Reuters finds Obama leading in early voting

Or rather, he’s leading in what early voter are telling pollsters, so take that big grain of salt:

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are neck and neck in opinion polls, but there is one area in which the incumbent appears to have a big advantage: those who have already cast their ballots.

Obama leads Romney by 59 percent to 31 percent among early voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks.

The sample size of early voters is relatively small, but the Democrat’s margin is still well above the poll’s credibility interval – a measurement of polls’ accuracy – of 10 percentage points. (full graphic:

With the November 6 election just more than three weeks away, 7 percent of those surveyed said they had already voted either in person or by mail (full graphic:

The online poll is another sign that early voting is likely to play a bigger role this year than in 2008, when roughly one in three voters cast a ballot before Election Day. Voting is already under way in some form in at least 40 states…

On a side note, I don’t care how popular it is, I still don’t hold with this early voting nonsense.

60 thoughts on “Reuters finds Obama leading in early voting

  1. Brad

    I say that because ACTUAL VOTES are far more important than polls. And this is about actual votes, rather than claimed intentions.

    But I wanted to make sure that everyone focused on the fact that we’re not measuring actual votes, but what respondents SAY were their actual votes. That’s an important caveat on any poll…

  2. Brad

    And if you want to be factual in reporting any poll, you need to say, “respondents say X,” rather than taking X as a fact.

    If you doubt this, see how many people tell pollsters they are registered to vote, and compare that to the actual percentage of the eligible population that is registered. It won’t be the same. People tend to claim to be more politically engaged than they are.

    I would not be stunned if some respondents to this poll had not even actually voted, and just misunderstood the question.

    It’s startling how, perfectly innocently, people get confused about their own voting habits. For instance, think about how many South Carolinians you’ve heard say they are registered Republicans or Democrats — when that is impossible (thank goodness) in SC. Maybe you haven’t, but I’ve heard that a LOT, and often from smart people who you think would know better.

  3. Brad

    Also — there is apparently a tendency for white Americans to overstate their willingness to vote for a “black” man, although that is usually said about future votes. This was taken into account by the Obama administration in 2008, and they always discounted some of what polls were telling them.

    And, again with respect to future voting, I seem to recall that Democrats have a tendency to overstate their own intentions to vote. I don’t know that that would be manifest when the voting is in the past tense, but I mention it…

  4. Brad

    Actually, I take that back — EVERYBODY overstates intentions to vote, but I seem to recall that Democrats do slightly more than Republicans.

    With regard to exit polling, which this is sort of like, here’s a passage from a study talking about why exit polls overestimated actual votes for Clinton, and underestimated actual votes for Bush, in 1992:

    “VRS claimed the Democratic overstatement in the raw exit poll data was due to partisan differences in the willingness of voters to complete the exit poll, not to a poor selection of precincts or differential response rates by age, race, or gender. Republicans simply refused to participate at the same rates as Democrats, resulting in there being fewer Republicans in the raw exit poll results than there should have been. Mitofsky speculated that the disparity was due to different intensities of support for the candidates—Democratic voters were just more excited about voting for Clinton than Republican voters were about voting for Bush and, as a result, were more motivated to communicate this message by filling out the exit poll questionnaire; others thought it was due to Republicans in general having less confidence in the mass media.”

  5. Steven Davis II

    Yeah, well back in 2008 I had some Obama volunteers knock on my door… I agreed with everything they said, asked about volunteering, requested a yard sign, etc… As soon as I got in the voting booth I didn’t have any thought of voting for Obama.

  6. Steven Davis II

    “Also — there is apparently a tendency for white Americans to overstate their willingness to vote for a “black” man”

    And don’t forget the only reason many black people voted was because there was a black man (well half-black) running.

  7. Juan Caruso

    John McLaughin (of PBS’s ‘The McLaughlin Group’) just
    predicted that Romney will win.

    Now, Kathryn Fenner has already attested to the proclivity for voting fraud with absentee ballots, but in light of the lying and cheating by this administration that has recently come to light, his Supreme appointments would have a difficult time compromising their institution to benefit transparent corruption.

    Just an independent thought by a critical thinker.

  8. Bart

    Brad says: October 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm
    “Also — there is apparently a tendency for white Americans to overstate their willingness to vote for a “black” man,…”

    On this point, I think you are mostly right. When asked if you would vote for a “black” man without being specific as to whom the “black” man is, most respondents will answer in the positive. However, if the specific “black” man is identified, I do believe that most will tell the truth, yes or no.

