The Sunny Pessimist vs. the Growling Optimist

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I'll fourth the emerging consensus that tonight was basically a split decision, with Cheney getting the slight nod mostly because he's much more credible on reminding me of my Dad. Both landed blows, both evaded questions annoyingly, both would blurt out their two or three topically unrelated talking points (His record's not credible! There he goes again confusing Saddam-I-mean-Obama with Zamfir!) at will. I bailed as soon as the foreign policy segment ended.

My one exceedingly minor observation was that it was discombobulating to watch this congenitally sunny-side-up pretty boy try his left-handed best to prove that we're all Screwed, while the cranky old man with acid reflux barked out the Case for Optimism. Weird.

NEXT: Seeing Spots

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  1. We’d only be screwed if we allow the Bush/Cheney administration to continue to screw up America and alienate the world while costing us billions in tax dollars and costing us the irreplacable lives of our brave soldiers.

    They have the right idea in some instances, but their judgement is poor, they rush in unprepared, and they changed the course of battle during the war on terrorism away from the person (Bin Laden) who attacked us, to Saddam in Iraq, who neither attacked us or was involved in the Sept 11th attacks.

    I agree that Saddam is a bad man and the world is safer without him in power, but there were other options to take him out that wouldn’t of cost us so many valuable lives. We need new leadership and John Kerry and John Edwards are my choice and the choice of many Americans.

  2. Cheney’s over the hill. Back when he was with Bush the First he woulda cleaned Edwards clock without even breathing hard.

  3. Although he was far better than Bush in almost every way, Cheney was as usual as charming as Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.

  4. I was dissapointed in the debate overall. I would have like to have seen less attack and more substance. By that same token, I have to give Edwards the edge on this. I think Cheney took a lot more information out of context or distorted it. On top of that, I don’t know how the Republicans can accuse Democrats of being pessimistic. Cheney used the word “terror” about a dozen times within his first two minute response. I was really turned off by that.

  5. slightly OT, but referring to Billy’s post,
    Bush has said that the world is a safer place without Saddam. That obiously isn’t true. Blair said that it is a BETTER place. That might well be.

  6. Michael Jones, you act alarmed that exposure to Andrew Sullivan spin would make you barf.

  7. gad, the lunatics are now officially running this asylum

    since when were leftists welcomed to take over the posting on blog celebrating ‘free markets and free minds’?

    there are no libertarian democrats or greens, all of their litmus tests are antithetical to the spirit that founded Reason and, so, why have the editors gone and fucked it up so badly as to attract apologists for the statist candidates?

    or is it just that the old guard has fled, having been made to feel unwelcome by the current editorial bent?

  8. since when were leftists welcomed to take over the posting on blog celebrating ‘free markets and free minds’?

    Well, Hit&Run’s staff posters come down pretty firmly on the anti-Bush/pro-Kerry side. I’d assume the blog is being linked to from other pro-Democratic sites.

  9. Yeah, positive arguments clearly aren’t Cheney’s forte. Reading the transcript, it struck me how very difficult coming up with a working rationale for starting the Iraq war was – even to Snarlin’ Dick Cheney.

    The effort that we’ve mounted with respect to Iraq focused specifically on the possibility that this was the most likely nexus between the terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.

    This is why, according to Cheney, it was the right thing to invade Iraq. There was a *possibility* that something bad was *likely*. Strong terms, no? Never mind that Iraq emphatically wasn’t the most likely candidate.

    Of course, there’s always the old fallback position:

    The world is far safer today because Saddam Hussein is in jail, his government is no longer in power.

    But even that line’s starting to look worn out – all those car bombs are taking their toll, I guess.

  10. There do seem to be a lot of liberal trolls here tonight. Who let the enslavers in? (Okay, that was unfair. The statists only make me a partial slave.)

  11. Richard Bennett writes:
    “If they can’t stand up to Howard Dean, how can they stand up to terrorists?” told the whole story.

    It sounds good, but it’s illogical when you think about it. As we recall, Kerry beat Howard Dean and ended up coopting a lot of his support. According to this analogy, he’ll wind up beating the Tora Bora crew by swiping their soft support from them – which actually doesn’t sound like a bad plan, compared to Bush’s tactics.

