Joe Biden at Rotary

South Carolina, Joe Biden really, really wants you to help him get to the White House. I’ll write about this more later in the week, but for now I’ll refer you to this video clip I shot with my PDA (meaning it’s even lower quality than MOST of my videos) at the Columbia Rotary Club.

The clip begins right after he left the rostrum and waded into the crowd to answer a one-word question: "Immigration?" Note the passion, the waving arms, the populist posturing, the peripatetic delivery. Joe Biden has always loved to talk, but this Elmer Gantryesque performance went far beyond his routine style.

Most of his speech was about Iraq, by the way. And it went over well. This Rotary Club never goes past its 2 p.m. ending time, but he had the audience still sitting politely listening — some of them truly rapt — past 2:30.

It was quite a performance. You may think politicians act like this all the time, because of stuff you  see on TV and in the movies. But I have never, in real life, seen a national candidate get this intense seeking S.C. votes two years before the election.

69 thoughts on “Joe Biden at Rotary

  1. Dave

    Strong words from Biden there, actually surprising and makes me wonder why he doesnt talk like that on a national platform. Of course, he knows that 90% of his fellow Democrats would not vote in favor of any tough solutions to stop the illegal immigrant flow, let alone the influx of drugs and crime into our nation. They prefer to give those who are here amnesty and the ability to vote as soon as possible. And, even putting them into the Social Security benefits system based on wages earned ILLEGALLY. Not bad if one can get it. I like Biden’s passion but would possibly even support him if he would speak up like this IN THE SENATE.

    Keep those videos coming. You can’t hear what Joe’s joke was – did you hear it?

  2. chrisw

    The problem with Joe Biden is that he never shuts up. He is a likeable guy, and I like the idea of “Joe Biden”…but in reality he has been wrong about a lot of things. And he just won’t shut up.
    Like so many of his stripe, he is given a pass on many things, as the press loves him. But when real national attention focuses on him…he will shine far less brightly.

  3. Ready to Hurl

    Too bad that gutless Joe Biden left the 2004 nomination to the hopelessly campaign-impaired John Kerry. Eliminate Kerry’s missteps and a successful Biden candidacy would have prevented much of the damage inflicted by the second Bush Administration to the Constitution, our national security and the U.S. economy.
    Instead he opted to give Der Decider a free ride and wait until the road looked easier with no incumbent to run against.
    Meanwhile, Biden voted for the 700 mile border fence despite knowing that it’s only “window dressing.” It doesn’t take a political scientist to recognize cynical pandering in pursuit of the presidency.
    Some of Biden’s blather reminds me Der Decider’s debate claim to be able to jawbone the Saudis into reducing oil prices. (I guess that the Saudis put Junior on hold until it was apparent that he was about to lose the compliant Rethuglican majorities in the President’s legislative subsidiaries.)

  4. bud

    Wasn’t Joe Biden caught plagarizing someone else’s work about 10-15 years ago? If true, that would significantly lower my respect for him.

  5. Ready to Hurl

    From Wikipedia:
    1988 Presidential Campaign
    Controversy broke Biden’s candidacy for the U.S. presidency in the 1988 Presidential campaign. He was found to have plagiarized a speech from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. The speech included adaptation of some details of Kinnock’s life which were not true in Biden’s case. For example, Biden’s speech recast Kinnock’s words to say, “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? My ancestors, who worked in the coal mines in northeast Pennsylvania and who would come up after twelve hours and play football for four hours? It’s not because they weren’t as smart. It’s not because they didn’t work as hard. It was because there was no platform on which they could stand.” After Biden withdrew from the race, it was learned that he had correctly credited Kinnock on other occasions but failed to do so in an Iowa speech that was recorded and distributed to reporters by aides to Michael Dukakis, the eventual nominee. Dukakis fired the senior aide responsible, but the damage had already been done to Biden. [7] [8]
    It had also been alleged that Biden had plagiarized while in law school 20 years earlier in a first-year legal-writing class. Unaware of appropriate standards for legal briefs at the beginning of his legal training, Biden used a single footnote rather than multiple citations required to cite five pages from a legal article. Both Syracuse University Law School and the Delaware State Bar Association cleared Biden of plagiarism charges.

  6. judraysc

    Joe Biden continues to shine with this SC, life-long Republican. Is he cocky? Is he sometimes “talky?” Is his hair “neat?” Yes! Are these “presidential issues?” No. Get off the plagiarism bit; Joe has explained that over and over. He assumed the responsibility of his staff’s mistake and withdrew from the race because HE was responsible.
    This country needs an INTELLIGENT, EXPERIENCED LEADER who understands national AND international issues. Joe is the best person out there at this time.
    Joe changes his position when it is right to do so. Only Bush can’t admit mistakes. How many of us supported the war in Iraq in 2003? Joe has a plan … and had it before it became evident that we could not win in Iraq.
    I’ll continue to listen to Joe and look toward his SOLUTIONS; not his hair and sometimes over talking a situation … by the way, if his talk is boring, why did people stay an hour longer than planned at the Rotary meeting? It sure beats Edwards’ non-experience and “poor boy” talk. Hiliary? I don’t think so. McCain? A Bush “act-alike” who is a great guy, but can he LEAD? Guliaini? 2008 must be more than a popularity race based on one strong “local” act. Who are all these inexperienced folks like Romney who may be “good guys,” but have no real national-issue experience? Joe can do it! Perhaps there’s someone out there that could do it better, but so far I don’t see, nor hear them.
    By the way, why didn’t THE STATE carry the full Associated Press “Biden” story? It had a lot of insight into how the Rotary attendees saw Biden.

