November 04, 2004

They Don't Get It

So I went over to Kos today--a blog I rarely visit--to get a sense of the mood over at an "activist" Democrat blog. Truly, my intention was not a spot of schadenfreude. I was merely curious to get a bit of the pulse. Solidarity and regrouping for the next battle? Internecine recriminations? Shock? Anger? A 'shucks', let's try again next time, vibe? Well, not really. Something altogether more alarming. Kos calls the "big silver lining" re: Bush's victory that America will lose the Iraq war on Bush's watch.

They don't get it, do they? Such fifth-column-like talk is a big reason why they lost this election. Because broad, centrist swaths of the American polity find such rhetoric noxious, irresponsible, morally defunct, defeatist, lazy and indulgent. This abject abdication of American responsibility on the global stage--arrived at through such a myopic, provincial lens--is a pity, I guess. But, then again, this Moore-inization of the Democratic party's younger, activist base--including the increasing fusion of political thought with 'entertainment' (read: crude, imbecilic popular culture offerings--whether pseudo-documentaries a la Moore or risibly parodic P. Diddy-esque "political" activism and such)--does have, er, a "silver lining" of sorts. At least if you are a card-carrying Republican. It's that the Democrats won't be able to turn their electoral disadvantage around in either of the '06 midterms or '08 Presidential--certainly not if their strategy is to root for defeat in Iraq! It's not only morally despicable, of course, for Iraq, for us, for our soldiers, for all the Iraqi citizens who don't wish to trade the previous Baathist thuggery for the cruel yoke of Islamic fundamentalism, say. It's also just plain dumb on a tactical level.

People like John Podesta are going to need to exert leadership to try to steer misguided people (like those hanging their hat over at Kos') back towards a centrist re-jiggering of the "values" debate--ie, turn the talk away from gays, guns, and God (issues they appear to be losing) to talk of human dignity, economic progress, human rights writ large. It will be hard; but that's at least a possible way forward that warrants investigation--especially if married to a highly charismatic leader (rather than a wooden, if distinguished, senator). Instead though, and sadly, this crowd appears to care little about human rights--at least per such hugely irresponsible cheerleading of an American defeat in Iraq. That country is currently the critical theater to spearhead democratization in a region which needs it so desparately. What folly to root for a defeat there! And what idiocy too!

Finally, of course, such flippant treatment of a major national security issue is also very small; and the American people have smelled this smallness out. That's part of the reason a somewhat embattled American president, with a less than ideal economy and with a tough war on his hands, was handily re-elected (I believe not since FDR has a President been re-elected while simultaneously gaining seats for his party in both Houses of Congress). Americans like to dream of big projects and goals--and the Democratic party is failing them in this--content instead to lazily carp from the sidelines. Worse, some of that party's activists, it too often appears, would wish for some important, declared national objectives to be scuttled. Trust me, that wasn't a winning strategy in the past, it isn't one right now, and it won't be one in the future.

More on all this soon.

Posted by Gregory at November 4, 2004 09:10 PM

I agree.

Posted by: praktike at November 4, 2004 09:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Of course those of us who opposed the war in Iraq don't want us to lose. In fact, as Howard Dean put it, we can't afford to lose in Iraq. We have to establish a stable democracy, or we're in big trouble.

However, many of us feel that Bush is going to mishandle the Iraq situation further, and the situation is precarious in any event ... thus, if there are going to be repercussions, it will now be clear who is responsible. Had Kerry won and Iraq still went south (a very strong possibility), people might have been able to blame Kerry, or at least not known whom to blame --- but in this case, whether Iraq goes well or badly, we will know who is responsible.

Posted by: Mitsu at November 4, 2004 09:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Democrat Party (nationally) has miscalculated on many fronts, and they appear destined to repeat that miscalculation. I'm a liberal that voted for Nader in 2000. After obstructing Nader's ballot access and shamelessly defaming his legacy, the DNC somehow think that I would vote for them. When Peter Camejo ran in the California Recall of Gov. Gray Davis, his slogan seemed to be "Green Party ideas are better, but don't vote for me because the pro-corporation, anti-environment Democrat might lose". Now, in 2004, the Green Party falls on its sword to spare the pro-corporation, environment nuetral Democrat ticket. I used to be a contributor, but I won't be shedding any tears at the passing of the Green Party.

I completely support ideas like labor reform and the right national healthcare plan, but none of that was offered by the Democrats. Instead, they tried to scare me about the fundamentalist ultra-conservatives and the diabolical neocons in the Bush Administration. Let alone the fact that neocons and fundamentalist ultra-conservatives are in ideological opposition, I don't vote out of fear and I don't believe other Americans vote out of fear.

I voted for President Bush because he introduced the most progressive foreign policy agenda since World War II, and John Kerry seemed to be promising a retreat back to the reactionary Cold War policies and blind alliances.

Posted by: Carl Fenley at November 4, 2004 10:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Please know that when Democrats refer to Iraq's downward spiral as a "silver lining" it is with the utmost regret. Democrats have spent the last three years working themselves to death because we, unlike the Bush administration, understand that our situation in Iraq is precarious, misguided, and tragic. Possessing a clarity about Iraq which Bush and his echo chamber so deeply reject, Democrats believe any 'victory' in Iraq at this point is going to be without honor or benefit, and unjustifiably costly in blood (to say nothing of treasure).

And yet, we have worked nonstop trying to make sure that happens on our watch, because we know that at least then the situation had a chance for a reasonable, sane resolution. The only good to possibly come out of Tuesday is that after learning the effect of such reckless and incompetent policies the hard(est) way, the American people will be less inclined to believe the lies and ideologies that have abetted the current debacle. But ask any of the heartbroken Democrats across the country this week, and they would gladly have sacrificed John Kerry, probably his second term, and the long-term health of the party in order to stop the hemorraging now.

And excuse me, but that's not "fifth column" talk. It's how people express love and concern for their country when it has gone terribly off track, and it's a lot harder than just basking in WH platitudes and ignoring the truth.

Posted by: Alex at November 4, 2004 10:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If you are working so hard to save Iraq, what have you accomplished? Why couldn't your candidate explain what he intended to do that was different? This is fantasy. Please stay out of the grown-up's way.

Posted by: Aubrey at November 4, 2004 10:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Please note the common thread in all of the postings today: The left's fundemental refusal to accept a scintilla of responsibility for the drubbing they have just taken. I recall when I lived in New Jersey a horrible governor by the name of Florio was crushed in a tidal wave much larger than GWB's, his response was not to admit any error but blame his defeat on the insidious power of the National Rifle Association -- in New Jersey! Now the stampeding lemmings of the MSM are charging off the cliff blaming "Morals Voters" (read philistines of the god, guns and gays variety) not the histronic dissembling of their own candidate. I couldn't agree with your final paragraph more.

Posted by: wayneseib at November 4, 2004 10:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


The left would have given up 5 minutes into the invasion of Omaha beach. And the country knows it. That's why you lost.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at November 4, 2004 10:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've been reading on the America First Committee prior to WW2 and it seems to me that the Dems find themselves in a similar fix. They oppose a government foreign policy and want to change it within the system, but America's enemies see a common cause with the internal political movement. The community of interest with America's enemies tarnishes the American critics. The Nazi's were spreading cash to some of the isolationist groups and now you have OBL on video and at least a portion of his text could have been lifted from Kerry or Michael Moore's criticism of Bush. The insurgents in Iraq explicitly called for electing Kerry. The only politically safe way for the Dems to hurry up and get out of Iraq is to attack Bush from the right - ala Kennedy's criticism of the "missile gap" prior to his election. Lieberman or Gephardt could have plausibly made that stick, but Kerry & Dean couldn't.

