John McCain

Political Crushes


Michael Kinsley on Wesley Clark:

In a properly functioning democracy–which ours is, barely–everyone is entitled to one youthful political swoon over a candidate who seems to be bucking the system. Mine was for John Anderson in 1980. Others have swooned over Ross Perot or John McCain or Lee Iacocca. The rules entitle the swooner to project his or her views onto the candidate, despite any lack of evidence or even evidence of the opposite. But the rules also insist that the candidate will never win.

Yes, I know: the same remarks apply to Howard Dean. Though he at least offers enough coherently stated positions that voters can support him on the issues as well, if they're into that sort of thing.

NEXT: Those Damned Sheeple!

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  1. Coherent positions? Mr. Kinsley is either an ignoramus or a conscious dismisser of the truth…
    “The notion that liberals disdain people in uniform was always a bit of a myth”…REALLY? I suppose that it was just a myth that many Vietnam Vets were spat upon, jeered, and booed upon returning home.

    After such a crap lead-in it was difficult for me to continue reading article.

    Microsoft may have been right to pull the plug on its chatrooms because of their inability to control content, but here they can control the bs that is being spouted…the slate, or the slant, should be buried under its own feces.

  2. I suppose that it was just a myth that many Vietnam Vets were spat upon, jeered, and booed upon returning home.

    Actually, the spitting-on-veterans thing is widely regarded as an urban legend, though I’ve never investigated the story myself. At any rate, the fact that some people on the left dislike veterans does not prove that the left as a whole dislikes veterans, unless you’re willing to make a similar extrapolation about, say, conservatives and blacks.

    I don’t follow the rest of your comment.

  3. Yeah, positions can be coherently stated and quite
    anti-liberty at the same time. We know what they mean AND they are wrong!

  4. Ah, yes, monolithic flag-burning, vet-hating, pot-smoking, baby-killing, n—-r-loving “liberals”.

    You show ’em, Richard.

    Stereotypes are fun! But anecdotes aren’t evidence. (Especially given how many liberals today weren’t even alive then- of course, David Horowitz did the things you speak of- is he a “liberal” too?)

  5. Spitting on returning veterans is NOT an urban myth. I know several servicement of that era to whom that happened. One was on a stretcher due to severe scrapnal wounds. Oh it happened all right and it’s revisionist history that’s trying to turn it into an “urban myth.”

  6. Actually, in regard to Mr. Walker’s urban legend comment, many of my relatives, upon arrival in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, were spat upon at the airport. I find that to be enough evidence for me.

    I was not trying to allude to stereotyping, I was trying to get across that the journalism involved in the article was highly lacking in substance. Retired General Sheldon had many observances about one Ret. Gen. Clark and his capabilities as a commander and a person. If a glowing glossover of the dirty secrets of a candidate’s life is ignored in the misguided belief that he is the “Great White Hope,” I would think that a cursory review of the other issues presented in the article would be tipoff to the underlying lack of journalistic ability.

    Just saying that the man who wrote the article did not do so without ignoring many sources of contradiction in Gen. Clark’s past. Gen. Clark will lose, not because he is like Perot, Iacocca, or McCain, he will lose cause he is dodgy and slimey. A good journalist will dig into a person’s background and do some investigation before outrightly announcing that they support him…even op-ed writers do this (most of the time).

    I am of the opinion that unsubstantiated blinding support for anything is wrong and perverse…irregardless of political persuasion. There are no facts in Kinsley’s article, no support, just unsupported conjectures…like his lead-in.

  7. Well, like I said, I haven’t investigated the spitting myself. I have met one vet who told me he was spat on. At the time I believed him. These days I’d do a little more checking, if only in hopes of nailing down the truth for once and for all. On this topic, my mind is completely open.

    But that’s beside the point. I linked to the Kinsley piece for his amusing comment about political swooning, not his introductory ruminations on soldiers and the left.

  8. fair enough…i thought you did so to highlight the other aspects…I stand corrected. In that case, great link. I was wrong.

  9. I can’t find it, but, to bring things full circle, I remember Kinsley once wrote a piece doubting any Vietnam vets were spat upon.

  10. Wasn’t it Ann Coulter who said that we would have won the Viet Nam War if our soldiers weren’t such cowards (or something like that)?

    I guess that makes her a lefty.