  7. bud

    I’m satisfied (that Joe Biden did not indescrimanetely plagarize anyone). These seem to be minor indescretions. As a liberal, I believe in supporting candidates with the highest integrity. Mr. Biden seems to be an honorable man and I’ll take a closer look as the primary draws near.

  8. Dave

    Lets not forget that the Algore is waiting out there for his second chance. But wait, hurricane season ends tomorrow and the USA went the entire year with ZERO hurricanes hitting land. Oops, Al willneed to revise his goofy documentary where he claimed that the post-Katrina US would be the scene of massive and more powerful hurricanes. Gorbots dont pay attention to facts so to them, Global Warming is now responsible for ZERO hurricanes. Take two for Algore.

  9. bud

    Not many Atlantic hurricanes this year but plenty in the Pacific. Remember, it’s called GLOBAL warming. Mr. Gore is very much correct on this vital issue. The Rush Limbaugh wing of the GOP is off-base.

  10. Lee

    Joe Biden has a record of attacking the rights of individuals protected by our Constitution, from jury trials, to the right to self defense, and private property.
    He is another rich guy who never held a real job and wants socialism for the masses.

  11. bill

    If Joe wants SC,he should use some clips from his eulogy at Strom’s funeral.That was so beautiful,I thought I was going to cry me a river.

  12. bill

    BTW,How did global warming become a left/right
    issue? Rush/Gore? I’m gonna have to go all Brad,and say,can’t we get a little bipartisan on solving some problems?

  13. bud

    Bill, global warming shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Let the facts fall where they may. As the facts stand now the earth’s surface temperature is rising. And it’s most likely the result of human’s pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. There is little legitimate debate within the scientific community about this.
    There are two legitimate issues we need to address. First, how detrimental is global warming? There is a huge amount of speculation regarding that. Are we in the middle of a huge increase in hurricane activity? Maybe. That’s just one of the issues that we have to consider. Second, even if we agree that global warming is highly detrimental what do we do about it? Many argue that the solutions are more dangerous than the problem itself.
    Right now there aren’t many good answers. But to simply deny something that is clearly occuring as many on the right are doing is folly. As for me, I’m at an age where it probably won’t impact my life much. But for my unborn grandchildren it could be a real problem in about the year 2075.

  14. Dave

    Interesting record of Joe B. on immigration votes:
    Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program. (May 2006)
    Voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. (May 2006)
    Voted YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship. (May 2006)
    Voted YES on allowing more foreign workers into the US for farm work. (Jul 1998)
    Voted NO on visas for skilled workers. (May 1998)
    Voted NO on limit welfare for immigrants. (Jun 1997)

  15. judraysc

    Thanks, Dave, for the record. I see no problem in these and Joe’s latest statements.
    I look hardest at his post 2000 record … and I’m OK with it. We need a guest worker program, not illegal immigration, and once we have a legal program in place, those workers should have SOME rights.
    I’m not in 100% agreement with ANY potential pres. candidate; I’m more conservative than Joe but he’s still at the top of my overall ranking.

  16. Ready to Hurl

    Bill, global warming became a “left/right” issue because the proposed solutions meant big rightwing Republican fatcats would have lower profits.
    Arguing that they’d prefer to make astronomical profits and destroy the environment didn’t seem like a winning position. Instead they bought a few scientists and a huge propaganda machine to inject a figleaf of “uncertainty” into the debate.
    Thus, Der Decider could hide behind the illusion of a “controversy” and claim that “more study” was needed. Every year of postponing dealing with the problem means billions more of profits for the energy sector alone.
    No one knows when the ecosystem will reach a “point of no return” but that doesn’t seem to matter when billions of dollars of profits are at stake.

  17. Preston

    How about this exchange reported in today’s Washington Post:
    “How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
    “I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
    “That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”
    “That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House….
    “I’m not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall,” Webb said in an interview yesterday in which he confirmed the exchange between him and Bush.
    Jim Webb is my new hero. Brad, if you’re looking for an independent renegade, Jim Webb should be your guy.
    ….Oh yeah, Lee. Please don’t respond.

  18. Dave

    Yes, another no-class ignorant rude Dummocrat helping to usher in the new Congress of bipartisanship and civility.

  19. Preston

    By class, you refer to the Bush twins who were thrown out of Argentina over the weekend for over-partying and being a general public nuisance, while Webb’s son was in Iraq. HA HA! You a real funny man Mr. Dave. I love the GOP’s new Rumsfeldian notion that people who disagree with you are just stupid. It works well for you Dave. You the MAN!
    If only we all had the Class of the Bushes.

  20. bud

    The Decider is in a complete state of denial. With each public statement regarding Iraq he displays his complete lack of comprehension at just how much of a mess he’s gotten us into. Jim Webb is right to treat this man with the disdain he so richly deserves.

  21. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, what happened to the ole “bipartisanship = date rape” Rethuglican meme?
    Oh, that’s right, now the Dems have subpoena power.
    Go cry in your beer, buddy. Here come multiple investigations of Rethuglican, criminality, misconduct, malfeasance, and corruption.
    And, civility? Do I really have to rake up examples like accusing John Murtha of being a coward on the floor of the U.S. House?
    By Fall, 2008 Bush and Cheney will be relieved if the country isn’t demanding their impeachment.

