 8pm eastern. Check you local listings.
Recommended.

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 10:02 AM

To me, your article did little more but confirm my opinion of rank hypocrisy on the part of both parties. You appear to repeatedly make the point that if a Democrat was doing what Bush IS doing (and vice-versa) they wouldn't be so loud in their complaints. DUH! Just like Clinton's Kosovo critics in the Republican Party probably would have been silent had Bob Dole gone into Kosovo instead of Clinton.

I don't recall Republicans going to the street with signs of Clinton = Hitler, though. I don't feel like voting for Kerry just so the foaming mouth fanatics of the left will be quiet. Democrats wouldn't vote for a Republican to silence foaming mouth fanatics of the right, so I'm not convinced that similar courtesy should be extended.

I have yet to understand the Bush Derangement Syndrome. It appears to be a heightened form of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, at least in the volume and extremity of its symbols and vitriol. I really don't know why some folks come unhinged by him, but I would think that healthly recovery starts from within the minds of the unhinged (as most good psychologists would urge). If anything, the continued insanity is not something that I would reward with a vote.

I cannot stop laughing at the suggestion that it would end the UN fetish, after all that Kerry has said during the campaign. It would seem that he would heighten it. You also again expose the double standard that only Republicans seem to be bound by the need for UN approval, while Democrats don't. In fact, the whole article is full of such statements about things that the Democrats can do that apparently Republicans can't do because of opposition from the left, Europe, the UN, or the boogy-man. I really don't understand the problems of having a Republican doing those things, particularly if Kerry puts forth programs that I flat-out don't want done by either party.

The entire last section on breaking the impasse only serves to accentuate the seeming successful liberal demonization of Bush and Republicans and highlights the Messianic hubris of the Democrats. "Elect me and the world will love us and everything will be sweetness and light." Nevermind how we get there, it just WILL be that way. I'm sorry, but I don't believe it. The terrorists began the planning to strike us while we were governed by the party of "sweetness and light." It also proves to me that European Socialists want a socialist in the White House, and Kerry fills the bill.

Posted by: David Block at September 20, 2004 10:08 AM

Reporters and op-ed writers can never dictate public opinion, but they do help shape it. Journalists at prestigious and influential left-leaning media outlets like NPR and the New York Times will feel a bit less temptation to put a morale-sapping doom-and-gloom spin on our progress made in the Terror War. "Their guy," after all, will be the one waging it.

Why I should trust a party that seems to largely consist of people who are putting partisanship ahead of the national security needs of the country with anything important?

ps: to those offended by that statement, I would like to point out that the most vocal activists and media personalities are like that, regardless of what the 'silent majority' in the Democratic party thinks. If the 'silent majority' really thinks otherwise, it is long past the time to stop being silent about it. Speak up!

pps: this was supposed to be the pro-kerry article?

Posted by: rosignol at September 20, 2004 10:18 AM

Sounds like you're curing blindness by poking out the eyes of the sighted. The BDS people should not be given power so that we can watch them drive the country over a cliff.

I'm afraid that John Kerry == Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: John Davies at September 20, 2004 10:35 AM

What people here don't get is that Clinton responded to "Clinton Derangement Syndrome" by moving to the center on a whole host of issues, in order to marginalize these nutjobs. Bush on the contrary seeks to stoke anti-Bush derangement, because he knows it plays well in the culturally conservative parts of America.

Rosignol -- I know its tough tolerating one's fellow citizens when they disagree with you on political questions. But Democrats opposed to the war are not putting "partisanship ahead of national security." FYI, they really honestly believe that the Bush doctrine(s) are disasterous and that they ARE putting national security first by opposing them. They feel this even more strongly about this with each new dispatch of "morale-sapping doom-and-gloom spin" (i.e., reality) from Iraq, and they've even managed to get a few people like me who had earlier opposed them and supported the war to admit that unfortunately they may have been right from the get-go.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 20, 2004 10:37 AM

Michael, I thought this was one of the more interesting election articles I've read in some time. In large part, I think your argument holds up. Those who can remember the '90s recall that Bill Clinton overruled Euro intransigence, bypassed the UN, etc with little outcry. You had people like Michael Moore calling him a war criminal, but that was not a widely-held view.

More broadly, I think people vastly underestimate the way that presidents are constrained on national security once they take office. As you note in your article, when one starts to receive the intelligence briefings and threat reports, one is forced to respond to them. The strategic goals of the cold war held up through many presidents of both parties.

It's the rare president (Truman, Bush) who gets to set the long term goals. The Cold War was won in no small part due to Truman's foresight in defining the doctrine, alliances and grand strategy that America would follow for the next 40 years. Bush is in a similar position on the WOT. I plan to vote for him on national security issues. But should he lose, I'm confident that President Kerry would ultimately be forced to a very similar strategy of reforming failed mid-east states and preempting serious threats, no matter how much Candidate Kerry complains about his opponent in these areas.

Posted by: drank at September 20, 2004 10:54 AM

Michael:

Great piece. That was one of the most interesting political pieces I've read in a long-time. Of course, I'm not convinced in the slightest (nor, I'm guessing, are you really) but I think it was a really worthwhile thought experiment.

I'm sure you've aniticipated the possible objections to all of your particular aguments in the piece, so I won't re-hash them, but there is one thing I'd like to zero in on. That is: What exactly will happen to all the BDS-sufferers after the election? I foresee no happy outcome, no matter who wins.

Here's my thought experiment:

If Bush wins, the hysterical-ABB movement will probably lose some foot soldiers. They'll see that they lost, despite their best efforts, and go back to their lives. However, the hard-core left will grow even more deranged. It's likely we'll see a resurgence of 60's-70's style left-wing domestic terrorism. (Some of the more deranged lefty commenters on this blog might be involved). There will probably be at least one assassination attempt. ("I did it for Nicholson Baker"?)

If Kerry wins, since these very same people comprise his base, the immediate problem will be what Glenn Reynolds has described as his "weak, Carter-like mandate". A sizable portion, perhaps the majority, of those who vote for him will be people who want us out of Iraq, yesterday. What's going to happen when all these people turn on him, or, more scarily, if he actually follows the advice of his constituency?

Also, given Kerry's unusually high degree of respect for the UN and for "allies" like France and Germany, a resurgence of right-wing, "militia-man" domestic terrorism is a very real possibility in a Kerry presidency.

All of this creates huge problems for the prospects of another armed intervention. You may be right, that a second Bush administration lacks the political credibility to gain support for another one. OTOH, possibly a majority of Kerry's supporters don't want another one, under any circumstances.

In short, under my thought experiment the hatred of the anti-Bush left is such a powerful force that it won't be abated by either scenario.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at September 20, 2004 11:00 AM

Markus, I'd like to think that. Really. The problem is that I've read what happened in viet nam after the US pulled out, and I remember what happened in Lebanon after Reagan withdrew the Marines, and I remember what happened in Somalia after Clinton pulled out the Rangers, and so on.

In every case, the mess got worse. The communists killed a hell of a lot of people in Viet Nam, Lebanon became a haven for Hezbullah, Somalia was one of Bin Laden's early victories, and the people screaming doom-and-gloom on Iraq don't seem to have learned the lesson: withdrawal is not the solution.

Based on that, all I can conclude is that the people opposing Bush on national security grounds are horribly ignorant of history, and putting their candidate in charge would be a disaster, because he's going to be under immense pressure to do what they think should be done.

If you think otherwise, by all means, tell me why- I've seen some reports that Kerry is finally saying some things about Iraq that make sense in a speech, but I hope you'll forgive me for waiting to see if he's consistent on that for a while before I trust him on it.

Posted by: rosignol at September 20, 2004 11:05 AM

Tano,

I saw that speech, and I'm wondering if you can point out the differences between his plan and Bush's plan. Because I'm having trouble here.

Will he tell us that some mistakes were made? Hmmm. That would be a shocker. That would make this the first war in history that actually had mistakes in it. Will he tell us that things are NOT looking rosy over here? Wow, that would be a news flash. We would certainly thank him for that blinding flash of the obvious while we're over here in the middle east and he's sitting in the comforts of the White House. That would be a great piece of information for us. Only the greatest leaders in history have proclaim "GREAT JOB, BOYS!!! UNFORTUNATELY YOU'RE PROBABLY GONNA GET YOUR BUTTS KICKED!" Is THAT his plan? Is he going to get the French and the Russians to join up? Awesome! I can't wait for THEM to come save the day! Maybe they'll even stop funding the insurgents for awhile! I'm just curious, Tano. I saw that speech. Can you outline the significant details of his plan that will ensure our quick and decisive victory? Because I didn't see it...

I DID see lots of Monday Morning Quarterbacking, some kick-ass 20/20 hindsight, and some gross distortions, exaggerations, and flat out LIES for which he is famous. I loved the part about how Bush used the Saddam-9/11 connection as one of his two MAIN justifications for the invasion. Wonder if he can produce any evidence to support that? I don't think so. I think I remember Hilary Clinton saying something about Saddam-9/11, but I've only heard Bush say that he "never" suggested such a connection. I REALLY loved the part where he said "at one point, Bush gave 26 reasons to justify the war!!!! He therefore succeeded in confusing the American people."

Right on, Senator!!! How DARE someone have more than ONE reason to invade a sovereign nation! But 26?!?!?! How DARE he!!!! Doesn't Bush understand that Americans are COMPLETELY incapable of processing such a large number of reasons to invade a country??? What's our literacy rate, about 4%???

He insulted our intelligence, he made a great case for Bush's invasion, and he publicly grasped for straws in the bottom of the barrel.

Dude, I've never seen such pure desperation. He's done. Stick a fork in him...

Posted by: $lick at September 20, 2004 11:13 AM

I have major reservations about John Kerry, particularly his utter lack of conviction and his desire to kowtow to Europe and the UN. Nevertheless, I was immensely cheered by your article. Not enough, mind you, to make me pull the lever for Kerry, but enough to at least see a silver lining should he be elected.

Like you, I consider myself a liberal without a party. The Democrats have apparently walked away from commitment to democracy, and now sound like the Republican "realists" of the not too distant past who never gave a rat's ass about the fate of people in the Middle East (or anywhere else), so long as we were assured access to cheap oil.

George W. Bush is something altogether different: a politician with a strong moral core who understands the nature of the enemy we face and is determined to defeat that enemy in the only way that will work: by helping to bring about a democratic revolution in a freedom-starved region.

This is a project with its roots in Wilson, Truman and JFK, with lessons drawn from the Marshall Plan. By all rights the democratic left should be cheering it on, but instead we have a strangely mutated post-humanitarian left anxiously hoping for its defeat, primarily because of their hatred for Bush - even when he champions liberation and democratization, and forges an unlikely alliance with Labour leftist Tony Blair to topple one of the most odious dictators in recent memory.

I agree with Kim and others that Kerry is an echo of Carter, and his instinct is to appease rather than take a stand. However, I am somewhat reassured by your argument that his own party and the electorate will not let him go that route for long.

Posted by: PurpleStater at September 20, 2004 11:19 AM

MJT:

Two criticisms.

First, half your article dealt with the loony-leaning Left, rather than Kerry. Since you read Naomi Klein, you probably know she admits that Kerry would shut people like her out of the White House. I don't hold Bush responsible for the wingnut right, nor Kerry responsible for the loony left.

Second, you write "The trouble is that, unlike President Bush, he doesn't have a pro-active strategy. "

That's true only if "pro-active" means "invade and occupy."

There are many ways to be pro-active.

Posted by: Oberon at September 20, 2004 11:41 AM

Rosignol said: "Based on that, all I can conclude is that the people opposing Bush on national security grounds are horribly ignorant of history, and putting their candidate in charge would be a disaster, because he's going to be under immense pressure to do what they think should be done."

Ignorance. Yup. That's the operative word here.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 20, 2004 11:47 AM

What is this, damning with faint praise day? I admit it, I was impressed with your article. I started it expecting to read one of the usual lefty "Vote for a strong America, vote for Kerry" pieces--which make no sense at all--and got an honest, thoughtful piece instead. Thank you.

