By BRAD WARTHEN
Editorial Page Editor
LATE ON SUPER Tuesday, I was typing on my blog in one room while Hillary Clinton was addressing her supporters on the TV in another.
I couldn’t hear every word, but the ones that did cut through were telling:
Now, we know the Republicans won’t give up the White House without a fight. Well, let me be clear — I won’t let anyone swift boat this country’s future.
“Republicans.” “Fight.” “Swift boat.” Terms calculated to stir the blood of the Angry Faithful. Then, later: “Together, we’re going to take back America.”
There was kinder, gentler stuff (if I’m allowed to borrow language from that other side) in the speech, about health care for all and supporting our veterans and helping the powerless. But Barack Obama talks about that stuff, too. Since these primaries are about choosing one or the other, one listens for the differences.
Between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama, the difference lies in those fighting words. It’s a difference set out with great clarity in a recent letter to the editor in this newspaper:
…(W)hile Sen. Barack Obama is an incredible orator and inspires hope for a post-partisan future, the reality of American politics is partisan. Astute voters realize this and want the candidate who is best suited to fight the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton and her team have gone toe-to-toe with the Republicans and beaten them more often than not.
The reality of American politics is partisan. And Barack Obama is running on a platform of changing that reality. So, in his own way, is John McCain.
The Democrats to whom Sen. Clinton appeals don’t despise Sen. Obama (they save that for Republicans), but they don’t see him as having his blood sufficiently up for doing battle with the “enemy.” And they’re right.
Consider what Sen. Obama said in South Carolina on the night of his primary victory:
We are up against decades of bitter partisanship that cause politicians to demonize their opponents… it’s the kind of partisanship where you’re not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea — even if it’s one you never agreed with. That’s the kind of politics that is bad for our party, it’s bad for our country, and this is our chance to end it once and for all.
In the Republican camp, Sen. McCain has done more than just talk about moving beyond mindless partisanship; he’s risked his political future repeatedly to work with Democrats to achieve goals that put country before party. Last week, he asked the Angry Faithful in his party to “calm down,” and defended his habit of working across the aisle. Self-appointed spokesman for the Angry Faithful Rush Limbaugh responded:
When did the measure of conservatism… become reaching out to Democrats?… If this were a war, what we’re saying is, “Enemy, come on in, and come be who you are when you get here.”… We view those people as threats to the American way of life, as we’ve always known it…. We view them as people who need to be defeated, not worked with.
The truly great irony here is that the Angries on the left and the right do work together. In their pas de deux of mutual loathing, they cling to each other so tightly that there’s no room for anyone who’d like to separate them and create a space for rational discourse, or — the gods of left and right forbid — agreement on issues.
Here’s an example of how the left’s Angries work with their counterparts on the right: The left emotionally demands stem cell research, as Sen. Clinton did in her speech Tuesday. The right cries, No, Never! Ignored are such facts as a) stem cell research is going on, just without federal funding in some areas; b) recent breakthroughs could make embryonic stem cells, the kind being fought over, irrelevant; and c) the man Sen. Clinton seeks to face in the fall, John McCain, favors broadened stem cell research.
Another example: Last week, the leftists of the Berkeley, Calif., city council dissed the U.S. Marines. Eager warriors on the right (such as our own Rep. Joe Wilson and Sen. Jim DeMint) practically fell over themselves rushing to denounce the Berkeley council. The Marines are a great bogeyman for the loonies in Berkeley; Berkeley is a rare, juicy steak to the right. Call me paranoid, but sometimes I suspect the two sides of working out these stunts between them ahead of time. Everybody comes out on top, except the Marines — and somehow I think the guys who took Iwo Jima will overcome this as well.
There is indeed a stark divide in this country, but it’s not between the Angry Left and the Angry Right. They just prop each other up. Collectively, they are both the Other Side to me, striving to distract us from realizing the central truth that we’re all in this together.
On the one hand are the Clinton Democrats and the Republicans who sincerely would rather see Sen. Clinton elected than Sen. McCain. They depend upon each other. They deserve each other.
The rest of us believe we deserve, for once, a presidential election between candidates who care more about solutions than whether left or right “wins.”
This is not about affirming some “mushy middle.” You can hardly find two positions farther apart that the McCain and Obama views on Iraq. They have very different ideas on how to fight America’s enemies abroad. But at least neither of them sees the main “enemy” as being their fellow Americans who happen to disagree.
A masterpiece of writing here, thank you Brad. This deserves a wider audience, and I hope it gets it.
So when McCain rails against Democrats and Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama in the coming months (as he has already done repeatedly in the Republican debates), we can expect you to pull your endorsement?
Maybe when you demonstrate objectivity regarding McCain, your call for a civil debate will ring true.
And what happens after McCain is handed the Republican nomination this week? He promptly goes out and loses the primaries/caucuses in Louisiana, Washington (nearly finishing 3rd behind Ron Paul), and Kansas (3-1 for Huckabee).
He’s only cracked 50% in a couple states… Not even his home state of Arizona gave him a majority (42%). This does not bode well for the Republican party.
Objectivity in debate. C’mon, Doug. Blogging is all about the subjective, and so is Brad’s day job. Besides, any attempt at objectivity would be futile, given the audience, not to mention much less interesting. Let Brad wear the McCain target, or the Obama badge. His central points are valid regardless of candidate preference. Extremist party politics are divisive and destructive.
There are people in this country that don’t think and act as though “we are all in this together.” Many, not all, of these people control the bulk of the wealth in the country. They own many of our politicians and steer the direction of government toward their own interests. Many of them are driven by greed and self-interest. Statesman in our past, like Theodore Roosevelt, a very rich man himself, knew this and he tried to moderate the effect on the course of the nation that those folks would have. The folks and the forces that Mr. Roosevelt struggled with are, to use a word, “surging”, in this country and acting as though they have somehow gone away isn’t sensible. Also, the “angries” are not all the same; some “angries” hold that they have righteous anger and some are just mean.