  22. Ready to Hurl

    Forget the “Who lost Iraq” wingnut blame game forming now. Apparently, Bush has managed lose Afghanistan, too.
    I bet that Joe Biden wouldn’t have let this happen:
    from The Telegraph (UK newspaper)
    Accept defeat by Taliban, Pakistan tells Nato
    Senior Pakistani officials are urging Nato countries to accept the Taliban and work towards a new coalition government in Kabul that might exclude the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
    Pakistan’s foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, has said in private briefings to foreign ministers of some Nato member states that the Taliban are winning the war in Afghanistan and Nato is bound to fail. He has advised against sending more troops.
    Western ministers have been stunned. “Kasuri is basically asking Nato to surrender and to negotiate with the Taliban,” said one Western official who met the minister recently.

  23. Brad Warthen

    Webb sounds like he has socialization issues, and thinks just a little too highly of himself because he just barely squeaked by in an election.
    Just as W. should have been a bit more humble about his “mandate” in both 2000 and 2004, I think Mr. Webb should realize that he didn’t just get elected judge and jury of those with whom he disagrees.
    His inability to engage in an informal civil exchange points to an interesting problem I’ve referred to before. War opponents, perhaps because they tend to be folks who are in touch with deep feelings, think only those whose children are serving or likely to serve should make decisions about war and peace. In other words, only people who would really, really not want to see the Army get shot at should decide whether to send the Army into harm’s way or not.
    That, of course, sort of stacks the deck against ever using force.
    Consider these two assertions:
    — I wish someone other than George W. Bush was running this war. (My first pick, as long as I’m wishing, would be Tony Blair.)
    — Whoever it is, I’d feel a whole lot safer (not personally, but as someone who cares about the future of the American experiment, and civilization overall) if that person did not have a deep emotional stake in the decision.
    Just as we don’t let involved parties (say, victim’s families) sit on juries, we don’t want the emotionally involved making the tough calls about war and peace.
    Yes, I wish all our leaders had military experience. For that reason and others I favor a UNIVERSAL draft, one that will find a use for every man (I wouldn’t draft women, but we can have that debate later), including 53-year-old wrecks like me.
    But I say that because I think veterans make better citizens, and better leaders. The last generation of leaders had the experience of WWII in common, and they were better leaders for it. Too many of today’s leaders didn’t serve, either because they weren’t asked to (which is true in my case, and that of pretty much everyone younger than I — I turned 19 the year the draft ended), or because they dodged it. And look at what we have.
    But the leaders themselves having served is a far cry from the idea that leaders should be held emotionally hostage. If their kids serve, great for their kids. I admire them, and am deeply grateful. But to say you have to be risking your children (as though it were the parent’s decision, which it isn’t) to make valid calls about war, is absurd. If flies in the face of the principles underlying the system of government bequeathed to us by men of the Enlightenment.

  24. Preston

    Brad, you are a little offbase. Bush asked a question that was uncomfortable to Webb. Webb used a social sidestep and offered a non-answer (something Bush is all too familiar with). Bush, being a bully, pressed the issue, at which point he was put in his damn place by someone with balls. Bush better get used to it, ’cause it don’t get any better.
    Do not blame Webb for anti-social tendencies. Did you really right that Webb thinks too highly of himself? I had to read that again. Really??? Come on Brad, Bush poked the snake with a stick twice and got bit. It’s time he joined the rest of us in reality. Sorry if it’s uncomfortable for Bush.

  25. Dave

    To a liberal, a rude non-answer is now called a social sidestep. I guess they think that Michael Richards (Kramer) did a double social sidestep tothe blacks in his audience. Webb then told people on the record that he actually wanted to punch the president because the prez asked him about his son. The commander-in-chief asked him a reasonable polite question and this guy responds like that. Another kook in the Senate. hahahahahahah The talk shows will love this kook. Perverted kook on top of all that.

  26. Ready to Hurl

    If Jim Webb’s politics were of the wingnut variety and he was being rude to, say President Clinton, Dave would be praising him to high heavens. That’s OK, Dave. We understand that you’re just a partisan hack.
    Webb has no use for a draft dodging CinC who misleads the nation into a war with no plan to win. He obviously has nothing but contempt for a Bush– a man who has sent thousands of Americans to their deaths due to criminally incompetent bungling.
    Webb went out of his way to avoid Bush. Bush went out of his way to talk to Webb. Big mistake on Bush’s part. Webb verbally swatted away Bush’s attempt at fake concern. Bush, not believing that a mere mortal would be rude to him, imperially pressed his inquiry. Unlike the weakling, ass-kissing, yes-people surrounding Bush, Webb has cohones to stand up to him.
    Webb commented that he wanted to slug Bush only when the President arrogantly insisted on interrogating Webb about his son– not because he “politely inquired about his son.”
    Webb sees no reason to trade social pleasantries with a man who put his son (and thousands of other Americans) into harms way without even minimal precautions like proper body armor or armored vehicles.
    Whatever Webb has, I hope that it’s contagious. Some of the Senate Dems could use a backbone transplant.

  27. Dave

    RTH – I could care less about civility. It was Nancy lalaPelosi who said their (brief) reign would be marked by civility. So far its not as we all can see. The Dems cant even be civil to one of their own, Alcee Hastings, another black sloughed on when he wanted to lead. As Nancy might ponder, dont they know their place here?

  28. Ready to Hurl

    No doubt Dave prefers “civil” people like Ann Coulter who wished death on the people in the NYT building or Bill O’Reilly who suggested that a terrorist attack on San Francisco would be fine.