That said, the case you present is one of the weakest I have ever seen. The gist of it seems to be, vote for Kerry and the lefties will come to their senses. Have you forgotten the anti-globalization protests which occurred all over the place under Clinton? Don't kid yourself. There is a large swath of our society who are devoted to the destruction of our society. Iraq, as you say, is just an excuse. They don't really know what would replace it and they're highly dependent on it but that matters not at all. They're unhappy and they're going to protest, period. As far as I can tell, and maybe I'm completely wrong, these are people who have been spared by our society from the necessity of earning a living and consequently have a whole lot of time left over to attend protests in faraway cities. And they won't forgive that injustice!

As for Bush's being a lightning rod, every President is a lightning rod and every President becomes the focus of hatred by some portion of our society. Remember the attacks on Ford and Reagan, the people trying to pilot their small planes into the White House when Clinton was its inhabitant?

As for Kerry's being a hawk, what a joke. The man is a walking cipher. He can't organize his way out of a paper bag and he hasn't a clue what he really stands for. His administration would be paralyzed by inaction and indecisiveness from day one.

Posted by: WichitaBoy at September 20, 2004 12:02 PM

Speaking of the hawkish case for Kerry, I read his speech today linked by Centrist Coalition

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2004_0920.html

In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies. But billions of people around the world yearning for a better life are open to America’s ideals. We must reach them.

To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

...

National security is a central issue in this campaign. We owe it to the American people to have a real debate about the choices President Bush has made… and the choices I would make… to fight and win the war on terror.

Posted by: Oberon at September 20, 2004 12:05 PM

MJT, I think you wrote a really good article. I can't usually read these type articles all the way through. I have no patience for them and usually lose interest and just skim over them. I read every word you wrote. I wanted to find something that would make me stop and say "Maybe I'm wrong about the democrats and maybe John Kerry really is our man". It wasn't there because it COULDN'T be there.

I'm like you and I vote for the man and not the party. I have voted in Persidential elections for 24 years and this has become the one I have struggled with the most.

I think sometimes being one of those die hard democrats or republicans is a cop out. It takes no work whatsoever to show up and vote a party line, "just because."

The problem I have with this election is I really don't care much for Bush. I live in an area that has saw unemployment rise so much in the last year. It has effected my life personally so I know what losing our career, insurance, and livlihood can do to someone in their 50s. I want to blame Bush and the republicans for it. But, to do that seems to be a display of self-centeredness and self-importance. I won't allow it to keep me from doing what I feel is the best for ALL of us.

For me the bottom line comes down to national security and I don't trust Kerry to pull it off.

Bush will do what he thinks is right for us, regardless of it earning him friends or making new enemies for him. He doesn't buckle under pressure. I can't think of a more important time for us to have a strong leader than the present.

Posted by: Cathy at September 20, 2004 12:22 PM

Oberon:

I saw that same speech on C-Span and I found it jaw-dropping.

1) What on earth is he doing giving a speech at NYU? Why is he campaigning in New York? Is New York in play? His campaign must be in even worse shape than I thought. I thrill to the prospect of my New York vote for Bush actually counting.

2) He gave what I think his first post-Swift Vets comment on his anti-Viet Nam-war Senate testimony in which he smeared every single serviceman in Viet Nam as a war criminal. He literally, unironically said "Dissent is Patriotic" and that he was speaking "Truth to Power". He didn't explain how it was truth when it was based on the Jane Fonda-organized "Winter Soldier" testimony, which has been exposed as a fraud. Maybe he's using the Dan Rather/NYT "fake, but accurate" defense? That aside, it's clear that he just doesn't get it. Mouthing brain-dead lefty-bumper-sticker slogans may fire up a crowd of NYU students in the midst of their political indoctrination but doesn't exactly play well in the "battleground states". But again, with this speech it's clear he's given up on centrist voters and feels the need to shore up his NYC-lefty base, a bad sign.

3) Beyond the location and the sloganeering the substance of the speech was that he is now, after all, an outright opponent of the war in Iraq for which he voted. After all the flip-flopping he has settled on Howard Deanism as his position on Iraq. He did express, as you quote, his profound realization that terrorists are indeed bad and that America should be "strong", but the only actual substance he offered was outright opposition to the war in Iraq for which he voted.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at September 20, 2004 12:24 PM
What people here don't get is that Clinton responded to "Clinton Derangement Syndrome" by moving to the center on a whole host of issues, in order to marginalize these nutjobs. Bush on the contrary seeks to stoke anti-Bush derangement, because he knows it plays well in the culturally conservative parts of America.

Adapting to differences in Policy is one thing, playing up to wack-jobs' Fantasies are another.

Unless you conviniently classify xDS as any heated and passionate disagreement on policy, rather than well... a Derangement Syndrome (i.e, a mental vacation from this plane of reality), Bush has pretty much done what Clinton did to his moonbat "critics" when they jumped on Mena Airport and Fort Marcy Park -- Let them make fools of themselves all the way to irrelevancy.

Posted by: Bill at September 20, 2004 12:37 PM

BTW, I forgot to tell you, I loved the use of that term "jackassery!" I plan to use it often.

Posted by: Cathy at September 20, 2004 12:38 PM

"Can you outline the significant details of his plan that will ensure our quick and decisive victory?"

No. Because he did not claim that a quick and decisive victory is possible. He claimed that an eventual victory is possilbe. Since you heard the speech, I trust you now understand the plan. But I'll run through it for you once again if you need. But first...

"I loved the part about how Bush used the Saddam-9/11 connection as one of his two MAIN justifications for the invasion"

You aren't being serious here, are you?
We are fighting them there so we dont have to fight them here. Where are we fighting? Iraq. If we werent, they would be here? Sounds pretty imminant to me!
We cant wait for a smoking gun before we go into Iraq, because the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud. Sounds pretty imminant to me!
Saddam has WMD and has close tie to al-Q and al-Q wants those weapons becuase they are just itching to kill as many of us as possible, as soon as possible. Seems pretty imminant to me!

And besides, thats not what Kerry said anyway. He didnt mention 9/11 in that context. He simply mentioned the false assertions about Saddam-alQ ties in general.

"at one point, Bush gave 26 reasons to justify the war!!!"

Thats right. Because no one or two or four could add up to sufficient justification. At least not if they were examined carefully. Which they were. And whenever one was shown to be weak or outright fraudulant, there were several more weak or fraudulent ones to pull out of the bag.

"he made a great case for Bush's invasion"

Thats a pretty hilarious statement $lick!

OK now, the plan.
How is it different than the Bush plan?
1) Effective alliance building. Based on the clear hard-headed basis that effective negotiation and alliance building is always built on - recognizing that mutual self-interest, and sharing not only of costs but responsibilities (as well as fostering a sense of mutual respect) is the basis for joint action. Opening the window for, and allowing/pushing allies to become invested in the outcome. As opposed to bullying, condescension, and fostering a sense that we know best and that allies can/should just shut up, do their part, take their hits, and then go home.

2)Greatly speed up the training of Iraqi security forces, and use allies to help in the task in country, as well as in their own country, if they are reluctant to send their trainers to Iraq.

3)Demand that countries that have pledged money for reconstruction pay up (only 1 out of 13 billion has come forth so far), as part of the approach outlined in item 1. And greatly speed up the expenditure of moneys already appropriated (only 1 of 18 billion dispensed), so that jobs can be handed out, and the infrastructure can take a quantum leap forward improving the quality of life for all. And spend the money in a way that fosters the growth and development of Iraqi enterprise, instead of relying on American corporations to do the work.

4)Recruit troops from allies for a UN protection force to allow the UN to fulfill its missions there, especially the organization of elections in January.

Stick to the election timetable, and do the other things, and begin withdrawing our troops next summer - extended over a 3-4 year period. The stated intention to withdraw with a loose (thus changeable) timetable focuses the mind of Iraqis that they will soon be responsible for their own country, and undermines any argument that opponents might make as to our supposed imperial ambitions.

What are you looking for? Something radically different than the broad outlines of what we are trying now? Like what - cut and run? Sorry, guess he isnt playing to the stereotypes. Never did in fact.

You want a bumper sticker version? Truth-telling, and competence, rather than the opposite.

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 12:41 PM

back-alley crack-house propagandist
knee-jerk anti-American jackassery

Priceless!

Have you been gleaning these insults from us? Just asking, considreing yesterday's warning.
;-}

They were only interested -- once -- in using the UN to tie down George W. Bush.

I wish I could believe this. If they ever want my vote they will have to signal something different than what they did in their primary speeches (Lieberman excepted).

You should expand on just why the Dems did support a war in Kosovo. And why no boots on the ground seemed to be a dogma.

Posted by: jdwill at September 20, 2004 12:44 PM

Cathy,

I've been laid off three times since 2000. After all this time, the area I live in is riddled with empty office buildings in empty complexes because all the companies from the dot-com boom have gone belly up. My career per se is gone and I've had to turn to something slightly different to find employment. The situation for those of us in high-tech is, to say the least, suboptimal.

But let's get clear on a few facts. First, the crash started in 2000 and had nothing to do with Bush per se. Nor Clinton. We had a way over-optimistic tulip-mania madness-of-crowds boom based on how everyone was going to put up a website and become Bill Gates overnight. Didn't happen. Naturally there was a reaction as the stock market crashed, rich people paid fewer taxes, money for startups dried up, and fear spread across the land.

The only wonder is that the second Great Depression really didn't occur.

The fact is that the President does not control the economy and is not responsible for the economy, despite reams of publications and opinions to the contrary. The government can screw up the economy through bad policies but the economy is in private hands and the President is not our Dad. When millions of those private hands make foolish decisions--and I was one of them--there are going to be negative consequences.

In such circumstances the only thing the government can do is to inflate the economy as much as possible and hope that people start spending all that money. This the Fed and Bush did and the results have been outstanding. Clinton or Gore would have done the same. The current economy is above average. That it feels bad to some is only possible by comparison to a completely unsustainable boom. Bush cannot be blamed for the economy.

Posted by: WichitaBoy at September 20, 2004 12:46 PM

Changing the players around and going back a couple of hundred years in history, this could have been a commentary in the London Times of 1776:

"The British military can't be defeated on any battlefield. The biggest potential threat to our own success is not a ragtag band of colonists, nor a third-rate power like Spain or King Louis' France, but a buckling of our will to fight in the first place."

Pride goes before a fall.

Posted by: Anon E. Mouse at September 20, 2004 12:47 PM

Eric,

(1) I don't know why he gave it in NY. My best guess is that he wanted to be the media world headquarters to get maximum press. My second guess is that his campaign is run by idiots.

(2) My new policy is to no longer discuss Viet Nam, TANG, the 1960s, or the 1970s. Sorry.

(3) Here we go again...Kerry voted to authorize Bush to take military action against Iraq. Bush said many times his mind was not made up to invade. Go read Kerry's statement when he voted in favor. It's basically what he's saying today. Just because he voted to authorize Bush does not mean he can't criticize the mess that Bush made.

Posted by: Oberon at September 20, 2004 12:48 PM

Witchata Boy, Not to get into much detail or reveal much personally I will say that I kinda can blame the Govt. and Republicans for our high unemployment in my direct area. It was created by the closing of a federal institution on the advise of Governor Bob Taft (Republican) of Ohio.

This closing put more than 800 people out of work and many were late middle aged and had worked there for several decades.

But regardless, I wont let my feelings about that influence my vote as I have already stated.

Posted by: Cathy at September 20, 2004 01:01 PM

"In such circumstances the only thing the government can do is to inflate the economy as much as possible and hope that people start spending all that money. This the Fed and Bush did and the results have been outstanding"

Well, I am glad you are doing well....

But your explanation (people spending all that money) refers to "demand-side economics". Give tax breaks to the poor and middle class so that they spend the money and stimulate the economy from the demand side.

Bush did very little of that. The great majority of his tax cuts were supply side. Give the money to the wealthy in the hope that they will invest it in American companies and thus increase production which might lead to higher employment.

Of course, supply side is far less efficient. Wealthy people are just as likely to invest overseas as here at home. And increasing investment often leads to the money being spent by corporations to increase their productivity - i.e. lay off workers and replace them with machines. And of course, having more stuff available for sale does not help the economy much until and unless average folks are in a position to afford to buy.

Besides, stimulating demand sets the stage for innovation - individual entrepenuers as well as corporations sense opportunity - people with money to spend, and this drives innovation - lets figure out how to get some of that money. Supply side gives corportations the money directly, through investment in their corporation, which usually leads them to do more of what they were already doing.