    As we also remember, Bush threatened to veto the bill before he signed it, because the version Kerry supported would have cut into Bush’s precious tax cuts for the rich. This raises the obvious question: if Bush can’t stand up to his wealthy donors, how can he stand up to the terrorists?

  12. As we also remember, Bush threatened to veto the bill before he signed it, because the version Kerry supported would have cut into Bush’s precious tax cuts for the rich. This raises the obvious question: if Bush can’t stand up to his wealthy donors, how can he stand up to the terrorists?

    Fodderstompf,

    That line won’t play around here. We want to eliminate taxes for everybody, rich and poor.

  13. Bill writes:
    We want to eliminate taxes for everybody, rich and poor.

    That’s commendable, but you’re not going to eliminate taxes by going ever deeper into debt. Unfortunately invading a mid-sized Middle Eastern country costs lives *and* money. The money will come from taxes – one way or another.

  14. Well, Hit&Run’s staff posters come down pretty firmly on the anti-Bush/pro-Kerry side.

    Total mystery to me how anyone claiming to be a libertarian can be in favor of Kerry. Sure, Bush sucks on a number of domestic lib issues, but there isn’t a single one where Kerry isn’t worse.

    As for whether Kerry is more “libertarian” on foreign policy, I might commend readers taken with his fondness for international colaitions to the remarks of the Founders on “entangling alliances.”

  15. I’d vote for Kerry/Edwards if they’ll promise I can throw a brick at their teeth once a week.

  16. Total mystery to me how anyone claiming to be a libertarian can be in favor of Kerry.

    I’ve hired a contractor for four years and he takes 200+ days of paid vacation while at the same time turning in a terrible job performance. Another contractor says he can do a better job and has some new ideas. I look at his ideas, and they are not great but also not that bad, especially given my current contractor’s miserable record.

    Given this situation, I am going to fire the old contractor and hire the new one. The old contractor has a proven record of failure. He has no new ideas, he has driven my business into a huge debt, has not really earned or saved me personally any money, and has wrecked a lot of the B2B relationships I had previously with other companies. What he is doing is not working now, and yet his plan is to continue to do what he has been doing (which, I can only assume, includes taking another 200+ days of paid vacation. That’s a quarter of the time he is supposed to be working for me we are talking about here).

    Your damned right I am going to go for someone else. And who knows, the new contractor just might succeed.

    It’s worth trying.

  17. He’s not vacationing… he’s telecommuting! Trying to reduce some of that horrible Capital Beltway traffic. 😉

  18. As I see it, libertarian social ideology is closer to the left, while being more conservative on fiscal and economic issues, pro-states rights, and somewhat isolationist on foreign policy. On all fronts Bush has been a disaster.

    Bush’s social policies has been paternalistic, for example the FCC crackdown and the constitutional ban on gay marriage. Both are symptoms of a deeply religious social conservative that tries to legislate morality while stepping over states rights.

    Foreign policy: what ever happened to no nation building? what ever happened to letting people decide their own affairs? What ever happened to our military being stretched to thin on peace keeping mission to defend our country?

    Spending. On this issue I consider Bush to be Even with Kerry. Republicans can not claim to be the party of smaller government. They have been WORSE than the Democrats at spending. Tax cuts should be a reward for tight fiscal policy. Vast deficits are not the sign of a fiscal conservative. This administration is living in fantasy land on the budget. Of course kerry is no better, but at least if you elect him, there would be gridlock once again, preventing spending increases of any kind.

  19. It is good to have collectivisits and conservatives visit the H&R blogs… if only to present them soundly with lucid arguments they will not hear on talk radio (or television). The presidential election is like a full moon. People who don’t know a tinker’s damn about economics or politics or public policy leap into the fray because they love one candidate and/or hate the other.

    As for Bush and Kerry, both are big government statists, professional political opportunists with virtually no investment in personal liberty. Bush is willing to install a police state chasing the myth of “homeland security.” Kerry is equally willing to limit rights for the same reason and as a bonus, expand the nanny state. Of course, the Libertarian Party nominates another kook so even Americans who want to cast a protest vote are forced to feel damn silly about it.

    Is the election over yet?

  20. “since when were leftists welcomed to take over the posting on blog celebrating ‘free markets and free minds’?”