Posted by: norm at November 4, 2004 10:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Democrats have spent the last three years working themselves to death because we, unlike the Bush administration, understand that our situation in Iraq is precarious, misguided, and tragic." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... That is rich.
Right, and Afghanistan didn't just have their first election. Ever. And Khadafi didn't give up his WMD. And fewer people are dying in Iraq now than when Sadaam was in power. Clearly the Democratic party has gone over to the other side, all vain protestations aside. Just like when Kerry coordinated his actions with the North Vietnamese when he went to Paris. No one but the kool-aid drinkers are buying that line. Not anymore.

Posted by: RKV at November 4, 2004 10:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why, God Bless You, Alex! The sacrifices you've made, the horrible burden you were willing to take on... you - and while I'm at it, ALL your like-thinking friends - well, you're virtually SAINTS I tells ya! That was undoubtedly the greatest thing I've ever read in my entire 46-year-long life!

Wait, I just read your response again... it's not all that great. It's actually... let me read it one more time to be certain... yes! That was undoubtably the biggest load of self-serving self-congratulatory twaddle I have ever read in my entire 46-year-long life!

But either way, it's an accomplishment. It's all good.

Posted by: RC at November 4, 2004 11:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, come on Greg. Another cheap shot and you very well know it.

Kos's comment isn't "anti-American" and furthering "small idea." It's a reflection of his personal evaluation of Bush's ability to WIN. Many people, myself included, believe that the current Bush administration is unable to execute this war correctly because of demonstrated incompetence and errors.

Folks aren't cheerleading for a US defeat. They're truly worried that defeat is inevitable with the current administration and strategy. I truly hope you're correct that changes are coming.

Posted by: just me at November 4, 2004 11:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What I find most alarming is this fixation on blame. Let's be clear here - if Iraq "goes south", it is a disaster for the entire country, the Left included. If that happened (and I'm far from convinced it will) than I want to hear solutions, not blame.

Not coincidentally, that was the fundamental flaw of Kerry's campaign - he had a litany of things to blame on The Bushitler™ for and no solutions for a single one of them. Just 2 looping tapes: "I have a plan" and "I served in Vietnam". I could train a parrot to make a more effective run for President.

Posted by: Ian S. at November 4, 2004 11:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I somehow got on a website of John F. Kennedy's speeches last week. Wow. If Democrats want to know why they lost--not just the presidency, but also the trouncing in the congressional elestions--they need go no further than to compare the vision and ideas of the first JFK with the recent "incarnation" of JFK.

The Democrats could have won the 2004 election handily had they been in possession of a vision. You can't win an election with "anti fervor" you need to have something to animate the electorate. There were so many issues that the Dems could have made their own, e.g. A real energy policy which had zero Mid EAst imports as it'sgoal, a real homeland security agenda which involved container shipping and real border control, a creative "small government solution" for improved health among US citizens. In other words....something different instead of the SOS.

And the tone of the Dems was godawful. Constantly carping and whining against a president with a barrage of negativity and accusation. I'll bet they wish now that right after they jettisoned Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman had filled the slot instead of John Kerry. Lieberman has always been a "class act" and probably could have pulled off a Dem win this time around

Posted by: Jim Parodi at November 4, 2004 11:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Many people, myself included, believe that the current Bush administration is unable to execute this war correctly because of demonstrated incompetence and errors." Excuse me, our military and our invasion plan just invaded a country the size of California in 3 weeks. In WW2 800 men died in a TRAINING exercise before D-Day. Yeah, the Baathists are still fighting. Your attitude gives them courage to continue to fight because the US is divided on this issue. Objectively, this kind of partisan fantasy is pro-islamofascist. US soldiers will get killed so a Democratic politician can score "points." For shame.

Posted by: RKV at November 4, 2004 11:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Please know that when Democrats refer to Iraq's downward spiral as a 'silver lining' it is with the utmost regret."

What an absurd sentence. A "silver lining" basically means looking on the bright side.

How do you look on the bright side "with regret"?

Expressing any kind of hopefulness for an American defeat in Iraq is twisted, no matter who's in office.

Posted by: Willard at November 4, 2004 11:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Alex -

Who's "we", when you talk about Democrats? Have you got a mouse in your pocket or do you purport to speak for the entire left wing currently curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth and sucking their collective thumbs? What exactly did YOU or anyone else on the left accomplish? Are YOU hiding the WMDs? I knew it!

Jeebus - did you not read Gregory's post? The left needs to get off its high horse and find a candidate and a message that resonates with middle America. Instead of calling 51% of the electorate stupid, why don't you find out what's important to us and maybe start selling it if it doesn't turn your stomach? Quit whining about losing the WH - you just lost your fannies in the Senate and the House and all 11 gay marriage ammendments went down in flames.

Why do you think Clinton got elected twice? TWICE! A brilliant man, a shrewd politician, a confirmed womanizer, but a regular "Bubba" who wore boxers and blew the sax. Most folks could identify with him, and, gosh darned it, he "felt your pain". Not that he DID anything about it, but he connected across the aisle with the most of the left and enough of the right. The right hated Clinton with a passion - even as they admired him for his ability to connect with the average voter. Someone like Bubba would be a dangerous candidate for you in '08 - - got anyone like that in the cupboard?

But enough advice - go ahead and run Hillary in '08. We'd LOVE to see her grace the stage. Get the Breck girl Edwards to run with her - - that'll really go over well.

Posted by: DC at November 4, 2004 11:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg is spot on. Living in the one of the last remaining bastions of radical egalitarian liberalism, San Francisco, I've seen first hand and close up what the left has become. It's not pretty. From the Lincoln Brigades prior to World War II whose slogan was “Fascism means War”, they now condone and in many cases outright support fascists and fascism. The evasive tripe codified in some of the responses posted above, revolving around the "at least Americas' defeat won't be on our watch" confirms the petty perspective of a political philosophy gone bad. Adolescent, narcissistic and spoiled, they are not a credible option for managing this country.

Posted by: dave katz at November 4, 2004 11:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The left doesn't have a monopoly on idiocy.

Posted by: Matt at November 4, 2004 11:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

No, 'just me,' you've got to face up to the fact that some of your pals on the Left are, indeed, rooting for a defeat in Iraq, out of spite and pathological hatred for Bush. Unless and until the Democrats rediscover true statesmanship, they won't have this vote.

Posted by: JAB at November 4, 2004 11:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Civil War will erupt here soon!
We are so much less safe than we used to be!

Doomsday prophecies for everyone. Let's just see how things play out and all stay calm now shall we?

Posted by: cj at November 4, 2004 11:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Civl War?
The left can't wage a civil war and protest it at the same time.

Posted by: artboy at November 4, 2004 11:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Alex and Mitsu are two very sincere examples of how the Democrats still don't understand. I don't particularly like their arrogance; but this is America... We can be who we are.

I voted for Bush this year.

The last time I voted for President was 1988. And I was a good Democrat up until 1988 when they put Dukakis forward and I voted Bush. I just couldn't get excited about Bush vs. Clinton, Dole vs. Clinton, or Bush vs. Gore.

But this year the Democrats made me very angry.