So it was good to stimulate, but the results would have been much better if it was the proper form of stimulus. And in some proportion to fiscal realities.

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 01:20 PM

I want to thank Michael for linking my refutation and for being a gentleman about my disagreement. I very much respect Michael for having the intellectual honesty to accept sincere critcism with dignity.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at September 20, 2004 01:25 PM

Tano, that was spectacular. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. I love how you went to such great lengths to deny the Saddam-9/11 connection allegation. You almost had ME confused! I'll let everyone else watch it and let them decide. I watched him say, with a straight face, that Bush used, as one of his TWO main justifications, an alleged connection between Saddam and 9/11. In that context. Not al-Qaeda or any fuzzy kind of third-party connect-the-dots type stuff. Sorry, but it was in plain English, and I know what I heard.

Let me break down Kerry's plan as you so capably laid it out for me (this really was funny, by the way):

1) effective alliance building.

Yes, because Bush only succeeded in getting over 30 countries to help us out with this war. You really think we needed Saddam-supporting France to help us out? The answer is "no. we didn't." We needed allies like Pakistan, and Syria. Read the papers, my friend. Libya, Syria, Pakistan- they're all jumping on board. I'd call that effective alliance building. I'm not saying Kerry couldn't build alliances- I'm simply stating that I see no difference from Bush's plan, and I CERTAINLY don't see any evidence that Kerry could do better.

2)Greatly speed up the training of Iraqi security forces.

Clearly, you have no idea who LTG Petreaus is. Well, I had the honor of working for this man, and he's now in charge of training the Iraqi security forces. He's been at it for a little over 6 months. I'll bet you'll never guess why they brought him in for this mission! Because the last guy FAILED. Know why he failed? Because he RUSHED them through their training! He slapped some uniforms on them, said "OK we need to hurry up and get you guys out there!" and sent them on their way. They were summarily executed, bribed out, or convereted to the insurgency. Lesson learned- don't rush the process. These guys need comprehensive training and most importantly, they need to internalize the values that their new country will stand for. See that? Mistake made, lesson learned, action taken. In this case, the action was to bring in LTG Petreaus, former Commander of the 101st, and widely considered to be the most respected General in today's military. He is not familiar with failure. During the past week, he unleashed 3 Battalions of his new Iraqi sooper troopers into Samarra, and so far, all is well. Najaf is enjoying a new sense of freedom and active reconstruction thanks to these guys. Stay tuned, 'cause he's got many thousands more and you're about to start hearing about them. But let's get back to Kerry's plan. He's gonna "greatly speed up the training of Iraqi security forces." Oh, OK- so he's gonna ignore the mistakes we made in the past and take a step backward. Hmmm, not sure I like that part of the plan, Tano.

3) He's going to make countries "pay up" and he's going to make sure we spend that $18 billion pronto.

Wow, I'm not sure I buy Kerry as a better loan shark than Bush, but OK. And I feel really sorry for anyone who has to go out and spend and/or earn the rest of that $18 billion while getting shot at the whole time. Especially since all the money spent will go down the tubes when everything you spend it on gets blown up. I'm quite certain that it's better to wait until Petreaus's security plan takes hold, but that's just me. Hey, at least Kerry has a plan (a pretty stupid one) so I'll give him that.

4)Kiss the UN's ass and recruit UN troops.

See "Oil for Food Scandal"

Stick to election timeline, yadda yadda, that's no different than Bush...

Sorry, Tano- I'm still not seeing anything of any substance whatsoever...

What do I expect? I expect that Kerry would do exactly what Bush is and has been doing. He'd have really smart people executing a sound strategy with the world's most competent military, supported by critical allies, mistakes would be made, corrective action would be taken, lives would be lost, times would be tough, but ultimately we'd succeed. I truly believe that. But that sort of honesty isn't going to get Kerry elected. So he has to resort to these desperation claims-du-jour whenever he gives a speech. He'll fool many I'm sure, but he'll have a tough time pulling one over on the troops who know better. I love how he insults our intelligence, though. 26 reasons!! That's great!

Posted by: $lick at September 20, 2004 01:28 PM

Useful example of ignorance: "4)Recruit troops from allies for a UN protection force to allow the UN to fulfill its missions there, especially the organization of elections in January."

What dreamworld are you living in? The French and the Germans and the Russians and the Chinese were never going to commit troops. You don't have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

And the anonymous coward posts:
"Changing the players around and going back a couple of hundred years in history, this could have been a commentary in the London Times of 1776:

"The British military can't be defeated on any battlefield. The biggest potential threat to our own success is not a ragtag band of colonists, nor a third-rate power like Spain or King Louis' France, but a buckling of our will to fight in the first place."

Pride goes before a fall." Thus demonstrating not the first understanding of the American Revolution. More ignorance.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 20, 2004 01:32 PM

Kerry on Iraq:

"Effective alliance building." Not gonna happen. Why? This means France and Germany. And besides, the Iraqis have their own interim government, no more goodies for the US to give away for support.

"Greatly speed up the training of Iraqi security forces, and use allies to help in the task in country." Yup, this has got to be done better, but France opposses NATO training in Iraq. End of argument.

"Demand that countries that have pledged money for reconstruction pay up." Like those that did (not) for Afghanistan? Look, these pledges were for the cameras and how can you demand payment and troops at the same time. Sounds good, ain't gonna work.

"Recruit troops from allies for a UN protection force." And this is why all these points are unworkable. Nobody, and I mean nobody, has combat troops available. To do this mission these troops will have to fight and UN troops do not fight. (Might upset Kofi.) The majority of the armies in the world are neither trained nor equipped for the challenge in Iraq. (The US is barely and only because of the junior officers and noncoms.) Like other UN deployments the atrocities would not be worth the troops.

Kerry's basic problem is he believes in a world of strong, capable nation-states that does not exist. We in the US are it. We are all there is to do this sort of thing. The US has been providing security for the world for decades and anti-Americanism is our thanks. (Not saying people should be greatful, just responsible!)

Posted by: lancer at September 20, 2004 01:47 PM

$lick,
First off, you are right about the 9/11 reference. My apologies - just checked the text. The points I made before I said "besides, he didnt say that" remain however. Bush might or might not have actually used the word imminant, but he sure as hell painted a picture of imminance. And for some strange reason, to this day, nearly half the US population seems to think that Saddam had somehting to do with 9/11. Failure in presidential communication? Or exactly the impression he hoped to leave? Or maybe we really do have a 4% literacy rate....

The rest of your remarks are quite confusing. You seem on the one hand to claim that everything Kerry is proposing is already being done. And yet you claim that Kerry has a "stupid" plan - but at least it is "funny". Well gee - kinda reminds me of the claims that Kerry is a finger-in-the-wind man of no principals, and a committed liberal at the same time. I guess when you are in attack mode the details arent important, just the attitude.

Yes I know of Gen. Petreaus. Literate people back here have had quite a lot to read about him, and the general sentiments about him are in line with your feelings. I wish him well. There was, by coincidence, a front page story about his work in the NYT today. Check it out. See if maybe he could be helped out by a change in the ranks above him (if ya know what I mean...).
Speeding up the process does not necessarily mean what you seem to think it means.

And in the end you seem to think that Kerry will do as well as Bush, by relying on the excellent people, especially the military, to do their job. Well, I understand your point, and respect your honesty about that. But that conveniently overlooks the crucial issue. Obviously Kerry would be working with the same people, once you get a few levels down. It is the president himself, and the political appointees who have screwed things up, to the extent that they are screwed up. And Kerry, I think, will do HIS job better, as will his assistants.

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 01:53 PM

Tano,

"Bush might or might not have actually used the word imminant, but he sure as hell painted a picture of imminance."

I guess we could say that your comment was fake but accurate?

Posted by: WichitaBoy at September 20, 2004 02:00 PM

Tano,

I can definitely see how my last post perplexed you a bit. I didn't quite understand some of it myself- I'll never claim to be the world's best writer. But I think you got the jist of my point- the reality is that we will prevail regardless of who sits in the cushy office. I believe that Kerry's efforts to differentiate himself are often "funny," sometimes "stupid," and almost always entertaining. As far as I'm concerened, it's pure showmanship and right now it reeks of desperation. Politicians do it on both sides, and I've come to expect it.

My intense dislike for Kerry has to do with who he is as a person. If I thought he'd do a better job than Bush, I'd still vote for him. I don't think he will. You do. Fair enough. I did not know that the NY Times ran a story about Petreaus today- I hope they were fair about it. They're not my most trusted source by any means.

Posted by: $lick at September 20, 2004 02:13 PM

For those interested, here is the NYT article:

http://nytimes.com/2004/09/20/politics/20army.html

and Kerry's speech:

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2004_0920.html

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 02:20 PM

Michael, excellent article, fair, complete and nuanced (in reality as JFKerry is allegedly) If we ended up with a Democrat in the WH, you think that the end result of the WOT will be the same? I can't make that stretch. Kerry will not get my vote, but you knew that already didn't you?

Posted by: GMRoper at September 20, 2004 02:28 PM

I went to read it, but it tried to make me register. I absolutely refuse to support that publication, so I'll have to read it later. Thanks for pointing it out.

And I encourage anyone to check out the Kerry speech as well- it's laugh-out-loud ridiculous!

It's almost 1 am. Time for bed....

Posted by: $lick at September 20, 2004 02:31 PM

I find nothing reassuring in "just as tough but smarter and faster" sloganeering. Odd but after all this campaigning we come down to a Kerry who now says he would have done the exact same thing as Bush only better. How? By feeling up our allies. Are the allies we have to be shunted to the side as we lick after France, Germany, and Russia? The man is living in the past. Can he really be so enamored with the UN, EU and NATO as not to see their faults and weaknesses? Even Clinton sidelined them when it came to the Balkans. No, I agree with $lick. Thank god for "boots on the ground reporting" or we would all be investing in Iranian electric plants and reliving Carterism with disastrous results.

Posted by: Kim at September 20, 2004 02:48 PM

$lick,
Registration at the NYT doesnt put a penny in their coffers, dont worry.
I think that they have 2 of the best journalists covering Iraq - John Burns, and Dexter Filkins. Of course, thats my opinion. But I have heard the same sentiment from conservative war-supporters.

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 02:52 PM

"Odd but after all this campaigning we come down to a Kerry who now says he would have done the exact same thing as Bush only better. How?"

No Kim. He would not have done the same thing. The speech is about what to do now. And the options there are pretty stark. Cut and run, which he will not do. Or follow the general course now laid out, but do it smarter.

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 02:54 PM

Pretty Stark? Really? If you would, outline them as you understand them.

Posted by: Kim at September 20, 2004 03:04 PM

Good Job!

It is obvious the article is not a defense of Kerry but more a defense of the Democratic Party and the advantages (possible ones) in them holding the Presidency. I take it in that light and view it as not only a fair take, but an important exercise to make. First, I loathe John Kerry, am disillusioned with the Democratic Party and that should be said for honesty's sake, however if he were to win then you do paint the scenario that one like myself would hope it would come to be. Obviously this is very wishful and I’m sure you would somewhat agree that the outcome of such scenario is very shaky, certainly one I would never roll my dice on. To me it is akin to using "Nixon goes to China" as a model for believing in such possibilities. The problem with that is not very many Republicans could even have done what Nixon did. Nixon’s flaws are obvious and need not be rehashed here, but make no mistake he was a Political genius, Kerry is not.

I do feel you gave short shrift to one critical point, the different natures of each Party’s base. This is where such shows of such faith go against reason (at least as presented). Ed Koch knows the base of the Democratic Party as do I. For years I worked on the inside for Democrats through much of the 1980’s and 1990’s, make no mistake, the stomach/resolve for the fight is just not there. Michael..

if such resolve was there then I never would have left!

if I thought the Democrats could be fixed in one election cycle I never would have left!

if the willingness to view the WOT by Democrats was in the same long term light as the Cold War was by Republicans (and Pre-Vietnam Democrats then) I never would have left!

if the Democrats weren’t so willing to blame the United States for the World’s ills thenI never would have left!