I’m going to step outside the subject area to relate a story about the free-market and how unscrupulous businesses can be. (I’ll come back later and discuss Brad’s fine editorial). This concerns a Christmas present given in good faith, a restaraunt called the Crab Shak – in Lexington – and a worthless coupon from a place called coupons.com.
My wife was given a $25 off coupon to the Crab Shak from a good friend as a Christmas gift. It cost the friend $12.50 to purchase the coupon. We decided to redeem it last month as a carry-out order. To make sure it was valid we called the restaraunt and were told it was good for dine-in only. The next week we tried again and called again. This was a Friday and we were told it was not valid on Fridays. Neither of these restrictions was listed on the coupon.
Last night, a Saturday, believing the third time would be a charm we went to the Crab Shak and showed the coupon to the hostess and asked if the $35 minimum order included tax. She assured us that it was. After being seated we showed the coupon to the waitress who said she would go ahead and validate it. This required that she enter a code into the coupons.com redemption site. When she came back we ordered two expensive entrees and 2 beverages in order to satisfy the $35/minimum.
As we were finishing up the waitress came back and said the coupon had already been redeemed. Huh! We never used it, nor did we give out any numbers on the 2 previous attempts to use the coupon. We asked for the manager. When the owner of the restaraunt came over he gave us this wonkish explaination as to why this coupon was not valid. My wife got very upset and the owner of the business became very rude and downright obnoxious, refusing to accomodate our concerns at all. We asked for our bill and we were required to pay the full price, nearly $40.
As a part-time pizza delivery guy I’m well aware of how important tips are to people like our waitresses. But I had no extra money for a tip and, given her role in the whole sordid affair, I left no tip, probably for the first time in my life.
So through no fault of our own we were out $25 that we had not planned on spending and couldn’t afford. It’s a shame when business owners treat their valued customers with such complete contempt. In our case our seafood business will go to Gulligan’s or Harbor Sea Food restaraunt. But under no circumstances will the Crab Shak of Lexington ever get another dime from the “Bud” family.
And as long as there are competing ideas that can’t really co-exist with one another if implemented, there will be the ‘dreaded scourge’ of partisanship (which I happen to think is a good thing).
For instance, the conservative idea that government should be smaller and limited in scope will never agree with the liberal idea that broader and further-reaching government is best. And this is just one example. As Brad points out, certainly it is true that embryonic stem cell research is already happening in the private sector. The belief that it is morally wrong however is held by many in this country (like me), and that belief is inescapably and inalterably opposed to with the idea that it is a good thing held by those who like it and support it. Since the research is already happening in private labs, the way the debate plays out today is in figuring whether government should fund it, and it seems quite natural to me this this will be a partisan issue between conservatives and liberals. Given that the underlying ideas are anathema to one another, how could the policy debate not be partisan?
So, I think it is really naive and sort immature to think that somehow we’re moving into a “post partisan” era in politics. Evidently, Brad would define this era as a time in which there is going to be some sort of “group-think” wherein everyone mysteriously agrees with one another and we move in a unified direction “doing the right thing.” The fact that we’ve a two hundred thirty year history in which this has never happened notwithstanding.
Again, ideas matter, and they often differ. Differing ideas cannot be implemented by government contemporaneously. What is so difficult to understand about that? David
And why is it a bad thing? David
Dave, I partially agree with you. There must be some partisan wrangling when it comes to policy. Sometimes one side must prevail and the other must lose.
Where I disagree is on your comment that conservatism favors small government and libralism is the big government philosophy. I would suggest that both philosophies favor large government expenditures but in different ways. Conservatives are willing to spend enormous amounts of money on the military. Liberals prefer smaller military spending but would spend much more on domestic programs such as medicare or medicaid. It is Brad’s so-called “UnParty” that favors huge government outlays for all types of government spending. His philosophy is basically the anti-libertarian philosophy.
bud, the manager of the restaurant should have comped you for the full value of the coupon. And he should have done this immediately, cheerfully and with no questions asked. Had he done so, he would have had a customer for life.
Instead, in his short-sightedness and hardheadedness, he has angered a part of his most important asset: his customer base. What an idiot. If truth be told, this was nothing but a manhood issue with him, because certainly the restaurant wouldn’t have even missed the $25.00. They probably take in $10K on a good day. So it wasn’t the money, it was about an emotional 3 year old digging in his heels.
I swear I do not understand how morons like this get elevated to management positions. Just the negative advertising he’ll get here on the blog will cost him much much more than the $25.
Shake the dust off your feet and never go back. Anytime anyone ever asks you about the Crabshack, tell them it sucks and is managed by a moron. My 2 cents. David
Even if you are my political antithesis, I’m sorry you got a bum deal on the restaurant coupon. I’m also sorry it cost your friend $12.50 just so you could get bum deal.
So your friend paid $12.50, you paid full price for the meal, and the waitress didn’t get a tip.
That’s exactly the scenario I would expect from universal health care. Payers pay more, but patients get no more for it, and there are no added benefits.
As with Social Security, which began as a voluntary contribution that Democrats turned into a mandatory contribution and eventually turned into a tax that benficiaries pay tax on.
And then we need to consider the constant sniping of The State’s editorial board against Governor Sanford (and to a lesser degree Andre Bauer). How exactly does that fit into the call for a more civil debate? Oh, I get it, it’s because Sanford won’t compromise his principles (the ones that got him elected and re-elected). That makes him “snipe-able”.
Instead, we cheer John McCain for retreating on his amnesty for illegals plan — even though he refuses to answer a simple question about whether he would now sign his own bill or not. Or we see Brad’s response to McCain’s laughter and “good question” response to the “how do we beat the bitch?” comment — where only the phony canned response McCain made AFTER the laugh and “good question” was considered. An objective observer would have rebuked McCain’s pure partisan ploy.
So, Brad, instead of the Left fighting the Right, you see the parties fighting the Unparty as the meaningful struggle?