  11. Clark does too have a platform! I fully support his anti-speed-of-light stance!

  12. Clark also believes it’s the President’s job to suggest which sportscasters should be fired when they’re out of line (even if they can’t help it because they’re drug-addled).

  13. Coulter never said that…I’m not defending her, but she never did say that…a quick Lexis Search will evidence that it isn’t in print anywhere, except here. Josh, what makes Coulter dangerous is the same thing that makes Kinsley dangerous…no tangible factual evidence that what they say is so.

    Coulter couldn’t debate her way out of a college Forensics class. Neither could Kinsley. And their popularity makes them dangerous as they are selling snake oil to a willing populace. If people would quit linking to their articles, buying their books, and giving them attention, they will go away (Empirical evidence of this is “TreeHouse of Horror 6” of the Simpsons where the advertisements come alive and only die when ignored). I readily admit that there is not many realworld examples to prove this, but that is cause the media is full of saps and we as consumers buy this garbage.

    I blame myself for reading the article and giving the Slate another 1/5 of a cent in web advertising.

  14. [sigh] Take me back to those giddy teenage years and my crush on Ron Paul. I still carry a torch for the old geezer. And I still swoon every cycle for every pledge my fraternity nominates. Well actually I don’t swoon so much anymore but I do project my views onto them and ineluctability is a definite bonus. I bask in self-righteous zealotry knowing I voted against each and every two-faced son of a bitch that got sworn in, yet still sleep easy realizing my guy is probably a lying SOB as well.

  15. Richard,

    I think you’re confusing liberals with leftists.

  16. A little research shows that I was in my mid twenties when Ron ran, guess that senility is kicking in early?
    Y’know, this reminds me of a poem I can’t remember, and a song that may never have existed, and a place I’m not sure I’ve ever been to

  17. “The rules entitle the swooner to project his or her views onto the candidate, despite any lack of evidence or even evidence of the opposite.”

    I’ve heard that a lot of Nader voters just assumed that he must be a vegan.

  18. Considering how little got done during the first 2 years of the Clinton administration I’d say that counts as divided government 😉

    And before anybody complains, keep in mind that Joe’s formula paved the way for the 1994 GOP Revolution.

  19. AuH2O: They told me if I campaigned for Goldwater we’d end up at war in Vietnam. I did. They were right.

  20. P.S.

    And when I came back I got spit on.

  21. I’d like to see Congress controlled by the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and a DLC-type president. Does that count?

  22. I support Clark for a very simple reason: I believe that the federal government works best (and least) when neither party has a monopoly on power. I don’t see any chance that the Dems will take back either house of Congress in 2004, so I see Clark as the best chance of getting divided government.

    I’ve often stated here that my preferred formula for divided gov’t is Republican Congress and Democratic President. When a Democratic President asks for money the Republicans will be stingy, but when a Republican asks them for money they have a harder tim esaying no.

    A question: What are other people’s preferred formulas for divided government (House, Senate, and President, leaving aside the judiciary which is appointed rather than elected)? Are there people here who think it would be best if one of the two parties had complete control of the federal gov’t?

    Also, would you want one of the parties to have a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate or just a simple majority? Personally, I like filibusters in the scheme of divided government, since it forces the parties to in effect share power. One party gets the House, one gets the White House, and they share the Senate although one party gets to be senior partner.

  23. thoreau,

    That’s about the best reason I’ve heard for backing Clark or any other of the current crop of Democrats: not out of infatuation or even agreeement (they’re all pigs), but because the pigs can do less damage when they rotate on a partisan basis.

  24. I like it when the President is a Tertium Quid, and the Congress is dominated by Mugwumps.


  25. “I support Clark for a very simple reason: I believe that the federal government works best (and least) when neither party has a monopoly on power.”

    Given the fact that your single vote will not determine whether or not Clark is elected (if he is even nominated) why don’t you vote for the person who most closely represents your views?

  26. “Actually, the spitting-on-veterans thing is widely regarded as an urban legend,…”

    Well, considering that one of the veterans quoted in that article followed up by asserting that he himself was spat upon, I question whether it qualifies as a “legend.”

    P.S. I’ll concede that John J. Rambo, trained at Fort Bragg, and coming back from Vietnam looking like Sylvester Stallone, wasn’t spat upon.

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