  29. Randy Ewart

    Dave, you are hardly one to talk about the civility of others.
    Good for Webb! Preston, I think you are on the money with the analysis. W “got told” as my students would say and he deserves it.
    Of course there are bloggers posting on this very thread who claimed “Bush will go down in history as one of our greatest presidents”. [sic]

  30. Preston

    Bush is lucky he wasn’t greeted by Cheney’s favorite refrain… “Go f**k yourself.”
    Oh, yeah, and where has the bipartisanship been for the last six years Dave??? The Dummocrats as you so eloquently call them don’t assume control until January.
    Alcee Hastings??? I am sure that he would have been greeted by you with flowers, eh Dave???

  31. Mary Rosh

    Warthen’s smear of Senator Webb tells us more about Warthen than it does about Webb. Warthen elevates “civility” above every other virtue – that is, if “civility” is defined as deference to views that Warthen shares. Warthen also resents men who are more accomplished than he is. So Warthen smears Webb as “having socialization issues”. What this means is that Senator Webb was insufficiently deferential to Warthen’s viewpoint, and that Senator Webb is, unlike Warthen, an accomplished, respected man.
    Whart Warthen doesn’t allow himself to understand is that Senator Webb deserves the success he has achieved, and Warthen deserves the failure that he has experienced. Senator Webb is a brave, honest, hardworking man, while Warthen, by contrast, is a lazy, cowardly, worthless, freeloading hypocrite.
    Warthen’s cowardice kept him out of Vietnam, although it didn’t keep him from impugning the motives of those who opposed the war. Similarly, Warthen’s cowardice and laziness keep him from contributing in any way to the Iraq war, other than sitting on his sofa, taking federal handouts, and attacking critics of the war as unpatriotic.
    No one is saying that only those who have served are entitled to have an opinion about the war, and no one is saying that only those who have children in combat are entitled to have an opinion about the war. What we are saying is that those whose cowardice kept them from serving when they had an opportunity, and those whose present cowardice and laziness keep them from contributing now, are not entitled to cast support for the war as a measure of personal courage.
    What we are saying is that cowards like Warthen are not entitled to ignore the fact that war causes real suffering and real death to real people.
    Warthen “doesn’t have a deep emotional stake” in the decision to go to war, so he supported it as a sort of experiment whose failure wouldn’t affect him in any way. To Warthen, those who believed that the lives of our soldiers and of the Iraqi people were too valuable to risk in support of Warthen’s fantasies have an “excessive emotional stake” in the decision.
    To a normal patriotic American, of course, those who value the lives of our soldiers and of the Iraqi people are simply normal Americans and human beings.
    Warthen shows his contempt for our soldiers when he says this:
    “In other words, only people who would really, really not want to see the Army get shot at should decide whether to send the Army into harm’s way or not.”
    Only people who would really, really not want to see the Army get shot at SHOULD decide whether to send the Army into harm’s way. Those like Warthen, who don’t care how many soldiers are killed, shouln’t decide.
    “That, of course, sort of stacks the deck against ever using force.”
    The deck SHOULD be stacked against ever using force. The presumption against using force can be overcome, of course, but war should never be undertaken lightly, and should never be undertaken in order to achieve a poorly thought out fantasy.
    The results of the war in Iraq have demonstrated that war is a grave undertaking, that it is fraught with risks and unpredictability (although, as a matter of fact, the outcome of the Iraq war is about what its opponents predicted), that the ability to fantasize a happy outcome of a war doesn’t justify war, and that only those who take the hardships and dangers of war seriously should make decisions about whether or not to go to war.
    “For that reason and others I favor a UNIVERSAL draft, one that will find a use for every man (I wouldn’t draft women, but we can have that debate later), including 53-year-old wrecks like me.”
    Warthen can draft himself, just as he could have drafted himself in Vietnam. It wasn’t necessary to be drafted to serve. There are plenty of names up on the wall of men who were also 19 the year the draft ended.
    And Warthen may not be able to join the actual military now, but there is nothing stopping him from volunteering at the VA, or doing other work to bear a portion of the hardships that have resulted from the policies he advocated.
    But he won’t.

  32. Dave

    Yea, Randy, and when one of your students doesnt like you personally when you may ask him how a sibling is doing, and wants to punch you in the face over that question, you will still be cheering that kind of crude behavior. No wonder the public schools are in such a mess with the likes of you teaching young minds.

  33. Steve Gordy

    Civility is definitely a virtue we could used more of, but Dave’s analogy to a fictional situation in a public school is flawed. Bush, the man who orders troops into battle, asks Webb, a man who has a son in the line of fire (unlike W)a fluff question and declines a relatively bland brush-off. Civility, in such cases, should take second place. Dick Cheney feels no urge to civility.

  34. bud

    If Bush asked me how my “boy” was I would be greatly offended, as was Webb. Reason – Bush has put Webb’s son in harms way for absolutely no coherent reason. If Bush had half a brain he would have recognized how uncomfortable that question was and quickly changed the subject or walked away. But nooo. Our clueless leader pressed the issue. Bush is completely in denial over this debacle and it’s long past time that someone called him on it.
    As for Webb’s close victory. Come on Brad. Webb pulled a remarkable upset in Red Virginia. And a big part of the reason is that Virginians are no longer blindly supporting the president’s handling of Iraq. It would be a diservice to the people of Virginia if Webb didn’t act according to his principals on this issue. Given the nation’s slow, but steady, turn away from supporting the Iraq quagmire it’s time to press hard for a change of course, hopefully one that leads to a complete withdrawal in about 4-6 months. And Jim Webb is one the men that will lead that charge.