    The reason, total speculation on my part, is that in our society, we do not want to give an answer that could be perceived as racist and definitely answering no if one would be willing to vote for a “black” man could definitely considered racist. However, in the context of who the “black” man is, an answer of no could be only interpreted as racist depending on the way the respondent said “no” or if the questioner is looking for racism and sees it in a negative response.

    On one point, I do agree with Eric Holder; Americans are basically cowards when it comes to having honest debates or conversations about racial issues.

  9. bud

    Brad, all pollsters know the pitfalls you mentioned and attempt to adjust their samples accordingly. Of course every election has different dynamics to be concerned with. Polling cell phones is proving to be a big challenge. Since all pollsters make adjustments in an attempt to get the best results all should be read with a grain of salt. The best make the best adjustments. The trick is knowing which pollsters are the best.

  10. Brad

    Whether one should serve one’s military duty when called has nothing to do with one’s political opinions — unless one is a conscientious objector — which speaks to values beyond the political.

    We don’t consult privates (or potential privates) as to military objectives. For that matter, we don’t consult generals, either. Our political leadership, duly chosen through our elections, makes those decisions. And those called to serve carry out those decisions.

    You don’t always get your way on which wars will be fought and which ones won’t. Just as the candidates who agree with you on taxes, or spending, or traffic laws, may lose elections. You still, as a citizen, have to obey the laws you disagree with.

    I find it completely illegitimate to give people with whom you agree a pass on deliberately and openly avoiding military service, while you rip into those with whom you disagree, merely because it appears to you that they were doing the same. That just doesn’t hold water with me.

    I really get tired sometimes of the moral high horse that opponents of our involvement in the Vietnam War, including some folks near and dear to me, climb up on on a regular basis. I say that as someone who remains ambivalent about the war, after all these years.

    Just one of those things that separates me from “liberals” in the post-Vietnam world. I have other reasons for being alienated from “conservatives” over the same period.

  11. bud

    Today the Supreme Court handed the Obama administration a huge victory by refused to hear the early voting case that a lower court ruled against the state of Ohio. What is pretty clear in this case is that all voters must be allowed the same early voting privelages rather than singling out a particular group, in this case active duty military. This should clear the way to a sensible voting environment for Ohio’s citizens.

  12. bud

    Whether one should serve one’s military duty when called has nothing to do with one’s political opinions.

    That makes sense. However, in the case of Clinton the anti-war activist and Romney the pro-war guy it comes down to a case of principal. In Clinton’s case he was under no obligation to serve in the military UNLESS he was called BECAUSE he oppossed the war. Had he refused the draft without the benefit of all the legal ways of avoiding it then we’d have a different argument. Clinton was under no legal obligation to serve therefore he gets a pass.

    Romney (along with other chickenhawks like Dick Cheney) actively supported the war and therefore be held to a higher standard. They chose to use deferements in a rather disgusting act of cowardice thus putting others in harms way for a cause that they supported. Romney could have served at any time from 1965 (the year he turned 18) until the early 70s had he so chosen. But being the coward that he was he elected to sit it out in the vineyards of France. Disgusting.

  13. bud

    I really get tired sometimes of the moral high horse that opponents of our involvement in the Vietnam War, including some folks near and dear to me, climb up on on a regular basis.

    Frankly I regard this constant defending of these types of wars by the war mongers a good thing. It serves to remind people just how extreme pro-war supporters get when defending these moral outrages; while at the same time lecturing the anti-war pragmatists in some condescending attempt to claim a moral high ground that they abandoned decades ago.

    Remember the lies that led to these wars and the defense of them now so that perhaps, just perhaps we can avoid going along with their war dance attitude in the future. Right now there are plenty of war mongers ready to send young men and women into harms way in Iran. Given the past history of their mendacity when it comes to going to war we have to resist their scare tactics at all costs. Otherwise our country will decline into a cess pool of waging war until we are no longer a nation that deserves any respect from the international community.

  14. Brad

    I’m going to assume you’re not including me among the “war-mongers,” since I just told you I’m ambivalent about Vietnam. But in case you are, perhaps you’d like to tell me at which point I employed “mendacity” in making an argument.

  15. Brad

    Of course, those who just KNOW Vietnam was completely unjustified can’t fathom anyone being ambivalent on the subject. Which is one reason such possessors of absolute moral certainty get on my nerves.