Pot, meet kettle.
What you want, sir, or so you’ve written, is a $1-$2 tax per gallon of gasoline, a bigger tax on cigarettes and single-payer universal health care.
Your candidates haven’t proposed such things, but somehow you apparently imagine them working across the aisle that you view as a bottomless chasm to come up with the solutions you have envisioned.
You might as well be hoping Santa Claus will bring you a Red Ryder BB gun, when what you’ll get is a lifesize Nehi lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg clad in a fishnet stocking.
What either of your candidates will actually do if elected is to pay the political debt he’s run up getting to the White House, and that debt runs along party lines.
It’ll be another edition of that classic board game, “Follow The Money.” And while your colleagues down the stairs write stories about that game, you’ll be writing another column proposing somebody tax me so your health care will cost less.
“Ob la di, ob la da, life goes on, bra; ah la how the life goes on.”
One would have to assume that the friend that gave the certificate to the Crabshack for Christmas, was part of the old shell game. It went from $l2.50 gift to a $40 meal. Everybody lost in the long run.
Obama knows all about the old shell game and he knows how to sell the certificates. You get a talkshow hostess to endorse you on a nationally televised event, staged in a black state, and you announce that you are for change.
Obama slipped the old K-Y Jelly under the shell and it went down so smooth that you hardly noticed that he did not say a thing of real importance that he would accomplish as president. He still has not defined his agenda.
I read in the paper today that Bush said “I certainly don’t know what he believes in”.
Obama is a showman and salesman and he will take this country further down the slippery slope that we presently find ourselves facing.
Obama is slicker than Owl guana.
Doug, I haven’t heard BHO say a single thing of substance yet. His voting record apparently places him to the left of Clinton, but his campaign talk is all sizzle and no steak.
Oh, I just remembered something of substance I did hear him say: He has said he’d meet and make nice with terrorists and leaders of jihadist countries sworn to the obliteration of Israel and the destruction or forced conversion of non-muslim countries like the USA. So, BHO has that little gem going for him.
As I said Brad, ideas matter. I agree with you that it’s sad that american politics have degenerated into the name-calling us/them mess it is today, but at the heart of it all is an elemental debate about ideas that are often mutually exclusive. It is what it is, and partisanship will be a part of it, if for nothing else than to insure that people like BHO don’t get elected. I think he may this year, but those who loathe his ideas are duty bound to argue them. David
I agree that there are many areas that people honestly disagree on, but there are so many problems that we all are facing, that a person of either party who’s willing to work with others to solve the problems that can be solved beats the hang out of someone who won’t work with others and is so selfish as to stuff his policies down others’ throats without even offering them a chance to make their concerns known. These upcoming 4 years are going to take a leader who has both integrity and courage. I’ll take one like that over one who merely agrees with every detail of what I think.
Besides Brad, things in american politics are not NEARLY as messy today as they have been before. Consider how messy things got between 1861 and 1865. If I remember correctly, that mess had something to do with ideas also. David
Wonderful sentiment Karen, I agree.
So, which of your core beliefs and strongly held ideas are you willing to surrender in order to forsake your party and get this leader who will be willing to work “with everyone?” You seem to hate what the current president has done or tried to do. Do you believe that Clinton will work with her political opponents any more than Bush has? I don’t think anything in her record supports that. She is as virulently partisan as any politician has ever been. Like they all are.
This ‘dream candidate’ that is somehow going to work with everyone to “solve our problems” that you and Brad keep harping about doesn’t exist. And if this chimera DID exist, he would not have any closely held beliefs and convictions. One CAN’T have them and be the kumbaya guy you seem to want. David (er… Mr. Faust)
Oh wait…except for John McCain…I finally figured it out. The fact that John McCain has worked closely with democrats is exactly why Brad is his strongest sycophant. To me this makes him a sellout, but to Brad, a hero. Go figure. David
Or maybe it makes him someone who doesn’t demonize those who aren’t in the same party he is. No one is perfect. I don’t even ‘hate’ president Bush, but I despise what his delusional thinking has done to this country. I don’t agree with senator McCain on many things. I almost certainly will vote the democratic ticket. However, if he wins, I’m not going to assume that everything he attempts is wrong. I am more than willing to applaud whatever the winner can do that contributes to the common good.
Hillary has no interest in the common good.
McCain is interested in the common good to the extent that it coincides with his personal ambition.
Obama cannot articulate what he thinks the common good to be, beyond come Jim Jones rhetoric.
And the only thing about which President G.W. Bush is “delusional” is to think that expanding social programs would make the Democrats hate him less.
I wonder if those in the press who so gleefully backed McCain will stay the course if young Obama is the opponent? I have heard the pundits say McCain’s experience will overwhelm Obama. The same pundits said the same thing about Hillary.
What if McCain loses? Will they blame the wicked religious right? Will they blame the economy or the war? Will they admit they made a mistake by being the fools for McCain they have become? Ha! Ha! ( insert belly laugh )
If, they really are for McCain they had better jump on the Hillary bandwagon before it is too late.
Here is the reason: Upon hearing that Jesus had healed a man blind from birth the Pharisees sought the man out. When they found him they asked, ” did you not know that the one who healed you did so by the powers of darkness?” To which the blind man replied, ” I do not know what power he used to heal me. I only know that I was blind and now I can see.”
As I’ve said on a number of occasions I don’t find partisanship necessarily a bad thing. We’re all partisan for the causes we support. And that includes Brad, whose brand of big-government partisanship is just as strident as those of us on either the left or right. So rather than fight it, let’s embrace our nation as one of partisans.
Of course when a particular issue does lend itself to a bit of compromise then it’s a good thing for folks to work together. The recent economic stimulus package is a good example. Both sides recognize the dire straights our economy is in and as a result they were more than willing to seek some sort of common ground.
But compromise doesn’t always work out well. The many slavery compromises merely postponed the inevitable. And the coming together in the lead up to the disasterous Iraq war resolution certainly does not speak well for the spirit of compromise.