  35. Preston

    Reported in the CNN story this morning:
    “In interviews during the campaign, Webb said it was wrong to elevate the role of one Marine over others. Webb also expressed concern that a high profile could subject a Marine to greater peril.
    He wore his son’s buff-colored desert boots throughout the campaign, but refused to speak extensively about his son’s service or allow it to be used in campaign ads.”
    That is pure badass, not anti-social behavior as Brad would say. I think Brad needs to rethink, and retract his earlier comments concerning Webb.

  36. Ready to Hurl

    Dave sez:
    It was Nancy lalaPelosi who said their (brief) reign would be marked by civility. So far its not as we all can see.
    Pelosi is the Dem leader in the House, Dave. She has little influence over Senators, who are far more independent on both sides of the aisle.
    But, of course, you’re use to the lock-step lackies of the Republican Party of the last six years. They couldn’t even discipline a sexual predator in their midst. They forfeited all oversight responsibilities specified by the U.S. Constitution so that Emperor Bush could take us to war and they could get paid off by their fat cat supporters.
    Dave sez:
    The Dems cant even be civil to one of their own, Alcee Hastings, another black sloughed on when he wanted to lead. As Nancy might ponder, dont they know their place here?
    I can sense your disappointment that Pelosi didn’t succeed in appointing Hastings. Your concern about the “powerlessness” of African-Americans is touching. (sic)
    A more likely explanation of your sudden concern for Hastings is that you wanted a perfect propanda symbol for wingnuts to use against the the Democratic Party. Since Hastings was SECOND in seniority AND had been impeached as federal judge decades ago, Pelosi ultimately did the right thing politically– although it apparently took much coaxing.
    If you were really concerned about empowering elected African American representatives then you’d support the only party in Congress that actually has Black members– the Democratic Party.

  37. bill

    After reading his blog for a year,and his last post especially,I am convinced,that like George W. Bush,Brad Warthen is a sociopath.

  38. Brad Warthen

    This is really sad. I don’t think any of y’all expressed a single thought outside the confines of your partisan orientations. Just the usual TV-talking-head-partisan-blog junk back and forth.
    It’s really discouraging.

  39. bill

    “He [Bush] cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.”
    E.L. Doctorow

  40. bill

    Antisocial Personality Disorder/Sociopath:
    It is under the DSM-IV™ Associated Features and Disorders [scale] that individuals with APD are described as lacking empathy and being callous, cynical, and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and suffering of others. They may have an inflated and arrogant self-appraisal, display a glib, superficial charm … [and] The fondest APD image of self reflects unrealistic notions of superiority. When they encounter evidence that they are only human, they will attempt to restore self-esteem by exerting power. Individuals with APD have learned that they can, or should be able to, ignore the needs of others, do whatever feels compelling, and seduce or bully others to avoid adverse consequences.

  41. Paul DeMarco

    Welcome to the club. I don’t understand why this blog fails to live up to its potential. I don’t know what drives the rancorous atmosphere.
    I disagree with your take on Jim Webb. I can imagine the fury he was trying to suppress as an opponent of the war, but more importantly as a father.
    I also am not convinced that dispassionate observers make the best decision makers. Generally, the more you have at stake, the more careful and informed your decision-making (therefore the exalted place that home rule has in our system of government).
    I was taught in medical school to be the kind of objective observer you describe in making decisions for my patients. However, once in practice, I found that impossible and useless. I couldn’t and didn’t want to suppress the genuine emotions I felt for patients. It is possible to empathize with someone and still make a rational decision. Indeed, I would ague that the love and respect I have for my patients makes me a better, more conscientious physician.
    Mary (dare I say this?) rebuts your argument well-if you filter out all the attacks on your character.
    Hey Mary,look! I just disagreed with Brad without insulting his work ethic, courage, humanity, truthfulness or breeding-try it, you’ll like it.
    BTW, I met Emil DeFelice for the first time at the Rex transition team meeting and when I introduced myself his response was, “Hey, a fellow blogger,” so be encouraged that your blog is speading some goodwill.
    Where’s Herb? His well-reasoned and civil tone is a good example for the rest of us.

  42. Dave

    Brad, if you start at the top of this thread and start down you see that Bud and RTH took this thread into the blog gutter. The Bush hatred is unbelievable and that seems to drive nearly all of it. And I admit I tend to join into it when provoked, but I would really like to see a more friendly attitude from all the bloggers here. Some of this, mostly from the left, is sheer hatred. Kind of scary that adults in general can hate like this.

  43. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, I’ve been tutored by the best of your side for 14 years.
    Does the shoe kind of pinch when it goes on your foot?
    Don’t be such a hypocritical wuss. Be a man and stand behind your statement above: “I could care less about civility.” Stop whining about “sheer hatred.” Herb might say take the log out of your eye first.
    Oh, and whenever Brad apologizes for insinuating that opponents of the war don’t want the U.S. to win, then he’ll rise 100% in my estimation.
    Unfortunately, I’m pretty positive that Brad– like Lee– will turn on the American people. It seems that Americans resent sacrificing money and lives in a fraudulent war. I guess that we’ve really gone soft.

  44. Dave

    Hurl – Hypocrisy is when people call Iraq a fraudulent war but turn around and question and condemn the same administration for not taking direct military action in Darfur. When did Darfur attack us? If I recall I dont think Serbia attacked us either. At any rate, Herb would also tell all that hatred is a sort of internal poison, so many of you are slowly poisoning yourselves with each hateful thought. Hopefully it will stop.