    Why am I ambivalent? Because I can see it both ways. I see it within the context of the overall (successful, remember) Cold War strategy of containment.

    On the other hand, the war was unwinnable under the conditions we imposed on ourselves, and an unwinnable war doesn’t meet the Just War test.

    When I say “under the conditions we imposed on ourselves,” I’m not channeling a whiny Rambo (“Sir, do we get to win this time?“). I think maybe we had to impose those limits on ourselves, given once again the context of the Cold War. We quite reasonably didn’t want a repeat of Korea, when the Chinese came in on the side of the enemy.

    To see what I mean, I point to what the U.S. military does so easily without such constraints, such as taking Baghdad in about three weeks, or toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan, or pushing Saddam out of Kuwait in a matter of days, utterly decimating his armor in doing so.

    We never fought all-out in Vietnam. We never even tried to take Hanoi. Do you doubt that we could have? I don’t. Militarily, I mean — not geopolitically.

    We never took the initiative in Vietnam, because those aren’t the rules we were operating under. We were defensive and reactive.

    And that was a doomed approach against an Eastern, non-Clausewitzian enemy with the long view. The North Vietnamese were prepared to fight a war like that forever, we were not. So we failed, as we were bound to do under those circumstances.

    So… if we had realized all that when we were escalating our involvement, it would not have met the Just War test. But to what extent COULD we see that at the time? I would need to study decision-making in the early 60s a lot more closely than I have to reach a conclusion.

    I just know that I see it all as being WAY more complex than do folks who would have chanted, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

  16. bud

    I wasn’t talking about Brad so much. Rather folks like LBJ, Bush and Cheney are the mendacious ones.

    But I do hold Romney and Clinton to different standards. I’ll just leave it at that.

  17. bud

    Brad, you view Vietnam as a FAILED war that had a just cause. I view it as an unjust war that just so happened to fail. Even if we had won I would still regard it as unjust.

  18. Brad

    The only “unjust” thing about it was the unwinnability. A Just War must have a reasonable chance of being successful before being undertaken.

    We were fighting a brutal and tyrannical enemy. I was reminded of that last night. I’m still making my way, off and on, through Dave Grossman’s excellent book, “On Killing.” In a chapter that examines the advantages and disadvantages of atrocity to a combatant (advantage: your enemy is utterly cowed to the point he often won’t fight; disadvantage: your enemy, knowing he can’t surrender to you, will fight to the death until you are destroyed) uses the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong as an example of forces that employed atrocity as a strategy (as opposed to something that would result in criminal prosecution by your own side, as with Lt. Calley).

    Incidentally, he notes that while there may seem to our sensibility to be a law of diminishing returns in atrocity (i.e., the Gotterdammerung of the Nazis), some regimes that employ it just keep chugging on. China, for instance, 23 years after Tiananmen Square.

  19. Brad

    Sorry, I was overly broad just then, making myself guilty of the same thing as the smug antiwar folks.

    Of course, in this and many conflicts (such as “the Good War,” WWII), there are many things that raise Just War problems. Such as carpet-bombing. Such as the inevitable civilian casualties that occur in fighting an enemy that uses the native population as camouflage.

    Even today, with President Obama’s precision use of drones against specific individuals, they are not the only ones killed. In the Just War equation, one must constantly try to balance, and rebalance, means and ends, and try to conduct yourself so as to make it come out Just.

  20. bud

    Smug antiwar folks? That wouldn’t be condescending now would it? Rather than smug we are simply sad and a bit angry that we continue to be proven right (Vietnam, Russians in Afghanistan, Israelis in Lebenon, British and Americans in Vietnam) yet get no respect. By calling us smug we consider that as proven.

  21. Silence

    bud – don’t forget about the Americans siding with the Frogs and Brits in 1917 against the Huns.

    Lots of people didn’t want to go to war, in fact Wilson was re-elected largely because he’d kept us out of the war in Europe.

    Differences of opinion make a horserace.

  22. Brad

    I didn’t mean any harm with the “smug.” I always get in trouble on this subject. Phillip doesn’t like the term “antiwar.” So I find myself at a loss for describing those with whom I’m disagreeing.

    Maybe I should go with Robert E. Lee’s term for his adversaries: “those people.”

    It’s hard to explain if you’re not me and you don’t see all these shades of gray, but people who KNOW the Vietnam War was immoral and unjust, not to mention unwise, are very hard to take sometimes. They’ve spent more than 40 years building a stone wall of absolute moral certainty (which I refer to as “smugness”) around their position, and it’s quite impenetrable.