I don't know whether the Swiftboat Vets were telling the truth or not; but the attempt to shut them down was the final straw.

I wasn't going to vote again--but I hate that type of one-sided debate. THEY are the new nazis and they, comfortable in their effete, pseudo-intellectual, narcissism, cannot see it...

Posted by: jtb-in-texas at November 4, 2004 11:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Vietnam. Perhaps I'm wrong, but wasn't one of the lessons of Vietnam was to not wage war without concensus? In 2002, I remember thinking that Bush was doing this the right way. He built consensus. He got congressional backing. This will not be a Vietnam redux.

So what happened? How did we get divided over Iraq in just over 2 years?

Cynical politics is what happened. Success in Iraq meant an up hill climb in the 2004 elections for the Democrats. Bush's approval ratings had to be taken down before the election. What to are we Democrats to do? No caches of WMD's found. We can beat him over the head with this. He lied! This is great! Now we can pull our support and appear to take the moral high ground in doing so. We can turn him into Bushitler.

This was their excuse to bail out on Iraq, knowing that the parts of their base that supported Bush in Iraq would follow suit and abandon the President. It worked.

In short, the Democrats were willing to divide the country on Iraq while our troops were/are still engaging the enemy, all for partisan political advantage.

Given this, there is no doubt in my mind that there are Americans that hope we fail in Iraq if it will help them at the ballot box. None. Exhibit A - Michael Moore.

Note, I do believe it when the progressive posters here say they want us to succeed in Iraq. Unfortunately, many of their fellow progressives do not share their point of view.

Posted by: RandMan at November 4, 2004 11:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Let me try to shed some light on the "loonie left" perspective.

First, many are against all wars, for whatever reason. So there's no reasoning with them on that.

But the majority just won't support a war that they felt from the get-go was going to be a quagmire and was pushed through by a President they despise (think how much the Republicans hated Clinton, then triple it.)

I don't think, however, that these people truly represent most people's views on the left. The left wing blogs bring on the most ideological partisans, as do the right wing blogs.

Posted by: Pete at November 4, 2004 11:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh please. The Left didn't give a damn about the suffering of ordinary Iraqis until Bush and friends lifted a finger to help them. Only then did they appear on the Left's radar screen. They would have been quite content to leave Saddam on the throne. The only thing that motivates them is blunting American power--positive benefits be damned. That's why Kos and his ilk are openly rooting for defeat--anything to deny Bush and the neocons a victory, even if it means the suffering of untold millions. Pathetic.

Posted by: brendan at November 5, 2004 12:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Like it or not, despite shades of grey or nuance, American politics generally iterates towards binary decisions and, in this election Bush was the pro-war candidate and Kerry was the anti-war candidate. This choice was inevitable once the Democrats decided they weren't going to nominate an avowed supporter of the war in Lieberman.

Kerry did about as well as he could, knowing that the core of his support was anti-war but that he needed pro-war voters to win. Most Americans, despite party affiliation, support us winning the war, even if they are dubious about the reasons we are there. However, most Democrats don't support the war, for any reason, and for that reason they could not win this time.

Or even the next time. Smart Dems will root for unequivocable victory in Iraq and the war on terror, sooner rather than later, so that they can compete for the presidency just like they did when the Cold War ended. Americans aren't going to let up in Iraq or the war on terror until we win, and until we win and are safe again, Americans aren't going to elect a Democrat. Or least none that aren't like Lieberman.

Posted by: Tim at November 5, 2004 12:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brendan, nor did any on the right.

Posted by: just me at November 5, 2004 12:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What Brendan said.

Kos is as nasty a piece of humanity as you'll ever find.

Posted by: Eric Blair at November 5, 2004 12:19 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

tim, that's asinine... Dems ran for president and won before the cold war was over, too. Look, you guys as a group (i'm not talking about "the Right" or "the Left" or anything but the people posting here) are being unreasonable. "the Left" doesn't think any one thing together, nor does "the Right."

There are people on both sides who have different takes on the issue. Are there people who voted for Kerry that oppose all wars? probably. Are there people on the Bush side who feel that all Muslims are at war with all Christians? probably.

I can only say that I and all of my friends who voted for Kerry want to win this war in Iraq. We want this to be successful because we're there and because we're now committed to finishing the job we started. It's also critical that we establish a stable democracy. I don't know of anyone who voted for Kerry that wants us to fail in Iraq.

It's amazing to me that many of you complain about the "left's high horse" while remaining on your own "pro-America" high horse. Why do you assume that 48% of the country that voted for Kerry wish America harm? Are you that naive?

Posted by: just me at November 5, 2004 12:22 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I wrote a similar piece, especially in response to calls by some (Kos et al) that the Democrats should (have) moved further left and fielded an openly anti-war candidate.

Dragging the Democrats Back From the Precipice On the Left

I don't think the country is deeply divided, I think each party is deeply divided - between radicals and moderates. The party that can control its radicals better is the one that wins.

Of course, it is damned hard to figure out who is radical and who is moderate if you are a radical yourself.

Posted by: Obsidian at November 5, 2004 12:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

just me, you're absolutely right. 48% of the US voting population can't all be members of the looney left. And I would dare to say that those that are make up a very small percentage. But, boy, what a VOCAL and PHOTOGENIC percentage they are. Ma and Pa in the Midwest/South see and hear them and are scared to death. Add to that a candidate who can't repeat the same Iraq/WOT strategy twice and you have a Republican victory. Believe me, there are plenty of us out here who voted for Bush who would have loved to have a strong, smart centrist Democrat to vote for, but such wasn't available. Unless and until the Dems get smart and disavow the LL, they will fail in national elections.

Posted by: JAB at November 5, 2004 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Again, the reason it will be good to assign blame accurately for Iraq should it go bad as I fear it will under more Bush directon is simply that America does need good, strong, aggressive leadership in time of war. I simply do not believe Bush represents that. Obviously many of you do --- we disagree. I believe that tactically and strategically Bush has been unfocused and scattershot.

I am not a pacifist; I supported many wars, including the first Gulf War and the Kosovo and Afghan wars. Obviously we had to go in to Afghanistan where the enemy was. But, for those of you who think this Administration is so on the ball, consider this: if it weren't for Colin Powell, who argued strenuously that we should invade Afghanistan first, we might have skipped over that and dove straight into Iraq, which was Paul Wolfowitz' plan. That, to me, would have been a strategic and tactical blunder of gargantuan proportions.

There are many conservatives who oppose this President's handling of the war, including the eminent neoconservative Francis Fukuyama. The Cato Institute, John Mearsheimer, etc., etc. --- criticism of this war is not simply coming from the left.

Posted by: Mitsu at November 5, 2004 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wow. I wish I had seen the thread before I knew what I was really agreeing with ...

Posted by: praktike at November 5, 2004 12:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There is, in some postings above, a continuing refrain of "on who's watch" should America fail in Iraq. This speaks to the core of why the left lost, and lost big on Nov. 2. Once you reach America's shores, there is no Democrat nor Republican, just American. Regardless of on whose watch problems occur, those problems are and in the World's eyes remain American problems. You cannot remove yourself from responsibility as a member of the political process on that count, yet demand to be taken as a serious alternative for leading this county. This parochialism, this avoidance of accepted mutual American responsibility, this need to reinforce a self-righteous “otherness” and use it as a platform for condescension is why you failed and will continue to fail.