Michael you are more then a decade younger then I and while this does not necessarily make me wiser or smarter it does give me more memories of the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. I believe you have unwittingly at times displayed a blind spot concerning the significance of such histories as you opine to move on and leave those days behind. Michael I respect your intellectual ability to weigh through the issues at hand but I think your casting of such a sane light onto the Democratic base is a pipedream. Michael, I applaud you for your sanity, the collective base does not share that sanity.

When Ed Koch was in Congress back during the Vietnam War he was an ultra-liberal on everything except he was an unabashed hawk then as now. He was reviled and spit upon then not by Republicans but Democrats! Thirty years later it is the same. The opposition to war by Republicans was token by comparison in the 1990’s. Some Republican challenges were stupid, no doubt, but much is what one would expect from a legitimate loyal opposition. People closer to leadership like Bob Dole and John McCain were supportive. Most criticism had to do more with Clinton’s obvious unwillingness to be up front with the time and effort involved and with us bombing from 10,000 feet unwilling to put boots on the ground. But the biggest reality is the Republican Party base never would be putting on the public displays many Democrats are. I was in NYC at the Republican Convention (a first for me). The collective anti-war crowd demonstrating was one of the most disgusting vile groups of self-centered bigots I have ever seen.

Bottom line if economic and social issues were prescient to me I would still be a Democrat. People who say the WOT trumps all who vote for Kerry in my opinion don’t believe the War is that dangerous or just use justifications in their reasoning I just don’t buy.

Michael, over a year ago I was reading Andrew Sullivan and was directed to this and other liberal war bloggers sites. I was a Democrat then and quietly read for months before I ever commented. I greatly appreciate what you do, and thank you. In the end this site and Roger L. Simon’s site is what I ended up following for as a Democrat (now former) it was by far where I was most comfortable. You and he were and still are the best. At first I followed your site more (about 80% and Roger’s 20%) it is now about reversed, that is no criticism of you, it more reflects the nature of my change over the last year. The age difference between myself and Roger is about the same as you and I. I do feel his much harder display of cynicism towards Democrats and their approach to the WOT, is quite obvious. While it may reflect some differences in personality and preference, I also can’t help but believe his having lived the 60’s 70’s and 80’s gives him a more realistic perspective of the political realities as they exist between the Parties. You said you may vote for Kerry, Roger wouldn’t even consider it. I am in that camp.

Andrew Sullivan, the man who introduced me to you, has turned to Kerry and merely shows that social issues are of rising importance to him, that isn’t criticism, it is reality and his choice. Any rationalizations by him of Kerry as a War President are very much combinations of reasoning, some twisted some not, loaded with wishful thinking. Voting for Kerry when long term resolve in the WOT is what one desires takes reasoning, justification and distortion of logic I will never buy.

Michael, I look forward to the case for Bush the Liberal, it will require much less distortion of logic in my opinion, we will see.

Posted by: Samuel at September 20, 2004 03:16 PM

"both the hawkish and pacifist wings of the Democratic Party"

The hawkish wing? There's barely a hawkish feather!

Posted by: Silicon Valley Jim at September 20, 2004 04:05 PM

$lick NYT laexaminer login, laexaminer password. I don't rightly remember who started it but it's ages old.

Posted by: Kim at September 20, 2004 04:10 PM

Kim,

Ken Layne started it...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 20, 2004 05:19 PM

Michael,

You write quite well but even you must realize that there is no hawkish case for John Kerry. We have been through this before. The man is a cypher. It's inconceivable to me that he will exhibit strong and resolute leadership and ignore the pull of public and pundit opinion. That's even assuming he would be inclined to win this war. Nothing he or any of the mainstream Democrats have said leads me to believe they understand what we are up against. They have made common cause with the "detentists" of the Republican party and the apeaser diplomatic class. Bush's greatest failure (if this can truly be laid at his feet) has been his inability to rally a clear majority of the country to his vision of this war. It will be his major task if he gets a second term. The war on terror must survive the end of the Bush presidency. Right now I am convinced it will be extinguished to our ultimate peril. You have not made a hawkish case for John Kerry but to be fair, such a case is impossible to make. I think you will do better with your second essay.

Posted by: Doug at September 20, 2004 05:45 PM

Samuel,

Your path is very similar to my own. While I am an independent, I was for a long-time a reliable Democratic voter who never questioned that Democrats and liberals were smarter and more evolved than the "neanderthal" conservatives.

The events of the '80s provided my first inkling that a willingness to confront enemies was not necessarily "warmongering" and that "negotiations" did not necessarily lead to peace, but were sometimes merely a tactic for gaining military advantage over an adversary. Reagan was on the wrong side of almost every one of my issues, but his tenure ended with the US resurgent and the Soviet bloc slowly opening to democratization. By the time the Berlin Wall came down, I realized that the left and its widely popular notion of a nuclear freeze would not have accomplished this. "Peace through strength" was not an empty slogan after all - it had actually worked.

George W. Bush's leadership in the WOT recalls Reagan's in many ways, though obviously there are major differences in style and eloquence. By contrast, Kerry is a throwback to the defeatism of the 1970s, and I fear his ascendence to power would signal a major retreat in this critical war, at a time when we need to be resolute.

What I will say in favor of Michael's argument is that the country needs to choose the tone of leadership, and the chosen leader needs to respond accordingly. I agree with you about the evolution of the Democratic party - it does not have the collective will to fight this war, but if they take on the responsibility of leadership, they must step up to the task or risk being banished from power for decades to come.

I think John Kerry is vain, weak, indecisive and insincere. Michael had his work cut out for him making the case that he and his party would be effective leaders in a time of war. Kerry's approach to Iraq would almost certainly echo our ignominious retreat from Viet Nam. I also agree with you that a significant portion of the Democratic base will see this as a moral victory.

But most of the country will not, and I expect many principled Democrats would join with Republicans to prevent our headlong slide into pacifism. In the meantime, Kerry and his party would have to decide whether they are willing to lead or simply follow the UN lead. If the latter, they will be done for a good long time. I think they know this.

Posted by: PurpleStater at September 20, 2004 05:56 PM

Mr. Totten, this has got to hurt right now:

Kerry Says He Wouldn't Have Ousted Saddam

NEW YORK (AP) - Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry said Monday he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he been in the White House, and he accused President Bush of "stubborn incompetence," dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment.

Reminds me of The Wrath Of Khan with Bush as Kirk and Kerry as Khan. "Like a poor marksman you keep missing the target."

Damn, I'm not sure I like where that takes me...

Posted by: Mark Poling at September 20, 2004 06:16 PM

Mark,
I hope this puts to rest the old "liberal media" bugaboo. Anyone who listened to, or read the speech and could write that headline,,,,Well, lets just say that the line clearly came directly from the WH - since that is, by no coincidence, the spin they were running with this afternoon.

And "staking out new ground"????
Of course what Kerry said was no different from the standard line of most everyone - even most Republicans. If the truth of the no WMD were known, and the truth of the no al-Q connections were known, then there would have been no war.

Kerry phrased his remark as a rhetorical question to Bush. Let me ask you for your answer.

"Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq?"

Whaddaya say?

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 06:51 PM

PurpleStater

First I agree much with of the hopes in Michael's well written article, with a Kerry Presidency I would hope such scenario would unfold. However I also believe such is extreme wishful thinking and my genie just informed me I am fresh out of wishes. In fairness Michael pretty much put forth disclaimers alluding to the stretching involved in his analysis.

As far as me not being independent I have my reasons. If I were single, not from Washington D.C., and clear of political ties I absolutely needed to break from, I probably would be as well. I am Jewish and come from a family with no known Republicans. They also carry extreme prejudicial views of Republicans. I wanted to “force the issue” as I came to have a more humanized view of Republicans. By me becoming one I have forced my family to deal with much they have avoided for years. Pat Buchanan has been out of the Party for years yet they still see it as the party of Pat Buchanan. Most have not handled my change well, but they are coming around. Of course the “Neo-con” label was hurled at me by one of my brothers early on, (actually that was before my change in party affiliation but after I declared Bush a decent guy and declared support for deposing Saddam). It has knocked down important walls and while I am still liberal on many issues, I am now more free to speak up for what I consider to be important issues today espoused by the Republicans such as School Choice and partial privatization of Social Security, it is amazing what tearing down that wall did for me. The most important purpose it served was to influence my own children to not carry on with such prejudices because now one of their Parents is a Republican, as such they have Parents of a “mixed marriage” if you will. In truth being a moderate Republican in suburban America just isn’t that difficult, however walking this world choosing to keep one eye blind to the realities of other Party’s legitimate arguments does lead to unnecessary difficulties. While I find flaws in the base of both political parties, I find the flaw in the Democratic base to be fatal.

Posted by: Samuel at September 20, 2004 06:56 PM

I say if you think the AP has a conservative bias, you're living on a different planet than me.

As to answering your question, yep: I would have supported Iraq War 2 even knowing there were no WMDs. The critical point of the Bush Doctrine is that if you wait until the threat is imminent, you've screwed up. It's why some of us are deeply unhappy that we aren't putting the screws to Iran right now.

Not to waste too much of the host's bandwidth, if you really want to know what I think click here and here and here.

Sticking with the Wrath of Khan theme though:

Revenge is a dish best served cold. It is very cold in space.

I know, I'm flip-flopping with my characters...

Posted by: Mark Poling at September 20, 2004 07:11 PM

Events in Darfur should be a reminder to all of us why we cannot wait until threats become imminent. Arab (Islamic fascist) militants(?) are razing Sudan as we speak. I can no longer accept the premise that we wait like we waited these past decades because the United Nations forced us to oblige in this corrupt, anti-humane organization's policies.

We are far beyond the point of imminent threats, they are already here!

Kerry cannot be trusted to lead this war against Islamic Fascism since he is in complete denial of the reality that this ideology of death and distruction exists. Kerry believing that somehow the UN will bring peace and goodwill around the world is pure fantasy and his delusions are not helping to clarify to the clueless that this war in ON!

Furthermore, I have no intention of investing in Eurabia anytime in the near future.

Posted by: syn at September 20, 2004 07:11 PM

Syn,
The UN is not an organization with policies, when it comes to matters like this. It is a forum for the enfranchised powers in which to conduct their diplomacy. Action or inaction in any particular crisis is not in any way a function of the opinions, policies, powers, or authority of Kofi or his staff. It is wholly decided by the voting members of the Security Council.

But you knew that didnt you?

Posted by: Tano at September 20, 2004 07:39 PM

Tano,

I hope this puts to rest the old "liberal media" bugaboo.

Dream on. That bugaboo is all fired up on amphetamines and dancing the jitterbug thanks to Max Cleland, Joe Lockhart, Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, CBS, the DNC and the Nixon - er, I mean Kerry - campaign:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=694&u=/ap/20040921/ap_on_el_pr/cbs_guard_kerry_1&printer=1

Posted by: HA at September 20, 2004 07:49 PM

Here we go again...Kerry voted to authorize Bush to take military action against Iraq. Bush said many times his mind was not made up to invade. Go read Kerry's statement when he voted in favor. It's basically what he's saying today. Just because he voted to authorize Bush does not mean he can't criticize the mess that Bush made.

Yes, yes, I know. I actually thought about adding that as a caveat. I realize that what he now says is that he merely was giving the President the authority to go to war but that he didn't really want him to do it. It was all supposed to be a collosal bluff, or something. Only when Kerry himself explains it it sounds a zillion times more convoluted and tortured than the way you said it or the way I said it. Micky Kaus pointed this problem out way back in the primaries: Kerry campigns like a Senator; He justifies his votes. The "I voted for it before I voted against it" etc. might be acceptable in a senate campaign, where the voters understand that there are pressures from other Senators, riders later added to bills that you don't agree with etc. but to campaign for President you can't campaign as a vote-justifier. The President makes the final, binding decision. Retroactively justifying your Senate votes when you're trying to become President seems like you're saying you'll pass the buck as President.

Also, what he's saying now, as in right now, as in his straightforwardly peacenik speech at NYU today seemed to be a bit different. Though recently he's said that he would vote the same way, even knowing what he knows now, today he seemed to be saying that there were no circumstances whatsoever under which he would have gone to war with Saddam Hussein, which would seems to mean that he's now, finally, somewhat straightforwardly repudiating the original vote. Though Lord knows, I could be wrong.