  45. Preston

    Dave, the US would not be going in to Nation build in Sudan. _I believe that “Liberals” would like to send some type of forces in to protect people. Please don’t fall back on that old line that Iraq was a “Peacekeeping and Humanitarian” mission. That doesn’t fly. Alas, if that is really what you belive, I will leave you to dwell in your own cesspool of ignorance because your mind is too small to reason with.
    Brad pulls a drive-by, impugning the sanity and integrity of a US Senator and then comes back two days later to lecture the blog about the sad state of affairs here. Come on Brad, that is pretty weak stuff.

  46. bud

    Paul, the reason this blog fails to live up to it’s potential is that many people, especially Brad, refuse to offer ideas rather than slipping into the gutter of smears and insults. I’ve tried and tried to get Brad to: (1) explain what “victory” in Iraq means and (2) offer suggestions on how to achieve victory. Even though he continues to support (at least verbally) our commitment there, he, along with Lee and Dave don’t offer anything concrete. Every time those of us in the progressive camp suggest some type of phased withdrawl along with diplomatic overtures we are accussed of hating America or not supporting the troops. That causes a great deal of frustration. Yet the right simply refuses to say what they would do.

  47. bill

    An Essay on Death and President George W. Bush by E.L. Doctorow
    I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.
    On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.
    But this president does not know what death is. He hasn’t the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can’t seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn’t understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
    But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.
    They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life…. They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.
    How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war’s aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it.
    So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options, but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.
    This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing — to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children.
    He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills — it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.
    But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners’ jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.
    And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.
    But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time.
    But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.
    The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.
    Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective war-making, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

  48. bud

    Bill, I would add the following (from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune):
    When President Bush pronounced Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “the right guy for Iraq” Thursday, it recalled Bush’s infamous “heck of a job” comment about FEMA Director Michael Brown’s incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina. Both comments say more about Bush than Brown or Al-Maliki: On Iraq, as on Katrina, Bush has completely slipped the moorings of reality.
    Not only does Bush lack feeling he is unable to connect the realities on the ground with his decision making process. Hopefully the new congress can bring some common sense into the debate. Joe Biden’s plan is a good place to start.

  49. Phillip

    Brad, I agree with you on the basic point…that leaders can make good or bad decisions about going to war or not, whether or not they are veterans themselves or have family members actively serving in the military.
    But one of your arguments against “emotionalism” in the decision-making process is that it “sort of stacks the deck against ever using force.” Shouldn’t the deck always be a little stacked against using force? It should not be a 50-50 thing, but a course of last resort.
    Also, I believe that your interpretation of leaders having “a deep emotional stake” in given decisions presents a false dichotomy. In the first place, our leaders must at a minimum be sufficiently healthy emotionally (which means connected to their emotions) so that they do feel to a significant degree, the cost of sending young men and women to die in combat. On the other side of the coin, who says George Bush DOESN’T have “a deep emotional stake” in his Iraq policies? Could his complicated relationship with his father have played an enormous role in W’s stubborn adherence to a flawed policy, beyond a point where virtually everyone around him now understands the failure? Could his religious beliefs, including the belief that God speaks to him personally, represent a deep emotional commitment to his Iraq policy? Can it not be said that emotion (pie-in-the-sky passion for “bringing democracy” to Iraq) trumped rational intellect (understanding the pitfalls of the Iraq adventure) in this whole affair?

  50. bud

    Phillip, that was excellent. It has always been a mystery to me why Bush and many others continue to support our Iraq misadventure in the face of overwhelming evidence that the effort has already failed. The emotion factor is something I hadn’t thought about. Clearly there can no longer be an intellectual argument to support a long-term stay.

  51. Dave

    Apparently some of you have forgotten that Al Qaeda used force against us on 9-11 and continue to attack us in Iraq and Afghan. As far as I’m concerned, 9-11 wont be avenged until every single person who claims to be AQ has gone to meet their maker. Liberals, who will never once give the president credit for us having no attacks on America since 9-11, now prefer to live and let live and let bygones be bygones with Al Qaeda. And Bud, if you had been alive in 1941, you would have declared defeat tothe Germans and Japs shortly after the war started. I guess its always the easy route to surrender for a liberal. The French way.

  52. Herb Brasher

    Phillip, I wonder if this whole “direct line to God” thing with regard to G. W. Bush is not overblown. Whatever he actually said, or the words he used, I don’t think he means much more by it than normal Protestant theology understands it, that rulers have a God-given responsibility. I don’t see a “Crusader” mentality on this. Rather, I think it was driven primarily by the ideology of the political right. U.S. News and World Report published Triumph Without Victory right after the first Gulf war, and though I haven’t read it thoroughly, I think it is pretty clear that Wolfowitz,, made their minds up about it years ago. After 2000, they just had their man in who would do the job for them. God really didn’t have much to do with their plans; they had already made them.

  53. Ready to Hurl

    From the “What else is new?” file:
    [Quick. Someone get the smelling salts for Brad. It looks like the Rethuglicans are going to continue acting like… well, Rethuglicans.]
    Looks like the Republicans in the House aren’t planning to play nice-nice with the Democrats after all. The emerging House Republican plan on how to address the new Democratic majority is turning toward an aggressive effort to portray Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi and her team as out of touch and liberal.
    “Come January, we’ll take her head off every day,” said a top GOP aide involved in the planning. “It will be a pure war of ideas over the next two years.”
    Leading the battle with be incoming House Minority Leader John Boehner and his conservative team. Insiders say that the goal is to pick at Democratic initiatives as pro-tax, pro-spending, or unworkable.