    Suffice it to say that when you say, without any qualification, in fact with the deliberate effort to stifle any hint of qualification, “By definition there really is no justice in war,” you are engaging in that kind of smug absolutism to which I refer.

    I could engage in tit for tat by saying, “Yeah, well, tell that to Hitler,” but I know it won’t get us anywhere.

    Suffice it to say that I distrust absolute certainty, particularly when it is applied to something as filled with moral pitfalls as war. There ARE just wars, wars that a moral person must fight. But even the best of them are marred by indefensible acts by even the best people.

  23. bud

    Rather than the term “just war” how about “necessary war”. Can’t really cozy up to “just” and “war” in the same sentence when we all know the horrors of war with death and great bodily injury to many innocents.

  24. Mark Stewart


    That last comment of yours could also replace “war” with “abortion”, were you so inclinded to bend meanings …

    The world is a place of shading and tint. It’s even more complicated than the black/grey/white color scale.

  25. Brad

    Well, put it out there and see if it gains acceptance. St. Augustine has a bit of a jump on you with “Just,” but hey, back in the 4th century, his idea was new and untested as well.

    Personally, I like “just.” Justice is not all sweetness and light; it can be pretty grim. And yes, an element of it can be necessity.

    But necessity is not as obvious as it seems. I could make a case that our involvement in WWII was not necessary — particularly the war in Europe. (Folks today would have constantly said we were fighting “two wars.” Indeed, they were very different, and fought for different reasons.)

    It wouldn’t have been easy to stay out of Europe. Hitler did declare war on us, and while he lacked the capability to invade our homeland, he could keep attacking our vessels on the high seas. We could have even chastised ourselves for having provoked the Japanese by starving them of vital resources. And can you blame Hitler for sinking our ships when they were used to carry war materiel that the Brits and Russians were using against his people?

    It was at least theoretically possible for us to have talked ourselves out of that war, or at least part of it.

    I used to think Hitler was mad to think, by rocking us back on our heels in the Ardennes, he could demoralize us and the Brits to the point of seeking detente in the West, so he could throw all his resources against the Soviets. But you know, I’ve seen the American people in that “we’re sick of all this” mode enough since then (in Vietnam, in Somalia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan) to think it was, at least to a desperate despot, a reasonable gambit. It’s hard to rouse a liberal democracy to the point of fighting, and to keep it fighting once it’s started (ask Abe Lincoln about that). He just caught us at the wrong point in our history. The Depression had hardened us into a scrappy people. And we were an instinctively isolationist people, and really, really ticked at him and the Japanese for having dragged us into their messes.

  26. Steven Davis II

    We can have early voting, but still feel the need to rely on the electoral college to cast all or none votes for one candidate.

    We can file our income taxes online, conduct our banking online… yet we can’t vote online or rely on actual voting numbers.

    Why is there even “early voting”, if you can’t vote on election day, you cast an absentee ballot.

  27. Silence

    Well, you can call this election over. Obama just scored the all important Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson endorsement. I guess Romney can just hang it up and go home now.

    Obama, our first sketti president.

  28. Scout

    Any exit poll would have to be suspect just because it is optional. I can imagine correlational factors causing voters to be drawn to one candidate or the other also causing them to be more or less inclined to participate in an exit poll.

  29. Phillip

    “but people who KNOW the Vietnam War was immoral and unjust… are very hard to take sometimes. They’ve spent more than 40 years building a stone wall of absolute moral certainty (which I refer to as “smugness”) around their position, and it’s quite impenetrable.”

    Unreconstructed Confederate apologists say much the same thing. It’s not that people have spent 40 years constructing a wall of moral certainty…rather it’s that increasingly with the passage of time and historical perspective, any real defense of our involvement in Vietnam is less and less morally tenable, the more we understand how truly disconnected it actually was from the question of Chinese & Soviet Cold War conflict, how flawed our sense of those countries’ geopolitical ambitions were, and how we were blind to the possibility that people on the other side of the planet might love their country and fight as hard against a foreign foe on their turf as we would should a foreign force occupy our own land. It’s one thing to say that some leaders at the time may have thought they were doing the right thing; that’s defensible. But to have the benefit of all the years of hindsight and still defend our involvement?