Posted by: dave katz at November 5, 2004 12:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


"But, boy, what a VOCAL and PHOTOGENIC percentage they are. Ma and Pa in the Midwest/South see and hear them and are scared to death."

Bingo!! The really far left are way, way, out there and make themselves easy to mock. The become representative of what would happen if "they took over." Of course, there are scary wingnuts on the right, but they don't seem to get the attention their counterparts on the left do.

Posted by: Matt at November 5, 2004 12:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

>there is no Democrat or Republican, just American

Obviously. But what is the implication of this post? I'm not rooting for Bush to fail --- I'm sadly concerned that he will fail, if his performance in the next four years in any way mirrors that of the first four. This is not about which team wins or loses. That's the whole point here.

However, it is of concern that no matter who became our next president on November 2, they might have inherited a no-win situation in Iraq. Thus, even had Kerry instituted the best strategy possible, Iraq still might have failed --- thereby leading to, perhaps, a recoiling towards more failed policy in the future, should Kerry have lost his reelection bid.

In other words, if those of us who are critical of this Administration are right, we might as well learn our lesson now, definitively, rather than oscillate back and forth wildly. That might give us a better chance in the long term.

Of course, I really hope that Bush does a better job in his second term than in his first. I have some reason to hope for this --- I think they were really scared they might lose this one, and that might, just might, cause them to rethink some of their strategy and put things on a more successful course.

Posted by: Mitsu at November 5, 2004 01:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That entire thread at Kos needs to be read.

It's incredible. The fact that they just don't get it doesn't say enough. One post suggests they just won't have a chance unless a few more million jobs are lost or there's some disaster.

They were vultures before and they remain vultures. Sadly the left (and not necessarily the "Liberals") have historically never given up. They keep playing the same song while their ship is clearly sinking.

So what else is new?

Posted by: SteveoBrien at November 5, 2004 01:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mitsu - While I appreciate your heartfelt comments did you read Kos? You're sounding positively republican in comparison. As far as Iraq goes, the 4th largest military in the world with years of bitter combat against Iran under its belt was taken out in a matter of weeks. Currently, the insurgents cannot win militarily against US forces. The ball is in our court. We will win or lose depending upon our decisions not theirs. So the question is will the US retain its Wilsonian restrain or unleash its historical Jacksonian imperative. Bottom line - the situation in Iraq is far from hopeless,... unless you need it to be hopeless.

Posted by: dave katz at November 5, 2004 01:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mitsu, thanks for your comments. It's obvious that you're sincere in your concern. Might I suggest, though, that you are far too pessimistic about Iraq? War is an ugly, win today, lose tomorrow proposition. The MSM emphasizes the latter and dismisses the former, esp. when the President is one they collectively hate. The military victory over two large, historically difficult-to-conquer countries is astounding. I won't argue that Bush, et al, have done everything right, but then, I have the luxury of 20/20 hindsight. At least I recognize it as such; far too many on the Left (and Kerry is at the top of this list) haven't got a clue what it's like to make tough decisions, real time, without all the information one would like to have...that's the burden of those who MAKE history as opposed to those who read about it.

Might I suggest that you start reading Victor David Hanson ( and some of the Iraqi blogs (e.g., I think you'll see that Iraq isn't the disaster that so many on the Left and in the MSM think that it is.

Posted by: JAB at November 5, 2004 01:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What do you expect out out of the Democratic party of the 21st century?

This is the SAME party that sat Michel Moore in the President's box at their convention.

This is the SAME Michel Moore who said that OBL targeted the "wrong people" on 9/11 because New Yorkers are DEMOCRATS!

I was a former card carrying member of the Democratic party. I am no longer, and will not vote for a Democrat ever again. The Democratic party is no longer the party of FDR, Truman, and John Kennedy. It is the party of the radical, America hating leftist loons such as George Soros, Michael Moore and the Massachusetts/Upper West Side/Hollywood limosine liberal whackos.

I will never vote Democratic again, I do not care who they have on the ticket.

Posted by: Nahanni at November 5, 2004 01:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Iraq, hard to conquer? Dear Lord. Why don't you read what the military actually thought going in ...
I was suddenly called -- this is the first week in December -- to a meeting with a representative, a personal representative, of the secretary of defense. And it was a very nice meeting. They served excellent coffee. They brought me in and said: "We're looking at Iraq. The chief of staff of the Army says it will take at least 560,000 troops." Well, of course I burst out laughing immediately, because those are more troops than we have in the active component. Secondly, the Iraqi enemy was always so weak. Why would you want that many forces?

When I burst out laughing, the representative said, "That's interesting, because that was Secretary Rumsfeld's reaction, and the secretary would like to know what you think." Well, I was rather surprised. Why does he want to know what I think? And he said, "He's read your book, Breaking the Phalanx, that you published back in January of '97," in which I have a chapter that talks about intervention in Iraq in response to Iraqi moves and activities, and the whole thing is over in two weeks, and we use fewer than 50,000 troops to do it.

Well, he said, "What do you think?" And I said, "Fifty thousand troops," assuming that we are going to go in from a standing start, or what later was called a cold start, and we can rapidly reinforce as necessary. But I said: "The real emphasis has to be on getting rapidly to Baghdad on a couple of axes and using mobile armored forces for that purpose. And once we get there, we remove the government, but we don't want to fight with the army, because ultimately the Iraqi army's going to have a key role in the postwar environment. They're going to have to maintain security, and there are many Iraqi army generals, based upon my experience, once again, in '91, who would be delighted to cooperate with us and could form some sort of interim government."

I said: "Bottom line is, the secretary's right. The enemy's very weak. This will not take very long," at which point in time I was told: "Well, great! Can you put together a plan?" And I said: "Sure. How soon do you want it?" He said, "Well, could you get it to us in the next two or three weeks?" I said, "Of course," and I went back, and I worked, and I put together a briefing. And that briefing was delivered on New Year's Eve, 2001.

Posted by: praktike at November 5, 2004 01:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well said. As a former Democrat (and not the first) who has decided that the party left me long before I left the party, I am hoping that this election loss can pull the Democrats a bit toward the center, and prevent them from destroying themselves...but reading some of these folks today - Morford, Cohen, Dowd...I realize it may be too late. These people are entirely given over to their hate. Very sad. A once great party out of control, on a deathrail.

Posted by: The Anchoress at November 5, 2004 01:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

praktike, give it up... it's clear that the too many blogs wish to attack charicatures of folks that disagree with them. It's not right, nor is it helpful. When a guy like Greg reads the statement from Kos and assumes that this former soldier wants to see America fail... well, it's a sign of the quality of political discourse. When Moore make a joke (in poor taste, no doubt) about OBL hitting the wrong city and people use it to characterize an entire group of people, that's not helpful.

The threads at Kos are as indicative of "the left" as the threads over at LGF are of "the right." People there accuse muslims of being ghouls on the dead. Is that a substantive criticism to make, then, of all Republicans or all Christian conservative right?

I don't think so. I don't believe it's helpful to be so hateful. I also don't believe either party has a monopoly on good ideas or even the right ideas. Good policy requires tradeoffs. It requires a variety of opinions, honest opinions, going in and make decisions. You can't have the variety of opinions if you make it your practice to call out people who voted for the other guy as America haters or traitors or worse.

Posted by: just me at November 5, 2004 01:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

>You're sounding positively Republican

I actually pride myself on being centrist. I find myself in agreement with many conservative ideas, and many of my critiques of Bush are almost word for word the same as those of a number of libertarian and conservative thinkers with whom I agree.