    Quitcherbitchin’, libertoids, and be happy that there might be a tiny crack in your obscurity.

    Waaaahhhhhhh! They’re paying attention to us! Wahhhh!

  21. Bush’s social policies has been paternalistic, for example the FCC crackdown and the constitutional ban on gay marriage. Both are symptoms of a deeply religious social conservative that tries to legislate morality while stepping over states rights.

    I note that plenty of Dems were all for the FCC crackdown, and that there is no Constitutional ban on gay marriage – there was never any chance of one, so Bush buried the issue with a clever procedural play. Yeah, many Repubs are on the wrong side of this one, but Bush didn’t do anything to help them.

    And please – Repubs more paternalistic than Dems? Thats a tough sell. At best, call it a draw.

    Spending. On this issue I consider Bush to be Even with Kerry.

    Even though Kerry has promised to raise taxes and increase spending by many multiples over and above his tax increases? Kerry fails both the smaller government and the fiscal responsibility test.

  22. I give the debate to Edwards on the merits,but score it even rhetorically.

    I was amused that Cheney sent the listeners to factcheck.org. I am a subscriber to that website and read everything they publish. The have called out Cheney on some of the falsehoods he repeated again last night. What, did he think we wouldn’t check up on him?

    I am disappointed Cheney did ot answer the questions about Halliburton. They are not democratic smokescreens. Even some republicans, like John McCain, are concerned about the far too cozy relationship between this administration and corporations. Cheney and a number of Bush appointees have continued relations with corporations for which they served, and the revolving door betweengovernment and private industry sometimes does not even wait for the niceties of resignation (e.g. Tommy Thompson). This question should have been answered. And Cheney should have volunteered an answer that makes sense on why the public still may not know who was at the Energy Policy meeting (to which the public was not invited) and what was said. Mr. Cheney is paid by the tax payers to keep the public interests front and center, not the profits of the energy industry.

    I found it mind-boggling that Cheney would count Iraq as part of the coalition. The theory of the adminstartion has been we needed a coalition to liberate Iraq because Iraq could not liberate itself. Or am I missing something? Alawi doesn’t count. He was appointed by the US, not democratically elected. We can say that a war torn Iraq, that is on the verge of civil war, is a nation and an ally only after it has a democratically elected government that voluntarily asks us to stay. But to count Alawi’s endorsement is absurd. Would Cheney regard Vichy France as an ally of Hitler because Marshall Petain was pro-Nazi? No. We called deGaulle the spokeman for France, and didn’t count the word of someone who was installed by an occupying power. Until it is clear who speaks for Iraq, I think Bush and Cheney ought to go lightly here. It is, after all, Iraqi insurgents who are doing much of the fighting against our troops. Nobody is denying the herosim of those Iraqis willing to join the Iraqi security and police. But so far, they are not a credible fighting force by any one’s estimation, and not ready to be an ally like Britain or other forces in the coalition. Edwards was right to call Cheney out on this.

    Chenmey scored a lot of points by shamelessly criticizing in others that whihc he and Bush are guilty of themselves. Flip flopper is only the most obvious. Bush has fli floped back and forth on the patient bill of rights three or five times since he was governor of Texas. He vetoed it in Texas, then claimed credit for it after it passed over his veto; then promised it in his presidential campaign nationally, then tried to undermine it as president. His talk of tort reform aims at the very heart of the patient bill of rights. Edwards was right to call him out on this.

    But look at Cheney. He landed a solid punch in criticizing Edwards attendance record, until you looked at Cheney’s. Cheney had the worse attendance record. Here are the facts and the source:

    Dick Cheney Attended Only One Public Hearing of the House Intelligence Committee. But as a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence from 1985 to his nomination as Secretary of Defense in early 1989, then-Representative Dick Cheney (R-Wyo.) attended only one public committee hearing – a 1986 meeting on potential U.S. military involvement in Angola. [Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, Government Printing Office Hearing Reports; Washington Post, 2/7/85; Los Angeles Times, 3/11/89]

    And Edwards called out Cheney, again rightly, for his hypocricy in criticizing Kerry for voting against the same weapon systems, at the same period of time, that Cheney recommended against.