  54. Herb Brasher

    I should have read some more of the other comments before I posted my last one. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Paul, though I probably don’t deserve it. I haven’t written much lately, partly because of time issues, and partly because the threads here seem to come down to one side blasting the other one. Although I can understand the frustration, it is nonetheless tiring to read tirades, where neither person is willing to admit that the other might at least be sincere, and want the best for her/his country. This blog is sometimes very good, but sometimes it seems lie a dysfunctional family, and the only way to survive the yelling is to leave the house.
    And Bill, I liked your last piece very much, except that I think you way overestimate the influence of the president himself. I agree with you–I wish, and have always wished, that he would present himself very differently, and I find it sad sometimes the way he comes across. At the same time, I think we may be all too much influenced by TV; I’m not sure we really know that much, even though we seem to think we do, about what people think and what their motives are. Knowing just a little tiny bit about how lonely leadership can be, and easily misunderstood and misused, I’d like to cut leaders just a little tiny bit more slack.
    I guess I also wish that people would cut us “religious” types a bit more slack. Sometimes we would like nothing better than to say that everyone’s opinion is equally valid, but to do that is deny moral absolutes that we believe are firmly rooted in God Himself. So we can’t give in, even when we would very much like to. God literally saved my rear end; I can’t go off and deny Him, even though it would make it easier for me, and maybe more liked by people.

  55. Herb Brasher

    That one sentence should have read: “This blog is sometimes very good, but sometimes it seems like a dysfunctional family, and the only way to survive the yelling is to leave the house.”

  56. Ready to Hurl

    Sometimes we would like nothing better than to say that everyone’s opinion is equally valid, but to do that is deny moral absolutes that we believe are firmly rooted in God Himself.
    Herb, you must be a very tolerant guy to have what you consider the ultimate certainty and yet put up with us heathens so good naturedly.

  57. Ready to Hurl

    Dave sez: Apparently some of you have forgotten that Al Qaeda used force against us on 9-11 and continue to attack us in Iraq and Afghan.
    Of course, this is misleading and errant non-sense. Dave’s case is so weak that he has to fabricate a strawman argument to draw attention away from the Bush Administration’s incompetence.
    Iraq wasn’t “central” to the war on terror until the neo-cons made it a recruiting ground and propaganda symbol for terrorists. Dave’s concern about Afghanistan is laughable since invading Iraq sucked our capacity to actually finish the job in Afghanistan. Now the Taliban and AQ are resurgent in Afghanistan.
    Bush will soon go down as the worst president in history after “losing” both countries. Needless to say, the loony right will blame everyone but themselves for this debacle and stew over it for decades.
    As far as I’m concerned, 9-11 wont be avenged until every single person who claims to be AQ has gone to meet their maker.
    Elsewhere you’ve said that we should kill all Muslims who don’t convert, Dave. Are you now limiting your blood lust to AQ members only?
    Liberals, who will never once give the president credit for us having no attacks on America since 9-11,
    You’re confusing non-occurrence with causation. How long did it take AQ to plan 9/11 before most of the world’s intel services were after them?
    now prefer to live and let live and let bygones be bygones with Al Qaeda. [blah, blah]
    Once again Dave spins a false storyline to explain why his side is circling the the toilet bowl. Once again, he conflates the war against terrorism and an incompetently executed invasion. Liberals (and other reality-based folks) differ from Dave and his delusional cohorts on the right because (1) we drew the correct conclusions from Vietnam; (2) we understand that democracy can’t be imposed on an unprepared people;(3) we’re not blinded by cultural and religious hatred; and (4) we value competence over ideological purity.
    Otherwise, you’re doing a great job, Brownie– I mean, Dave.

  58. Brad Warthen

    Back to Phillip’s comments…
    I’m not looking for leaders to be unfeeling automatons. That would lead to a different kind of ineffectiveness. I just don’t want it to be a qualification to have the kind of personal stake that would cause one to be prejudiced against risky undertakings. Good generals care about their troops, but they can’t be unwilling to risk them, a la McLellan.
    Personally, given the choice (and I’m too seldom given such a choice), I would only vote for a person who I believe would make the tough call to go to war no matter who in his family might wear the uniform. Not to start a whole other discussion, but I never questioned the rightness of my father’s purpose when he spent a year in a Viet Cong-infested part of Vietnam. It was a traumatic time for me, worrying about him constantly, but he believed in his mission, and I believed in the reasons he had set out to me as to why he had to go. They made sense, and he was a career officer, and that was that.
    There is an insulting implication underlying the thinking of people who believe leaders won’t go to war if they have a personal connection. It means they assume that no one — or at least, no one with whom they disagree — will take a personal risk for the good of the country.
    Everyone has their human weaknesses, but one should not offer for public office if he or she will not put the duties of that office ahead of personal interest.
    Another twist on emotional involvement: The president probably does have a personal, emotional stake in not running out on the Iraqis, and it’s probably because of what his father did. But I have that same emotional stake, and H.W. isn’t MY father. I am deeply ashamed that my country let those people down in 1991 — encouraging them to rise up while we had a force of half a million in the neighborhood (a force we could really use over there today), and then standing by a letting them be slaughtered.
    We cannot, must not, EVER let those people down again. I have a very strong, visceral reaction on that point — and it has nothing to do with whom I am related to. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Bush felt the same way. I think every American should.