    As for it being “hard to rouse a liberal democracy to the point of fighting, and to keep it fighting once it’s started…” we seem to have solved that challenge, considering how many military actions we’ve been involved in over the past 30 years, continuing to the present. The secret is: you don’t declare war, you don’t have a full and open debate in the Congress or take your case fully to the American people, and you have only a relatively small subset (generally less economically-and-politically privileged) of the American people bear the burden of that involvement.

  30. bud

    Interesting that Brad did post anything about the debate. Hopefully he did kill himself at the play rehersal.

  31. Mark Stewart

    I am inclined to agree with Phillip’s perspective on the Vietnam War. That said, I believe that with the exception of a few of the Banana Republic incursions (and Vietnam), America’s military actions have been for the right reasons.

    Vietnam was a political and geopolitical mistake, but so was the way the antiwar movement protested our involvement.

    Hubris is just part of the American DNA.

  32. Brad

    Bud, I got in at 11:30 last night. I watched a few minutes from the beginning and end of the debate while eating my very late dinner, then hit the sack…

  33. Phillip

    @Mark, if you’re talking about the Weather Underground and people setting off bombs and such, I would agree about a lot of wrongdoing among those who opposed the war. But that represented a tiny minority among all those who marched, who protested peacefully. Would the tide have turned in a larger sense against the war without strong domestic protest, including civil disobedience? I doubt it, certainly not as quickly. I’m not sure what a more “right way” would have been to protest something that was seen as a moral outrage.

  34. bud

    Would the tide have turned in a larger sense against the war without strong domestic protest, including civil disobedience? I doubt it,

    That is an interesting point. Some folks suggest the protests did more harm than good and actually extended the war by casting the anti-war movement as nothing more than a hippy, counter-culture movement. This theory goes on to say that more moderate types of folks were turned off by the hippies and stuck with the war longer than they would have had the peace movement featured more traditional dress and mainstream political tactics. Not sure I buy this theory but it is at least something to think about.

  35. Mark Stewart

    I am thinking more along the lines of what Bud wrote. To me, the whole angry, belligerent antiwar tirade was too much. As was the way the protesters treated the soldiers who served.

  36. Brad

    I’m with you, Mark.

    Anyone ever see “Getting Straight,” with Elliott Gould? I liked the ironic detachment it took toward protest in the era…

    But then, as y’all know, I’m not big on demonstrations of any kind. If something can be reduced to a chant, it’s probably way too simplified.

    An exception, for me, would be the civil rights marches of the early ’60s — quiet, dignified appeals to justice.

  37. Phillip

    I guess it just depends on your perspective. Growing up as a child, the first strongly antiwar people I knew who wore black armbands and protested publicly were in their mid-fifties and late forties: my parents. So I didn’t have that image of hippies being the sole face of the antiwar movement. Also, Bud, as for the “the peace movement featur[ing] more traditional dress and mainstream political tactics,” I recall that it was a couple of guys who wore suits and ties (most of the time) whose mainstream political tactics drove an incumbent President from the race: Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy. And that was early on, in 68. True, Nixon beat Humphrey, but it was after HHH finally broke with LBJ on the war and ran as a strong antiwar candidate that he closed the gap to nearly nothing by election day.

    I’m not sure what kind of horrific American government action it would take to get you all to consider taking to the streets justified; for me Vietnam easily ranks #2 on the list of the USA’s most tragic errors in its history, only behind the perpetuation until the Civil War of the institution of slavery. I guess you all prefer the political “commitment” and “activism” of today’s young people to that generation’s.

  38. Kathryn Fenner

    And as someone who has protested, but well-dressed and groomed, there is something very fortifying to the soul to stand publicly for what you believe in…

  39. bud

    Vietnam easily ranks #2 on the list of the USA’s most tragic errors in its history,

    Indeed that was an extremely tragic and unnecessary blight on our history. I would rate the Iraq debacle a very close third. Even though the number of wasted lives and treasure was far lower than Vietnam the Iraq conflict may ultimately prove just as harmful. Reports are now coming out that Al-Qaeda is beginning to use Iraq as a base to regroup. Such was not the case before 2003. After years of successfully hunting down the top Al-Qaeda leaders we are now put in the very uncomfortable position of watching this resurrection happen with few good options.

    But what really makes Iraq stand out from all other American foreign policy mistakes is how completely obvious it was that it would be a mistake to go in. Given the history of these types of “nation building” endevors this really was inexcusable.

  40. Mark Stewart

    History may record that the United States showed that despotic rulers in the Islamic world could be overthrown and erased. Before, there had been no historical precedence for this in that region – except overthrow by another despot.