At the end of the day each issue should be carefully considered on it’s own merits. Some issues work well when a compromise solution can be reached. On other issues it’s worth fighting the good fight because of the high stakes involved. But lot’s not forget, we’re all partisans in our own way. And that is not at all a bad thing.
The real split in American politics is between those of us who want a return to the small government authorized by the Constitution, and those who want government to provide every material comfort which they don’t want to buy in the open market, the Constitution and rights of others be damned.
Lee, as you can see from my post above the market is highly imperfect. The only way the market can do what you free-market says it does is if all consumers and service providers have perfect information. Otherwise we have market imperfections that require government remediation. The information we get may not be accurate (the hostess and waitress both claimed our coupon was valid). Past experience is not a perfect predictor of future experience (previous trips to the restaraunt were all pleasant). So the open market can and does fail. So why should we rely so completely on a flawed system? Why should we not resort to government solutions for some services such as health care? You folks who worship at the alter of the free market simply cannot explain away all the myriad of failures in the market place that reek havoc on unsuspecting consumers on a daily basis. Sure the market works to provide a quality set of goods and services in the but sadly that same free market does a poor job of distributing the wealth.
I urge you to take a good introductory course in economics, where one of the first misunderstandings dispelled is the myth that,” the market doesn’t work because it is imperfect.. everyone needs to have perfect information.”
Actually, the market works because no one has complete and perfect information, and they don’t need to have it to decide if they have the money to buy what they want to buy and if the price is worth it to them.
Socialist attempts to play God always come up short because no one has enough information to manage the lives of other people, and no one has the right to play God by taking wealth from its owners and giving it to those who have done nothing to earn it.
“The real split in American politics is between those of us who want a return to the small government authorized by the Constitution, and those who want government to provide every material comfort…”
Thank you, Lee. That sums it up nicely.
The purpose of government is the common defense, and only to a much lesser extent, the common welfare.
Keeping terrorists and sworn enemies at bay, securing our borders, maintaining adequate infrastructure and facilitating our economy is about all government should do.
Robbing the strong to empower the weak — fighting natural selection — really doesn’t make much sense.
Bud, us folks “don’t worship at the alter of the free market.” “Alter” means change. It’s you folks who want to alter the free market and screw it up.
Us folks worship at the altar of the free market. A-l-t-“a”-r.
You gotta get your homonyms straight, or else you might get stuck in the rein, or the reign, without a utile ideological umbrella.
Weldon I think you may have hit on a good campaign slogan: “Alter the Altar”. Since Bush has worshipped at the altar of war I say it’s time to alter that paradigm.
Brad, Michael Gerson’s column on John McCain also puts these partisan attack bloggers like Lee, Doug, Weldon, Richard etc. in their place. Thankfully there are Republicans who understand the truth, and who refuse to make people south of the border scapegoats for American problems.
The Gingrich-led Republicans started the current rift in American politics during the early 90’s, as the GOP repeatedly attempted to embarrass or demean the Clintons over issues that had nothing to do with public policy or running the country–Nannygate, Travelgate, Whitewater, Jennifer Flowers, Vince Foster, Monica, etc.
The public still is paying the price for the GOP’s scorched earth policy against the Clintons and the Dems. Swiftboating now is expected, tolerated, and even admired by some kooks who would rather win a political argument than advance the best interests of the country.
Mr. Murdock, the GOP has long used dirty tricks. The Lee Atwater years, long before Newt, were filled with the sort of nasty politics that have permeated the national election cycle ever since. The dems are at a distinct disadvantage in this game. While the brain-dead conservative voters will lap up any nonsense spouted off by the likes of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh the more intelligent democratic voters prefer to take the high road. So whenever a dem candidate even hints at some sort of name calling, as we recently witnessed with the flap involving the Clintons and Obama, that only turns off the Democratic base. So while the GOP mudslingers have a field day with their bogus Swiftboating attacks the Dems have to keep their mouths shut so as not to turn off the “base”.
Another point is illustrated by Brad’s bizarre view of this situation. While the GOP clearly is far more strident in it’s nasty, partisan attacks, folks like Brad brand both sides with the same charge – partisan politics. Brad can’t even tell the difference between a well-respected, thoughtful and intelligent pundit like Paul Krugman and a hateful, name-calling partisan who is only interested in selling books – Ann Coulter.
It might make life too complex for you to not be able to labele and dismiss those with whom you cannot debate ideas as “partisan extremists”, but I have to tell you that I am not a Republican, so I am not a partisan.
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” – Barry Goldwater
* The Clintons scorched themselves with their drugs, sleazy sexual escapades, and endless money scandals.
* Lee Atwater is most famous for picking up negative campaigns begun by Democrats against each other, like Al Gore’s “Willie Horton” ads against Dukakis.
* The Swift Boat crews sank Kerry’s campaign because they were telling the truth about a liar who manufactured a phony image as a war hero and then came home lie about war crimes, while being financed by the KGB.
Lee, you do not debate, that much I learned a long time ago. What you do is either dismiss the other person as beneath your dignity (since you know everything about every field, including theology and biblical interpretation, about which you know actually very little), label his argument as a “diversion,” or produce some bogus statistics that are cleverly crafted, but misleading, to say the least.
Yes, it is good that you are not a Republican. What you write only convinces others, like myself, to want to reject libertarian doctrine out of hand. Extremism, by the way, usually accomplshes just that.
It is similar to what the Ayatollah Khomeni did for Christian work in the Muslim world. The thousands of converts to Christ that are occurring among Iranians are the direct result of tasting the extremism of Islamism, and many are coming to realize that they don’t want it.
But God forbid that we should ever have to be subjected to such libertarian non-government as you propagate, with its shrill, screaming negativism that stifles all debate, gives license to ruthless corporations to treat people as they wish, as long as they make money doing it, and generally finds a scapegoat to blame when things don’t work, i.e, illegal aliens, as you call them. I worked for the Young Republicans in 1964, and have since repented before God for my support for Goldwater.