The fact of the matter is that Kerry is an unbelievably weak candidate. The Democrats thought, when casualties in Iraq were at their highest in the Spring and Bush's approval rate was at its lowest, that they simply needed to beat down Bush and present a viable, sober-seeming alternative, which is why they chose Kerry instead of Dean. They thought they could simply add those who were dissatisfied with Bush to the rabid ABBers and win by proffering an empty suit. What they didn't realize, and still don't realize is that there is significant, real anti-Kerry sentiment, not just anti-Democrat but anti-Kerry. My friend Judith (Yehudit) runs a recurring "Anybody but Kerry" feature on her blog. I am very nearly an "ABK" voter myself. Though Bush has more outright supporters than Kerry does, a large part of pro-Bush sentiment is really anti-Kerry sentiment (though of course the reverse is true to a much greater degree). Andrew Sullivan thinks this terrible, but I think it's probably true in just about any direction. People posit other "dream" candidates like McCain and Giuliani and say they would have more outright support, but I'm sure in the harsh light of reality they would have just as many flaws.

And Michael, you should really look at Kerry's speech today. It undermines the usefulness of the hawkish case for Kerry, even as a thought experiment.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at September 20, 2004 08:23 PM

Andrew Sullivan thinks this terrible, but I think it's probably true in just about any direction.

Was supposed to read: Andrew Sullivan thinks this is terrible, but I think it's probably true in just about any election.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at September 20, 2004 08:26 PM

Samuel,

I would happily identify as a Republican if I felt that the party represented me. I certainly feel that the GOP of today does so more than the party of ten years ago, but its social conservatism is a dealbreaker for me. I can respect it in principles, but there is a mean-spiritedness to it, as was on display with the Federal Marriage Amendment. I can understand why some on the right felt the need to head off judcial activism, but the version of the FMA that went up for a vote (and failed) was worded in such a way as to not only place marriage off-limits to gay people, but to also close off any possibility of comparable arrangements under another name. This was not even "separate but equal" - it was a cynical gratuitous attempt to write discrimination into the Constitution to pander to the most virulently anti-gay segment of the GOP's base.

On the other hand, the Republicans understand the war we're in and the Democrats do not. As a Jew, I appreciate that George W. Bush and his party now seem to understand that Israel's fight against terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah is no different from our fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Since we are talking about the survival of the civilization that protects the liberal values I hold near and dear, I have to throw my support behind them. Like Ron Silver, the actor who spoke at the Republican convention, I am ready to vote the Republicans back into office on November 2nd, then spend the next four years opposing much of their social agenda. And I can always hope that in 2008 I can wholeheartedly support a run by McCain or Giuliani.

In the meantime, I agree it's a bit lonely being a Bush supporter among friends and family who are mostly Democrats. People look at you like you've lost your mind. And you wonder how they can be so blind to the horror that is gathering around the world that they can be furiously trying to undermine the president and party who are determined to defeat it.

Posted by: PurpleStater at September 20, 2004 08:46 PM

Michael,

I've reached the point where I like the fact that Bush makes the Dems crazeee. Why? Because I want those suckers to lose bad. I want them crushed. I want the party to break up and dissolve. The PC nonsense, the speech restrictions, the elitism, the careerism, the archaic Marxist superstitions, the pessimism, the brain rotted MSM. Gone! I want all of it ... Gone.

I say this as an ex Democrat too disgusted to see straight.

By the way, you didn't talk much about Kerry. Not much there, is there.

Posted by: chuck at September 20, 2004 08:51 PM

Michael,

I've reached the point where I like the fact that Bush makes the Dems crazeee. Why? Because I want those suckers to lose bad. I want them crushed. I want the party to break up and dissolve. The PC nonsense, the speech restrictions, the elitism, the careerism, the archaic Marxist superstitions, the pessimism, the brain rotted MSM. Gone! I want all of it ... Gone----Chuck

A man after my own heart.EXACTLY what I feel.Rotted out at the core all that now remains is the Potemkin facade to deceive the passer-bys.

Posted by: dougf at September 20, 2004 09:06 PM

Michael:

As you noted, cranks on both side of the aisle held Bush and Clinton's lack of combat experience against them during Iraq and Kosovo, respectively. War critics won't be able to make that argument with Kerry, but they will be able to say something far worse:

Consider this, which of the following statements sounds more damning:

1. George Bush, who shirked his duty to his country during Vietnam, now expects our young people to lay down their lives for the defense of the nation Bush wouldn't defend when he had the opportunity

OR

2. John Kerry, after accusing the brave young veterans who risked their lives to defend this country of rape, torture, dismemberment, genocide and other war crimes, and who consorted with the enemy of the United States, and who's activities led to our brave young soldiers being ostracised and spat on upon their return, now wants to send another generation of young soldiers into combat without the full backing of this country so that another generation of anti-war protestors will accuse them of rape, torture, dismemberment, etc.

Even if your right that most liberals (with the exception of the leftist cranks like Chomsky, Moore, et al.) backed the War on Terror if led by Kerry, his Vietnam-era radicalism will lend a credibility to said cranks they would not otherwise have.

Posted by: Sean P at September 20, 2004 09:53 PM

What they didn't realize, and still don't realize is that there is significant, real anti-Kerry sentiment, not just anti-Democrat but anti-Kerry.

Yup. There are a lot of veterans out there who remember VVAW and Winter Soldier.

Posted by: rosignol at September 20, 2004 10:13 PM

PurpleStater

You are not going to get much argument from me on the social issues aspect. I jokingly said to my brother, every time a person like myself, Ed Koch, or Ron Silver jumps on board, another Pat Buchanan Republican type jumps off in disgust... ok by me! That being said the mean bigot stereotype laid on Republicans doesn't carry water for me anymore because the Party polices itself. When David Duke ran as a Republican, the Republican Party declared for Republicans to not support him, also Trent Lott was cast aside. Unfortunately the opposite is true with the Democrats as the bigots are feeling increasingly more welcome on the left. Anti-Semitism is much more acceptable to the left, and as Ed Koch says any Jew who can’t see that George W. Bush is the best friend Israel has ever had in the Oval office is as blind as a bat. Al Sharpton spoke at the Democratic convention and Robert Byrd gets passes from Democrats the Republicans would never give these days, it will come home to roost I’m sure. Republicans are dehumanized so all is fair game call them bigots, mean, racists, etc.

No I don’t agree with Social Conservatives on much, but your implying meanness is a simplistic rejection for an issue with complex underpinnings, accusations as such I find counterproductive and reject. I actually had prepared more to say but instead will say that compromises never come with people you disagree with by declaring them mean.

Posted by: Samuel at September 20, 2004 10:46 PM

Samuel,

People closer to leadership like Bob Dole and John McCain were supportive.

Hell, I thought Clinton was going to have a nervous breakdown. The man wobbled like jello. For a while there it felt like McCain was de facto president.

Posted by: chuck at September 20, 2004 11:01 PM

MICHAEL...

Okay, before I give you my take on your article let me tell you a short little story about something that happened to me earlier today. I'm on the Kerry mailing list. Well, they send me an email today that's a written copy of the BIG foreign policy speech he just gave at NYU. I read it and I'm quite frankly thinking, "This is damn near everything I've been waiting to hear from John Kerry. It's tough. It's straight-forward. It's unequivocal. It's far more detailed than anything he's proposed before. And it's not about Vietnam." It's seriously a fucking awesome speech, man. I'm hearing it outloud in my head as I'm reading it and thinking, "He finally found his voice, it's about time."

Then I went and watched the video of it and wanted to cry. At the end of the day, it's a fantastic speech in the hands of a tremendously boring and uninspired speaker. The voice in my head gave the best speech I've heard in a very very long time. Well, John Kerry sucked the life out of it. He sucked the life out of a speech that even I could have hit out of the park. I'm happy he said the things he did because that's what really matters, but I realized that, given the chance, I'm never going to love President Kerry. I've been in relationships like that before, ironically, and that's the best metaphor for it: Early on you realize the person you're with is a-ok and it's alot of fun but that it'll never be any more than that. You look at that person one day and you realize something and say to yourself, "I enjoy being with this person but I'll never fall in love with them."

Everyone I know who supports him tends to see into the guy what they want to and love him for it. I was painfully reminded today that, though I support him as well, he's still effing John Kerry and nothing more. I could fall in love with a President McCain (though it would be rocky) or a President Edwards, but not a President Kerry. It's a really depressing and sad thing to come to terms with if you're a Dem, which brings me to your article..........

I'll be voting for the Democratic Party, just like you alluded to, and not so much John Kerry. I'll be (hopefully) putting John Kerry into The White House because:

1) I think he'd be better for America than George Bush.

2) I think it would be better for the Democratic Party to not be a Party that vents on the sidelines. I long for that bucket of ice-cold realism you speak of.

You make the case for this extremely well. That it will empower the mainstream libs and bitch slap the radicals, and that it's in the best interests of America for that to happen. That it will open the Dems' eyes to the discrace that is the UN and possibly return them to the path they were on during the 90s. That it will kill the irrational antiwar movement (of which you do a great job defining as a non-political symptom of out-of-power-syndrome and nothing more). And that, most importantly of all, we'll have someone in the White House with the political capital to rally the country and world to War if need be. In that last department, I don't really know how much more international support John Kerry could bring to the table. Alot of the UN contries are beyond hope. But I know he'll be able to bring more than George W. Bush will, and that does matter.

America, by herself, can't win a Global War. To think otherwise is to fall into the imperial trap that every other fallen empire has fallen into before us. I think George Bush is taking us down this path. It's probably good for the short-term that he is. It means we'll be able to go after the people we need to go after with the full force and strength of our military arsenal. That is unquestionably a good thing, for the short-term. In the long-term, it will be our undoing.

Thus, I am voting for John Kerry on November 4th.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 21, 2004 01:28 AM

Oh, and PS...

Kudos on linking to the Hudson Institute. I didn't even follow the link. I have no idea what the article is about. I don't care, quite frankly. I just think it's cool you did that.

The Hudson Institute, up until just a few months ago, was located in Indianapolis. The Political Science Student Association at my school, of which I am now the President by the way, used to hold movie nights there. The last one we held was the Battle of Algiers. It's a big old mansion. Really cool place. Too bad for the Hudson people that they won't get to enjoy it anymore. Luckily enough, we still will. Another think tank bought it up and retained the elements of the staff that let us hang out there.

We'll be showing the original Manchurian Candidate, soon. Probably next Thursday night.

Anyway, kudos. And a shoutout to all my Naptown peeps.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 21, 2004 01:35 AM

I think it's funny what Samuel was getting at up there, a little while ago. Funny but totally right.

Samuel is a moderate who leans to the right. I'm a moderate who leans to the left. When he talks about getting onboard with the Republicans how the loony Rightists jump off, I see alot of myself in that and wish him the best of luck.

I get onboard with the Dems to hopefully move them in a more muscular direction abroad and for every hawk like myself getting on there is a pacifist-nutjob-wimp jumping ship. Good for me. Good for America. Samuel gets onboard and drives the fascist-Buchananites away, marginalizing them as well. Again, good for America. One party gets a tougher foreign policy and the other a more tolerant disposition towards people different from them. Hooray!

Party politics is a funny thing. But it works.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 21, 2004 02:07 AM

PURPLE STARTER...

Please, be a Republican. I beg of you. If the FMA offends you at your core, get onboard and try to change that. Don't cop out and be an "independent". The logic of this is simple. If you agree with the Republicans the majority of the time on a majority of the BIG issues that are important to you, be a Republican.

Samuel has it right. For every socially tolerant person like yourself who gets onboard there is one who jumps off. Next time there's a chance to try and push something hugely offensive to you like the FMA, the Republican leadership will take inventory beforehand of who's onboard and who isn't and if there's enough of you socially-tolerant-types, they just might think twice about it.

In other words, it drives you away from the Republican Party when they charge hard to the Right on social issues. Well, the only way to stop them from doing that is to try and do something about it and the only way you can do something about it is by being onboard and being as active as you possibly can be. It doesn't mean you have to vote for every fascistic prick the GOP churns out. It means you can be a proud Republican in the spirit of Barry Goldwater and try and stop the pricks from getting nominated in the first place. If you want to stop the Republican Party from pushing FMA-type stuff because that's not how you define "conservatism", you've got to get Karl Rove's attention and to get Karl Rove's attention you've got to be a Republican. It's that simple.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 21, 2004 02:37 AM

Grant,

Thus, I am voting for John Kerry on November 4th.