    If we judge Bush and Cheney by the same standards by which they judge others, Bush and Cheney come out worse. And by the standards of basic honesty and candor, Bush and Cheney come out far worse.

    I give Cheney credit for a tough fight. But on the issues, Edwards won the debate.

  23. After watching the Vice Presidential debates tonight, I have to admit that even though I am strongly in favor of Kerry and was an early Edwards supporter, the Vice President made a number of good points.

    However, those points were lost in that Mr. Cheney failed to inspire trust in his leadership and thereby cast doubts on his facts and positions. Many of his responses felt like a grumpy, disillusioned old man telling the American populace that he is right “because I told you so”. His demeanor was not gravitas: it was arrogance. Quite frankly, this administration has nothing to be arrogant about. John Edwards hit it on the head when he said: “Mr. Vice President, I don’t think the American people can take four more years of this.”

    I went into this debate thinking it was up to John Edwards to put forth that extra effort to try to win. I was wrong. This debate was Dick Cheney’s to lose, and he succeeded.

  24. After watching the Vice Presidential debates tonight, I have to admit that even though I am strongly in favor of Kerry and was an early Edwards supporter, the Vice President made a number of good points.

    However, those points were lost in that Mr. Cheney failed to inspire trust in his leadership and thereby cast doubts on his facts and positions. Many of his responses felt like a grumpy, disillusioned old man telling the American populace that he is right “because I told you so”. His demeanor was not gravitas: it was arrogance. Quite frankly, this administration has nothing to be arrogant about. John Edwards hit it on the head when he said: “Mr. Vice President, I don’t think the American people can take four more years of this.”

    I went into this debate thinking it was up to John Edwards to put forth that extra effort to try to win. I was wrong. This debate was Dick Cheney’s to lose, and he succeeded.

  25. After watching the Vice Presidential debates tonight, I have to admit that even though I am strongly in favor of Kerry and was an early Edwards supporter, the Vice President made a number of good points.

    However, those points were lost in that Mr. Cheney failed to inspire trust in his leadership and thereby cast doubts on his facts and positions. Many of his responses felt like a grumpy, disillusioned old man telling the American populace that he is right “because I told you so”. His demeanor was not gravitas: it was arrogance. Quite frankly, this administration has nothing to be arrogant about. John Edwards hit it on the head when he said: “Mr. Vice President, I don’t think the American people can take four more years of this.”

    I went into this debate thinking it was up to John Edwards to put forth that extra effort to try to win. I was wrong. This debate was Dick Cheney’s to lose, and he succeeded.

  26. Cheney continued to unashamedly lie last night. Some samples:

    “The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11.”

    This is a laughable, bald faced lie.

    “the allies have stepped forward and agreed to reduce and forgive Iraqi debt to the tune of nearly $80 billion, by one estimate.”

    This is news to the rest of the world. The only commitments so far are to 14 billion.

    “Cheney also said Iraqi security forces have “taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq, which leaves the U.S. with 50 percent, not 90 percent.”

    Perhaps the saddest lie of all. We don’t even count Iraqui casualties.

    Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10244-2004Oct5.html

  27. R C Dean writes:
    Total mystery to me how anyone claiming to be a libertarian can be in favor of Kerry.

    Bush’s non-defense spending has been more profligate than Clinton’s. Dubya’s election promises amount to at least as much as Kerry’s. Now, which one of them is more likely to get his pork through Congress? There are no economic reasons why a Libertarian should vote for Dubya over JFK.

    That leaves the social issues. If a person isn’t unnaturally attached to his assault weapon, there’s little to recommend Dubya on those.

    And then there’s the issue of Dear Leader’s sheer incompetence…

  28. “Would Cheney regard Vichy France as an ally of Hitler because Marshall Petain was pro-Nazi? No. We called deGaulle the spokeman for France, and didn’t count the word of someone who was installed by an occupying power.”

    Huh?

    The Vichy regime was an ally if Germany. What did you mean to say? Preview is your friend.

  29. “Total mystery to me how anyone claiming to be a libertarian can be in favor of Kerry.”

    Yeah, no frikking duh, especially since there’s a libertarian candidate on the ballot.