  59. Ready to Hurl

    Brad sez:
    There is an insulting implication underlying the thinking of people who believe leaders won’t go to war if they have a personal connection. It means they assume that no one — or at least, no one with whom they disagree — will take a personal risk for the good of the country.
    Wrongo, Brad. It means that if the Party’n Bush Twins faced going to Iraq then their Daddy would be far more cautious in making that decision and careful in implementing it. In the vernacular, he would have a dog in the fight.
    If you think that our Feckless Leader feels the slightest concern for the abandonment of the Shia after Desert Storm then you haven’t paid much attention to Der Decider’s sociopathic character– but that wouldn’t surprise me.

  60. Herb Brasher

    Actually, RTH, “heathens” are often better at politics and running things than the “saints.” I suspect at least that is something of what Jesus meant in Luke 16:8-9 . I’d normally rather have an atheist brain surgeon who knew his job well than a Christian who was mediocre, though when it comes to moral leadership, character becomes more intertwined with other issues. Maybe that makes sense?

  61. bud

    Brad writes:
    ” We cannot, must not, EVER let those people down again. ”
    Sadly, that’s what we’ve been doing for the past 3 years, letting them down. That’s why opinion polls in Iraq show a growing number of people who want us to leave.

  62. Mary Rosh

    “Not to start a whole other discussion, but I never questioned the rightness of my father’s purpose when he spent a year in a Viet Cong-infested part of Vietnam.”
    If by “the rightness of my father’s purpose,” you mean the policies that sent him to Vietnam, you didn’t question it because you don’t understand what it means to be an American. You didn’t then, and you don’t now. It is the duty of every citizen to question the policies that send soldiers to war. You may resolve the question by deciding that the policy is wrong and that sending soldiers to war is right, or you may decide that the policy is wrong and that sending soldiers to war is wrong, but you always have the duty to question, because it’s your duty to judge the actions of the government.
    “It was a traumatic time for me, worrying about him constantly, but he believed in his mission, and I believed in the reasons he had set out to me as to why he had to go. They made sense, and he was a career officer, and that was that.”
    Well of course. The analysis that a soldier undertakes is this:
    Was I given an order?
    Do I have good reason to believe that the order is illegal?
    Those are the only questions a soldier asks. If the answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second question is no, the soldier carries out the order to the best of his ability.
    The fact is, though, that the policies your father was sent to carry out were wrong, and were harmful to the United States. He doesn’t bear any responsibility for that, because he did his duty, which was to follow the orders given him.
    The one who failed in his duty, then and now, is you. You supported the war because you didn’t do your duty as an American and question the government’s polcies, but your support only went so far as to disparage the patriotism of those who opposed it. Your cowardice kept you from actually taking part in it, just as your cowardice and laziness keep you from taking on any of the burden caused by the policies you advocate in Iraq.
    “There is an insulting implication underlying the thinking of people who believe leaders won’t go to war if they have a personal connection. It means they assume that no one — or at least, no one with whom they disagree — will take a personal risk for the good of the country.”
    No it doesn’t. It isn’t that we believe leaders in general won’t go to war if they have a personal connection. It’s that we believe that the current leaders wouldn’t go to war if they had a personal connection. If Bush bore any personal risk, he wouldn’t have started the war in Iraq.
    We also believe the present crop of chicken-hawk gasbags wouldn’t support war if they bore any personal connection. You wouldn’t support the war if it imposed any cost on you. You have plenty of opportunities to take on some of the burdens caused by the war, thereby alleviating the burdens the war causes others, but you don’t. You support the war only because you believe that it imposes costs on others, not on yourself.
    Not everyone is like that. Not everyone is like you.
    What makes you worthy of the increasing contempt you are being shown by readers of this blog is that you dismiss the obligation of leaders who are in charge of making decisions about whether to go to war. That is to make the decision in the same way they would if they did have a vital personal stake in it – the way they would if the decision were to impose a sacrifice on them. If they did that, they would go to war only when it was justified – when it would protect a vital national interest that could not be preserved by a less destructive way. And they would do everything they could to manage the nation’s affairs so that we were not brought to such a juncture.
    You, on the other hand, believe that if one can envision a benign outcome of a war, no matter how unlikely that outcome, no burden is too great for persons other than yourself to bear, no hardship is too great for persons other than yourself to experience, no blood of anyone unrelated to you is too precious to spill.

  63. Mary Rosh

    Paul, you say this:
    “Mary (dare I say this?) rebuts your argument well-if you filter out all the attacks on your character.”
    I refute Warthen’s argument even better if you leave in all the attacks on his character. The failure of his argument isn’t a failure of logic or information; it’s a failure of character. Warthen doesn’t value human life and welfare as much as he values sitting around dreaming up glorious fantasies, and he is willing to spill an unending river of blood (of other people) to avoid having to admit that his fantasies cannot be brought to fruition.
    You also say this:
    “Hey Mary,look! I just disagreed with Brad without insulting his work ethic, courage, humanity, truthfulness or breeding-try it, you’ll like it.”
    You didn’t insult his work ethic, courage, humanity, truthfulness, or breeding, because you don’t follow the analysis all the way through. We’re on the same road, I think; I just choose to go all the way down it; you choose not to. Your choice is legitimate, but mine is too.
    To Warthen, the deaths of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are less important than “showing resolve” in Iraq. I defy anyone to explain that any other way than by admitting that Warthen is a profoundly evil man.
    If you have some other explanation, I’ll read it with great interest, but I don’t have one.

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