You will regret that vote if Kerry wins.

Every disaster that Kerry would bring down on this country will be in part your responsibility. How can you possibly vote for someone who has actively interfered in the Australian election and undermined one of our most important alliances in a time of war?

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,10797507%255E2703,00.html

When our allies rush for the exit in Iraq so they won't be the last one out, I will remind you of your responsiblity.

When all the unnamed allies with their imaginary armies fail to show up in Iraq as promised by Kerry, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

When Kerry cuts and runs from Iraq, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

When the bloodbath starts in Iraq, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

When Saudia Arabia and Pakistan return to supporting terrorists with impugnity, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

When Iran starts testing nukes, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

When NK starts testing nukes, I'll remind you of your responsbility.

When China attacks Taiwan, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

When the global conflagration starts, I'll remind you of your responsibility.

Posted by: HA at September 21, 2004 03:08 AM

Grant,

Isn't there anything in Kerry's past that you see as an absolute disqualification for the presidency regardless of how you feel about other issues?

Let's consider an analogy. If in the middle of the Italian campaign, Audie Murphy had been discharged from active duty, but while still in uniform travelled to Paris, met with Nazi officials, returned to the US, joined a domestic Nazi affiliated organization and travelled the country advocating unconditional acceptence of the Nazi terms of surrender using Nazi authored propoganda, and then 30 years later ran for president, would you vote for him?

Of course you wouldn't. And how is Kerry's record any different than my Audie Murphy analogy? It isn't. Substitute Kerry for Murphy, Vietnam for Italy and Communist for Nazi and you would descibe EXACTLY what Kerry did after he returned from Vietnam.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=15127

How can you vote for someone who did this? How can you look past what Kerry did? Kerry's activities cannot be dismissed as trivial youthful indiscretions. Millions of people were slaughtered. Millions of people were displaced. Millions of people were enslaved. All of these tragedies took place as a direct result of Kerry's actions.

And Kerry has never repudiated the actions he took part in in 1971. On the contrary, his entire congressional career is an affirmation of the views he held then.

How on earth can you possibly vote for this man?

Posted by: HA at September 21, 2004 04:02 AM

Nice breakdown, HA. I agree with most of what you say, but I'm not willing to paint as extreme a gloom-and-doom picture if Kerry wins. I can definitely see your line of thinking, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you're right about most or all of your dire predictions. As I've said before, I believe the USA will prevail no matter who gets in the White House. However, as you are more than aware, it certainly would be a tougher road if Kerry takes the helm.

I'm a life-long Liberatarian and never cared much for politics until recently. I think it was Michael Moore who really inspired me to get active. I honestly believe that if Osama bin Laden had concocted a plan to send an American-looking terrorist to infiltrate our ranks and poison the minds of our people, he'd never find anyone who could do a better job for him than Mihael Moore. I've got dozens of examples why I believe this but I'll spare the details. I've never voted for a Republican or a Democrat before, but this year I'm voting for Bush. Not sure exactly what caused me to make that choice, but I'm certain that the WoT is the most important issue out there right now. And the most important battle of that war is being fought right now in Iraq. Perhaps it's because I've seen the face of our enemy over there. The twisted blend of hatred, rage, and absolute disgust for human life affected me in a way that I could never explain. Perhaps it's because I've seen such innocent expressions of hope in the eyes of improvished Iraqi children who simply don't understand that their very future is now in a toss-up between forces of good and evil. There is no doubt in my mind that a US "regime change" would be percieved by the terrorist community as the single biggest victory in the history of their struggle. They would begin to believe that vitory (whatever that means to them) is truly possible. It would also send a crippling message to our troops who are fighting this war, our allies, and of course the people of Iraq. This wouldn't mean the end for us, but it would be an awful step backward, and I'm not willing to take that step.

Thus, I am (for the first time in my life) voting for a Republican on November 4th.

Posted by: $lick at September 21, 2004 04:14 AM

$lick,

I agree with most of what you say, but I'm not willing to paint as extreme a gloom-and-doom picture if Kerry wins.

If Kerry wins, he will be under tremendous pressure to cut and run. George Soros, Michael Moore, MoveOn and the rest of that ilk literally have billions of dollars between them to finance a propaganda campaign to demand our withdrawal.

Kerry has said this is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sounds like Kerry is saying Iraq was a mistake. How will John Kerry ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

He won't. He'll cut and run. Our allies know this so they'll run first. Then Kerry will run. And disaster will follow.

Four years is going to seem like a long time if Kerry wins. My only hope is that the Republicans have the balls to demand an independent counsel to investigate Kerry's activities back in 1971 and impeach him if it is determined that Kerry committed any crimes.

Posted by: HA at September 21, 2004 04:40 AM

Kim- big thanks for the NYT login tip.

Tano- I read the article, and the NY Times spin was, as always, quite familiar. They are very quick to confuse the reader between the "paper organization" and the "reality-on-the-ground organization." They use facts to support an underlying negative assumption, when the reality is that those same facts ACTUALLY support a positive reality. I'll break it down for you:

Only 260 out of 600 positions are currently filled.

Sounds awful, right? Now throw in some quotes from democrats and anti-Bush folks- "this is OUTRAGEOUS! Don't they UNDERSTAND how important this mission is? This administration is corrupt!"

Now for the reality- yes, when LTG Petreaus started his new job in June, he assessed the mission, and drew up an organization fill requirement. He made it out to be about 600 people strong, having no doubt in his mind that fewer than 200 would suffice in the short term. Typically, something like this would go through a bureaucratic nightmare machine that would take about 2 years to turn his piece of paper into reality. With Iraqi elections coming up, 2 years was not an option. So what does he do? Easy- he demands immediate resourcing and he gets it.

GEN Myers says "OK, David. You drew up your requirement fill list, and we'll get you the perminent staff that you requested as fast as humanly possible. It usually takes about 2 years, but we'll get it through in about 5 months. In the meantime, WHAT DO YOU NEED RIGHT NOW?" Petreaus tells him what he needs, and Myers gets it to him. One perfect example of this- Myers gave him one of his own lawyers! Many of the 290 staffers that Petreaus now has came from MY headquarters right here in Kuwait. They were already in the area, they had the required background to fill the slots, and we could afford to lose them for a while. Most large headquarters can afford to trim plenty of fat, especially for a 5-month spell. Our workload increased a little sure- we're now 300 people doing the work of what was once 450 people. So each guy puts in another hour a day- big deal. It has no effect on our performance, and we don't mind the sacrifice. Those 290 people working for Petreaus are really busting their butts right now, but it's only for about 5 months- no sweat. When the rest of the folks arrive in October/November, they'll work more reasonable hours and all will be well. We've all surged before- it's certainly nothing new for us. I will be the first to tell you- Petreaus gets whatever he wants. If he asked for another 100 troops right now, he'd get them. He determined that 290 would be enough until his fill requirements get in, so that's that. He got all the equipment he asked for, and he gets first priority for all staff actions in theater. Notice the article didn't quote HIM as saying that he was understaffed or underequipped. It's because he's getting everything he wants, and he knows it.

What about this Frederick D. Barton guy? The one who says that there's no sense of urgency in this adminstration, as established by the fact that the Pentagon is taking almost 25% of the time it normally takes to stand up a new organization? I suppose next-day service is the better answer here? I'm guessing he never served. What he's implying is that 600 soldiers from around the world should just be ripped away from their families, sent into the desert, and perform a job for which they've never been trained inno time flat. Not only is that COMPLETELY screwing the soldiers- it's a recipe for disaster. You can always tell when a politician or political pundit is trying to fool you with military smokescreens when they say "Look at them- they're SO screwed up!" without offering an alternative plan. "Do it faster" doesn't count. If I were that reporter, I'd ask "Mr. Barton, what is the process being used to fill these positions right now, and how would you propose they make it better or faster?" But you don't see anyone asking hat question, do you?

What's actually happening is that the 600 soldiers are being notified of an impending deployment (get your things in order and say goodbye to the family), brought together and molded into a viable working organization, and readying themselves for the task at hand. It's happening much faster than any of them would like, but they'll be troopers about it- they always are. In the meantime, Petreaus gets the job done with the people he has currently on hand. It's called reality, and no administration would accomplish this stuff any better or worse than another.

The premise of the article was sound- LTG Petreaus has a lot to do and time is critical. But the negative spin was clearly evident and not well-founded. What he should have written about was "Why didn't we see this coming? Why did we wait until June to create this new bigger headquarters and give it to a 3-star General?" This would be better story, because it would outline the mistakes that we as planners and intel-gatherers made before and even during the invasion. Nobody realized that we'd actually have to start rebuilding a security force completely from scratch, and how much work and resourcing that would entail. Our best intel and our best planners didn't see it coming. You can't blame a President or an administration for something like this, but you can certainly expect them to be honest and upfront about our failures. I think Bush did that, and I actually admired the way he "took one for the team" by claiming that HE had made a "miscalculation." Yeah right, George. As if you know the first thing about strategic or tactical war planning. We (the military) learned a valuable lesson here, and we'll be all the better for it as the WoT progresses...

Posted by: $lick at September 21, 2004 05:25 AM

My only hope is that the Republicans have the balls to demand an independent counsel to investigate Kerry's activities back in 1971 and impeach him if it is determined that Kerry committed any crimes.

That's right HA, if you can't get your way in the Polls, just impeach. You know if I said tripe like that about Bush, you'd call be a Left Wing radical. After all, one could say:

"My only hope is that the Democrats have the balls to demand an independent counsel to investigate Bush's activities back in 1971 and impeach him if it is determined that Bush committed any crimes (like disobeying orders)."

But, thats just Left Wing whining... right?

Welcome to the politics of the new century, where both parties whine like babies when they don't get their way.

Hypocrites.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at September 21, 2004 06:47 AM

It is amusing to watch HA and other nutjobs clamor for the reinstitution of the Alien and Sedition Act at the same time as conservative pundits like George Will and conservative Senators like Richard Lugar begin to echo those "traitors" in their public pronouncements.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A37083-2004Sep20.html

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 21, 2004 07:08 AM

Samuel,

No I don’t agree with Social Conservatives on much, but your implying meanness is a simplistic rejection for an issue with complex underpinnings, accusations as such I find counterproductive and reject. I actually had prepared more to say but instead will say that compromises never come with people you disagree with by declaring them mean.

You misunderstand me. I am not simplistically reducing my position on the GOP to name-calling - "they're a bunch of meanies" - only calling it as I see it on this one particular social issue. It was handled in a way that left no room for compromise, and went well beyond the stated goal of maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. That it failed in a Republican-dominated Senate demonstrates that the party as a whole is much more broad-minded, and actually tolerates dissent more readily than do the Democrats.

I am also well aware of the Democrats' tolerance of anti-semitism, not only from hucksters like Sharpton but also from supposedly "responsible" individuals like Ernest Hollings. The "Bush is in the thrall of the necons and the Israel lobby" meme runs rampant in the Democratic party, while the Republicans do police their ranks. It wasn't lost on me that when Trent Lott gave his tribute to Strom Thurmond, which could only be interpreted as nostalgia for the policies of segregation, the people who hammered him for it and called for his ouster were talk-radio hosts like Michael Medved and columnists for National Review. There is no comparable outrage on the left over people like Sharpton (whose invective resulted in murder of Jewish shopkeepers in Crown Heights). They are treated as credible candidates and the mainstream media goes along with the story (even Dennis Miller agreeably banters with Sharpton).

No political party is going to fit the positions of any one individual hand-in-glove. But good ideas come from smart people on both the right and the left, and I prefer to stand back and make my own call as to which ideas best address the needs of the time. In the '90s, it was the centrist Clinton Democrats to reform government and balance the budget. For this decade, it's the resolute Bush Republicans to fight the war on terror. Next decade? We'll see where we're at. I am less concerned with ideology than with who is qualified to lead and which ideas work.

Posted by: PurpleStater at September 21, 2004 07:20 AM

Tano
The UN is built upon the genocide of the innocent. This is the UN policy, allow for slaugther of the innocent worldwide, then blame the United States for not acting in time so that when the United States does act our actions are declared illegal.