I think Iraq might be salvageable, and I hope Bush can salvage it. However, going into the war there, I was concerned about a broad array of things, not least of which was what appeared to me to be a dangerous tendency on the part of the Bush Administration to pay more attention to their hopes than to the seasoned professionals used to the difficulties of nation-building in places like Bosnia. And pretty much all of my fears came to pass, like a sort of nightmare scenario.

I was not one who predicted a long and difficult initial war. I did, however, think the postwar would probably require a lot more planning than they put into it. And it turned out that things went almost exactly as I feared.

My current fear isn't so much that Iraq will not stabilize --- I think it may well stabilize --- somewhat. My concern is that this Administration spent too much time and money and blood on a state actor when we should have been focused on Afghanistan and beefing up our human intelligence. I hope, but I can't be sure, that they will refocus their efforts more on non-state actors. That's a long discussion, however.

I will end with a quote from the neoconservative Francis Fukuyama:


In February 2004 Krauthammer delivered an address at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington in which he offered a strident defense of the Iraq war in terms of his concept of unipolarity, or what he now calls "democratic realism."

Fukuyama was in the audience that evening and did not like what he heard.

Krauthammer's speech was "strangely disconnected from reality," Fukuyama wrote in "The Neoconservative Moment." "Reading Krauthammer, one gets the impression that the Iraq War — the archetypical application of American unipolarity — had been an unqualified success, with all of the assumptions and expectations on which the war had been based fully vindicated." "There is not the slightest nod" in Krauthammer's exposition "towards the new empirical facts" that have come to light over the course of the occupation.

[end quote]

Posted by: Mitsu at November 5, 2004 01:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

With respect to Iraqi blogs --- I am aware of some of those. I know there are many Iraqis are remain grateful to us. However, I am also aware that many Iraqis now live in fear. The problem I have is that things didn't have to be this bad, and the lack of foresight that went into the situation as it is now I believe is indicative of a general lack of care and foresight when it comes to overall strategy and tactics in this war on terror.

That's what I am concerned about --- and I am hoping against hope that we can do a better job in the future. Here's to hope.

Posted by: Mitsu at November 5, 2004 02:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Those that oppose the Iraq war just do not understand the power of a democratic Iraq. We cannot afford to keep chasing terrorists accross the globe as they seek refuge in one state after another. Iraq allowed a central point to draw them. But more importantly, we will never win the war against terror if we only see terrorists as the main and only problem. We need to determine the reason why some chose to the path of violence and terror. Could it be that we humans all want the power to change the world around us? And when power through a peaceful political process is available, then we will gravitate that way; this is the power of democracy, channelling our inate desire toward positive construction. When such peaceful empowerment is not available, then extremism will become appealing. A democratic Iraq, central geographically in the ME, central religiously to Islam (there are more Shi'a than Sunni), and central historical back to Babylon, will be the anchor and native force for freedom in the ME. Something peripheral Afghanistan can never be. An the violation of the 91 ceasefire gave the opportunity to do so.
It disappoint me that the left chose to preserve oppressed lives instead of freedom for future generations of Iraqi.

Posted by: Huan at November 5, 2004 02:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mitsu: "The problem I have is that things didn't have to be this bad, and the lack of foresight that went into the situation as it is now I believe is indicative of a general lack of care and foresight when it comes to overall strategy and tactics in this war on terror."

From one point of view, Iraq and Afghanistan have been mediocre performances... we can readily point to a number of avoidable mistakes.

But from another point of view, they are successes that will go into the textbooks... you have to compare them with similar fights e.g. Russians in Afghanistan and Chechnya or the French in Algeria. Compared to any other military-political operation on the same scale, we are doing quite well.

Regarding the "lack of care or foresight"... not true. It's just that no plan survives contact with the enemy. The invasion of Iraq and post-invasion period were planned in great detail, in fact in addition to plan A we had plans B, C, D, E. But no plan survives contact with the enemy, and what actually happened was still a big surprise.

The most important part is that we are learning very fast, in fact much faster than the opposition. Our leutenants come back from Iraq, spend some time teaching, and go back to the fight as majors. The early response to Falluja was a textbook operation based on pre-war doctrine. The response to Al Sadr and the current Falluja operations are like nothing that has been seen before - new doctrine, entirely learned from experience since the beginning of the war. You see military-political operations that use ideas of swarm warfare and social networks... the military is doing amazingly well.

I wouldn't necessarily say the same about the civilian leadership, I think they are doing ok but not great.

Posted by: Obsidian at November 5, 2004 02:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The left only knows how to throw stones any more. They have no vision, their Oasis of socialist paradise has evaporated into a mirage, and they hate and despise the right for being correct about communism, correct about capitalism, and correct that man is not an infinitely malleable clay. And thus the Orwellian "newspeak" such as "incompetent" to refer to an unprecedented military victory and "reality-based" to describe their hate-filled bubble world.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at November 5, 2004 02:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

hey Kerry fans,

How does it feel to be in the trash heap of history like Hitler, Stalin, Tojo, Dewey, McGovern, Dukacus and Lenin???

Posted by: marty at November 5, 2004 03:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Please spare the "I am against the war" crap. Everyone is beginning to realize that the anti-war movement is simply a cover for organizing marxist anarchism. This was one great lesson learned from Vietnam.

Those against the war don't really care about Iraqi lives,Democracy, saving the environment, ending poverty etc etc etc, what you want is to have an excuse for the miserable, misguided lives you have cultivated for yourselves.

The anti-war movement is not about peace, it is about self-loathing hate.

Take your Drummond Pike misery and move to France where you belong.

By the way, THE PLAN everyone speaks of went out the window when France stabbed us in the back. Had France, as well as, Russia and Germany kept their commitment to our allies we would not have had to use PLAN B.

But them again, going to war to remove Saddam has given justifiable reason to dissolve the corrupt United Nations.

Of course those who hold the United for Genocidal Peace and Justice for Dictators platform are just too damn smart to undertand the idiocy they have become.

Posted by: syn at November 5, 2004 03:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It's pretty amazing the sorts of strange comments people are making here. "Marxist anarchism"? Give me a break. Do you really think the Cato Institute is a front for "Marxist anarchism"? Or, say, Daniel Drezner? Or Scott McConnell of The American Conservative? I mean, get real.

>Regarding the "lack of care or foresight"... not true.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Of course there was SOME planning --- but by all accounts it was primarily planning for the initial phase of the war. They also planned for a lot of stuff that didn't happen: massive refugee populations, etc. But what they didn't plan for was a massive ongoing insurgency that would last for long after the war's end. They didn't adequately plan to protect the nuclear and biological sites that were known to us, etc.

To put it another way, they didn't accurately predict what would happen after the war --- and this was not merely a matter of events that no one could have foreseen --- many did foresee it, including planners in the State Department, etc. There was an active suppression of people who were trying to say that the postwar would be more difficult than they expected.

In any event, the past is past. My only point is that, to my eyes, the war has been handled much more badly than it could have been, and this is why I have little confidence that this Administration will do well in the upcoming four years.

However ... I do hope things will get better. Strangely, I think that despite all the hoohah about a "mandate" these guys might have gotten a fright big enough to scare them into doing things a bit differently this time. Here's to hoping.