Oops, I must apologize, Lee, for the tone of what I just wrote. I get too quickly angry when I read what you and other libertarians write, instead of taking it with some humor, as I should.
I also should not have judged your ability to interpret biblical texts, based on your mis-interpretation of Matt. 22 alone.
I still take the position that current-day libertarians will bring about the destruction of the American republic, if they are allowed to continue their present course, and if they gain a lot of influence. As a Christian, however, I am in a dilemma as to how much to defend the American republic. I certainly don’t want to defend it in a sarcastic manner, whether or not my opponents use such langue.
Read “language,” not langue!
* The Swift Boat crews sank Kerry’s campaign because they were telling the truth about a liar who manufactured a phony image as a war hero and then came home lie about war crimes, while being financed by the KGB.
I hope you keep giving us more lunatic comments like this. This charge has been thoroughly refuted, has no basis in fact and only serves to undercut the credibility of any arguments you make concerning Hillary or Barack.
Who refuted the charges? John Kerry fans in the media cannot “refute” the eyewitness accounts of people who served with Kerry in Vietnam. Kerry’s refusal to release his medical records or explain his early discharge after only a few months of duty raised further suspicions.
No one has refuted the FBI documents or the books by former KGB officers who managed the funding of anti-war groups in America, including the one involving Kerry. Even Kerry backed out after a while, when he realized that the communists in it were a threat to his political aspirations.
Kerry’s fabrications about witnessing the rape and murder of civilians in Vietnam has also been exposed, some of it by his duty records proving that he was not even present at some of places he claimed to be.
If you have some detailed information about any of these sorry episodes in John Kerry’s life, please post them.
You are the one who tries to dismiss me and others, rather than facing the facts and trying to explain them away.
I don’t dismiss Michael Gerson for being an internationalist member of the CFR. I understand that he is precisely the sort of Neocons who surround President Bush and changed the direction of the GOP from individualism to Progressive Conservatism, which is a lot lot like its secular counterpart on the socialist side of the aisle.
Christian Progressives like Gerson and Huckabee want to use the power and money of government to “do good works”. They make excuses, and point to irrelevant examples of their compassion.
Certainly, some pregnant woman crossing the Mexican border “is not the equivalent of a drug dealer”. What is relevant is that she is not the equivalent of a woman entering America legally, through our State Department and INS.
It is not “just a technicality” that all 30,000,000 illegal aliens are criminals. In fact, there are 800,000 of them in our prisons for robbery, theft, rape and burglary, and outstanding warrants for 750,000 more.
Scofflaws like John McCain and Michael Gerson are most interested in supplying cheap labor to American business. Where is their compassion for the Americans unemployed by their illegal workers, especially the blacks and Latinos?
I also do not fit any of your attempts to label me a partisan. I am a progressive pragmatic libertarian if you do want to label me. I’ve voted for Republicans and Democrats. I would vote for Obama or Romney or Huckabee or Paul now.
My distaste for John McCain is based primarily on his support for giving an easy path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. As McCain has said, it’s a Rule of Law issue with me… and I find it an absolute deal breaker from that perspective (never mind the impact on the economy). Second, I am 1000% opposed to McCain’s view of war. As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. Senator McCain can only think in military terms on how to deal with terrorists. Any solution to terrorism that involves collateral damage in the form of killing innocent people is unacceptable in my view.
Great job Lee! You and David seem to be the most honest people on this blog. I’m trying to help but the Reichmaster keeps ” unpublishing” or not answering my questions.
As an example James Hoffa the SON of Jimmy Hoffa, was C-SPAN complaining about the NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAY. He is the head of the teamsters Union hardly a right wing hate group. When I asked Brad why the MSM isn’t covering the story he replies, Richard found Jimmy Hoffa. This is a big story and the candidates aren’t being asked about it.
I guess the Unparty has no room for free speech and honesty. The Unparty has more secrets than the Bush Admistration.
” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”
While we debate the soap-opera dramas of partisan politics, candidates continue to skate on major issues … What concrete proposals do any of them offer for relief from very real threats to our national future, such as …
1. Our Imperialistic wars and world-wide police presence are unsustainable. The cost of war in Iraq alone mounts by $275 million daily and will exceed $500 billion this month. In total, the US spent more than $626 billion on defense in 2007, or about 24% of all federal spending. That’s more than 48 percent of ALL military spending worldwide — 10 times our nearest competitors (China and the UK at less than 5% each).
2. Our social and entitlement programs are unsustainable. Social Security Medicaid/Medicare, etc., made up more than 55% of the nation’s total $2.8 trillion 2007 budget, well more than twice the cost of defense. In all, social spending is growing 14 times faster than our economy.
3. As a result, our national debt is becoming unsustainable. Before 9/11, Bush forecast a $1.288 trillion surplus in the US Budget between 2001 and 2004. As of this month, our debt reached $9.2 trillion — or about $79,000 per taxpayer. In 2007, eight percent of all federal spending went to pay interest on the national debt.
4. Our foreign trade deficit, particularly in relation to China, is unsustainable. China also holds more than $1 trillion in US debt, divestiture of which could dramatically devalue the dollar and our economy. China’s economy is growing 10 times faster than our own. This year, China will become the world’s top Internet user; in the next 10 years, the world’s No. 1 English speaking country and largest consumer of petroleum products.
Absent significant policy changes, the GAO estimates that, during the next 30 years, federal taxation will have to increase by 2.5 times current rates, or federal spending must decline by at least 60 percent.
By comparison, issues such as illegal immigration are trivial and artificial, especially recognizing the fact that immigrants contribute to growth in our economy and always have.
As someone who pays more than a third of gross annual income on taxation already, I’d like some answers from candidates who will address issues of significance to our future, and that our children. So far, I see nothing of substance from any of them — and nothing from the media that might compel response.