Supporting the UN is supporting Genocidal Peace.
Annan is evil.

Posted by: syn at September 21, 2004 07:45 AM

Grant

A Kerry win would rip this country apart, if you think things are Vietnamized now, just wait until after his win. It doesn't matter because you can feel loyal having voted Democratic while Bush wins anyway because Kerry is going to lose by at least 5 points. If I were still a Democrat of your leanings I would be praying in my heart for a loss as I pull the lever for him.

In my state I have a Republican Senator (Warner) that is everything a Republican should be, he is moderate socially, avoids negative politics and voted against impeachment. He single-handedly kept Oliver North from winning the race for Senator, he refused to endorse him and dissed him publicly much to the dismay of Republicans. He is all the maverick John McCain is without the show-boating ill-tempered pomp. I stood in the voting booth and knew in my heart he deserved my vote yet was too damn yellow dog to pull the trigger. But I also took consolation in the fact he was going to win anyway. I had a chance to meet Senator Warner recently and apologized for that.

John Kerry hides what he truly believes, George Bush doesn't. Who the hell knows what Kerry in the end will do? His party base will have a pull on him that can’t be underestimated. You are right about PurpleStater, if every person who straddled his positions went ahead and joined the Republican Party, then it would have the critical weight on board to be different, their is too much polarization between the parties on social issues, and that is on both sides. I find it all rather disgusting but I will never lay blame overly to one side, both sides are too damn weighted to the extremes. In fact Democrats have lost their majority in congress based on one issue and one issue alone, abortion… Can Kerry reclaim pro-life Dems?

Moderation will only be achieved when the polarization is lessened. If people mentioned in the above article and “Big Government Social Conservatives” would stay with the Democrats, and people like PurpleStater to the Republicans, then the heat would be cooled off a bit. Both parties have problems on this count. Also an addendum too the following… America, by herself, can't win a Global War.

True, but America can lose Iraq and other critical battles within the Global War seeking to appease allies and especially the U.N.

Posted by: Samuel at September 21, 2004 07:57 AM

HA -- and who are you going to remind of their "responsibility" if what you insist will come to pass under Kerry -- Iran and North Korea with nukes, Taiwan under Beijing, Iraq in a "bloodbath" (!) -- in fact comes to pass under Bush?

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 21, 2004 08:02 AM

Samuel -- "In fact Democrats have lost their majority in congress based on one issue and one issue alone, abortion"

I happen to wish the Democratic Party was more inclusive towards pro-life people and other cultural conservatives and latter day William Jennings Bryan types. But I think your assertion is false. The Democrats pro-choice stand seems to one of the main issues that keep a lot of social liberals from voting Republican. It seems that if they lose them, you really can stick a fork in them. And if Republicans aped the Dems pro-choice stance, ala Giuliani or Arnold, then the Dems would be screwed as well.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 21, 2004 08:12 AM

PurpleStater

In the end one could call himself a Whig for all I care, it is the goals one espouses and fights for that matters. I gave my reasons for changing Parties. It was to help break molds, especially in my family.

I will admit however that I have a little bit of a South Park Republican streak in me. As the creator of that show said...

"I really can't stand conservatives, but I just hate fucking liberals"

My sentiments are not near so harsh, but I’m sure you get the point.

Posted by: Samuel at September 21, 2004 08:20 AM

Markus

It is not my assertion it is a fact. Did you even follow the link? Those numbers don't lie, your personalized opinions do nothing of value to correct this. Markus, I am pro-choice but been heavily involed in Democratic politcis and polling in the past, I know how this issue cuts. Read the link and then tell me how they got it wrong.

The Democrats pro-choice stand seems to one of the main issues that keep a lot of social liberals from voting Republican. It seems that if they lose them, you really can stick a fork in them. And if Republicans aped the Dems pro-choice stance, ala Giuliani or Arnold, then the Dems would be screwed as well.

READ THE ARTICLE! The above is already happening but it cuts to the Republicans favor. The Nation is growing more pro-Life by the day, like it or not. Again READ THE ARTICLE! Arguing against reality does no good, the fork is being stuck in the Denocrats. Pro-choicers are much more welcome among Republicans the pro-Lifers are with Democrats.

Posted by: Samuel at September 21, 2004 08:37 AM

I've said it a number of times before...

If Bush were a True Republican, I'd vote for him. Instead he panders to the Far Right and is more than happy to see Big Government run roughshot over States.

The State of Alaska has legalized marijuana. They cite their State constitution which is very clear that privacy and personal freedom are inherent rights, Alaska is the 13th state to legalize Marijuana in one form or another. However, the federal government (if they continue with their current methods) under the current administration, is not for Small Federal Government (where States would have more responsibility for deciding the legality of issues within the State), the'll soon be raiding the homes of 80 year old cancer patients who are trying to kill pain, and Hippies, relaxing after the day's work.

Huzzah! to our Tzarist Occupational Government.

Meanwhile he wants to make a Federal admendment to the Constitution about marriage.... Big Government again, YAY.

Once upon a time, the Republicans believed that the more government stayed out of people's lives, the better the country worked, whereas the Liberals wanted a Big government that tried to take care of everyone. These days, the difference between the two is apparently 'which' areas of our lives they want to control.

Someday, there may rise up from our people, a President who cares more about the Freedoms of Americans, than pandering to the nutjobs on the left and right.

Tree Rat

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at September 21, 2004 08:52 AM

Samuel -- I read your link. The only facts the article offers is its note that "at the meeting [with Democrats for Life], McAuliffe was told that in certain Congressional districts, a pro-life Democrat would be able to win a Republican-leaning seat. John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee, said McAuliffe's visitors, should be well-advised to look hard at those districts." This, plus the mentioned fact that 80% of people support the "laci and conner double murder" bill is very, veerry, veeerrry far from proving your initial assertion that "in fact Democrats have lost their majority in congress based on one issue and one issue alone, abortion."

I do agree that Democrats should be more welcoming of pro-life members. The way that Bob Casey, the very liberal governor of my home state, was treated in 1992 was outrageous. But basically, this is a black and white issue because of its nature: either you think abortion is a right, or you want to leave it to the majority voters in each state. If you support Roe v. Wade, you've got to vote Democrat, and Democrats need to make it clear a majority supports that decision unequivocally, given the likely retirements next term. On the other hand, if you support giving the men in the Mississippi state legislature the right to decide who gets to have an abortion in that state, then Bush is clearly your man.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 21, 2004 09:25 AM

"Pro-choicers are much more welcome among Republicans the pro-Lifers are with Democrats."

This sentence tells you all you need to know about Samuel's insight into the American political landscape.

Posted by: Tano at September 21, 2004 09:31 AM

Markus Rose,

"giving the men in the Mississippi state legislature the right to decide who gets to have an abortion in that state"

The problem is that the voters in Mississippi should be voting about abortion, not just the legislature.

In fact, I'm all for every state asking the electorate the following:

Should Marijuana be permissible for personal use in the State of *****?

Should Early-Term Abortion be legal in the State of *****?

Should Late-Term Abortion be legal in the State of *****?

Should assult weapons be legaly sold in the State of *****?

Etc.

Mmmm, 50 flavors of freedom, all picked by the people who live there. What a concept.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at September 21, 2004 09:37 AM

Tosk,

I'm not going to argue with you about the subject, because I don't know enough about it these days, but I think you may be swinging at the wrong side here. I'm 100% with you on the subject of marijuana legislation. I believe that a state should be able to decide and not have to deal with federal thugs coming in and thrashing their freedom. I did tons of research on the "war on drugs" back in college and determined that the entire strategy was flawed and quite ridiculous. But I remember the Clinton administration, under the stewardship of Barry McCaffrey, cracking down hard on California when they were trying to "do their own thing" over there. I saw Barry McCaffrey, with a straight face, tell us time and time again that marijuana was the most dangerous drug in America. I'm embarassed to say that I went to the same college as that man. To Bush's credit, I haven't heard him make a lot of noise on this subject, and I don't even know who the drug czar is right now. This makes me happy. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm thinking that Bush is doing a fine job in this department.

I don't think he panders to the Buchanon's of this world. He simply appeases them with half-hearted talk of banning gay marriage and such. If Bush starts "crusading" against gay marriage while we have troops dying in Iraq, I'd be pissed. But I don't really see much passion there. More like he's quietly acknowledging his obligation to the few wing-nuts out there on the fringes, but mainly staying focussed on the matters that people actually care about. I just wouldn't call it "pandering" is what I'm getting at. Of course we'd ALL like to see Bush beat the crap out of Buchanon, but you can't expect TOO much.

Posted by: $lick at September 21, 2004 10:00 AM

Tree Rat said: Someday, there may rise up from our people, a President who cares more about the Freedoms of Americans, than pandering to the nutjobs on the left and right.

What are you wating for?

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 21, 2004 10:25 AM

Eric,

You flatter me far more than I deserve. Not only do I think that my goatee and ponytail would kill me in the primaries, I'm still under 30.

Now, if there is ever a cannidate who meets my wild dreams, I'll be more than happy to spend 160 hours a week on their campaign.

:)

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 21, 2004 10:50 AM

Markus

You said...

Samuel -- I read your link. The only facts the article offers is its note that "at the meeting [with Democrats for Life], McAuliffe was told that in certain Congressional districts, a pro-life Democrat would be able to win a Republican-leaning seat...

Wrong, you neglected the greatest fact and true main point...

These are the illuminating statistics — ignored by the media — that were presented to McAuliffe: In the 95th Congress (1977-78), Democrats had a 292-seat majority in the House, which included 125 pro-life Democrats. Now, as a minority, Democrats are down to 204 seats, with 28 pro-life Democrats.

292 - 204 = 88 lost seats
125 – 28 = 97 lost pro-life Democrats

Without statistically beating this to death, the amount of Pro-Life seats in the House is slightly more now than it was then. If one traces all the gains you will see a statistical relation to that fact more then any other. The Republican gains were more due to social conservatism rather than fiscal conservatism. Social Conservative feel Democrats are hostile to their values. I’m not trying to argue which group is more radical, I am laying out the facts and the results of such perceptions. 70% of those that attend church are Republicans 60% of those that don’t are Democrat. The hostility shown to Social Conservatives is a political death knell to Democrats which is why I said calling them mean is counter-productive. The voter intensity among pro-Lifers is just huge by comparison to pro-Choicers. To be pro-Choice is to be apathetic by comparison. A pro-Lifer is much more apt to vote on that issue alone, how do you think so many of the upper Mid-West States have Republican legislatures while they lean Democratic nationally? They know abortion and social conservatism is also fought at on the State level. I will further add that the as the Democrats gained seats in 1998 and 2000, the House became more pro-Life. In other words for the most part the Democratic gains in the battleground States that have true advantages are the pro-Life ones, otherwise it is down hill. As Joe Scarborough said, “Nothing scares a Republican more than a Democrat who loves guns and Jesus.”

Post election polling shows that at least 2 States, Minnesota and Missouri went Republican in 2002 for each Senate seat on this one issue alone, a third (Colorado) was close enough to the margin of error and could be argued the same. What you say about Republicans scaring Social Liberals is very true, I have no argument with that, I am a Jewish and a Social Liberal. But what is more true is that the Democrats do a hell of a lot better job out of scaring Social Conservatives and that tilts the balance to Republicans and will for a long time. There is nothing to gain in denying that but much to lose. Like Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats collectively ignoring or denying the way this statistically cuts against them is self-defeating. Every battleground swing district Naral and Now go into Democrats lose, I wish the could get a grip on this.

Posted by: Samuel at September 21, 2004 11:06 AM

$lick,

Actually, the current Drug Czar is just as bad, if not worse than the previous administration. However, that doesn't (in my mind at least) mean that the Dem's are any better on the subject.

The 641,108 marijuana possession arrests in 2001 is more than triple the 1991 figure.

-Crime in the United States: 2001 source FBI

The Bush administration has escalated the war on marijuana, raiding clinics that offer medical marijuana and staging a nationwide roundup of manufacturers of drug paraphernalia. In November 2002 the Office of National Drug Control Policy circulated an "open letter to America's prosecutors" spelling out the administration's views. "Marijuana is addictive," the letter asserted. "Marijuana and violence are linked . . . no drug matches the threat posed by marijuana."