Posted by: Mitsu at November 5, 2004 03:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The point I haven't seen here: Bush didn't win on the war. He won by appealing to the base strategy outlined by Karl Rove after the last election: drawing more evangelical voters to the polls. Motivated by the gay marriage initiatives in several key states, these conservative voters turned out and delivered Bush to the White House.

I know BD is a foreign policy blog, but domestic politics cannot be ignored in an election. Despite the constant drumbeat from hawks that everyone's top issue is national security, a lot of people are single-issue voters on matters such as abortion, faith, and homosexual marriage.

To the asinine right-wingers worried about anarcho-Marxist plots and such- look again at the results. Bush won a clear victory in a very close election for a variety of reasons, not just matters of war and peace.

Posted by: BigMatt at November 5, 2004 04:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

All of those on this thread who are so concerned about failing in Iraq are TOTALLY IGNORANT of the situation.

Sure, we have problems with some loony, Terrorist type left-wingers over there, but we are winning BIG TIME. Over 75% of the country is peaceful and more people die in auto accidents than any other way.

Over 1/2 of the country has NOT had a terrorist incident of any kind in over a year. ANY downtown American city is MUCH MORE DANGEROUS than over 1/2 of Iraq.

The Media wanted Bush to lose, so they have lied about Iraq for 18 months. Those who have believed them are the left-wing loonies who have proven to be the most ignorant people on the planet. Moore the Mouth-Farter is a good exampke.

Posted by: leaddog2 at November 5, 2004 04:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I voted for Kerry for the same reason mitsu did, and I'll add in one more: Abu Ghraib.

Bush botched it. By not firing Rumsfeld and not making sure Abu Ghraib never happened again, he told the Muslim world that he sanctioned torture of Muslims. Besides being morally reprehensible, on a pragmatic level: you can't force Iraqis to democracy at gunpoint. Democracy in Iraq depends on the willing participation of Iraqis in the process, and that is impossible without goodwill towards us Americans, whom they hate increasingly, and who are staying there until the Iraqis get democracy. Oops. Oh, and I heard a rumor somewhere that Rummy may be sticking around for the next term? Sweeet.

On a different point, I think you are absolutely right to despise pacifists. Our soldiers defend our lives and make us safe enough to make freedom possible. What "pacifism" really means is anarchy and with it, anarchic violence. I think we're not so different, you and I.

Still, I'm genuinely curious: why bring up this particular case in point? Is it in part to make your guy look better? (Psst, negative campaigning only works on the choir.) Or does it serve as ballast against a specific liberal blogger who crassly points only to the equally freaky portions of the right-wing Christian contingent?

I stopped reading Daily Kos because their civility sucks. After the first dozen "me-too-rethugs," I stopped reading. I think pointing exclusively to the other side's nutjobs lowers the levels of civility and with it, rational discourse. It's counter-elitism, if you will, and all it does is set groups against each other and rabble-rouse--admittedly useful for election time. But hey, newsflash--your guy won already.

I'm not petty enough to wish failure of the Iraq war on Bush. Like it or not, Bush is President now and what's bad for the President is bad for America. I wish Bush absolute success in Iraq.

Posted by: mayo at November 5, 2004 06:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Geez, mayo, haven't the Dems and the MSM beaten Abu Ghraib enough for you? Yes, yes, it was terrible to see American GIs do that stuff, and yes, I think Rummy should've been canned, but for crying out loud, these Iraqis were murderous thugs who suffered the humiliation of having their wee-wees filmed. What about the poor bastards that have had their heads sawn off live on Al Jezeera? Why doesn't the MSM put those pictures on the front pages so that it's painfully clear what kind of monsters we're fighting? If you did indeed make your vote because of Abu Ghraib, I suggest that you make a study of REAL war atrocities throughout history (American and otherwise) to get some perspective. News flash! Human beings do terrible things to each other, especially when at war.

Posted by: JAB at November 5, 2004 06:44 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey, I live in the Bay Area, Ground Zero of the out to lunch Left.
Preface-I'm 56 years old-I voted for Nixon in '72, for pretty much the same reasons I voted for Bush this year, then, in succession, Carter twice, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton twice, and Gore (boy am I ashamed of THAT one now!) I don't vote willy-nilly for Republicans. If you would have told me in August of 2001 that I would some day soon take out a subscription to THE National Interest and National Review, I would have said you were crazy. And If I had been living in Winnemucca, Nevada or East Squeedunkville, Nebraska, I probably wouldn't have.
But living here in the Bay Area, your nose gets constntly rubbed in left wing psychosis. I am ethnically Scotch Irish/Wasp and loosely Presbyterian/Episcopalian and therefore, I believe somewhat neutral. There's no getting around it-There's a very nasty streak of Israel bashing and sneaky anti-Semitism in the anti-war movement here, and the "Liberal" establishment (the San Francisco Chronicle, the Democratic Party, the Greens) seemingly couldn't care less.
You can't watch (and if you live here, you have to watch-blocking traffic, etc.) an International ANSWER rally without seeing a lot of aging old line Stalinists carrying signs saying "Zionism is Racism", "Smash the State of Israel", etc. (And, don't forget, all the members of the board of Answer belong to the World Workers Party, which defends Slobodan Milosovic, and has sent representatives to Pyongyang, and come back praising Kim Jong Il)
An Israeli American out in San Francisco's Sunset district running for supervisor has swastikas painted on all his campaign posters-the freebie Examiner covers the story, but the Chronicle-not a peep.
The day Saddam Hussein gets captured, I go to my local newsstand to buy a Chron, and the sixtyish guy behind the counter, seeing Saddam's picture on the front page, starts ranting about US Imperialism. I argue back casually, not wanting to get too involved in a discussion with an obvious fanatic who will never change his mind. The US just wants the oil, CIA, blah, blah, blah. Then he throws out the word Zionism. I'm not Jewish, but I have lived in Israel, and support it. This pushes my button, so I say, "Well, you're looking at a Zionist". This pushes him over the edge, so, so help me he cites THE Protocols of the Elders of Zion. (By the way, since when is the word "Zionist" an insult?)
You Kerry supporters out in the boondocks maybe have never heard this kind of stuff, but around here, it's unavoidable. Around here, the left is really ugly, and it's all in plain sight.

Posted by: Oakland CAl at November 5, 2004 12:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wow, Greg, you really brought out the best with this one ...

Posted by: praktike at November 5, 2004 01:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thanks, Greg, you hit it right on the head. Now if the media would begin reporting instead of trying to sway elections, things would be great here! What a horrible shame that a political party should be so greedy and uncaring.

Posted by: zyzzyx at November 5, 2004 04:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"People like John Podesta are going to need to exert leadership to try to steer misguided people (like those hanging their hat over at Kos') back towards a centrist re-jiggering of the "values" debate"

Sorry, Greg, but you're not going far enough and don't see the obvious.

What Democrats are going to have to do is not this, but to purge their party of these imbeciles.

These maniacs and moral degenerates such as the Kos Krowd can't be "moved" back from anything. It is the Democrat Party that must be moved back, away from the Liberal fringe, leaving the Liberal / Lefties behind.

Until the Democrat Party purges itself of the Kos Krowd, Holly-weird, Socialist unions, NAACP clones and the gay crowd, it will always be steel-bolted to failure.

Posted by: paul a'barge at November 5, 2004 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree, Paul. The Democrats are not likely to jettison Kos, Streisand or Moore any time soon. Every 4 years, the Dems ponder a moderate to prop up- this year it's Evan Bayh. That talk will end and in a few months, the party reins will go to Howard Dean or some other flamethrower. Good grief. I endured this pattern for 20+ years before going Independent. I felt like Charley Brown trying to kick that football.