Nice to read your attack on attack bloggers, Herb. The pot has run into the kettle again.
Likewise with your statement about your fear that libertarians will destroy the American republic. Nothing suits a non-partisan like that kind of partisanship.
It was also funny how your list of attack bloggers somehow omitted liberals when Bud attacks Republicans in every post he makes and Karen doesn’t shy away from personal attacks.
Most of all, I found ironic this statement from the Gershon column that was supposed to put us attack bloggers in our place:
“Immigration is not a simple political issue like crime; it is a complex political issue like affirmative action.”
Well, sure. Giving amnesty to illegal aliens is much akin to fighting racism with institutional reverse racism.
Two wrongs making a right is always a complex political issue because it doesn’t work.
Sure, exactly what we need. Let’s justify the partisan in-fighting with the civil war, especially at one of the most dangerous junctures in history. Whether we fight with muskets or talk show hosts, the cats and dogs battle will be effective enough to keep us from getting the real issues taken care of. And there is no ocean now that can protect us from the issues we face on the outside.
Exactly my point. While we fiddle and fight, Rome burns. Think what you will about Clinton; he did some consensus building and started reigning in spending. Except, of course, according to Lee. Anytime a Democratic president has a surplus, he attributes it to the other side. If Bush runs up a deficit, it’s Clinton who did it. What are we supposed to do with this kind of logic?
They don’t have to play God, at least not if they do lipservice to “Judaeo-Christian values,” as you folks like to do. Biblical revelation has plenty of instances of those in authority given responsibility to redistribute wealth, so as to prevent situations of abject poverty. You can’t cherry-pick the Biblical values about individual freedoms, and leave out the ones about corporate responsibility.
In other words, everybody who disagrees with me is an ignorant fool. Nice. We can have a lot of political discourse with an attitude like that.
Well, if that isn’t an example of partisan politics, I don’t know what is. I won’t go on to quote the number of times that Lee and others label their opponents “liars,” “care nothing for the people,” etc. The bottom line is that there can be no discussion with these kinds of arguments, which is exactly Gerson’s point.
Bill Clinton was the most divisive president of the last 50 years.
He had no respect for his office, or the law.
He and Hillary built a spy system on every critic in order to blackmail and libel them.
He talked about fiscal responsibility while running up $1.5 TRILLION in new debt, and would have borrowed and spent more had Dick Armey and other conservatives not stopped him.
Bush has just let the social spending continue out of control, taking in enough new revenue to balance the budget from a better economy than Clinton left us, but blowing the money on more welfare instead.
Herb, you are speaking an untruth when you generalize that I label my opponents as liars. Most laymen are simply uninformed and repeat propaganda they have digested.
The only people I have accused of lying are politicians who were caught lying, like John Kerry and the Clintons.
John McCain avoids lying by saying, “Americans want _____”, then not saying what he plans to give them.
Obama doesn’t know enough to lie. He just speaks in vague terms to make his followers chant, like Jim Jones did.
Herb, Arguing with someone like Lee will simply exhaust you. You know that any statement made by that person will be ad hominem, twisted, or just plain untrue, but to try to use reason with such persons gets you nowhere. I’ve gotten to the point that I try to engage in reasonable debate. But for those people who engage in ad hominem attacts, or throw unsubstantiated numbers at me, or whose statements have repeatedly turned out to be untrue, well, I just ignore them and keep on going. Anyone who reads a few of their arguments will realize quickly how unsubstantial they are. These people destroy their own credibility; there’s no need to exhaust myself trying to do what they’ve already achieved. And ‘most all the rest of you: there are very few of these type of people in this blog; I appreciate the views the rest of you bring to the debate.
Karen, you are full of NewSpeak.
I doesn’t destroy my credibility to post facts with sources. It destroys your delusions.
Ignoring the truth renders you politically powerless.
au contraire’ … If anything, Karen brings a voice of reason to the blog. She reads, absorbs, gathers the wheat, and throws chaff to the wind. She knows herself, and stands by her beliefs. It’s a rare contribution to these wind swept slopes of boorish bloggery. Her political power lies in firm adherence to ideas she has experienced, and therefore knows to be true.
Herb, what good does it do for an obvious partisan from the left such as you to decry partisanship from the right?
It’s all about issues. On any issue, you’re on one side or the other, or you have no position.
That defines partisan and non-partisan. You have a position or you don’t. Legislators vote on one side or the other. Those who don’t vote at all are non-partisan.
If you vote, you’re partisan. There is no Unparty. Politics without partisanship is nothing but a fantasy. Obama’s non-partisan appeal is merely a lip-service cloak for his being America’s most liberal senator, one who has wowed the world with words, but has no legislative accomplishments to hang his hat on whatsoever.
Karen, I’m sure you are right to a certain extent. My discussions with Lee go back a long way, and I let myself get sucked into them again.
But Lee is perhaps the most radical among several, who as Michael Gerson describe them:
Or as David Faust says, “write in Mickey Mouse for President.” In other words, they would rather see the country paralyzed than allow any kind of compromises.
This kind of attitude is dangerous in today’s world. It may have been endurable in 1800, with partisans on both sides ready to eradicate the other, but we no longer live cut off from the rest of the world in a slowly developing agrarian society. We live in a fast-paced world with global consequences on nearly every decision we make.
Gordon wants discussion on weightier issues, but what he doesn’t seem to understand is that discussion is not even possible under these conditions, no matter what the subject. That seems to me to be Gerson’s, and also Brad’s, main point.
Herb, your fake outrage at my partisanship is sort of childish isn’t it? I never said I wasn’t partisan.
I definitely have very strongly held ideas. And I’ve never even implied that I would compromise with people who oppose those ideas. Pretty much a textbook definition of a partisan I’d say.