    I realize that life isn’t simply black or white, but a pragmatic vote for Kerry buys you nothing but the comforting illusion (opium induced pipe dream) that MAYBE he’ll not be as destructive as GWB. But, for as long as I can remember every administration has spent and regulated more than the one that went before. You guys are talking the difference between getting beat with a pipe while you’re mugged or being knifed while you’re mugged. Either way, you’re in the hospital and your wallet’s gone.

    My guy won’t get elected, but the fact that you guys are voting for Kerry instead of somone who actually has a coherent and consistent philosophy of liberty, one that you agree with almost in total, is baffling.

  30. “Total mystery to me how anyone claiming to be a libertarian can be in favor of Kerry.”

    As a libertarian, I can’t support Kerry because of his ridiculous tax and health programs, but I can’t support Bush either. A big sticking point with me is Bush’s failure to fire Rumsfeld in the wake of Abu Gharib. The fact that Bush proposed the Patriot Act and Kerry voted for it makes it easy for me to vote for Badnarik.

    …some of the people on this board point to some of Badnarik’s eccentric views of yesteryear, but, for the reasons I stated above, amongst others, I’d rather vote for Zamfir than either Bush or Kerry. For those of you who are uninitiated, Zamfir is the “Master of the Pan Flute.” (Kudos to Welch)

    TWC,

    I originally came to the Libertarian Party by way of protest. I registered Libertarian the day Bush Sr. broke his tax pledge, but I continued to vote Republican through the Clinton Administration; I even voted for “Dubya” the first time around.

    We should encourage Democrats who want Bush out of the White House to register Libertarian. We should encourage Republicans who don’t like the way Bush is handling the wars to register Libertarian too. Anything that makes Democrat and/or Republican candidates want to appeal to their libertarian constituents is a good thing.

  31. P.S. Please, all you Republicans and Democrats out there in the blogoland, feel free to register Libertarian and vote for whomever you please!

  32. When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you get evil. In this case Cheney the Ultimate Corporate Welfarist, or Edwards the Ultimate Sleazy Ambulance Chaser. You choose, you lose.

  33. Ken, ah yes, No Newt Axes, but don’t forget the Bush Senior also gave us the ADA, with a pen flourished in the Rose Garden no less.

    There are plenty of libertarian leaning or outright libertarians in the Republican Party. But, they are a still a distinct minority and still tied to that “either/or” outlook on politics.

    As for libertarian leaning leftists? Dang few and far between. You might get some agreements on specific issues, but overall, give those folks enough power and they’ll enslave you (for your own good). Course, like the Swedes, they’ll still let you watch porn while you’re shackled so I guess that counts for something.

  34. “I’d rather vote for Zamfir than either Bush or Kerry.”

    Not eligible. Romanian.

    “”since when were leftists welcomed to take over the posting on blog celebrating ‘free markets and free minds’?”

    Those concerned with free markets and/or free minds have ample reasons to be concerned with the current administration.

    Kerry’s tolerable among those who’ll trend towards the “free minds” element of the libertarian equation and who don’t fully swallow that market solutions are a panacea solution for all problems. They’re not hardcore libertarians, sure, but they’re sympathizers on many particular issues. I include myself in this camp and frankly, if libertarianism is to get anywhere, you need soft supporters. Ideological purity gets you nowhere. No market for it.

    If you’re hardcore pro-market, well, Kerry’s not an appealing alternative. But Bush has systematically set out to destroy any possible correlation between libertarian ideology and Republicanism on both economic and social scales, and voting for him hoping this will change is disingenuous.

    If you can’t vote Libertarian for whatever reason, write-in a candidate, spoil your ballot, stay home, whatever.

  35. TWC,

    I think you’re wrong about the number of libertarian minded Democrats. At least, I think there are a lot more of them in the general populace than there are in office. I don’t think marijuana legalization, the Patriot Act and gay marriage are petty issues for a lot of Democrats, and the Libertarian Party can offer Democrats a much clearer voice on those issues.

    Of course, Democrat leaning swing voters are worth–I dunno–maybe three Democrat votes.

    Anyway, if there are a lot of Democrats who showed up in this thread because some Democrat blog linked to it, I’d like to make them feel welcome. Registering Libertarian and voting for the Democrats shows people what you think much more clearly than voting for Democrats as a registered Democrat.

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