Posted by: kreiz at November 5, 2004 07:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lots of good comments. There is another element to the defeat of the Democrats, however, that hasn't been discussed enough.

I've seen comments from a number of respectable non-moonbat people (e.g., Glenn Reynolds) that the Dems this time around ran a campaign based almost entirely on deception. A profoundly anti-war party ran a candidate who was pro-war in comparison to Howard Dean; a party with its roots in the anti-Vietnam protests ran a guy who wrapped himself in the flag of his brief military career; a party that has very strong anti-corporate and anti-capitalist leanings and a strong dose of socialist beliefs ran a guy who promised tax cuts for corporations. A party that believes in repealing the Second Amendment ran a guy who had photo-ops of hunting geese, and tried really really hard to appear to be like one of those redneck idiots that the Left now condemns for dragging the country into perdition.

The true colors are now coming out, and it's fairly obvious why the Dems lost and why they deserved to lose.

American people, on the whole, can smell out a fake. And the Kerry campaign was a giant fake; it seems too appropriate that Hollywood -- whose business is to create illusions -- turned out in droves for Kerry. It seems too appropriate that the intellectual center of the Left was a filmmaker -- a 'documentarian' in name only. The Kerry campaign, indeed, Kerry himself, was all flash and no substance, all image and no principles.

Now... I think it's a bit disingenuous to claim that this is the result of incompetence of the Left. I think it goes deeper than that. I think the Left fully understands that their ideas and deeply-held principles are not palatable to the American public. Given the scorn and derision that the elitists on either coast have for the so-called "middle America", it isn't surprising. The coastal elites by and large look at "middle America" as fat, stupid, uneducated, illiterate, bible-thumping idiots who wave the flag, watch NASCAR, and think that McDonalds is cuisine. They're unsophisticated farmers. Redneck hunters who hate gays and love guns. And so on and so forth.

The end result of this intellectual sneering is that rather than engaging the American public in a discourse designed to persuade and convince, the Left has chosen to dismiss them as being stupid and uneducated, beyond enlightenment, who must be dictated to (via the courts) or deceived (via the media). The Right, on the other hand, treated "middle America" as people who can be convinced of the correctness of its positions, and have done so effectively.

The Left could have staked out a firm anti-war position, which is what it truly believes. But knowing that the average American would repudiate such an appeasement-oriented, U.N.-centric, peace-at-any-price policy, the Left chose instead to undermine the war by a bewildering variety of attacks: Bush Lied, Halliburton, No Blood For Oil, etc. Even the more sophisticated critiques are along the lines of "I'm for the war, but against how it's executed". That's an attack from the RIGHT, not from the LEFT. I find it very hard to believe that the peaceniks who opposed Vietnam and wring their hands over 1,000 losses in Iraq would actually be for carpet bombing Fallujah, or any of the things that the *proper* execution of the Iraq campaign would have required. It's the same logic at work when Charlie Rangel proposed reinstating the draft -- not to strengthen the military, but to create domestic opposition to military action.

This sort of dissembling must stop. The Left must either abandon its failed policies and principles, or stop looking at "middle America" as being composed of bunch of redneck morons.

In this election, the sheer number of people who voted for Bush while being really uncomfortable with many of his policies and philosophies is staggering. The common thread? "I don't agree with Bush on a lot of issues, but at least I know what he stands for."


Posted by: TheSophist at November 5, 2004 08:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

just me wrote: "When a guy like Greg reads the statement from Kos and assumes that this former soldier wants to see America fail... well, it's a sign of the quality of political discourse."

It's a completely accurate assessment of the quality of Kos's discourse.

"When Moore make a joke (in poor taste, no doubt) about OBL hitting the wrong city and people use it to characterize an entire group of people, that's not helpful."

It's no fucking joke to me, and I didn't even lose a friend or relative on 9/ll. And I didn't hear anyone on the left condemning Moore's remark, either. And for you to calmly say it's "a joke (in poor taste, no doubt)" only shows that you just don't get it.

And by the way, what Moore said about his earlier comments was, "do I have to teach these people about satire?" Parsing that statement, it's not a claim that it actually was satire. Even if it was, on 9/12 satire was the last thing we needed.

"People there [at LGF] accuse muslims of being ghouls on the dead."

I don't think that's true. As far as I know they say things like that about the terrorists and extremists, and they are well-deserved and valid.

"I don't believe it's helpful to be so hateful."

How nice for you.

Posted by: Jim C. at November 5, 2004 09:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

When I think of the sheer contempt most Manhattanites have for Red State voters, I'm reminded of Jimmy Stewart's classic rant in "It's a Wonderful Life." Substitute "Christian" for "rabble" and you'll see what I mean:

"Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about...they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. "

Posted by: brendan at November 6, 2004 02:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

sure, Brendan... let's just lose New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, California, Washington (state), Massachusetts from the union and see how well your country does. Let's see what effect it has on GDP when you remove those states. Let's see how many people in the red states pay for anything when the blue states go away.

Over the past 4 years, with Republican control of both Congress and the White House, red states have in general received more federal dollars than they contribute in the form of taxes. Most blue states pay more in taxes than they get back in federal expenditures.

Your quote is pretty asinine once you think about it.

Posted by: just me at November 6, 2004 03:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

OK, just me ... you take the money, we'll keep the food. We might be able to work something out.

Seriously though, I don't think brendan was saying anything at all about casting out the Blues. (Never mind the fact it's the blues who are wondering why they can't just secede, which is an irony and a half given the country's history).

Instead, I imagine he's trying to make the point - which should be obvious - that those people so easily dismissed as rubes and dangerous gun-owning theocrats are, in fact, complex human beings who have children and families they love, movies they like to see, tv shows they always watch, music that touches them, and hope to be able to visit places like New York and San Francisco because of all the cool and exotic stuff they have there.

Alas, these generally - though not universally - decent, faithful and curious people are now considered to be dangerous drooling pariahs by a significant group of people who just happen to have access to entities like the New York Times, NPR, CBS, Washington Post, etc.

It's no wonder that we down here are starting to figure out that the Left loves The People, but completely loathes the people.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at November 6, 2004 08:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Steve, no one is seriously talking about secession. Yeesh.

No one I know believes that the people in the red states are "rubes or dangerous gun-owning theocrats" at all, nor do I think do people at the Times, NPR, CBS, WaPo. I guess 48% of America hates 51% of America... no wonder this is so contentious when people like you believe that. Especially when the 51% of America has access to entities like the Washington Times, New York Post, Fox News (#1 rated cable news network), and folks like Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ann Coulter. Cause you know, it's not like they have ANY influence in spreading hate for the "Left," "liberals," or the 48%.

Posted by: just me at November 6, 2004 05:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The point of my quote was to unmask the Left's widely assumed (yet rarely articulated) contempt for the common man. I mean, did you read EJ Dionne's column this week? Or Maureen Dowd's? Did you see that kid with the "Fuck Middle America" sign? Did you peruse Slate's hysterically titled "Why do they hate us?" screed? Once upon a time, I proudly loathed Clinton, but I wasn't surfing Canadian emigration sites in November 1996. When you treat people with contempt, don't be surprised when you receive it threefold. And can we please dispense with this "healing" nonsense? Exactly what is it that needs to be "healed"? Hurt feelings? Hell, that's just politics. Like this country has never witnessed a close election before? Did we need to be "healed" after the Kennedy/Nixon race? If you want to be gay, then be gay. If you want to get an abortion, go get one. If you want to skip church or be an atheist, be my guest. Honestly, the Left has never had it so good. But don't think you can shove gay marriage down our throats or snuff out the life of a baby in its ninth month of development. We have our limits.