Listen, I am convinced that the principles I believe in are intrinsically right and therefore actually transcend the nitty gritty of politics. Of course they must play out in a political world, but the ideals and principles I hold must not be traded away just so I can get along with people. I just won’t do it. If Karen wants to trade away her beliefs, or you want to compromise yours, go ahead. If my stand makes me a rigid ideologue, then I suppose that’s just what I’ll have to be. And I’m not bothered too much by the fact that you and Brad either don’t get it or get it and disagree. I’m OK with that. I would rather stand for the things I believe in and lose than surrender on the things I believe and wind up losing anyway.David
See Herb I think there is actually a dirty little secret at work with people like you and Bud. Brad is a different case altogether that I’ll talk about momentarily.
But with people like you I think the dirty little secret is that you aren’t really interested in compromise…meaning you and I meet somewhere in the middle. In a compromise you give up some things and I give up some things and we both come to a middle position with which we can live but aren’t entirely happy. No, I think flaming liberals see compromise as conservatives giving up and agreeing with them. In other words, for you compromise isn’t that I meet you in the middle ~ it’s that I give up completely and meet you on the left. And I refuse.
Guys like Brad are more difficult to understand. For him it has become a character thing and not a a debate about ideas. This approach I guess is a stab at getting away from the down and dirty of debating ideas and winning and losing. I don’t believe this amounts to any real improvement. And I don’t actually think it changes anything. Right and wrong must inevitably devolve into us versus them. Isn’t that principle in the bible somewhere?
Messy things, ideas. David
Look, I readily admit that my position, as I’ve framed it above, is essentially the same as yours: I believe you ought to give up and meet me on the right. I fully understand that.
The difference between me and you is that I don’t parade around spouting about “compromise and post-partisanship.” This false altruism is really unbecoming, and entirely transparent. I think Brad means it, and probably Karen, but you and Bud and other hardened liberals mean not a word of it, near as I can tell. Face it, you’re just like me: You think you’re right and you want the country to be shaped according to your ideals. I do too. No more complicated than that. David
Obviously I don’t mean I think YOU’RE right, I mean I think I’M right. Just want to be clear. Dave
Since Obama, Hillary, John McCain and Michael Gerson don’t have the desire or ability to engage in an open and honest discussion of what they actually WANT for immigration policy, and WHY they want it, maybe Herb, Karen, Brad Warthen, or some other supporter of accommodating the illegal aliens would care to articulate their reasoning.
Interesting. Karen is the voice of political correctness here, and she’s the only blogger I’ve seen both Brad and Gordon kiss up to.
I’m sure that means something, but I don’t know what.
Herb, some people don’t want discussion. War is failed politics, and what they want is war. They want total annihilation of the other side. They’ve made up their minds and are in no mood to be confused by the facts. That’s why they make up their facts to match what’s in their minds. Some, not all of these people are such steadfast members of the POG that they’d rather step over people dead of exposure, than allow the government to spend a dollar on a blanket for these people. And they often forget that failure to offer basic health care sets up a wonderful pool from which all manner of disease may spring. They are perfectly willing to destroy the world that their grandchildren (as well as ours) must live in.
Dave, I’ve been openly hostile to Brad’s constant harping against partisanship, so you are generally correct to assume I’m unwilling to compromise my core principles. But there are certain circumstances where compromise can work, where both sides give a little to get a little. In the end everyone wins in those situations. The recent stimulus package is a good example. If both sides had stood their ground we would have not had any bill at a time when a bill is badly needed even if it’s not perfect.
Where I think the democrats have lost their way is when they continue to compromise on the war in Iraq. They simply should have forced the issue by cutting off funds. If that results in the abandonment of the troops, well so be it. The president has forced this folly on us so it’s up to him to figure out how to support the troops without the wasted billions needed to fund the killing machine.
So in a sense I agree with you Dave, there are certain things that we should not compromise on. But I do think there are many areas where a middle ground serves the public well.
Compromise only works where it is appropriate. In a Constitutional republic, you can only compromise about how to implement things authorized by the Constitution.
You cannot compromise when one party wants to operate outside the legal framework of the Constitution, and the other wants to follow the law, or when both parties are just fighting for the power to enrich themselves from the treasury. Those are the ideological and materialistic conflicts we have today.
David, quite honestly I do not know what you are getting at. I think Michael Gerson’s column basically puts it all in perspective for me, and your “write in Mickey Mouse” for president, plus do you all you can to make sure Congress gets nowhere sort of sums up your position. How you equate that with mine, I do not know. Gerson describes what I think you are saying quite adequately:
I take the positions that I do because I believe them to be as close to the truth as possible, but also workable in an imperfect world. I do not care whether anyone considers them “liberal,” “conservative”, or whatever they want to call them. I do not choose to take positions on the basis of how they fit into someone’s political stance. For example, I very much supported what Lindsay Graham tried to accomplish with immigration. They are not going to be sent back over the border in any case, so I would suggest that you folks stop talking about doing that.
I am not so sure if I agree with McCain, Brad, and Gerson, etc. on Iraq. I’ve spent too much time abroad, have too many talks with folks who understand a lot about the way the Middle Eastern mind works, to be too sure that the military can really accomplish nation building. But nobody is asking me, anyway, and Gen. Petraeus seems to have moved forward positively. He has shown a willingness to learn and to understand cultural limitations in a way that his predecessors did not. Rory Stuart’s Prince of the Marshes reflects some of the very difficult and complex issues that we have faced in Iraq, and for which we were not prepared. I can only hope that our government can find a way in all of this, or many more people, both American and Iraqis, will die needlessly.
I am pro-life, but I also recognize that we will not be able, at the federal level, to accomplish what we would like to accomplish, I would like to see a ban on abortions in the 3rd trimester, at the very least. But even this will be hard to accomplish, but we should work toward it.