    We may have once again learned how hard it is to build a nation from the outside; but we may also have given citizens across the region hope and the self-confidence to assert their own demands for their version of freedom in their own countries.

    Self-governing Islamic Republics with free elections would hardly be the worst outcome; and may be worth the price paid by us in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

  41. Brad

    Yes, Mark. Thank you.

    Bud will continue to believe it was “completely obvious it was that it would be a mistake to go in” to Iraq.

    Of course, it wasn’t — not to most members of Congress, not to the Bush administration, not to most of the American people. And definitely not to me.

    And the only thing obvious in retrospect is that you don’t want to commit to such a situation Rumsfeld-style. If you’re not going to commit the resources to prevent the situation from devolving to near-chaos after your successful toppling of the regime, then you shouldn’t go in.

    The shocking thing about Iraq is that a nation that so successfully managed the postwar situation in Germany and Japan, each of which was much, MUCH bigger challenge, could foul things up as much as the Bush administration did, up until it put Gates and Petraeus in charge. Apparently, the lessons of 1945 — the POST V-E and V-J lessons — were not being taught at our service academies or war colleges. Or else they were, and the civilians at the Pentagon wouldn’t listen; I don’t know which.

    It was very important to this nation and to the world that we competently do what Mark just said, setting the precedent for taking out a despotic ruler who an enemy of this country and a proven enemy of peaceful coexistence in the region.

    It is a great tragedy that the Bush administration fouled up the detail for so long that it left such a bad taste in the American electorate that it is now far less likely that we’ll be able to do something like that when we need to in the future.

    Fortunately, this post-Iraq syndrome didn’t prevent us from joining other liberal democracies in helping to topple Qaddafi. But not every such situation can be adequately handled with air power and zero U.S. casualties.

    I worry that the day is likely to come when the consequences of non-intervention will be very dire, and we will fail to act because we don’t want it to be “another Iraq.” And if that happens, THAT will be the worst legacy to come out of our experience in that country.

  42. Brad

    Going back up a ways, I had to smile at the contrast of our experiences when Phillip mentioned his parents protesting the war. While his folks were doing that, my Dad was IN Vietnam, in the very actively contested mangrove swamps of the Rung Sat Special Zone. (“Rung Sat” was also called the “Forest of Assassins.”)

    He had a mixed bag of people working for him there, including sailors on PBRs, marines, Army helo crews and the then-still-secret (I think) Navy SEALs. Their main mission was to keep the river clear for shipping, which was more complicated than it sounds with enemy fire from both banks a regular part of life.

    I say I smile because it’s great that Phillip and I can be friends with such different backgrounds. Of course, it wasn’t ME who was in the Rung Sat. We spent that time in Bennettsville, living with my grandparents. Not a lot of antiwar activity there in 1967-68, as I recall.

  43. Silence

    Brad – correction: “But not every such situation can be adequately handled with air power and four U.S. civilian casualties.”

  44. bud

    My dad didn’t actively, publicly protest Vietnam, he was much to reserved for that, but he very much did oppose the things from day 1. In retrospect he was right of course but there were good reasons at the time for intervention. Iraq was from day 1 clearly a mistake about to happen.

  45. bud

    I worry that the day is likely to come when the consequences of non-intervention will be very dire, and we will fail to act because we don’t want it to be “another Iraq.”

    Very dire? Seriously? Such a ridiculous neocon thing to say. Given our history when we DO intervene let’s give that approach a go next time some neocon crys the sky is falling or the wolf is coming.

  46. Silence

    @ bud – You’d probably be the first to argue that we have a responsability to take care of poor, downtrodden folks in the USA.
    I take it you don’t feel the need to use our might and shed the blood of Americans to:
    Prevent genocide in Darfur
    Stop the extermination of Jews (in Europe or Israel)
    Stop the killing of unarmed non-combatant civilians in Syria

    In what cases would you support the use of force?

  47. bud

    Silence I would be the first to volunteer for a mission to prevent genocide in Darfur IF it was actually doable. We’ve tried those types of missions many times and sadly they usually end in even more death and disease. Humanitarian efforts to prevent starvation or disease are one thing. Getting in the middle of a civil war are quite another.

  48. bud

    In what cases would I support force? Perhaps to put a muzzle on Rush Limbaugh.

    Seriously it would have to be a legitimate issue of national security. When we were bombed on Dec 7, 1941 or attacked on Sept 11, 2001 those passed the test for national security.

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