Posted by: brendan at November 6, 2004 06:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm a red state republican, however, Bush did not have a lock on my vote. John Kerry could have earned it. I also lived in Georgia when Zell Miller was our governor and I voted for him twice because like him or not, he always did what he said he was going to do.

As the 2004 race began to develop, I noticed Zell was on the dem trashpile. Then I discovered Ed Koch, Joe Lieberman, John O'Neill, even Left writers like Roger L. Simon were leaning to Bush. I looked at the face of the democrat party and what did I see? Michael Moore, P. Diddy, Whoopi, Paul Begala, Terry McAwful, Al Sharpton, Bill Maher, Al Franken, George Soros, Kos, et al. with Kerry seeming to embrace them all and gaining sustenance from them.

You sent these people to knock off my vote? As John Stossel is wont to say, "Give me a break".

So now the dems are in denial and blame folks with faith, family values and not Hollywood values, and everyone except themselves. Until reason and integrity become foundations of the party again, this guy's vote is a lock for republicans.

Posted by: Abu Qa'Qa at November 6, 2004 09:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The US is a great nation because of the values that our parents and grandparents tried so earnestly to bestow upon each generation that followed. These are the values of faith, commitment to family and community, and, of course, honest hard work that is rewarded with a better life for our sons and daughters. These are the VALUES that make societies great. I am not sure what values the liberal-left holds dear. But that is their problem.

Posted by: marty at November 6, 2004 09:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

just me,

"let's just lose New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, California, Washington (state), Massachusetts from the union and see how well your country does"

Your smug reply ignores the crucial trend that every Republican strategist, and a few of the smarter Democratic ones, has picked up on: the above states are all LOSING POPULATION and electoral votes. It is of course the red states that are adding people, jobs, and high-growth companies that account for most of the growth and productivity increases in this country. They are the future, and they, not the Hollywood/Manhattan axis, are the crucible of our country's next generation of leaders.

Do you really think that the above blue states will see a reversal of the massive emigration and decline suffered in recent years?

Are you betting that millions of talented and educated professionals will leave Colorado and Texas and North Carolina and Nevada and Georgia and head back to the industrial wasteland that is Michigan and Pennsylvania? Do you really believe that North Carolina will lose major money center bank business to Manhattan? Why is it, do you think, that California has been losing many of its most talented entrepreneurs and programmers?

Finally, here's a bar bet for you: which now-red state comprises the firm that, according to Nobellist Gary Bauer, alone accounts for one-third of American productivity growth from 1995-2000: California, Massachusetts, Washington, or Arkansas? Hint: it's not a blue-state monoplist provider of buggy shit-software.

And one more shock to your paradigm: these states are becoming more socially liberal and more economically conservative as pro-business libertarian yuppie emigres from anti-business, high-tax coastal jurisdictions move in. Red-blue divide? Bullshit. These cutting-edge voters are purple.

To everyone else on this board: not all Dems are as smug and clueless as "just me." They know that the future of this country rests with the high-growth, diverse, increasingly libertarian sunbelt states and that whichever party can put together a coalition of these states' professional and small-business classes + hispanics + military families will hold a lock on national politics in decades to come.

Posted by: lex at November 7, 2004 07:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sophist among others is right in that the Dems can't run on what they really stand for and expect to win. They have no new ideas - basically are running on class warfare from the 30's. They have little understanding that politics are a component of life and to a larger and larger part of America an increasingly less important part than 40-50 years ago. Party affiliations are down, fewer people belong to labor unions and most of those are gov't workers. Big gov't, high tax, social engineering doesn't look like a winner to me.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at November 8, 2004 07:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hi Jack,

Thanks for the response.

I don't disagree with your position -- but as a former liberal (one might even say Marxist) -- I'd really like the Left to clearly state its core bedrocks principles, then evangelize them to all Americans. This isn't simply politics; it is a grand public discourse that needs to happen.

For example, I suspect that a main platform of the Left is that of economic equality -- progressive taxation, government programs for the poor, etc. are part of that principle. There's nothing wrong per se with the idea of economic equality -- but instead of enunciating the principle and standing by it, I feel that the Left has shoved such principles under the rug of electability.

If the Left and Democrats wish to propose taking the country in a more socialistic direction, then by all means, let's have that discussion. But we can't do it when the powers-that-be of the Democratic establishment refuse to tell the rest of us what it is that they truly, really stand for. This deception must stop for the good of us all.

Let me illustrate with one example. Take a major theme of the Kerry campaign: We did the right thing in going to war in Iraq, but the execution was poor; Kerry would do a better job. Now that the election is over, is there any Democrat/Liberal who says this? Or do they say what they truly feel: War in Iraq was immoral/illegal/mistake/bad/etc.?

Had Bush lost the election running on "War in Iraq was the right thing to do, and we're doing the best we can", how many Republicans would today be moaning that no, actually, we all hated the War too, but just went along with Bush.

Republicans were for the war before Nov. 2, and are for it after Nov. 2 -- even with criticism and discomfort. Democrats were provisionally, supposedly for the war before Nov. 2, and now are vehemently opposed to it. What changed but the election itself?

Dems have to stop this. Tell us what you really believe, defend those ideas, spread the word, and convince us. Don't rely on the courts for all of your policies, and by golly, don't use the media to obfuscate what you really stand for. Americans can see through that.

And for cryin' out loud... I know being out of power sucks but... Jesus Mary and Joseph... don't run a mediocre candidate you don't truly support because he appears "electable". Go with your passion and plain ole CONVINCE us to vote for the guy/gal.


Posted by: TheSophist at November 9, 2004 06:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

lex, give me a break. My smug response was to Brendan's statement that "mahattanites" treat the rest of the country as rabble and that the red state voters are the only ones that work, live, and die in our nation. That's bullshit. Each part of our country contributes something different to the greater whole.

call me clueless if you will, but at least understand what the hell I was saying.

Posted by: just me at November 9, 2004 09:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Come now, you're better than this. They are idiots on Kos. And a lot of hurt people. As a lawyer, you ought to recognize that there is a huge, illogical leap from:

"Bush's victory that America will lose the Iraq war on Bush's watch. "


"They don't get it, do they? Such fifth-column-like talk is a big reason why they lost this election. "

“They”? Who’s your “they” Greg? The “they”s in the last two sentences are not the same people.

A couple of crazies on a blog do not represent the Democrats, or the 56 million Americans who voted for Kerry. The fact is both candidates ran well and the fight was very close, with Bush scraping past with the 2nd lowest electoral margins of any president since 1916. And the lowest margin? Bush-Gore 2000. This is a divided nation, and has been for some time.

It could just as easily have gone the other way. I realize that a lot of the pundits just have to get in their say with ponderous, patronising "Advice to the Democrats" (Greg Reynolds wins the prize here for insufferable partisanship), but an honest observer will note that neither Kerry nor Bush won the backing of a sizable majority of Americans, across the board.

We are a divided country, and the sooner the two sides work together for the benefit of the nation, the better it is.

Posted by: Mark at November 11, 2004 05:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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