This pales in any comparison to the destruction of human life that abortion results in, but I’ll give this illustration again, as I’ve mentioned it before. While I was in Germany, I was on the local parent school board. We were presented with the problem that, with the drinking age at 16, kids at 14 and 15 were still getting alcohol at school parties. A Christian friend wanted to push for parties without alcohol, but I knew this would never go through, so I urged him to join with me in changing the parameters, so that alcohol would only be served in an area that was available to those 16 and over, and that parental presence be required in order to make sure that the older kids didn’t bring it to the younger ones. I didn’t get what I thought would be best, but it was better than before. Making derogatory comments (which is Rush’s usual method) do not accomplish anything; if anything, they galvanize opposition and make sure that neither side is ready to budge.
What disturbs me about you and those who rally with you are, for the most part, not the positions that you take (except when they are labeled as being somehow “Christian”, but 1) your shrill attacks, as already mentioned by Gerson above; 2) your refusal to evaluate all the data objectively, and to make your theories based on what the data is saying. Lee, of course, is the worst about this. If the data does not support his conclusions, he simply changes the data so that they do. If he wants to take the position that German tax rates are lower than American ones, he simply says that they are, even though I know that they are not. I lived in Germany for 28 years. I paid taxes there. The top income tax rate is 45% in Germany now (it used to be over 70%). But even worse than the distortion of data is Lee’s arrogant tendency (and to some extent, yours—at least you do not take issue with him) to characterize everyone who disagrees with him as either a liar, or part of the ignorant mass of people who follow the liars mindlessly. This kind of characterization of others is inexcusable, and if I seem to be harsh in criticizing it, it is because I think it deserves it.
You yourself have stated before that Muslim states should be obliterated by nuclear weapons, should it be advantageous to the U.S. As you purport to be an evangelical Christian, under the authority of Scripture, I find this to be totally incomprehensible, and quite apart from the spirit of Christ. The only way you can take this, and other positions, and still claim that your viewpoint is “built on Judaeo-Christian principles” is to cherry-pick favorite principles out of the Bible, rather than be subject to all of them, including ones about corporate and national responsibility.
Herb, there you go smearing me again. You keep calling me a liar, because you cannot refute the facts and it is easy for you to just dismiss them with name-calling. My positons are based on facts, documented facts, agreed to by many experts. You could do better, but it might force you to change your mind.
Yep, Lee, and people can gather ‘facts’ about anything. There was a conference a few years ago which many attended, that attested to the ‘fact’ that the Jewish Holocaust of WWII never occurred. The absolute “truth”, of course, with plenty of “scholars” to affirm this “truth.”
I have, and often post, the sources for my facts. In frustration, some of the “liberals” respond with analogies to the Nazis. Those are known as Brownshirt Tactics.
Herb, don’t you just love how Lee works so hard to make up putdowns. Of course he’s so good at making things up, its probably easy for him.
Karen, you are the one who compared my footnoted facts with some French academics who disputed some parts of the Nazi holocaust. I’ll bet you had no idea that it started in France. Calling people names is a reflex response for liberals cornered by the facts.
Shed your ugly attitude and join us who are actually making an effort to solve problems.
Karen, the maddening thing is that Christian ethics denies us the right to respond in kind–a temptation which I have not always been able to resist, I will admit. But I guess that Jesus is right–if we start using Lee’s tactics ourselves, we will become like him, and that is exactly what we must avoid at all costs.
But not to worry. The more he writes, the more thinking people will be repulsed by his arrogance. The only thing that I am not sure of sometimes is, and pardon the biblical reference again:
Evidently sometimes we should do one, and sometimes the other, but knowing when to counter, and when to keep silent–that is what I am not sure of. And to do it in the right spirit, and avoid communicating the arrogance that so permeates Lee’s contentions, that is the most difficult thing of all.
I have, and often post, the sources for my facts.
Yes Lee, you do post sources. On that much I agree. But your claims are often refuted by the very sources that you cite. You claimed there were 3 recessions during the Clinton years. By definition a recession occurs whenever there are 2 consecutive quarters of economic growth. During the entire Clinton administration, ACCORDING OT THE SOURCE YOU PROVIDED, there was only 1 negative growth quarter – the third quarter of 2000. Therefore, by definition, there was not a single recession during the Clinton years, let alone 3.
The fifth sentence in my last comment should read:
“By definition a recession occurs whenever there are 2 consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.”
Instead of talking about how other posters, why don’t you folks post some facts to back up your world views? We know how you feel.
The last recession began with the collapse of the stock market in March 2000. The NBER originally pegged the date of March 2001 being an official recession, being 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth. That date would still make it Clinton’s recession.
But the NBER later considered new data, and said the recession began in November 2000.
Lee, you produce a lot of statistics, but statistics are not facts, as I’m sure you must know. You and I have both done enough graduate level work to know that there are some very critical factors that influence statistics, including the size of the control group, the type and nuance of the questions asked, and bias of the one asking the questions, to name but a few considerations.
Having noticed more than once that you will reject any statistical analysis that comes from what you would consider to be a “liberal” source, that leads be to conclude that you rely heavily upon sources that already agree, substantially, with what you want to conclude.
If I had the time to follow-up on every statistic you quote and do the analysis required, I might be inclined to allow something here and there to be substantiated. But I have a full-time job, as you do, and there is not the time for that.
As a result, I tend to go by the general rule of a friend of mine, “statistics lie, and liars use statistics.” That is too general to be an axiom, but I am afraid it is true a good deal of the time.
What is more to the point are the pre-suppositions of any particular argument, and here the extreme right wing and left wing almost always give themselves away. The data is almost always interpreted through that pre-suppositional grid, and therefore the “facts” are the ones that the groups wants to accept.
If I post more of raw numbers used by the Census Bureau and insurance experts to calculate those statistics, do you think your calculations would come up with different percentages than theirs?
Or are you just calling me a “liar” again for posting FACTS that show your conception of the problem to be far from reality?
What “suppositional grid” or bias do you think the Census Bureau, NIH, and Blue Cross have to publish their observation that very few Americans are actually without medical insurance, and unable to buy it? They have a vested intrest in exaggerating the problem, but they seem to be more honest than you want them to be.