- © 2004 The New York Times Company

Also, check out the Ed Rosenthal saga... its great.

The current administration seems to be confused over which is more important, their personal moral views, or the right for states to determine their own laws.

That, and mostly that, is the reason I won't vote for Bush.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 21, 2004 11:26 AM

Tree Rat said:
You flatter me far more than I deserve. Not only do I think that my goatee and ponytail would kill me in the primaries, I'm still under 30.

Now, if there is ever a cannidate who meets my wild dreams, I'll be more than happy to spend 160 hours a week on their campaign.

You won't be under 35 forever. (It comes sooner than you think).

You could run for Congress right now. You can do things other than complain about the lack of alternatives right now.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 21, 2004 11:41 AM

Hrmmm, I didn't realize that someone under 30 could hold a congressional office.

How very interesting.

Eric, you may have changed the next 5 years of my life, You bastard!!

;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 21, 2004 11:50 AM

Tosk- I'll take your word for it. It just seems like you never hear about the drug war these days. Not surprising of course, since we have the WoT and especially all the coverage of Iraq. I'm telling you though- the Dems will do no better in this fight. The war on drugs is a bureaucratic, big-money, corperate-driven fiasco. You're gonna have to take on the alcohol industry to get anything done, and I'll get one of my Libertarians into the White House before you make any progress in THAT fight! My advice to you is join us in supporting the WoT, and worry about the pot fight later. I'm sure you'll be able to get all the weed you can handle in the mean time. Once we have a free and stable Iraq, we'll work together to get Montel Williams into the White House on the Libertarian ticket and we'll all be happy...

Posted by: $lick at September 21, 2004 12:17 PM

Tree Rat and Slick,

The Democrats won't do a better job scaling back the drug war. No way. Clinton promoted that hysterical reactionary Barry McCaffrey to the position of "drug czar" at around the same time the conservative state of Arizona voted to decriminalize marijuana by a whopping 2 to 1 margin.

The entire political class, including the supposedly left-wing party, is well to the right of the general American population on this question. The only alternatives right now are Greens, Libertarians, rogue Democrats, and rogue Republicans.

I sometimes wonder if these people think America is more anti-pot than it is and they're foolishly afraid of taking the popular position. I don't know. Maybe the South is hard-core anti-pot. But the West isn't. We prove it every time when we get to vote on this at the polls.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 21, 2004 12:49 PM

Michael, the part of your argument for Kerry I found most persuasive was that he might give a fresh start because of hostility to Bush. But my main impression is that you're saying it might be good to have these guys in the White House because it will give them a chance to grow up. I'd prefer to have confidence that they already had.

Posted by: Bill at September 21, 2004 02:23 PM

Now look, I didn't say that the Dems would be better at it. However, Kerry has at least stated that he would respect the laws of states in the matter of Medical Marijuana.

http://www.mpp.org/candidates/guide/kerry.html

versus

http://www.mpp.org/candidates/guide/bush.html

Oh yeah, no big difference there!

But, that all is beside the point, neither of them actually give the responsibility back to the State. Bush in his campaign said "each state can choose that decision as they so choose" (the right answer for Small Government), but as the above
link discusses his actions give lie to his statements. (I won't call him a flip-flopper)

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 21, 2004 02:25 PM

Ratatosk:

You must be under 30 with not much responsibility. Smoke Pot be free! Man, cut the rat tail and become responsible and show a little proper prioritization. Erring on the side of Nationalistic Strength trumps Libertarian Anarchy at wartime, the balance will always swing back.

:-(

BigGuy, a Libertarian with sanity.

Posted by: BigGuy at September 21, 2004 02:39 PM

Anon. E. Mouse. Right, and this time the French are on the other side. We're cooked!

Posted by: Bill at September 21, 2004 02:41 PM

Ooh, look, a hijacked thread. Getting back to the original topic...

The best hawkish argument against Kerry is a fine Hollywood movie:

The Killing Fields.

We know what happened the last time Kerry took a serious interest in foreign affairs (far more so than he seems to have since in his 20 years in Congress). Go down to any Little Saigon in LA or Texas and ask the former boat people.

And saying that Kerry will be able to arrange greater international cooperation than we are enjoying now is a chimera. We know, from the oil-for-food scandal and the evidence on the ground in Iraq itself that France and Germany were not merely neutral but active allies of Saddam Hussein, eagerly violating the international sanctions in exchange for oil credits and weapons buys. What sort of stable democratic government could they possibly cooperate in creating in that country? What sort of Iraqis would cooperate with them?

And finally, if -- when -- the crisis comes, how can John Kerry honestly ask any American serviceman or woman to lay down their lives at his order, after his testimony in '71? "Once more unto the breach, you murderers, you rapists, you arsonists..."?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 21, 2004 05:33 PM

"When the bloodbath starts in Iraq, I'll remind you of your responsibility"...

Just posting this again so all can see. HA says "when" the bloodbath starts. Because Iraq is obviously moving in the opposite direction under President Bush these past 6 months. Yep. Obviously.

And when a REAL grave and imminent threat gathers and President Bush gets laughed at by the world community like the boy who cried wolf for proposing we do something about it, I'll know right where to point my finger as well.

Kerry's actually beginning to catch on to this vital truth, that American leadership now has no credibility in the world under President Bush, and he's hammering it home without apology or hesitation for once. If keeps it up, he'll win the election.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 22, 2004 03:34 AM

Grant,

You think Iraq is a bloodbath now? If that's what you think, you don't know what a bloodbath is. Wait until Kerry cuts and runs - which he will.

Last time Kerry called for America to cut and run, millions were slaughtered, displaced and enslaved:

http://www.dithpran.org/killingfields.htm
http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-69-524/life_society/boat_people/

Of course, Kerry assured us none of this would happen. And if this tragedy is repeated again in Iraq thanks to Kerry, I will post your comments again for all to see.

Now Kerry promises that unamed "allies" are going to bail us out with their imaginary armies. When Kerry's phantom cavalry never arrives, I'll post your comments again for all to see. If Kerry wins, they'll be laughing at America in Paris and Berlin for believing such an obvious lie.

I've given you too much credit. You have no ability whatsoever to learn the lessons of history. The difference this time is that our enemies will follow us home. If Kerry wins, this nation will learn some bitter lessons the hard way instead of listening to what history tells us. Weakness invites aggression and strength deters aggression. Kerry is weak, he will be tested and he will fail. Just like Jimmy Carter. And it will be thanks to people like you that we had to re-learn this lesson.

Posted by: HA at September 22, 2004 04:49 AM

richard,

I wouldn't say this thread got hijacked- I think it simply morphed into various discusions that were more realistic than "The Hawkish Case for Kerry." Even MJT joined the fracas (good to know you're level-headed enough to understand the lunacy of the drug war, btw). The fact that Kerry would be an indecisive, terrorist-inspiring, self-serving President is a dead horse that can be beaten only so many times...

Posted by: $lick at September 22, 2004 06:02 AM

Wait just one damn minute, here!!!

You mean to say, of all the issues on the table, the only one that all of us can seem to agree on is the War on Drugs?! Aren't the issues of "Crime" and "Drug Use" supposed to be the wedge issues meant to drive us apart?! I'm shocked by this one (and in total agreement with Michael, btw).

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 22, 2004 06:24 AM

Big Guy,

Actually, the marijuana issue I brought up was NOT about recreational smoking of cannibis. It was about respecting the State's right to decide for themselves what is acceptable in that State (as long as it doesn't affect the Life, Liberty or Persuit of Happiness of others).

I could just as easily replaced Medical Marijuana with assult weapons, abortion, rights for gay couples (be it Civil Union or whatever).

The point is NOT 'I should be allowed to smoke Pot', the point is "Citizens of a State should be permitted to live by the freedoms and restrictions decided at the polls, by their fellow state citizens.

I live in Ohio and I'm pretty sure that any and all attempts to justify pot would be shot down at the polls. However, I'm pretty sure that legalizing assult weapons in the State would pass (Conceal and Carry already has). I think that they would probably legalize early term abortions, and forbid late-term abortions. It's likely that Gay Marriage/Civil Unions would be a hot issue. But, I think that the State would probably pass a Civil Union type of arrangement.

That's what a Small Federal Government is supposed to do, make sure that the States have the Freedom to determine internal issues for themselves.

If a State decided to outlaw pot completely and actively enforce its laws, that State's taxes would go to such enforcement. If a State felt that the legalization of Pot was no big deal, their taxes would not be wasted on something they didn't agree with.

Similarly, the Federal Government would be able to spend LESS on the DEA, since in-state drug raids would be handled in State, focusing it instead on illegal Interstate and International trafficing. Ergo, it is a SMALLER Federal government.

This same scenerio applies to guns, abortion, and whatever other issues are best decided by the individual citizens in their State.

I am under 30, however, I have quite a bit of responsibility and do not think that everyone should "Smoke Pot, Be Free".

Mostly I think everyone should just "Be Free".

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord
Muncher of The ChaoAcorn
Chatterer of The Words of Eris

POEE of The Great Googlie Mooglie Cabal

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 23, 2004 12:16 PM

Tosk,

I agree with you- small government is good. But I thought you were a Kerry-backer? If that's the case, I'd say you are very confused...

Posted by: $lick at September 23, 2004 03:04 PM

$lick,

Kerry backer?

Ummm, no I would not say that I was a Kerry backer. I would say that I am extremely concerned about the current administration. I understand their reasoning on several issues. However, I disagree with their reasoning.

As I've stated before, Bush (in my opinion) gets a D+ in defense/security and Good Leadership and an F in International Relations and Domestic Issues. Now that's not an automatic failure, but its not something I'm about to happily support.

Kerry gets a Incomplete in everything. He's not been clear about his strategy... granted the 'strategy' for Iraq has to be 'wait and see' since the situation could resolve by January, intensify into full blown Civil War, or maintain this Insurgency and each situation would have to be approached with a different strategy. I'd just like a better idea of what his 'potential' strategies are.

So Kerry gets an I, and Bush gets somewhere between D- and F.

I'm undecided. I don't respect Bush's decisions, I don't respect his leadership, his policies or his past performance.

However, I don't really like Democrats. I am not a fan of Big Government, I'm not a fan of social programs run by the Government. Yet, Bush seems as much a fan of Big Government as Dems are, with just a few different priorities on which bits of the government should be Big.

Although, I think that the ideals of libretarianism (which is what I think that I more closely align with) are probably best achieved under the Republican ticket. This particular administration, I think, is not the Republican administration that will understand those ideals. Since I don't get my ideals either way, it boils down to:

Do I want four more years of this Administration, based on past performance?

It doesn't matter if Kerry is better or worse, if Bush (in my final opinion on Nov. 2) is not the man for the job, then I'll do my best to see him fired.

If Kerry is as bad or worse, I'll vote against him in '08.

'Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 24, 2004 09:14 AM

“This particular administration, I think, is not the Republican administration that will understand those ideals.”

And what is your point? We live in the real world where often the lesser of evils must be chosen. Your primary concern should be the war on terror. George W. Bush may indeed leave something to be desired. Still, this election is not between the current White House resident and the perfect candidate. On the contrary, it is a battle between President Bush---and the flip flopping John Kerry. Are you possibly moaning to yourself that I’m employing the terminology possibly invented by Karl Rove? If so, what difference does it make? Kerry is a very dangerous man because he’s unable to provide us with a consistent world vision of how he might deal with our nation’s enemies. He literally does seem to place his wet finger into the air to see which way the wind blows. Such a man must not become our Commander-in-Chief.

Posted by: David Thomson at September 25, 2004 03:07 PM

"...Your primary concern should be the war on terror"

NO, my primary concern is "Who do I think better able to Lead the United States?" The war on Terror will continue for for many years, I think. There will be more terrorists attacks, no matter who is in the White House." Using the War as a big scary boogy man is far beneath anyone who truly respects the democratic process.

Therefore, I will vote based on what I decide is important... if you don't like it, I'm sure you can find a government who doesn't provide for Open elections. Maybe they will let you tell everyone how to vcote, and give you a gun to enforce it with.

True Democratic thinking, as always, from our rabid Bush Babies.

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 26, 2004 12:20 PM
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